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New Firearms Instructor

Discussion in 'Firearms' started by gunbunny, Jun 18, 2015.

  1. gunbunny

    gunbunny Never Trust A Bunny

    It all started a few months ago when I told my wife that she should become an instructor so she could teach her friends how to shoot. The idea was, that a lot of women are afraid of shooting, or intimidated by a male instructor. Basically the same reason there are Curves gyms in almost every strip mall in the US of A.

    At first she refuted my idea, and rather bluntly, too. She is a good shot, and because of her stature and demeanor most people don't even look at her twice- let alone understand all the training and experience she's had in her lifetime. Despite that, for some reason she didn't think about teaching others.

    I was shocked when she told me she signed up and paid for the NRA BIT course. Wow, did she actually listen to me? She went around to people she knew from work and from daily life, and asked them if they would like to take a class to learn how to shoot a pistol. Most of them said yes, they would like to.

    Mrs. Gunbunny recently finished the class and easily earned her Instructor's certification. It turns out that she not only took the ball and ran with it, but knocked over the opposing team while she was at it! Her groups were a little over an inch at fifteen yards, with only three holes for the last ten rounds needed. I wish I had a picture of it, it's a thing of beauty. Especially since she was using an old police trade in gen II Glock 21 in .45acp. Yup, she likes a .45. Go figure.

    Now she is talking about taking the instructor rifle course in a few months from now. I will never tell her training isn't worth it. Although she may not be to the ultimate level of training as some of her coworkers (police pistol instructors), I think she is going to try to fill a niche that they often overlook, and may be a larger market share of shooters.

    While she is waiting for her paperwork to go through, we've been going over some options. Business cards, ways to advertise, to supply the pistols and ammunition or not, what range to use, etc. I've told her she needs to get a smart and snappy paint suit or business dress so she looks professional, but not intimidating. I believe the industry standard of 5.11 paints and a polo shirt may look too... tactical?

    Remember, her target market is women who may find tactical type people too serious. She will have to smile and be cute (not too hard for her to do) and let her experience be her credentials.

    The other thing is, if someone is paying to take a class, they not only want instruction, but they don't want to be bored while doing it. She's going to have to learn that instructing a class is not like the captive audience that our children are while cyber-schooling. She's going to have to add some humor and/or interesting life stories to keep people's attention.

    I'm also toying with the idea of using the projector/SIRT laser pistol/hit scoring software that I've been playing around with. Possibly the use of this equipment before using live fire to see how safety oriented the students are, basic sight picture, trigger squeeze, stance, etc.

    Should she start an LLC, and possibly get a small business loan to cover the equipment (pistols, projector, range time, etc). She's not trying to make a ton of money, and this will not be a full time gig; she wants to do it just to do it. Anybody have any advice for us?
    stg58, Mountainman, Motomom34 and 4 others like this.
  2. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    Incorporate before the first class. You and she do not need the personal liability. You MUST have legal advice.
    stg58, Pax Mentis, gunbunny and 5 others like this.
  3. mysterymet

    mysterymet Monkey+++

    Maybe tan pants or nice jeans and a pink polo shirt with her logo on it.
    Motomom34 likes this.
  4. Yard Dart

    Yard Dart Vigilant Monkey..... Moderator Site Supporter++

    Your wife is a champ, congrats to her... well done for chasing a goal she wanted and succeeding, it is an awesome thing to achieve.
    IMO, try and bootstrap the business yourself if that is workable. I am not a big fan of starting a business with debt such as a start up loan. Use the initial proceeds from clients to pick up additional cost items that you deem important to the growth of the company and add the fancy tools after you have a nice start with promising opportunities.... I wish you great luck with this new endeavor!!!

    I agree with Ghrit 100%....handle the legal side first and foremost to protect your liability, by setting up the business properly.
    gunbunny, kellory and Ganado like this.
  5. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

    Yes you need an LLC to protect your assets. Also waiver forms.

    The SBA... small business association.... has alot of free resources and retired executives who help people start small businesses.

    Clothing... jeans khakis and a bright Polo shirt are fine.

    Suggestion: press release once you have business set up. A well written press release is gold and it's free. If you want more info on this and how to write it pm me. And the SBA can help with this.

    Do radio interviews and Internet radio interviews play up the female instructor angle. Women instructor for women. Make a list of things that are different for women and have talking points for each. Things like how women's bodies are different (women need to be able to freely talk body parts and how to adjust for them.) Talk about willingness to follow thru when you shoot. Many women flinch or get squeemis. Basically mental difference between men and women.

    Business cards yes but other printed material I personally wouldn't spend alot of money on.

    Here is why. I did a study with a couple of clients and we found they got better responses to cheap printed material that is xeroxed than professionally done material. Turns out most individuals like to do business with a small local startup rather than a big corporation. If you were marketing to large corporations then this strategy wouldn't work but for a word of mouth business this low tech strategy is better.

    Hope that's not too many suggestions
  6. Yard Dart

    Yard Dart Vigilant Monkey..... Moderator Site Supporter++

    We have a local range with female instructors..... the gals get a kick out of the FB page showing them learning.... marketing at the human level vs big glossy stuff, like Ganado suggested.
    Ganado likes this.
  7. Dont

    Dont Just another old gray Jarhead Monkey Site Supporter

    Congradulations to Mrs's GunBunny!! Your pride for her really shows...
  8. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    You might also check on grants available for new business startups.
  9. gunbunny

    gunbunny Never Trust A Bunny

    Thank you all, we've a lot to discuss in the coming week. I will be talking to a good friend of mine, as he has an LLC set up for his property and rental business, on the ins and outs of incorporating. I dredged up some info on SBA startups and grants and sent it to her via email for her to read when she has the time.

    Everything is just ideas right now- she is just starting to recognize the opportunities around her.
  10. Airtime

    Airtime Monkey+++ Site Supporter

    There is no reason for going in debt for this kind of business with so little capital actually required to start up. Surely you have a couple thousand for gear, cards, some ads, clothing, etc. to get going and see if indeed she likes it, that she gets better at it and the customers respond well. If early indications are good, just work real hard and plow everything back into the business to add the laser toys, loaner firearms, etc. But once you get in debt, fun tends to drop as you now have a monthly payment hanging over your heads. If she wants a vacation it's much harder to get away as you must make the payment. And going debt free, if something interrupts the businesses or classes like a significant illness or injury, for several months, you don't loose a car, house, whatever.

    Ganado and kellory like this.
  11. Pax Mentis

    Pax Mentis Philosopher King Site Supporter

    Liking this wasn't enough...I felt the need to post it again...
    BTPost likes this.
  12. Tevin

    Tevin Monkey+

    I am going to break my normal silence and comment....

    I think you're doing this backwards. Her paperwork is not even through the mill yet and you're already contemplating a big splash. Before you go buy all this equipment and business cards and hire lawyers and insurance underwriters...

    ....you should do some market research and figure out if there is anyone who wants to buy what she is selling. Maybe the reason why there isn't the gun equivalent of a Curves Gym in every strip mall is because there is no demand.

    Or maybe there is a demand but it's already already being met by others. Nobody opens a McDonald's in a town that already has a dozen of them. Being a good shot and having a few girlfriends who are interested in guns is not a good enough justification to get wrapped up in a business venture.

    Answer the questions: How do I know there is an under-served market? What do I offer that my competitors don't? Is there a large enough client base to support my business model? The answers should be supported by quantifiable facts, not anecdotal evidence or subjective guessing.

    Second, I would have her contact established training providers in the area and see if they will take her on and have her teach a few classes with a more seasoned instructor. I have a buddy who runs a firearms training school. He's been in business over ten years. When he hires a new instructor, he has them work with someone who is already established for a while. Most of these new guys are cops or military and already have a lot of tactical experience but have never taught their skills to others.

    There is no way he would take someone who just got certified and turn them loose going solo, She could get some experience and build up her credibility, and also get some insight as to what it really takes to run the operation. She may also discover that it's not as much fun as she thought...that's worth knowing too.

    Personally, and this is not intended to be a slight on your wife, but I would never take a training class taught by someone who just got their certification a few months ago and has no meaningful experience. For what these classes cost, I expect the person teaching it to be more than just book smart.
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2015
    Legion489, Ganado and Mountainman like this.
  13. Witch Doctor 01

    Witch Doctor 01 Mojo Maker

    consider a subchapter "S" corporation... and give the stockholders dividends instead of a salary... tax rates will be significantly lower.... Congrats...
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