Business

Rent Bows to Boost Profits

Renting bows can attract new customers and generate more revenue.
Photo Credit: Hit or Miss Archery Center

Author: Cassie Scott

Can archery retailers profit by renting bows?

To help answer that question we spoke with Neil Overbay, owner of the Hit or Miss Archery Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Overbay launched a bow-rental program when opening his shop in March 2014, hoping to generate extra income.

He got that … and much more.

Overbay bought 15 universal draw-length bows and dozens of arrows for his rental program. The equipment paid for itself within six months as customers marched into his shop.

“Bow rentals are appealing because people get to shoot a bow and try archery risk-free,” Overbay said.

Rental gear makes archery accessible to everyone when retailers provide the range, instruction and equipment for little cost. Rental programs serve as stepping stones to more archery sales and activities.

Bow rentals are great for birthday parties. Photo Credit: Hit or Miss Archery Center

“Once people realize how easy and simple it is to shoot archery – even if they don’t know anything about it – they’ll often come back to buy equipment, take a lesson or sign up for a birthday party,” Overbay said.

Customers also bring friends and family, further boosting business and profits.

Overbay soon added 10 rental bows to his program to handle more shooters.

Overbay’s Hit or Miss Archery Center has a 40-yard indoor range with 30 lanes, and customers can shoot 3D or paper targets. Most folks renting gear shoot 3D targets because it’s more fun.

One caution: A 3D range is great for business, but tough on equipment. Overbay said customers often break or damage arrows by hitting the metal poles supporting 3D targets. He plans to add padding over those parts to reduce damage. He inspects all rental gear for wear and damage before signing it out.

Despite damaged arrows, occasional dry-fires, and routine repairs and maintenance of rental equipment – which Overbay cites as the program’s biggest challenge – he said his shop benefits and profits from renting equipment.

How much should you charge for rentals? Study nearby competitors and other recreational activities, such as bowling or putt-putt golf, to help set your rental prices. The price must also cover range time, staff time and equipment maintenance.

Bow rentals are a great way to let first time archers try the sport with low commitment. Photo Credit: Hit or Miss Archery Center

Overbay rents equipment by the hour. The fee includes a five-minute introduction by a certified instructor, who explains shooting form and range-safety rules to ensure customers have fun, positive experiences.

Overbay’s staffers watch customers and check in with those needing extra help, tips and pointers. After each session, staffers check the customers’ equipment as they turn it in, ask about their experiences, and explain ways to stay involved in archery at the shop, which gives them reasons to return.

“Our rental program is very profitable,” Overbay said. “It didn’t cost a lot of money to start, and it has continued to grow. Plus, there’s minimal overhead. I advise other retailers to give it a try. It’s been great for us.”

He also enjoys the program because he’s meeting new people and introducing them to archery.

“About 90 percent of our rental purchases are first-time archers,” Overbay said. “I love seeing them get super excited about shooting for the first time. Getting people involved in archery is very cool for me.”

Want to know more? Read ATA’s article “Can Equipment Rentals Boost Your Archery Business?

You can also promote your rental program on Groupon to attract customers. Click here to learn more. Rental equipment also works well for birthday parties and corporate events.

To get started contact Nicole Nash, ATA’s range and retail programs manager, at (866) 266-2776, ext. 116, or nicolenash@archerytrade.org.

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