So being the tightwad that I am, I started looking at my options. First I needed friends to play with me, so I started looking on Ebay for a good deal.
I wanted a marker that was reliable, and easy to modify, but most of all durable, and wouldn't need weekly or monthly work to keep it going...
So since the most popular marker was a Tippmann, and the 98 was super easy to find. I started looking on Ebay as craigslist wasn't popular then. And may times, people can't spell, so searching under "tipman", "Tipmann" or "Tippman" can find you listings that others will not find unless they type in poor spellings.
Look for "lots" instead of just markers, as you usually get the other stuff for practically free.
My first gear setup I purchased had 5 tanks (2 20's, 2 9's and a 12 ounce tank) two masks, an extra barrel and a 98 custom. Since they titled the ebay listing "tipman 98" only, it had little activity, and no reserve. I picked it up for $60 including shipping! I sniped it for $45 if you know what that is.
Then I cleaned it up, aired up the tanks that were still in hydro, and gave it to my father in law for Christmas.
One down, but we needed at least 8 players to play. So I started asking around, I told my brother in law about the deal I found so he asked me to find one for him too. So he got an older 98 custom (silver) with two barrels, three tanks, and a scotts mask for $70 shipped. (again, they spelled it wrong "tipmann custom".)
Then I started looking, first I got a 98 (not a custom) for $35... But, it was worn out, so I replaced the worn parts and sold it for $70. My cost $42! made a profit, Woot! Then I started looking for a A-5 as I saw one at the store and liked the way they felt in my hand, more of a "real" gun feel then the 98. I ended up getting one again on ebay, from a pawn shop who labeled it wrong, and purchased it with a mask, three 20 ounce tanks, and the gun looked brand new for $140 shipped. I had some leftover camo tape, and camo leaves, so I spent some time with an exacto knife, and presto, a custom looking A-5 with camo. Fast forward to today, I am still using that same marker. I've replaced the ratchet a few times, and put in some cyclone parts, and new silicone o-rings a few times, but it still is super reliable, and VERY accurate.
Then we set up our first game and got a bunch of friends involved. I purchased a Chrono off ebay (handheld) for $45. And we bought paint as cheap as we could. (Quickly realizing cheap paint is a BAD idea...)
We play in the woods behind my house, and we have events every month in the fall/winter/spring, our total cost per game depends on how much paint we shoot. But, I don't charge for my field, I chrono every gun every time we play (280 or less) and over the years I have picked up even better deals on craigslist, and from sponsors. Today we have 6 guns/masks that I lend out to new players to try out the games, and we average around 30 per game. I also buy water and cookies for each game, which I give to the players while we play. And I set these guns up so they shoot like mine... Nothing worse than a sorry rental gun that works poorly! I even have Apex barrels on them all, so even the newbies can experience long distance shots!
It has been super fun times.
Well, I've been thinking, my biggest cost to play is paint, how can I get my paint for free? Then I realized... Aluminum prices are outrageous right now, and I drink a few cans of pop a day... What if I saved them and crushed them and put them in boxes, then when it was time to buy paint. I would just watch the prices of Aluminum and take them when prices were high. I saved my cans for two months and I took them to the recycler (two boxes) and it was $20! Then I started asking around at my office. And in ONE week, I got enough cans to fill a box just from the guys at work who drink a lot more pop than I do. I just recently got a large 55 gallon drum can crusher that I will install at my work... More free aluminum, which = more free paint!
Bingo, I now have 4 full boxes ready to go to the scrap yard. That will buy a case of my favorite paint, (Xball scenario woodsball from Dick's for $39.99) Plus I have a $10 off $50 coupon (managers will give you these often if you ask). So two cases of paint will cost $79.98 - $10 = $69.98 plus tax = $75. Or if you plan it right, you can wait until between Thanksgiving and Christmas when paint goes on sale and get it for $34.99 a case... 2 cases = $59.98 plus tax or around $64. That is only $32 a case, or around 4 boxes of crushed cans per box of paint, if you want to go the "free" route. Learning to shoot less is also helpful in playing "cheap". Learn to aim, and not waste paint on shots that you won't make. Don't shoot first and watch that ball and then adjust your aim, learn to aim and HIT with that first shot. Learn to buy paint that is VERY round and not dimpled or stored poorly. Keep your paint in a climate controlled area laying on a towel and turn the bags every few weeks. I have paint last easily a year by doing this process with NO loss of accuracy or change in brittleness. I ask an employee for tape as I open every box before I buy paint to make sure each bag is good, and then seal them back up so I don't leave a mess.
But, you "need" upgrades... AMIRITE?...
Well, most upgrades can be found on ebay for cheap, many times players buy upgrades and for whatever reason don't like them so they sell them "used" although they might have only been used once! I got my first Apex barrel for my A-5 right after they first came out, USED on ebay (guy hated it, it looked brand new when I got it and was still in the box...) I paid $25 shipped...
I purchased a big bag of paintball gear (labled "bag of paintball stuff") for $12 (plus $5 shipping) and when I opened it up, it had a bunch of paint still in the bag, (good for target shooting) and a Core red dot scope WITH mounting bracket for my A-5, a paintball land mine, two real gun scopes, and a bunch of other paintball tools, oils, and other stuff.
I have VERY little cost when I play, and because we play at my field we play when we want, and we set the rules. I have personally gotten over 100 of my friends into the sport since I started, and it is an awesome time to hang out with friends in the woods.
Now another way to get income is to make youtube video's that are interesting and will attract eyeballs to your video"product". Think of things that other players are looking for on youtube. If you get enough hits on your video's, google ad sense will invite you to become a member.
GOOGLE ADSENSE SCAMMED ME OUT OF OVER $100! Don't use them if you are a small provider, as they will advertise on your work for years and then when it is time for them to PAY YOU they will cancel your account, and you will get NOTHING! They did it to me, and they have done it to thousands of small youtube content providers! See page 4 for more details.
At first they will only pick your video's that have lots of views. (Of course the video has to be YOURS, no music stolen or used illegally, no pictures or logos without permission, ect, this has to be legit). The more videos you make that have good viewership, the more likely they will make you a "real" account where you can put ads on ALL of your stuff. The way you make money is if your ad in your video (or on the side of your youtube page) is clicked, you get a few cents... So the more video's you have, the more ads out there. And if you are good at this, you will get picked up by companies that are IN your videos and then guys will click the ads to buy what you are showing in your video. Then you start really making money, as a click to a sale on their site may be much more. Within a year or two it is pretty easy to average around $5 or more a month from your youtube ads. If you have a video go viral... You could make some serious bank from this revenue stream. But, they only pay at $100 increments, so it takes a while to get to that level. But, this is a springboard of options. If you have the most watched video for a certain topic in paintball, sponsors will also get interested in you because they want people making video's that help THEIR product sell. And sponsorships run a HUGE gamut of opportunity. All too often players think, well, I have to play tournament ball and be a top player to be "sponsored"...
Um, no, no you don't. I have played at a public field ONCE since I started playing, and I have sponsors. I don't have a "team", just me, my field a video camera, and youtube account.
If a company is flowing you gear, for a discounted price... That is a sponsorship. If a company is flowing you gear for free... That too is a sponsorship (but clearly better than the first example). If a company is paying you and flowing you gear, that is also a sponsorship (more of a "pro" level sponsorship). But, each is possible, and just like anything else, everyone starts at the bottom. Now to have sponsorships, you need to remember a few "rules" that are unspoken.
First, NEVER badmouth that product or company in public. They are helping you out, if you have a problem, take it up with them directly. The fastest way to ensure you will never be sponsored again is to bad mouth your sponsor. I personally only look for sponsors for products I already use... As I KNOW I love that product.
Second, Do your best to SELL that product you are sponsored for, because THAT is the goal. If someone asks you how you shot them from so far away, show them how your Apex barrel works, and why you use less paint and have better accuracy than they do... Let them TRY your marker and see for themselves the difference. Every time you help your sponsor sell a new product, two things happen, the sport is helped by more revenue and a GOOD product is put on the field.
Third, Back up that company, when possible, within reason. If you see someone badmouthing a product you love, find out why, and see if you can help. I have put players who were badmouthing one of my sponsors in contact with a guy way high in that company to get results quickly because they had badmouthed that company in every paintball forum in a span of two days. This player got their used product warrantied, and fixed quickly, and changed their tune about my sponsor, and maybe my sponsor wouldn't have seen those threads and realized the damage that they could have caused if left unchecked...
Fourth, Image is everything, if you are the type of person who rants and cusses and has a bad attitude, and lets it show in public... You probably will never get sponsored for anything. People want GOOD representatives for their product or services, not someone who is a lighting rod of nerves who will cuss out anyone they meet if they offend them in some way. Think about it, look at the biggest sponsored names in all of sports, and what types of things affect their sponsored status... yeah, controversy is usually bad. Sponsors just want to grow their business and sell more of their products. Not get into a big situation because one of their players had a bad day and let everyone know it...
Anyway, these are all things that I have learned and am now passing on to you in case they can help in your future paintball (or other sports) play.
Most of all, Have Fun, because at the end of the day, THAT is what really matters.
Edited by FreeEnterprise, 07 March 2012 - 07:44 AM.