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(Topic ID: 143328)

advice on putting my machines at a local lounge


By NateZebra

4 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 40 posts
  • 23 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 4 years ago by policano
  • Topic is favorited by 3 Pinsiders

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    #1 4 years ago

    There is a local bowling alley/lounge that is quickly becoming the best place in Spokane to play pinball as they already have 5 machines and they want more I've been talking to them about putting a couple of mine in here and don't know what I need to do legally to ensure the safety of my machines and was wondering if anyone here had a template for such an agreement between a game owner and a location or could tell me what I need to cover, thanks pinsiders!

    #2 4 years ago

    First thing is go to the city hall in this town and find out if you can ( zoning ordinances ) and what licenses you need. Could be on you, your company, each game and location.

    Then be sure you get your own insurance in case someone gets hurt by your machine.

    No idea on getting location to guarantee their safety, they usually don't/won't do that.

    LTG : )™

    #3 4 years ago

    Who do the other machines belong to, and why isn't that person putting in more?

    #4 4 years ago

    if they have 5 machines, does that mean they already have an operator or do they own the machines? if its another operator, not a good idea to mix yours in. if they own theirs, then it should be fine, no drama between people who own the games.

    #5 4 years ago

    I'd be Leary of putting games along with another operators games.

    He wants the business your pins may pull away from his. Who knows what he's capable of in order to make sure his pins are played over yours.

    1 week later
    #6 4 years ago

    Thanks guys I am a little bit weary of it, I gotta talk to these guys about it more, the operator with games in here isn't putting in more cause he doesn't have them to spare is what they told me....

    #7 4 years ago
    Quoted from NateZebra:

    Thanks guys I am a little bit weary of it, I gotta talk to these guys about it more, the operator with games in here isn't putting in more cause he doesn't have them to spare is what they told me....

    Agreed that this is not a good idea.

    #8 4 years ago
    Quoted from NateZebra:

    the operator with games in here isn't putting in more cause he doesn't have them to spare is what they told me....

    Sounds like an euphemism for "the place won't earn more than five games worth no matter how many you put in".

    LTG : )™

    #9 4 years ago

    run_away.gif

    #10 4 years ago
    Quoted from LTG:

    First thing is go to the city hall in this town and find out if you can ( zoning ordinances ) and what licenses you need. Could be on you, your company, each game and location.
    Then be sure you get your own insurance in case someone gets hurt by your machine.
    No idea on getting location to guarantee their safety, they usually don't/won't do that.
    LTG : )™

    After clearing zoning and permits/licenses, and then paying for separate insurance (probably not covered by homeowners insurance as it's not in the home), exactly how much does a machine need to take in per month to cover overhead costs? Perhaps more machines at a single site costs less in overhead costs?

    #11 4 years ago

    It's probably not worth the time and effort in regards to how much money you could make. If you have a route with 100 machines, maybe... But, placing a few machines in a bowling alley won't get you anywhere financially. And then you'll need tax permits for the machines, liability insurance, repair calls, business taxes, etc... Also, I would never consider doing this unless it was under a LLC... Enjoy your pinball machines at home and let someone else handle all those pinball route headaches...

    #12 4 years ago
    Quoted from LTG:

    ...be sure you get your own insurance in case someone gets hurt by your machine.

    This.

    No matter what your contract with the owner says.

    No matter what nonsense the owner tells you "Hey, I'm sure my insurance liability will cover you too!!!"

    As soon as someone is hurt, EVERYBODY gets sued, every time.

    #13 4 years ago
    Quoted from BestShot31:

    Perhaps more machines at a single site costs less in overhead costs?

    More machines doesn't necessarily mean you'll take in more money.

    If you have a spot with four games it takes in X amount. Put in 10 more games, and you may only take in the same X amount, spread out over 14 games.

    And you'd have the cost of 10 more games, 10 more licenses, etc. etc. And 3 times the work to maintain them.

    If you want to be an op, you need to really study things like this.

    LTG : )

    #14 4 years ago
    Quoted from LTG:

    More machines doesn't necessarily mean you'll take in more money.
    If you have a spot with four games it takes in X amount. Put in 10 more games, and you may only take in the same X amount, spread out over 14 games.
    And you'd have the cost of 10 more games, 10 more licenses, etc. etc. And 3 times the work to maintain them.
    If you want to be an op, you need to really study things like this.
    LTG : )

    There is an old OP saying that is 100% true: "There is only so much money in a room".

    Between the Pool Tables, the Jukebox, the Dart Boards, the Golden Tees, the Big Buck Hunters, and the Pins, there is a limit to how much customers at that location will spend.

    Every OP adds more games until the limit is reached.

    Keep an eye on your totals as you add each game.

    #15 4 years ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    There is an old OP saying that is 100% true: "There is only so much money in a room".
    Between the Pool Tables, the Jukebox, the Dart Boards, the Golden Tees, the Big Buck Hunters, and the Pins, there is a limit to how much customers at that location will spend.
    Every OP adds more games until the limit is reached.
    Keep an eye on your totals as you add each game.

    That right there is some dam good advice. Each room only has so much cash until you insert a "classic Stern". Then the sky is the limit

    #16 4 years ago

    Pinsideders get upset when you talk about the need for insurance for pins in commercial locations:

    https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/pinball-operators-need-insurance-advice-please

    #17 4 years ago

    I'd advise the use of periods.

    #19 4 years ago
    Quoted from Msch:

    I'd advise the use of periods.

    Once a month is enough for me.

    #20 4 years ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    Once a month is enough for me.

    I wish there was some way to prove that I predicted you would post that exact phrase, since I did. I swear!

    #21 4 years ago

    Another theory: By adding more pins, it becomes more of a destination for more potential customers who also spend longer in the room because of the great collection. Therefore, the size of the room effectively grows.

    In theory that is...

    #22 4 years ago
    Quoted from cooked71:

    Another theory: By adding more pins, it becomes more of a destination for more potential customers who also spend longer in the room because of the great collection. Therefore, the size of the room effectively grows.

    That's a heck of an idea.

    Go for it. Let us know how it works out for you.

    LTG : )™

    #23 4 years ago
    Quoted from LTG:

    That's a heck of an idea.
    Go for it. Let us know how it works out for you.
    LTG : )™

    As I said, just a theory. Ill let the OP put it into practice to see if it works or not....

    #24 4 years ago
    Quoted from cooked71:

    Another theory: By adding more pins, it becomes more of a destination for more potential customers who also spend longer in the room because of the great collection. Therefore, the size of the room effectively grows.
    In theory that is...

    Sure, but you still have to find the amount of money in that room.

    Let's say that Pinball Polly's has a really deep collection of 75 pins and that brings in people from a 1.5 hour drive radius because it's known as a pinball "destination". Every weekend night the pins take in $1000.

    If they double the number of pins to 150, will that double the number of customers? No.

    Will it double the distance people will drive? No.

    Will it double the cash take? No.

    -

    Doubling the number of pins will add a small amount of additional customers, but not enough to justify the additional maintenance.

    #25 4 years ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    If they double the number of pins to 150, will that double the number of customers? No.

    Will it double the distance people will drive? No.

    Will it double the cash take? No.

    Will it double maintenance ? Yes.

    LTG : )™

    #26 4 years ago
    Quoted from Classic_Stern:

    That right there is some dam good advice. Each room only has so much cash until you insert a "classic Stern". Then the sky is the limit

    Or a VLT (video lottery terminal).

    #27 4 years ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    -
    Doubling the number of pins will add a small amount of additional customers, but not enough to justify the additional maintenance.

    Quoted from LTG:

    Will it double maintenance ? Yes.
    LTG : )™

    Agree 100% - You guys obviously have a wealth of experience in this area.

    But what about taking a small, insignificant collection, that is incidental to the main business (eg 1-5 games) and turning it into a relatively large collection, that then becomes a destination.

    For example, I wouldn't drive out of my way for 3 machines, but I would for 10.

    Or is it better to spread those 10 games around 5 destinations? Would that increase the overall turnover? Then you have the same maintenance, but a huge amount of travel time and more hassle liaising with the venues.

    #28 4 years ago
    Quoted from cooked71:

    But what about taking a small, insignificant collection, that is incidental to the main business (eg 1-5 games) and turning it into a relatively large collection, that then becomes a destination.

    THAT'S where you have to find the amount of money in a room.

    #29 4 years ago
    Quoted from cooked71:

    But what about taking a small, insignificant collection, that is incidental to the main business (eg 1-5 games) and turning it into a relatively large collection, that then becomes a destination.

    Quoted from cooked71:

    Or is it better to spread those 10 games around 5 destinations? Would that increase the overall turnover? Then you have the same maintenance, but a huge amount of travel time and more hassle liaising with the venues.

    Only one way to find out. That is what makes an op an op. Figuring out what works. What your customer base is.

    There are no guarantees in this business.

    And I sincerely hope "becomes a destination" doesn't become the next over used term like HUO or shopped.

    To become a destination, could take years, and a lot of money to try and make happen. And it may not. Look at Castles and Coasters, didn't they have 90 or so pins. Every time there were pictures posted, only a few were being played. And now they are down to 10 or so.

    LTG : )

    #30 4 years ago
    Quoted from LTG:

    Look at Castles and Coasters, didn't they have 90 or so pins. Every time there were pictures posted, only a few were being played. And now they are down to 10 or so.

    Same thing at "The Arcade" up in Michigan. Had 100 pins, but too remote of a location. They keep selling off pins and cutting back hours.

    #31 4 years ago

    I might point out I'm not telling anyone not to try making their dreams happen. Just learn all you can so you have the best chance at success.

    I don't want to see anyone lose their home, business, wife/kids, because of a pipe dream.

    The world of coin op is littered with broken dreams, divorce, alcoholism, etc. etc.

    Here in the safety of Pinside. Pinball seems to be growing. Barcades or what ever the next big thing is opening up. Pinball is growing. Pinball is coming back. The real world can be a whole different picture.

    LTG : )™

    #32 4 years ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    They keep selling off pins and cutting back hours.

    The beginning of the end. Sad to see.

    LTG : (

    #33 4 years ago
    Quoted from LTG:

    And I sincerely hope "becomes a destination" doesn't become the next over used term like HUO or shopped.
    To become a destination, could take years, and a lot of money to try and make happen. And it may not. Look at Castles and Coasters, didn't they have 90 or so pins. Every time there were pictures posted, only a few were being played. And now they are down to 10 or so.

    We dont have any of the large "destinations" you guys have in the US. Largest public collections here are 10ish games - and there's only a couple of those. But I always wonder with those larger "destinations" I see photos of in the US (30+ machines)......there's usually only a handful of people in them at any time.

    #34 4 years ago
    Quoted from NateZebra:

    the operator with games in here isn't putting in more cause he doesn't have them to spare is what they told me....

    So, if the in-place OP is "out of machines", maybe work with him instead of against him... work an arrangement where you lease your machine to him instead of coming in as a competitor. The arrangement could eventually expand beyond the one location.

    -Rob
    -visit http://www.kahr.us to get my daughterboard that helps fix WPC pinball resets or for my Pin2K H+V video sync combiner kit

    #35 4 years ago
    Quoted from cooked71:

    We dont have any of the large "destinations" you guys have in the US. Largest public collections here are 10ish games - and there's only a couple of those. But I always wonder with those larger "destinations" I see photos of in the US (30+ machines)......there's usually only a handful of people in them at any time.

    The larger locations around me (20+ games) are pretty empty like that during the day, however they bring in a whole bunch of players for leagues and tournaments. Kidforce has a league of 100+ people that play 6 games per week, and Stonehedge has a league of 50+ people who play 4 games per week. Plus after and before league nights there's a fairly large concentration of players there to play for fun/practice.

    #36 4 years ago

    I'm vaguely considering routing a few pins just because 1) I'm out of space 2) there are like seven bars within two blocks of my apartment 3) I wouldn't mind stopping by for repairs once or twice a week after work, spending the quarter drop on $2 PBRs, and playing a bit.

    11
    #37 4 years ago

    After being an "op" for about 18 months I can assure you that aside from the few successful barcades there is little money in the actual operation of games (much like LTG, Vid, and others told me 2 years ago when I had a similar crazy idea) and most of the money to be made on pinball will actually be for the advantage of the bar in drink and food sales from new people coming into their business and the pins keeping them there.

    Simply put, unless you have a prime location and a 100% cut of the pins you had better be doing it for the love of pinball. Finacially it just does not make sense. Even our best earning game on route would take MANY years to pay itself off and that does not include any maintainence time, parts, etc... That is just the cost of the game. Keep in mind you will need to be spending mulitple trips and hours proactively maintaining and cleaning games each week. Your beauties will get beat up and tons of blasting about so that is a big commitment side form your time.

    Some will ask >> "Why do it?" and the simple answer is that it is extremely fun for me. I like hanging out with other pinheads, I like sharing what a good playing game is supposed to be like, I enjoy the albeit sometimes frustration of broken games which turns into new knowledge and troubleshooting capabilities, and I like that we have helped to make a new community for really cool people in our town which many of I never knew existed prior to putting games on route.

    Pinball is F U N and extending your current pinball hobby into operating can be equally as much fun as you are having now, or it could ruin it all and make it a second job. It all really depends on your POV and WHY are you going to do it. If you are hoping to make money then there are tons of better ways to spend yout time and actually profit form your energy. If you are hoping to share your love of pinball, learn a ton, and like the personal growth it will bring you combined with likely some new friends, then I say go for it.

    Pinball operating can be a real PITA, but it can also be sure rewarding on a personal level. There is not much better than seeing a local pinhead revel in a new high score or learning a new game or thw off times when you see the ocassional family enjoying your games and high fiving or cheering on a young kid that is getitng their first glimpse of the wonder of pinball!

    #38 4 years ago
    Quoted from NateZebra:

    There is a local bowling alley/lounge that is quickly becoming the best place in Spokane to play pinball as they already have 5 machines and they want more ...

    Where is this place? Hugo's? 5 machines in one place in Spokane could about be the biggest group in a business setting in the entire area. The arguments for making it a "destination" may not be that far off here.

    -Mike

    #39 4 years ago

    Whysnow hit the nail on the head. Enjoy pinball. At least you know you have someplace to go, enjoy and share.

    #40 4 years ago

    I will say that Operating Pinball can be a success but it takes time hard work and a lot money to keep them going. My operation is really only possible because of my day job I have been doing this now for 3 years and have had its ups and downs. Its a lot of work. I work extremely hard to maintain my machines and promote leagues, tournaments, and other charitable events I partner with. Its more than money. I enjoy pinball and the many friends I have met through it. It's a part of me and like everyone, I get burnt out at times but I continue. If you are in it for the love and can support it, I would try it but make sure all your ducks are in a row. I spend an average of 25-30 hours a week on 10 games to keep them clean, running, promoting, leagues, website and such to make my adventure a success.

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