Crazy idea -- is it stupid?

6 Replies

Hi all,

So I am new here. Love real estate & land. Always browsing just for the heck of it. I want to get into REI but I haven't been sure where to begin. Was considering house hacks but then I got laid maybe not right now.

Anyway, I had a crazy idea that might actually work. Assuming I find some income in the meantime, that is. I currently own a house in Utah. Thanks to the market, this house has a sizable amount of equity in it and I've been here almost 2 years. I know this house is not the long-term place for me. I have a good roommate who I would like to keep.

I'm getting into competitive pistol shooting (USPSA). It's pretty popular here in Utah, along will all other shooting sports. The laws are very friendly to shooters. There is a club in Salt Lake City and near St. George. My idea was to purchase a parcel of land with a house on it in a more rural area -- not middle of nowhere but certainly more rural than here -- and build a shooting range on the property. I would then make it publicly available for a fee and start a Central Utah pistol shooters club. I suspect that such an enterprise could be profitable in the areas I am looking, although I do not know anything about the profitability of a shooting range so it's really a shot in the dark. This all assumes, of course, I do it legally and don't tick off the neighbors. I am thinking of minimum 10 acres.

Anyway, just curious as to what people's thoughts are on this endeavor. Thank you.

I am sometimes of the mindset of go big or go home, in a smart way, aka - do your homework.  (We put 650k into our first investment property but did our research first.)  Obviously there is due diligence in the area to see if your business idea would be viable in the area you select not to mention this type of business being allowable on the property.  When it comes to land, you can definitely find 10 acres for "fairly cheap" (I know that is a relative term) and some with cabins on it already.  What would it take to start it up, what are you out ($$) if it fails, what can you sell it for (the land and\or cabin), etc.  Go to other shooting ranges, start small talk - talk to those that have done it.

Just because something has not been done or isn't currently being done doesn't mean it cannot be done, I say get into your research and see if it makes sense and if it does, go for it!!!!  Everyone has an opinion and most people thought we were crazy with our first investment, so far we are on the right track.

Good Luck!

@Austin B. You will need to check out the local planning/zoning ordinances in the jurisdiction you might be interested in starting your business in and see if that is an allowable use or how it might be regulated etc.

My town has two shooting ranges in it, one a private club and one owned by the police department that other law enforcement departments sometimes use. The privat range has been there 40+ years. The law enforcement range was put in within the past 8-10 years and now the local neighbors, not just the abuttors are complaining about the noise.

The private range people use sporadically. The police range someone uses daily according to the neighbors.

You may have an uphill battle for a shooting range where noise will go on all day long.


I will preface this by saying that I am not into gun sports. I would expect that there is a fairly serious amount of regulation around a gun range and some significant insurance premiums. However, I would think that you could parlay this into some other profit sectors...specially ammo sales. Furthermore, I have a friend that does three gun competitions and there could be a huge upside to repacking bullet casings. I know people do this, but the legality of doing it correctly could be a minefield of regulation.

To give another spin on this, usually land financing is 65% LTV at best. Where are is if you were willing to house hack, you could utilize a low down payment loan for around 97% LTV. The downside is that you would like be unable to count your roommate income to qualify (there are exceptions to this depending on the banks standards.)

I have a ton a respect for your innovation!!!! In my mind it comes down to do you want to set up a business with marketing, membership management, local laws, etc. or building passive income. You are already basically house hacking and still have access to low down payment loans. My probing questions would be: is your money really going further with land and is the juice worth the squeeze setting up a business instead of a room in your house?

I am pretty good with the conventional loan side, so let me know if you have any questions on high LTV stuff. Still love you creativity