Special Ops Paintball: FPO vs BYOP - Special Ops Paintball

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FPO vs BYOP Ever thought about it? Rate Topic: -----

#1 User is offline   D Monster 

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 10:06 PM

First let me say I am not trying to flame or troll here...I just want to ask this question to folks outside my local group.

I am in a discussion with a new field owner about FPO vs BYOP practices.

Disclaimer: While I am an experienced player, I am not a professional. Nor am I a Field Operator or Owner.
I am not sponsored by, nor do I have any ties to any Paintball Field operation.


I dislike FPO. A lot. It has always bothered me. I understand that a lot of fields do it to insure they make money, and I am not against field owners/operators making money. FPO definitely helps their profit margins, but to me it has always seemed dishonest.
Let me try and explain that.
I go to a Field to play...There is a Gate or Entry Fee.
This is what it will cost me to use their field, to help cover the cost of building, maintaining the field. Staffing it, insuring it, keeping the lights on and the toilets flushing. That should reflect how elaborate the field is to me. If it is a cow pasture on your uncle's back 40... an Entry Fee of 10-15 dollars makes sense.
If it is 14 acres of awesome, with tons of purpose built structures, and there are plenty of Refs...40-50 (maybe even more) dollars makes sense.
But here is where the FPO issue comes up...a lot of Fields REQUIRE me to use their paint. Paint that is at a premium price.
To me this is , as I said previously, dishonest.
I am basically paying a second Entry Fee...and possibly a Fee to continue playing.
Does that make sense? I pay to get access to your field...to have the right to come play on your land, but then you charge me again to play the game.
If that income(from me buying your paint) is what you need to do to cover your cost...to break even or make a profit off me playing on your field...charge me that at the gate. Don't tell me it cost $15 to play on your field, then require me to buy a $80 case of paint. See...it smacks of bait and switch to me.
Now, before anyone starts blasting me in the comments that this is "just how it is" or that "Fields need to make their money"...I GET THAT...I do.
I want Fields to make money...then there are Fields to play on. I want them to make a lot of money, so that hopefully they can reinvest it into making the Field even more awesome.
My issues is that FPO seems underhanded to me.
Let me try this another way...

I started playing with rental gear way back in the day (back when rental gear was Splatmasters), it did the job of getting me hooked on Paintball. I went out and spent a fair amount of coin getting my own gear, in fact like most of you I have done this several times. I have spent the last couple of years tuning my current gear to better fit the way I play...to enhance my fun. Then I go to a field that says I have to use THEIR gear.
Maybe not EXACTLY the same...but to me it kinda is.
I use a Tippmann A-5 marker with a Flatline barrel. The A-5 has never been a 'gentle' marker. It slams the hell out of paint when it fires. And the Flatline barrel is rough on paint, putting it under a lot of stress. This means I can't use a lot of paints without tons of chop. Especially Tourney grade paint, that has a thin shell. I need to use paint with a thicker shell in order to get consistent results. Something like DXS Frostbite, or even Monsterballs from Wal-mart. I know this after months of making paint soup with other balls. So than I go to a FPO field...and guess what? I can't get a thick shell paint...so basically I can't play with my marker set up. Or I can get it, but it will cost me 50% more that retail...so I play 50% less games. Which means I have 50% less fun...which means there is a 90% chance I am not going to go to that Field again.
Now I could just accept this, and either pony up the extra cash, or find a marker set up that works with all paint, or just quit my bitching. But that is the issue here....I have an option.
There are fields that let me use the paint I have found works best with my particular set-up. These fields allow me to bring my own gear. My own mask, marker and paint. They may not be as fancy, or have flushing toilets. They may not be as close to me, meaning a 45 min longer drive. But I get to play more, and play the way I want to play. They tell me how much it cost to use their fields...and that is how much it costs. Not that much plus $X for paint before I can play.
Let me show you some differences.

Because it has an impact on planning, here is an overview of my current gear.
I use a A-5 with Flatline barrel, 3000 lbs HPA, and a basic loadout of 750 balls(Plus my hopper). On a good day of play, I will use a case of paint.
Field A:
Entry Fee: $30 and includes all day air fills.
Paint prices: Range from $50 to $70 for full cases in varied grades.
FPO/BYOP?: BYOP
Distance and Drivetime: ~50 miles and 1.25 hours
Cost for a day of play for me( Entry and a case of Paint): $80 if I use their paint, $30 if I BYOP (not factoring buying paint elsewhere into field cost any more than my marker is..)




Field B
Entry Fee: $18 and includes all day air fills.
Paint prices: Only one paint..cost is $90 per case
FPO/BYOP?: FPO
Distance and Drivetime: ~70 miles and 1.5 hours
Cost for a day of play for me( Entry and a case of Paint): $108, no option.

Let's say that travel time is moot.
Now take that cost times 2...my Wife also plays.
Field A: $60-160
Field B: $216
Where would you go?


Granted, the FPO field has a more elaborate field set up with more structures.
But is having a fancier field worth less play and more money?



To me...No.
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#2 User is offline   Zz Loth zZ 

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 10:40 PM

I disagree; I think that it makes sense to put part of the price to play in the paint, because technically the more paint someone shoots the more money it will cost to clean up after that player. Also many fields are FPO due to their insurance.

Now for your argument about your a-5. Seriously if you are going to play, and you know that the paint that you will be playing with can't handle your flatline, then why don't you just put on a regular barrel? I know for one that I am normally not very happy about being shot with monsterballs, they are seriously garbage paint, and they run new players away from the sport. If you prefer to be shot with monsterballs, and you know a field that doesn't care, and is BYOP then by all means take your paint and have fun. I am not saying that I don't think that BYOP shouldn't be allowed anywhere, I am just saying that I understand why the majority of fields do not allow it.

The field that I go to is FPO and I am very happy about that. When I go to my field to play I know for a fact what I am going to be shot with. There is a $15 field fee, and then it is $40 for a case of paint, although if you have a membership the field fee is waived.

Basically though, if you have a good field that is BYOP and that's where you really enjoy playing, then congratulations. Personally I prefer to spend a little more, and play at a safe, clean, FPO field (where I know I am not going to be shot in the back of the head by a monsterball).

I hope this doesn't sound inflammatory or anything, because that's not how I meant it. I just disagree, that's all. :)
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#3 User is offline   d4rkmonkey 

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 10:45 PM

I didn't read the entire thing, but heres my opinions in the subject in general.

I work at a field, and play in a league that requires you to shoot their overpriced paint (though at the top division it is byop).

FPO is not there to ensure the field's profits. Its there to ensure the fields SURVIVAL. Without it, fields, especially indoor fields, could not stay open. They need to pay the employees, keep food on their own table, pay their rent, electricity, water, if they're indoor pay air conditioning/heating, Your $10 entrance fee does not exactly cover all of that.

At the same time, the field i work at has 2 BYOP days a week (sunday, wednesday), and make absolutely no effort to hide it. Everyone is welcome to come on those days and pay a slightly higher entrance fee and bring their own paint.

As a player, I only play on BYOP days, simply because its not smart for me to play any other day, why waste my money? Most of the time when I play its just practicing with my team, because sponsors make it much cheaper then playing on any other day.

While a FPO rule isn't the most cost effective thing to customers, its required to keep the business from dying. It is a free market, and is your choice on which field to go to, along with what days to go to the field (to maybe get their BYOP special). If you ask the majority of fields to cut out their FPO rule, you might as well ask them to offer free rentals, give out paint for lower then cost price, why not give a 90% discount to all items at the proshop too? Some fields may be able to afford BYOP at all times, but i can assure you that most (atleast up here) cannot.


As for the whole, entrance being bait to make you pay for paint... You should realize that extra paint will be a cost, especially since you are a player, not just some random renter. And If you are some random renter, and know nothing about the nature of the game? Then you should call the field a head of time to get all the information you'll need to be prepared.

This post has been edited by d4rkmonkey: 08 January 2011 - 10:50 PM

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#4 User is offline   D Monster 

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 10:52 PM

Good to hear a another option.

I am curious as to a couple of your points please, I ask to learn.

You say some fields are FPO for insurance reasons...how does the paint used effect insurance rates?
Unless I am wrong, all paint is made and held to a basic safety standard, specifically ASTM F1979 - 10, just as all markers are made/held to ASTM F2272 - 10.
While we can all agree that not all paint is the same when it comes to performance and personal preference, is there paint that is held to a higher standard than the listed ATSM rating?

As to why I don't just change barrels...I like my Flatline. Not for any added range, but because of the way I SHOOT WITH IT. Maybe it is totally in my head...meh.
But it is MY gear...the gear I choose and paid for. Forcing me to use/not use gear is like....well...outlawing a Spiders because you don't like them.
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#5 User is offline   D Monster 

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 11:00 PM

View Postd4rkmonkey, on 08 January 2011 - 11:45 PM, said:

FPO is not there to ensure the field's profits. Its there to ensure the fields SURVIVAL. Without it, fields, especially indoor fields, could not stay open. They need to pay the employees, keep food on their own table, pay their rent, electricity, water, if they're indoor pay air conditioning/heating, Your $10 entrance fee does not exactly cover all of that.
Why not charge what you need at the gate?...what would? 15? 30? I regularly pay $30 plus in admission for my BYOP field and am happy to.


As for the whole, entrance being bait to make you pay for paint... You should realize that extra paint will be a cost, especially since you are a player, not just some random renter. And If you are some random renter, and know nothing about the nature of the game? Then you should call the field a head of time to get all the information you'll need to be prepared.
I know i need Paint...which is my point...I will most likely buy some, if not all of my paint at some point..possible from the field I am playing at. If the argument is that field need more than entry fee to cover cost, wouldn't getting more more at the gate be better than exchanging for a product they have to pay for? To have a low entry fee, then recoupe that loss as you put it on paint seams backwards to me.

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#6 User is offline   Private Silver 

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 11:21 PM

I see what he's saying. Take for example Skirmish. It costs all of 24.95 to get in, but then $100 per case of paint. However, when they buy direct from draxxus, they basically pay by the truckload, at I'm going to say a max of $40 per case from the company. Then they mark it up $60 to make profits.

What he's trying to say (as I interpret it) is that instead of doing that, only charge say $60-75 a case, but bring entry up to maybe say 40$ so that it would even out. They still make their money, and it's not killing the players who go there.
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#7 User is offline   D Monster 

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 11:24 PM

And Silver wins a prize.
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#8 User is offline   d4rkmonkey 

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 11:37 PM

View PostD Monster, on 09 January 2011 - 01:00 AM, said:

View Postd4rkmonkey, on 08 January 2011 - 11:45 PM, said:

FPO is not there to ensure the field's profits. Its there to ensure the fields SURVIVAL. Without it, fields, especially indoor fields, could not stay open. They need to pay the employees, keep food on their own table, pay their rent, electricity, water, if they're indoor pay air conditioning/heating, Your $10 entrance fee does not exactly cover all of that.
Why not charge what you need at the gate?...what would? 15? 30? I regularly pay $30 plus in admission for my BYOP field and am happy to.

Entrance fee is not meant to cover the total cost. When you pay for entrance fee you're paying for use of the field, and part of the conditions of using the field is using the field's paint. $25 is the entrance that my field charges for BYOP, not sure exactly what that covers, I don't own the field, i just ref and clean and whatever else


As for the whole, entrance being bait to make you pay for paint... You should realize that extra paint will be a cost, especially since you are a player, not just some random renter. And If you are some random renter, and know nothing about the nature of the game? Then you should call the field a head of time to get all the information you'll need to be prepared.
I know i need Paint...which is my point...I will most likely buy some, if not all of my paint at some point..possible from the field I am playing at. If the argument is that field need more than entry fee to cover cost, wouldn't getting more more at the gate be better than exchanging for a product they have to pay for? To have a low entry fee, then recoupe that loss as you put it on paint seams backwards to me.

it all depends on who runs the field For example, my field rentals come with a pod of paint already in them. You don't need anything extra to play. Sure paint is the way that fields survive, but you can't force people to buy a certain amount of paint. Different people buy different amounts of paint, so for renters we give them enough to start, and for owners there is a cheaper entrance fee, and how much paint they want to buy is up to them since they likely know how much they are going to go through, and don't need a bit to start off with to get to know how much paint they're going to shoot



If you have a higher entrance and lower paint cost, you're hurting the players who buy less paint, there needs to be a balance. Certain fields may have found it certain fields may not have, its up to the field.
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#9 User is offline   D Monster 

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 11:52 PM


If you have a higher entrance and lower paint cost, you're hurting the players who buy less paint, there needs to be a balance. Certain fields may have found it certain fields may not have, its up to the field.


And by restricting my paint options, and making me pay a premium for it you are either limiting my play or punishing me for playing all day. I am not a rope layer, but I tend use at least a case of paint when I play a full day. And they are forcing my to buy a certain amount of paint...whatever the smallest unit sold is, be it a 140 tube or a 500 bag. If it is FPO...I have to buy at least that much, that is the rest of my entry fee. If your field offers a awesome playing experience...what is that worth? Shouldn't I pay that to get in?
What are you selling me?
A day of play?
or a box of paint?


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#10 User is offline   D Monster 

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 11:54 PM

Please note: I am not trying to be snarky to anyone.
I enjoy batting ideas around...alot of you folks comments are different takes on the idea that I will have to think on.
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#11 User is offline   cdrinkh20 

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Posted 09 January 2011 - 01:52 AM

Example: Look at me, an average pump player. I went to a 5 hour scenario and used 70 paintballs. 70.
I just buy a bag of 500 now because the paint doesn't keep long enough!! :P

On the insurance note, have you seen some of the videos of monster balls?? You can STEP on them and not break any in a bag. Have you seen the absolute GOOSE EGGS that result from being knocked in the head by roc...er, monster balls? I haven't personally experienced them, but ouch.

I do agree though, the markup on paint is outrageous. My field has us pay $80 for medium grade Draxxus. Kind of silly.
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Posted 09 January 2011 - 02:37 AM

This is why I don't play at real fields. Well this and all the dumbass little kids on your team shooting you in the back of your head from the bunker directly behind you because they aren't paying attention to wtf they are doing with their guns. Plus $50 entry PLUS I'm only allowed to use your ridiculously expensive field paint that isn't even as good as the cheap stuff I can get for half the price elsewhere? Yeah, no f***in thanks, I'll just go out to some woods with a large group of friends, not have to deal with all the bs (cheaters, refs making bad calls against you, rules that don't make any sense and the kids) AND use whatever paint I want!

Not that I'm against kids playing, I'd just prefer not to play with them until after they get some experience and have some clue what they're doing...
But that's just me, I'm crazy like that.

EDIT @cdrinkh: I've played with and against monster balls on several occasions when cash was tight. They're not very bad at all, never recall finding any particularly bad welts from any particular brand of paint. It all f***in hurts, so it doesn't really matter if that one hurt slightly more which I haven't even noticed it does IMO. I do hate having monster balls on the field though, but only because they smell absolutely horendous!!! I'm not even kiding, it's hard to breath in your mask, the round after recieving a headshot. No matter how hard you try to clean your mask! I like to say they smell like an actual monster's balls.

They are horrible quality though, all kinds of funny shapes come out of those bags. I kid you not, I got a cube once... paint cube. Still, they're not dangerous though...

This post has been edited by Shipwreck!: 09 January 2011 - 02:43 AM

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Posted 09 January 2011 - 03:23 AM

Field entry covers basic field maintenance.
FPO covers paying the Refs, Upgrades, Repairing rental markers, HPA/CO2 (for the fields where it's "free").

I'll relate it to something else people are familiar with. Restaurants.
You know all that "free" stuff, like the bread they bring out before your actual food? (Or Chips and Salsa, etc). That stuff ain't free. Everything is accounted for in the final cost.
In restaurants, the salt, pepper, sugars, etc on the table are worked in to the cost of the entrees, desserts, appetizers. From every dollar that comes in, only $.02 of that is actually profit. Paintball fields are similar. After paying employees, taxes, rent, whatever, only 2% of what comes in might be profit. So you pay $100 for entry, air, and a case of paint. $2 of that is all that is left for the field owner to call "profit".

I used to go to 24 Hour Games scenarios, because they were BYOP. Guess what? They're not hardly around anymore because the money just wasn't coming in. Hoop had some of the best actual games I have ever played, but because of the BYOP format, he couldn't really pay a Ref Staff. As such, reffing was an issue, less people came out to games, and now I'm not even sure if he's producing a game this year.

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#14 User is offline   IrishMack 

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Posted 09 January 2011 - 06:26 AM

I would say that FPO while sometimes annoying, ecspecially when using a higher end gun and only having junk paint, that sucks. However, I will say that, it is also a necessary evil. Fields need that extra income to keep the field open, a lot of the fields that you see that have BYOP are ones without insurance, or obviously outlaw games. I don't like seeing fields where you are buying a $40 case of paint for $80 dollars, I think that fields can still make a nice profit and not completely kill a players wallet.

Also, you do have to consider the staff....if my field had just an entry and air fee...our air system isn't completely payed off yet, those things are fairly expensive...the money we get from our air fee goes straight to paying for that. The field fee for the most part goes straight to insurance, with maybe a $5 profit per player. The paint fee is where our field makes enough of a profit to, take care of the field, upgrade the field, and when possible pay the refs.

The other option that some fields look at is just charging a crazy amount for the entry fee....for example, one field I go to, is BYOP but they charge $80 for entry to the field...I happened to go on a day when there was a tourney so they had special prices...but still, that is extremely expensive...and I know that when they used to have it be FPO you could have played pretty much all day and still end up paying less than $80 maybe $90 where as now, you are looking at over $100 if you buy cheap paint...
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Posted 09 January 2011 - 09:30 AM

Well, if you're talking about CPX, the paint is very expensive, but i never broke a ball through my a5 when i played there, which was just about every weekend.
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