Custom Airsoft Painting Business

Discussion in 'Company Reviews' started by OutlawAirsoft, Mar 11, 2021.

  1. OutlawAirsoft

    OutlawAirsoft Active Member

    237
    68
    Hamilton
    Hey all,
    I've been looking into the possibility/feasibility (mainly financial) of launching a custom airsoft painting business. Basically I would be shipped peoples' guns with a directive on what style they want with what colors, then I would complete the project and ship the gun back.

    Unfortunately, Cerakote (which is what I am planning to use) is really expensive. Like $300 a gallon. So if I want to make any sort of profit, I want to charge the maximum people would be willing to pay. So I have two questions:
    1) What is the maximum you would be willing to pay for a custom Cerakote paint job, assuming you choose the design and colors?
    2) What type of styles would you be interested in? I already plan on providing American flag variations, some digital camo options, multicam options, and obviously solid color coats. Am I missing anything? I plan on getting a vinyl cutter and designing my own stencils, so custom pictures and silhouettes will also be possible.

    What do y'all think of this idea?
     
  2. BeansOnToast

    BeansOnToast Active Member

    189
    30
    Seattle
    people like skulls, that's probably a safe bet
     

  3. Kuratosu

    Kuratosu Member

    81
    13
    Tucson
    I've seriously thought about looking into getting my guns custom painted or hydro dipped. Depending on the materials used and the durability of the paint, I would probably easily drop around $100 to $200 on the custom job. If the job also came with the ability to just send you the gun and have YOU dismantle it, dip/spray it, and put it back together, that would obviously up the price as I would gladly pay someone else to do that if I don't absolutely need to.

    Hope that input helps in your decision making on this idea.
     
  4. OutlawAirsoft

    OutlawAirsoft Active Member

    237
    68
    Hamilton
    That is helpful, thank you. I am looking into getting some Cerakote and practicing as soon as I can get some funds together.
     
  5. GetHigher

    GetHigher New Member

    4
    0
    I had my EF 1911 BB custom painted in a space theme for $80 and love it, the dopest-looking pistol I have. I'd easily drop any amount if the quality was worth it.
     
  6. GrimWolf0770

    GrimWolf0770 Active Member

    248
    62
    Pittsburgh area
    Sexy anime chicks! ^.^
     
  7. Jay rollz

    Jay rollz New Member

    24
    7
    Cottage grove
    Well about 40 dollars worth of cerokote will paint about 2 full m4s I think about 10fl Oz spray able. It goes a very long ways. There's a lot of prep involved. Sandblasting etc and a 2.5 hr bake
    I think about 150 seems fair I can finish one with small parts in about 5 hrs
     

    Attached Files:

  8. OutlawAirsoft

    OutlawAirsoft Active Member

    237
    68
    Hamilton
    True, but for most patterns or styles you're looking at 3 or more colors. That adds up pretty fast.
     
  9. FuLL-eFFekT1

    FuLL-eFFekT1 Member

    167
    23
    Everett
    The price people would be willing to pay is directly related to your skill set. Do you have any examples of your work? You’ll need a portfolio of work.
     
  10. Spacemonkey

    Spacemonkey New Member

    20
    8
    Auckland
    Work it out to the smallest steps and estimate the time involved. You have to unpack and dismantle, sandblast individual parts. Screws may need mounting in something. Then the soak, do you reuse the acetone or whatever it is? Then remount and hang with bakeproof materials, something you can manipulate while spraying. You may need a small booth. Then move from spray booth to oven, bake, cool, unmount, and reassemble, pack for shipping. There's time spend liaising with customer and quoting, receiving payment, and organising freight. Time cutting patterns. You should have a figure in mind what you want or need to earn hourly. And paint, hardener, degreaser, cleaning chemicals, other consumables like gloves and mask filters, pattern film and masking tape etc. Do you have some tools already, like compressor, spray guns/airbrush, booth and oven, sandblasting tools? Quite an investment. I would say you're end doing motorcycle and custom car parts as well if you were doing it full time. If not you may as well offer Airsoft tech services if you have the skills.
     
    FuLL-eFFekT1 likes this.
  11. Spacemonkey

    Spacemonkey New Member

    20
    8
    Auckland
    I don't mean to discourage you though, I've spent a lot of time spray painting and am really keen to do my guns, the factory finish is as durable as tissue paper. I've decided on Duracoat, but I don't own or have easy access to the gear to do it.

    I think you would be losing money doing anything for $100, even if you double it you are probably near minimum wages after all the expenses. What are RS guys charging near you for the same job? There's nothing to justify Airsoft being any cheaper.
     
    FuLL-eFFekT1 likes this.
  12. OutlawAirsoft

    OutlawAirsoft Active Member

    237
    68
    Hamilton
    Yes, $100 would definitely be too little. I'll do some research to see what others charge for similar services, but it's going to be more then $100.

    Currently I'm focusing more on the teching side of things, and still haven't purchased any painting supplies, and still need the following: an oven, cerakote kit, blasting cabinet, sand blaster, medium and such. Basically all I have is the compressor.
     
    Spacemonkey likes this.
  13. Spacemonkey

    Spacemonkey New Member

    20
    8
    Auckland
    From what I have read and seen online, I think there's a difference between a compressor capable of running a small spray gun, and one able to continuously run a sandblaster without stopping and waiting for pressure to build up only to get 2 minutes of work done. A gravity fed spray gun with a small nozzle and thin paint doesn't need much pressure. Some airbrushing guys use a modified regulator on a dive bottle to paint with. You wouldn't need oil or water filters with that, and it would make for a nice quiet workshop.
     
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  14. OutlawAirsoft

    OutlawAirsoft Active Member

    237
    68
    Hamilton
    True, but since I'm already looking at around $2000 in supplies, I figured I could get by with my small compressor at least for a bit.

    I'm also hoping to get a vinyl cutter so I can quickly cut custom patterns and designs, and was looking at providing some sort of etching service as well.
     
  15. OutlawAirsoft

    OutlawAirsoft Active Member

    237
    68
    Hamilton
    I would probably have a set price for painting a pistol with one color (like an accent or something), two colors or three colors, obviously increasing in price for more colors. I would also provide an optional etching service, where I etch a design of their choice on the slide (assuming it is metal).

    I would do the same for rifles, except provide a choice of where they want the design etched, in one of 3 locations: mag-well, upper receiver (ar) and foregrip (ak).
     
  16. Ben3721

    Ben3721 Well-Known Member

    631
    320
    You'd also have to properly protect yourself, I hear that stuff is pretty dangerous to breath. But if you have the proper respirator cartridges that you change when needed you'll be fine to be around it all the time.

    You should also start social media pages posting your work, or post on a website of your own.

    You should also mention what airsoft gun types your comfortable taking apart to paint, for an added fee of course.

    The more reputation you gain, the more you'll be able to charge. Good luck.
     
  17. Graybeard

    Graybeard New Member

    24
    9
    Silver Spring
    You will need to figure out how to protect yourself from the “it wasn’t like that when I sent it to you” or the “it never got here!” Or “that’s not what I asked for!” The guy who said the customer is always right, never worked retail or service….

    You want the price to cover your liabilities too. Someone will send you a gun, and it will fall apart while you disassemble it. How much will it cost you to replace/repair it….etc. Also, LLC. Protect yourself from lawsuits, etc. I’ve mentioned this before in another thread.

    Someone above mentioned a portfolio. Maybe you can get a couple of your airsoft buddies that you hang out with, and split the cost of materials, and do their guns. Take good photos, and start your portfolio. After doing a few, you will have an idea of your time and materials cost to set your price. Your buddies get cool paint jobs, and you’ve minimized the cost of learning. You may be able to work out a deal with a local plating service on stripping finishes at a reasonable rate till you’ve developed enough income to pay for better equipment.
     
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  18. OutlawAirsoft

    OutlawAirsoft Active Member

    237
    68
    Hamilton
    All very good ideas, thanks. Now I just need to save up like $3k and then I can get started! :)
     
  19. Spacemonkey

    Spacemonkey New Member

    20
    8
    Auckland
    Been looking at vinyl cutters myself lately. If you are trying to generate a bit of extra income, this is a versatile machine with a few different applications. I had wondered about using HTV and doing speedsoft themed hoodies. And stickers for cars, hard cases and ammo boxes. And signwriting of course. Great if you had any background or aptitude for graphic design already.