The labyrinth: build one by ourselves or buy a ready-made?
The questions all new laser tag business owners face are: “Shall I buy a ready-made labyrinth or build one by myself?” we cannot give a simple answer to this question. Every business variety (even from the same branch) is specific. Writing down a guide is same as giving advice on how to refurbish a flat. One can give an account of the main rules and give practical advice. Yet it is up to you what colour for the walls and tiles in the bathroom you choose, how many cupboards in the kitchen and what material for the sofa filling you pick – based on your personal preferences, on your budget and the amount of time available.
Option 1: purchase a new labyrinth
This is the least troublesome, yet the most costly option. A number of trusted companies specialize on manufacturing top-of-the-line labyrinths. By the way, nearly all of them are overseas companies. These companies provide labyrinth construction services (of various sizes and design) and manufacture tailor-made constructions according to the client’s preferences. Very often the set comes supplied with special light and sound effects, at times with game equipment.
There are also Russian building contractor associations that specialize on designing and building labyrinths. This means that they will fully equip your reception and play areas: fully refurbish or partially renovate it, order the labyrinth from the manufacturer and deliver it, set it up, use the chosen idea to personalize the place, equip it with special light effects and smoke machines, install speakers, a mixer and a microphone for the instructor and so on. All you will have to do is discuss the details, agree on the work plan and pay them after the work had been finished.
The advantages: excellent quality of the constructions, manufacturer’s guarantee, compliance with safety measures requirements, saving time (the building work takes 1-3 months). One can even save some money just by ordering the labyrinth construction, then setting it up and equipping by himself.
The disadvantages: high cost if you choose a company that deals with overseas labyrinth manufacturers (from $6000 up to $80 000 depending on the size of the place, the amount of works to be carried out and labyrinth capacities). The good news is there are domestic manufacturers, though not a great deal of them. They charge less for their services (manufacturing labyrinth frame, setting up, designing, etc.), while the quality of their job is as high.
Option 2: buy a used labyrinth
This is a good option for thrifty people. Though provided you manage to find a labyrinth in excellent condition. As a rule, after a year or two of frequent use, the partitions require refurbishment: the players often collide into them (some of them even try to climb over them), for that reason the fittings loosen, the paint comes out, there may be splits, sometimes cracks – it all depends on what material it is made of. This all can be sorted out on the spot. If the labyrinth is collapsed for transportation, new problems that cannot be easily fixed may be discovered. As a result, you will have to spend money to buy the labyrinth as well as to have it fixed. It may turn out that purchasing a new construction would have been cheaper.
The advantages: a slightly lower price than for a new one. Technical and game equipment is frequently offered for a reasonable extra cost.
The disadvantages: no quality guarantee. Your money will not be refunded if you find a defect, the faulty equipment will not be repaired or replaced. Likewise, you will have to refurbish the place all by yourself. As well as set up the delivered construction. It is not same as assembling a cabinet from an Ikea.
Option 3: build the labyrinth by yourself
This is difficult, but achievable. Even if you have never been involved in interior design, building and refurbishment before, it is never too late to start. Unfortunately, there isn’t much information on arena construction in Russian. Seek and ye shall find. Useful and helpful advice, maze design examples and building process description may be found on overseas websites. Google translate is there to help you.
If you have nowhere to rush, think out the arena plan, have the place refurbished, stock up on materials for labyrinth construction (plasterboard, plywood, plastic – there is a lot to choose from), employ an assistant and a creative designer – and do it.
The advantages: the outcome will be your sole responsibility. You can find materials at lower price, set up a proper high quality labyrinth, and create a personalized design.
The disadvantages: you can hardly save up a lot of money. Materials are expensive nowadays, time is even of higher value. It is one thing if you have a separate place for laser tag and there is no need to rush. It is another thing if you are starting the enterprise in a shopping centre, where dead time will be very costly. Besides, if you lack such building experience you will find creating a good quality competitive arena a troublesome task. Yet this option will suit well people who are used to doing everything on their own and don’t fear hardships.
We would like to note, that whichever option you choose, you will have to spend a significant sum of money on it. Don’t let it put you off though. Serious business does not stand rushing and a superficial approach. As the proverb has it: “One shouldn’t compromise on quality, as quality equals economy”.