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Thread: Keeping tracks open

  1. #46
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Everett, Wa.
    Posts
    520
    What do the UK, Aus & NZ people do? They exist via club format which has to pencil out on paper like a business also, different threshold's, same model. Hillbilly is like a track in Aus. heading/transitioning to a "profit bearing" format. Hell I was in the Eurosport/MTT club in Lynnwood Wa. (track now for sale) and didn't even race yet I was willing to pay 6 months dues up front. Unfortunately its a gonner now.
    Guy Middleton
    Everything I was taught in Engineering school I had already learned from slot cars....

  2. #47
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Manchester GA
    Posts
    21
    At the local track here we have a membership deal where you buy in get a card and you only pay 10.00 bucks for all day track time. It works great for me this way i dont have to keep asking them to turn on the track so i can test a car are if i want to run with some guys i can just get up and take a lane.
    But the one thing i see a lot of times is when someone new walks in the front door the first thing that happens is the owner start trying to sell them a 100.00 dollar set up. If it was me i would give them a car and controller and show them how to get started. Let's not try to get that dollar in the first 10 mins let's work for it, Got to give a little to get. And most of the ppl just walk out the door and never get the chance to even run on the track. I think if they would give them 15 mins of track time and a rental car set up to run for free the ppl might see how much fun it is and come back and buy a starter kit. I mean what is it going to cost the track owner a little power for the track and a little wear on a rental car I think that is worth the time to get a new guy in to the hobbie. You just never know that one guy might come back next weekend and spend 200.00 bucks at the track getting started in slot racing. I know it is hard to make a living running a slot track you got to go out of your way to keep everyone happy and that is hard to do.

  3. #48
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Montreal, Canada
    Posts
    305
    One aspect of the club I like is that you can a a small footprint store, with say a Ninco 4 lane in it to wet a customers appetite and then have an industrial (i.e. low sq ft cost) location for your routed track and run it as a club. The two locations can't be too far apart (couple of miles?), and the store could have a monitor looping a short video of the track running... It's a different business model but one that may bypass the high retail sq ft cost.
    Phil Matthews

  4. #49
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    NH.
    Posts
    1,289
    Quote Originally Posted by Monty@B.O.W. View Post
    There are no bargains to be had online !! Racers are usually looking for items that the local shop doesn't stock. Unfortunately, as long as they're on the website, they may buy the braid and stickers too.

    The key to competing with the online or mail order vendors is to stock greater variety. Many racers and/or hobbyists want to try every tire, chassis, or body they can find, and enjoy putting together their own 'super combo'. The advantage YOU have is its already under their noses, no waiting on the mail or UPS. Is it expensive to have a large inventory? Yes, but it is made up in better sales. Parts, once acquired, must be tested, so track rentals improve too.

    Make it easy for your customers. Constantly offer to do special orders. Ask the more experienced ones if they think you're missing something. You may be well aware that 4 different brands of bearings are essentially identical, but stock 2 of each instead of 8 of one. Tires, leadwire, axles, and even braid follow the same logic. If your hotshots start to favor certain brands, just stock those more heavily.

    Believe me, all this strategy works. Been there, done that. Kept a raceway for 7 years in the late 70's - there weren't even decent RTRs available in those days. Managed raceways throughout the 90's - so much more stuff to sell, more classes to race. It was all good. Now, add vintage racing, good flatrack growth, less competition from RC or full scale racing ('cause those all cost too much), and good deals on storefront property, and a raceway sounds very tempting IF you put some personal energy into it.

    Closing point: all the online and mail order sites are open and operating raceways as well. Many have been open for a long time. Go online yourself - the business model works.
    Good points Monty!
    I'm so tired of hearing buy on line, race on line. People seem to quickly forget that 99% of online sales DO come from raceways !! Online sales are a HUGE part of successful raceways.
    Just look at some of the more popular raceways. I wont get into mentioning names, as there are quite a few. My point is,, all these raceways have online sales. These raceways are smart to corner one of the biggest markets out there. Think about it, If you offer online sales chances are you also stock a good inventory of parts meaning your regular racers as well as walk in's have pretty much anything they need sitting right there. Its a win/win ! On top of that, you have the added income of your online sales.
    I feel any raceway not offering online sales is losing out on added income to subsidize their overhead.
    Last edited by trickyvic3; 12-11-2010 at 11:53 AM.
    Keep your finger on the trigger ,and your eye on the slot

  5. #50
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    621
    If you feel that buying online is good for this hobby then how would you feel if the hobbyist racer bought directly from the OEM?
    I bet you wouldn’t like that one bit would you?

    What good for my wallet is good for you attitude will shut this hobby down so quickly you'll be playing with yourself in your basement with all those online parts you tried to sell before the small track owner or new track owner could get his local clientele organized and coming back to enjoy the hobby.

    Try looking past your bank account and into the future before you suck it dry.
    Try supporting it before you condemn it.

  6. #51
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    NH.
    Posts
    1,289
    Quote Originally Posted by EdC View Post
    If you feel that buying online is good for this hobby then how would you feel if the hobbyist racer bought directly from the OEM?
    I bet you wouldn’t like that one bit would you?

    What good for my wallet is good for you attitude will shut this hobby down so quickly you'll be playing with yourself in your basement with all those online parts you tried to sell before the small track owner or new track owner could get his local clientele organized and coming back to enjoy the hobby.

    Try looking past your bank account and into the future before you suck it dry.
    Try supporting it before you condemn it.
    Huh???
    What the heck has this got to do with what we're talking about? You have the wrong thread. We are talking about how a new raceway can learn from some proven facts.
    Internet sales are here to stay. Get over it !! Nobodys talking anything about direct sales here. We are talking about commercial raceways selling via internet, to bring in the extra income needed to stay a float.
    Keep your finger on the trigger ,and your eye on the slot

  7. #52
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    621
    Huh?? And where are the internet buyers going to use the products they've bought online? Huh??? maybe at another track?
    Stop burying your head in the sand and be honest for about two seconds and admit those internet buyers are in another area and race at another track and not yours.

  8. #53
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    NH.
    Posts
    1,289
    Quote Originally Posted by EdC View Post
    Huh?? And where are the internet buyers going to use the products they've bought online? Huh??? maybe at another track?
    Stop burying your head in the sand and be honest for about two seconds and admit those internet buyers are in another area and race at another track and not yours.
    Your forgetting a number of facts. First off, it's mostly the commercial raceways that are selling online.Second, not everyone has a raceway 5mins down the road. Would you rather them buy from a commercial raceway where the hobby benefits , or buy out of some guys car trunk in the parking lot of the raceway?
    And again,, this is not what this thread is about. The guy is asking whats the best way to make money with a raceway, and still try to keep the overhead down.
    The answer to that is sales ! plain and simple .

    As I said above, many of the bigger raceways across the country have internet sales. What does this tell you??
    Keep your finger on the trigger ,and your eye on the slot

  9. #54
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    NorthWesterner now in Philippines
    Posts
    9,648
    Here we go again.... off-topic thread drift...

    I lost count at how many times I have attempted to get this thread back on the original topic....

    POSITIVE SUGGESTIONS on "Keeping tracks open" - that was the title of the thread.

    Vic mentioned online sales as one of the methods of generating additional revenue that helps keep many raceways open. PERIOD

    This is not the thread to debate online sales versus support your local raceway... there are PLENTY of other threads with that discussion.

    As has been mentioned numerous times... there are MANY club and home tracks that DO NOT have a local raceway to buy from locally. I know of several examples in WA state, and a bunch of very active 1/24 club tracks all over the state of Oregon. There is one commercial raceway in Oregon now... but it is out on the coast nowhere near any of the club tracks.

    These are some examples close to home that I personally know of:

    S.C.R.A.M. (no web site yet? - pics on page 1 of this thread)
    http://www.capehornspeedway.com/
    http://bryanboysracing.com/
    http://pssra.net/ (1/32 tracks... 2 of them routed, several plastic)
    http://oregonmodelracing.com/
    http://www.oscrsite.com/ OSCAR races on several tracks throughout OR:
    http://www.oscrsite.com/tomsworld.htm
    http://www.oscrsite.com/checkeredflag.htm
    http://www.oscrsite.com/rapidraceway.htm
    http://www.oscrsite.com/heidelberg.htm
    http://www.oscrsite.com/sparetime.htm
    http://www.oscrsite.com/slingshot.htm
    http://www.naste.org/
    http://slotcars.saagervision.com/ (routed track - 1/32)
    http://www.beavertonslotcarclub.com/ (1/32 club)
    http://pelicanparkspeedway.com/

    This is just a quick list from my bookmarks of club track tracks in WA & OR... most do not have a local raceway to buy from.
    I know there are tons of club tracks in other states as well!

    So... there are always exceptions and examples... and pros and cons... but again... this is NOT thread to debate this issue.

    Back to the topic...

    any more positive suggestions for helping keep raceways open???
    Last edited by oldweirdherald; 12-11-2010 at 12:57 PM.
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    Paul Kassens
    OWH Slot Car Talk "Mom"
    The Old Weird Herald
    email: paulk@oldweirdherald.com

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

  10. #55
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    ohio
    Posts
    942

    Has anyone given thought to the fact

    that maybe now a days tracks will not survive longer than the 18 month cycle ? Maybe owners get the bug, reap the benefits if there are any and move on. The next guy with the bug can invest in those tracks, race with his buds and move on.
    " A little less whining and a little more driving should cure the problem "
    Ronald R. Van Wagnen

  11. #56
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Plainfield, Southwest Suburb of Chicago
    Posts
    74
    AZ, if I were in your situation, and I often think about doing it, I would listen to Monty. With your marketing plan, I am afraid we will not see you posting as a track owner a year from now, and no body wants that. And it is not about selling what the customers are asking for. There is a famous quote in the Marketing/Sales industry: " If we sell what customers ask for, we'ed all go out of business". The track and it's products/services needs to be promoted. I heve been in sales for more than 35 years. I quickly found out that most of the time the customer doesn't really know what they need. They THINK they know, but once I have made my presentation, they realize they did not know.

    Another famous saying: "The owner of a business will step over a dollar to pick up a nickel". The nickel represents the money he should have spent, like promotion or products, to build his business. But because he did not spend the nickel (meaning he picks it up) he never makes the dollar. If i had a nickel for everytime I have seen this, I would be a very wealthy person.

    I have never seen a newspaper advertisement for a slot track. I have never recieved, from a slot track, a flyer hung on my front door. I have never seen a billboard advertising a slot track. I have never seen the back of a little league baseball players shirt with a slot track advertised on it. If anyone thinks that word of mouth is going to keep the doors open, 95% of the time that will not work.

    As Monty has suggested, I have never seen a new slot car part sell for less then full retail price from a slot track or distributor. Close outs on ebay, maybe, or someone getting out of the hobby, maybe.

    I have purchased parts online, but only for "1" reason, my local tracks do not have the part.

    Regardless of which marketing strategy you adopt, I, and I am sure everyone else on this blog wishes you the best and all the success you can handle.
    Racing for the Racers, by the Racers!!!
    USRA Member #806

  12. #57
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    78
    Here is a suggestion that will probably bring some flames my way.

    Select one night a week, or one weekend a month, and have it be "Free Track Night", or no track rental for the day. Have each person limit their on-track time to 10 minutes at a time. Most people wont run for more than 10 minutes anyway before the car needs work, or they need a break.

    You need people in your store to make money. If they show up, you will sell plenty of parts, and snacks. I know if I had free time on the track, I would be there all day. Buying tires, braid, and bodies too. I would also take the time to practice on the gutter lanes to become a better racer, not just try to run the quick lap on Orange.

    A store full of racers running on your track also draws interest from anyone else that comes in, and maybe will convince them to join in. If they come in and the place is empty, it doesn't do a whole lot to pique their interest.

    Just a thought........
    Last edited by FC363; 12-11-2010 at 04:18 PM. Reason: spelling
    You can't polish a turd, but you can sprinkle some glitter on it!

  13. #58
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    NH.
    Posts
    1,289
    Quote Originally Posted by FC363 View Post
    Here is a suggestion that will probably bring some flames my way.

    Select one night a week, or one weekend a month, and have it be "Free Track Night", or no track rental for the day. Have each person limit their on-track time to 10 minutes at a time. Most people wont run for more than 10 minutes anyway before the car needs work, or they need a break.

    You need people in your store to make money. If they show up, you will sell plenty of parts, and snacks. I know if I had free time on the track, I would be there all day. Buying tires, braid, and bodies too. I would also take the time to practice on the gutter lanes to become a better racer, not just try to run the quick lap on Orange.

    A store full of racers running on your track also draws in terest from anyone else that comes in, and maybe will convince them to join in. If they come in and the place is empty, it doesn't do a whole lot to pique their interest.

    Just a thought........
    Not a bad idea Steve,
    I think there are a few track owners on here that all ready apply this method in one form or another.

    I can think of 2 things I would want to do, if thinking about opening a raceway.
    First one would be to talk with a successful raceway owner. You'd be surprised at how willing to help they would be. Talk with someone like Mike Swiss who knows all the in's and out's. Mike is a great guy, and I'm sure would be more than happy to point you in the right direction.

    The second thing I would do, is Paul's idea of having food on hand. Not just chips and soda, but hot food of some sort for the racers. This would help to keep people in your raceway as well as earn a little extra income for the place.

    Vic
    Keep your finger on the trigger ,and your eye on the slot

  14. #59
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Montreal, Canada
    Posts
    305
    How about diversifying a bit and also sell some RC cars (a hobby line like Traxxas) and helis (pick a brand like e-flight). Sure it means more counter and wall space for the other categories, but it gets different hobbyists through the door. Add on FC363's correct notion that people on the slot track draw attention and you can get more racers!

    Works for my local track, and I couldn't image a business model without it ;-)
    Phil Matthews

  15. #60
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Missouri
    Posts
    13
    Excellent suggestion Phil. I can't imagine why a track owner would limit himself to slots only....at least a basic selection of items from other hobbies. I know several slot racers who are also into model trains, R/C cars and planes and so on.
    Whatever draws customers, generates shop traffic and sales.....
    I also believe generating a local, friendly competition between various business and service organizations would be positive for the business
    Last edited by Backagain; 12-12-2010 at 04:54 AM.

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