Rent Bows to Boost Profits

Renting bows can attract new customers and generate more revenue.

Rent Bows to Boost Profits

At Hit or Miss Archery Center, about 90 percent of bow rentals are made by first-time archers.

Can archery retailers profit by renting bows?

To help answer that question, I spoke with Neil Overbay, owner of the Hit or Miss Archery Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Overbay launched a bow-rental program when opening his shop in March 2014, hoping to generate extra income.

He got that . . . and much more.

Overbay bought 15 universal draw length bows and dozens of arrows for his rental program. The equipment paid for itself within six months as customers marched into his shop.

“Bow rentals are appealing because people get to shoot a bow and try archery risk-free,” Overbay said.

Rental gear makes archery accessible to everyone when retailers provide the range, instruction and equipment for little cost. Rental programs serve as stepping stones to more archery sales and activities.

“Once people realize how easy and simple it is to shoot archery — even if they don’t know anything about it — they’ll often come back to buy equipment, take a lesson or sign up for a birthday party,” Overbay said.

Customers also bring friends and family, further boosting business and profits. Overbay soon added 10 more rental bows to his program to handle more shooters.

Overbay’s Hit or Miss Archery Center has a 40-yard indoor range with 30 lanes, and customers can shoot 3-D or paper targets. Most folks renting gear shoot 3-D targets because it’s more fun.

Bow rentals are an excellent way to let first-time archers try the sport with low commitment. (Photo courtesy Hit or Miss Archery Center.)
Bow rentals are an excellent way to let first-time archers try the sport with low commitment. (Photo courtesy Hit or Miss Archery Center.)

One caution: A 3-D range is great for business, but tough on equipment. Overbay said customers often break or damage arrows by hitting the metal poles supporting 3-D targets. He plans to add padding over those parts to reduce damage. He inspects all rental gear for wear and damage before signing it out.

Despite damaged arrows, occasional dry-fires, and routine repairs and maintenance of rental equipment — which Overbay cites as the program’s biggest challenge — he said his shop benefits and profits from renting equipment.

How much should you charge for rentals? Study nearby competitors and other recreational activities, such as bowling or putt-putt golf, to help set your rental prices. The price must also cover range time, staff time and equipment maintenance.

Overbay rents equipment by the hour. Cost is $15 per hour for kids up to 12 years old, and $20 per hour for archers 13 and older. The fee includes a five-minute introduction by a certified instructor, who explains shooting form and range-safety rules to ensure customers have fun, positive experiences. The rates are published on the Hit or Miss Archery website ( on a page explaining the shop’s rental services.

Overbay’s staffers watch customers and check in with those needing extra help, tips and pointers. After each rental session, staffers check the customers’ equipment as they turn it in, ask about their experiences, and explain ways to stay involved in archery at the shop, which gives them reasons to return.

“Our rental program is very profitable,” Overbay said. “It didn’t cost a lot of money to start, and it has continued to grow. Plus, there’s minimal overhead. I advise other retailers to give it a try. It’s been great for us.”

He also enjoys the program because he’s meeting new people and introducing them to archery.

“About 90 percent of our rental purchases are first-time archers,” Overbay said. “I love seeing them get super excited about shooting for the first time. Getting people involved in archery is very cool for me.”

Want to know more? Visit to read ATA’s article “Can Equipment Rentals Boost Your Archery Business?”

You can also promote your rental program on Groupon to attract customers. ATA’s article “Case Study: How Groupon Can Boost Archery Shops’ Business” provides additional information. Archery rental equipment also works well for birthday parties and corporate events.

To get started contact Nicole Nash, ATA’s senior manager of Outreach, at (507) 233-8146, or


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