Track Owners Association, Inc. Featured Raceway
June 1998

Go Slot Car Racing !!

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Jim Petzold's
JP Hobby Center & Raceway

78 Pershing Drive
Derby, Ct.  06418
Phone: (203) 735-5512
Fax: (203) 735-5744

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Preparing the Off-Road track surface
for a day of racing
Computer system for R/C racing
complete with canopy for portability
Off-Road racing action where every one
gets a good view.
Turn marshalls are essential because
there are no track calls!
R/C enthusiasts working on their cars
in the pit area at JP's Hobbies

Many hobby shop and track owners say that R/C racing is not profitable.  This is not true!
While you do not make the profit margins you do with slots, there is plenty of money to be made in R/C.  We have been racing radio control since 1991 and find it to be an excellent addition to our business.  If you do not have the space for indoor racing, try some outdoors.  We have constructed a dirt track in an area behind our store.   You can also set up some races in your parking lot. R/C racers are a dedicated lot and will race whatever is being run.  It does not take off over-night, but it does catch on.

JIM PETZOLD’S TIPS FOR R/C RACING

Set up a regular schedule and stick to it.

Be prepared to spend some money promoting

Try to get human-interest stories in your local newspapers.

Get involved! It helps if you or your employees are involved in the racing. Give employees merchandise at cost (or at least a discount) in order to get extra racers.

Have refreshments available!  You should anyway, but it gets hot outside and the racers are always looking for bottled water, soda, etc.  Chips are good too.  This is a good source of extra profit!

Use some sort of computerized scoring system. The Automatic Transponder Systems are nice but out of the reach of new tracks just getting started.  Racers understand this and you can use a simple system with manual entry called Lap Track, which can be downloaded from CompuServe.  It runs on any old PC with one 3.5" disk.  Feel free to call me for information on this disk or for copies!

Give out prizes.  Racers like to win stuff!   ‘Nuff said.

Have plenty of available pit space with power outlets.  R/C racers use lots of electricity, so plan ahead to allow at least one outlet per racer.  Do not plan on using one outlet with lots of power strips.   Their battery chargers will not work right.

Don’t worry about the dirt being tracked into your store.  It sweeps up and the amount of dirt is directly proportional to the amount of your sales!

Have plenty of parts available!  R/C racers break parts, and unlike slot racers, they will work on their cars and get them back into the race.  If you don’t know what you need to order, get help in this department.  This is very important!

Start small – maybe with just one class.   Build from there.

Make it fun.  Have fun with it.  Remember that most racers are out to have fun…just like they do in slot racing.  Most racers are into the low tom mid dollar racing.  This is where you will derive most of your profits.

When you sell R/C products you have to re-think how you run your business a bit.  You’ll quickly discover you are competing with mail order.  But don’t think for a minute that you can’t compete with mail order houses!  You can!

You will have to sell large-ticket items at a lower profit margin in order to be able to move them.  However, if you price them right, they will generate a lot of cash flow for you!

Remember…when a racer breaks a part he will not (want to) wait a week to get it. If you have the part on your wall you will sell it for your full profit margin!  Don't feel that you can't make a little extra profit on some items that are low-dollar either.  Profit is the ‘name of the game’ and you have to make a living.

If you are thinking about starting racing programs and stocking parts for radio control, I will be more than happy to share any knowledge and advice I have gained through my experiences.  Feel free to call me any time at (203) 735-5512.

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