How to Start a Driving Range

A driving range offers golfers of all skill levels a place to practice their swing by allowing them to practice many repetitions of their swing without having to travel the length of a golf course. Driving ranges can be located indoors or outdoors, and most ranges also offer the retail sale of golf equipment and a snack bar or restaurant. A driving range can be located almost anywhere. Your range will appeal to people of all ages from kids who are interested in learning golf and businessmen looking to sharpen their game on their lunch breaks to old folks who still have a love for the game. Many golfers choose to practice at a driving range as the range gives them the opportunity to practice their swing many times without having to cover the golf course. Adding cutting-edge technology, such as golf simulators, can make your range unique and highly desirable to those most passionate about golf.

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Learn how to start your own Driving Range and whether it is the right fit for you.


Start a driving range by following these 10 steps:

You have found the perfect business idea, and now you are ready to take the next step. There is more to starting a business than just registering it with the state. We have put together this simple guide to starting your driving range. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.

Check out our How to Start a Business page.

STEP 1: Plan your business

A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. It will help you map out the specifics of your business and discover some unknowns. A few important topics to consider are:

Luckily we have done a lot of this research for you.

What are the costs involved in opening a driving range?

This depends wildly on location. Opening an indoor local  in a metropolitan area can cost millions on the property alone, while one removed from the city can be a fraction of the cost. Regardless of your geographic location, simple, outdoor ranges will be most cost efficient. High-tech, indoor golf simulators can cost six figures per simulator unit, so these types of ranges are best suited for those who have already made a large amount of money in the business already. Go low-tech with no amenities, and the entire range can be set up for around $100,000.

What are the ongoing expenses for a driving range?

Property maintenance is key for an outdoor facility. Such maintenance includes mowing the range, maintaining grass, and keeping tee areas clean. For an indoor facility there are more daily cleaning, payroll, and simulator repair/replacement issues to take into consideration.

Who is the target market?

Your customers will include golf lovers of all ages and skill-levels. Students and young professionals will use your facility to improve their golfing game, teens will enjoy hitting a few balls with their friends, and dedicated lifelong golfers will enjoy the convenience of a driving range when they don't have time for an entire game. Indoor facilities can target companies and families to sell parties that include a meal and use of the facility for a specific amount of time.

How does a driving range make money?

Driving ranges make money by charging customers for the use of golf balls and a tee area where they can practice their swing. While a bucket of balls can cost you $20 as an initial investment, you'll be re-selling the balls over and over before you'll need to replace them through loss or damage. The trick for finding real profit is generating enough traffic such that you sell a sufficient number of balls over the year to cover payroll, insurance, cost of property and maintenance. The retail sale of golf equipment can generate a substantial portion of your income.

How much can you charge customers?

The more services you offer, the more you can charge for a bucket of balls. Most ranges offer 50-80 balls for $5-$8. Monthly memberships go for $50 to $100 for valued customers.

How much profit can a driving range make?

An indoor facility with full-service restaurant and rental space in a high-traffic urban environment can see a net profit of up to $2.9 million a year. However, if you have a low-tech field in the country, you could see an income as low as $40,000 a year.

How can you make your business more profitable?

Provide more services for each customer, such as snack foods that require minimal preparation and reserved parking for members. Monthly memberships collect money upfront from regulars who may not use the entire value of their membership. Golf lessons require no extra equipment, but you'll need to hire a knowledgeable pro who will build a perception of better value for your clients.

What will you name your business?

Choosing the right name is important and challenging. If you don’t already have a name in mind, visit our How to Name a Business guide or get help brainstorming a name with our Driving Range Name Generator

If you operate a sole proprietorship, you might want to operate under a business name other than your own name. Visit our DBA guide to learn more.

When registering a business name, we recommend researching your business name by checking:

  • Your state's business records
  • Federal and state trademark records
  • Social media platforms
  • Web domain availability.

It's very important to secure your domain name before someone else does.

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STEP 2: Form a legal entity

The most common business structure types are the sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), and corporation.

Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC or corporation protects you from being held personally liable if your driving range is sued.

Form Your LLC

Read our Guide to Form Your Own LLC

Have a Professional Service Form your LLC for You

Two such reliable services:

You can start an LLC yourself and pay only the minimal state LLC costs or hire one of the Best LLC Services for a small, additional fee.

Recommended: You will need to elect a registered agent for your LLC. LLC formation packages usually include a free year of registered agent services. You can choose to hire a registered agent or act as your own.

STEP 3: Register for taxes

You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.

In order to register for taxes you will need to apply for an EIN. It's really easy and free!

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You can acquire your EIN for free through the IRS website, via fax, or by mail. If you would like to learn more about EINs and how they can benefit your LLC, read our article, What is an EIN?.

Learn how to get an EIN in our What is an EIN guide or find your existing EIN using our EIN lookup guide.

Small Business Taxes

Depending on which business structure you choose, you might have different options for how your business will be taxed. For example, some LLCs could benefit from being taxed as an S corporation (S corp).

You can learn more about small business taxes in these guides:

There are specific state taxes that might apply to your business. Learn more about state sales tax and franchise taxes in our state sales tax guides.

STEP 4: Open a business bank account & credit card

Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection.

When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your business is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.

Additionally, learning how to build business credit can help you get credit cards and other financing in your business's name (instead of yours), better interest rates, higher lines of credit, and more.

Open a business bank account

  • This separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
  • It also makes accounting and tax filing easier.
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Recommended: Read our Best Banks for Small Business review to find the best national bank, credit union, business-loan friendly banks, one with many brick-and-mortar locations, and more.

Open net-30 accounts

When it comes to establishing your business credit, net-30 vendors are considered the way to go. The term "net-30," which is popular among vendors, refers to a business credit arrangement where the company pays the vendor within 30 days of receiving goods or services.

Net-30 credit terms are often used for businesses that need to obtain inventory quickly but do not have the cash on hand.

Besides establishing business relationships with vendors, net-30 credit accounts get reported to the major business credit bureaus (Dun & Bradstreet, Experian Business, and Equifax Business Credit). This is how businesses build business credit so they can qualify for credit cards and other lines of credit.

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Recommended: Read our guide on the best net-30 vendors so you can start building business credit now, so you never have to worry about cash flow in the future. Keep in mind that poor cash flow is the #1 reason businesses fail!

Get a business credit card

  • This helps you separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
  • It also builds your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise money and investment later on.

STEP 5: Set up business accounting

Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.

STEP 6: Obtain necessary permits and licenses

Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.

State & Local Business Licensing Requirements

Certain state permits and licenses may be needed to operate a driving range. Learn more about licensing requirements in your state by visiting SBA’s reference to state licenses and permits.

For information about local licenses and permits:

Most businesses are required to collect sales tax on the goods or services they provide. To learn more about how sales tax will affect your business, read our article, Sales Tax for Small Businesses.

For information about local licenses and permits:

Release of Liability

To avoid liability and potential lawsuits, driving range businesses should have their clients sign a release of liability. Here is an example of one such form.

Recommended: Rocket Lawyer makes it easy to create a professional release of liability form for your driving range when you sign up for their premium membership. For $39.95 per month, members receive access to hundreds of legal agreements and on call attorneys to get complimentary legal advice.

Certificate of Occupancy

A driving range is usually run out of a storefront. Businesses operating out of a physical location typically require a  Certificate of Occupancy (CO).  A CO confirms that all building codes, zoning laws and government regulations have been met.

  • If you plan to lease a storefront:
    • It is generally the landlord’s responsibility to obtain a CO.
    • Before leasing, confirm that your landlord has or can obtain a valid CO that is applicable to a driving range.
    • After a major renovation, a new CO often needs to be issued. If your place of business will be renovated before opening,  it is recommended to include language in your lease agreement stating that lease payments will not commence until a valid CO is issued.
  • If you plan to purchase or build a storefront:
    • You will be responsible for obtaining a valid CO from a local government authority.
    • Review all building codes and zoning requirements for you business’ location to ensure your driving range will be in compliance and able to obtain a CO.

STEP 7: Get business insurance

Just as with licenses and permits, your business needs insurance in order to operate safely and lawfully. Business Insurance protects your company’s financial wellbeing in the event of a covered loss.

There are several types of insurance policies created for different types of businesses with different risks. If you’re unsure of the types of risks that your business may face, begin with General Liability Insurance. This is the most common coverage that small businesses need, so it’s a great place to start for your business.

Learn more about General Liability Insurance.

Another notable insurance policy that many businesses need is Workers’ Compensation Insurance. If your business will have employees, it’s a good chance that your state will require you to carry Workers' Compensation Coverage.

Recommended: Learn what business insurance for your Driving Range will cost.

Business Insurance for
Driving Range

STEP 8: Define your brand

Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.

If you aren't feeling confident about designing your small business logo, then check out our Design Guides for Beginners, we'll give you helpful tips and advice for creating the best unique logo for your business.
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Recommended: Get a logo using Truic's free logo Generator no email or sign up required, or use a Premium Logo Maker.

How to promote & market a driving range

You can partner with local gyms, batting cages, sports bars, and other businesses with to promote the existence of your new driving range. Cross-promotion will get feet in the door, then it is up to you to keep them coming back. Mid-week discounts help to drive sales during off-periods.

How to keep customers coming back

Golfers need to know you exist. Work with sporting goods stores, local sporting events, and wine bars to create cross-promotions to drive new faces to your range. A clean, well-lit range with extended operating hours will keep them coming back. Heated tee areas can increase your business during the colder months.

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Still unsure about what kind of business you want to start? Check out the latest Small Business Trends to help inspire you.

STEP 9: Create your business website

After defining your brand and creating your logo the next step is to create a website for your business.

While creating a website is an essential step, some may fear that it’s out of their reach because they don’t have any website-building experience. While this may have been a reasonable fear back in 2015, web technology has seen huge advancements in the past few years that makes the lives of small business owners much simpler.

Here are the main reasons why you shouldn’t delay building your website:

  • All legitimate businesses have websites - full stop. The size or industry of your business does not matter when it comes to getting your business online.
  • Social media accounts like Facebook pages or LinkedIn business profiles are not a replacement for a business website that you own.
  • Website builder tools like the GoDaddy Website Builder have made creating a basic website extremely simple. You don’t need to hire a web developer or designer to create a website that you can be proud of.

Using our website building guides, the process will be simple and painless and shouldn’t take you any longer than 2-3 hours to complete.

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Recommended: Get started today using our recommended website builder or check out our review of the Best Website Builders.

Other popular website builders are: WordPress, WIX, Weebly, Squarespace, and Shopify.

STEP 10: Set up your business phone system

Getting a phone set up for your business is one of the best ways to help keep your personal life and business life separate and private. That’s not the only benefit; it also helps you make your business more automated, gives your business legitimacy, and makes it easier for potential customers to find and contact you.

There are many services available to entrepreneurs who want to set up a business phone system. We’ve reviewed the top companies and rated them based on price, features, and ease of use. Check out our review of the Best Business Phone Systems 2021 to find the best phone service for your small business.

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Recommended Business Phone Service: Nextiva

Nextiva is our top choice for small business phone numbers because of all the features it offers for small businesses and it's fair pricing.

Start A Driving Range In Your State

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Select your state below for an in-depth guide on completing each of these steps in your home state.

Is this Business Right For You?

Ideal driving range owners are those interested in golf and experienced in customer service. Great customer service is a vital part of your business, as you will be having personal encounters with your customers, and satisfied customers have the potential to become regulars. It is also important for owners to feel comfortable managing property maintenance, maintaining food-service standards, and running basic business operations.

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Want to know if you are cut out to be an entrepreneur?

Take our Entrepreneurship Quiz to find out!

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What happens during a typical day at a driving range?

Your own list of daily duties can depend on whether you open an indoor or outdoor facility with or without food services, but the average day of a driving range owner includes:

  • Maintaining the driving range which can include collecting balls, removing debris, mowing, and maintaining night lighting
  • Checking ball dispensers or golfing simulators for proper operation
  • Standard money handling and banking procedures
  • Providing assistance for customers who might need help with simulators or ball dispensers
  • Maintaining clean golfing stations
  • Conducting property surveys of parking area
  • Providing clean restrooms for your clients
  • Serving food items offered on your menu

What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful driving range?

Successful owners will have excellent business skills and they will be able to adjust their marketing plan to meet the needs and demands of their local customers. Creativity in marketing is needed to attract new customers, while attention to detail in maintaining a welcoming environment will bring your old customers back. Knowledge of golfing etiquette and culture will assist the entrepreneur in responding to desires of your target audience.

What is the growth potential for a driving range?

The location of your driving range will determine how much business you can generate. While property values in rural areas lower your initial investment, urban settings bring in more customers. The increased number of customers may open up opportunities to offer golfing lessons, sell more golfing equipment, or expand your snack-shack into a larger restaurant.

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Take the Next Step

Find a business mentor

One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.

Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.

Learn from other business owners

Want to learn more about starting a business from entrepreneurs themselves? Visit Startup Savant’s startup founder series to gain entrepreneurial insights, lessons, and advice from founders themselves.

Resources to Help Women in Business

There are many resources out there specifically for women entrepreneurs. We’ve gathered necessary and useful information to help you succeed both professionally and personally:

  • Funding
  • Events
  • Guides
  • Support

If you’re a woman looking for some guidance in entrepreneurship, check out this great new series Women in Business created by the women of our partner Startup Savant.

What are some insider tips for jump starting a driving range?

Know your area and target popular golf courses as a place to reach out to potential customers. If you are the tenth driving range to open, you're fighting an uphill battle. Look for an area without a driving range in which golf is highly popular.

How and when to build a team

If you're just loading the ball dispenser, emptying change machines, and mowing the lawn yourself, you can operate a driving range on your own. Once you have a retail shop, restaurant, and rental space, you'll need to start building your team as soon as you make your first business proposal. You'll need a property and food service manager, along with crew, chefs and servers.

Next Steps

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