(Topic ID: 8952)

Any info on starting a route/becoming an operator?


By Winball_Pizard

7 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 62 posts
  • 32 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 3 years ago by pinaholic
  • Topic is favorited by 17 Pinsiders

You

Linked Games

No games have been linked to this topic.

    Topic Gallery

    There have been 6 images uploaded to this topic. (View topic image gallery).

    20141028_132619-707.jpg
    20141028_135343-498.jpg
    20141028_132623.jpg
    20141028_132632-488.jpg
    20141028_134920-164.jpg
    image.jpg

    There are 62 posts in this topic. You are on page 2 of 2.
    #51 5 years ago

    Thanks for the comment, Whysnow.

    Per your post above, did you ever set up your location? If so, are you finding most people are "accidental customers" (people who stumble upon your machines by chance, play one game, then move on) or people actively searching out pins via various websites that advertise locations, like Pinside?

    If the latter, then I agree with you 100% that multiple machines are necessary. I never considered that before... Few people will show up for one game.

    Thanks again!

    #52 5 years ago

    We now have 2 spots. Players are both casual and regulars. Either way the costs do not add up for doing it.

    It takes LOTS of effort to keep games playing well on route and you need to want to do it for the side benefits. Things like making new friends, seeing new people get it, running monthly competitions are whatmake it worthwhile for me. The coin drop is not enough in madison to do much more besides pay for costs, even that is a stretch. You won't be making enough to even come close to making it worthwhile to buy a new 5k game unless you enjoy playing your own game on route and sharing with others. I did not believe all the experienced operators last year when I was asking the same questions. Now i have 7 months experience and can say that they were 100% right. If you can find a spot with NO split then it may make you enough to do something worthwhile... Really depends on location as i know spot hots spots in the right cities are bumping, but still plan to spend tONS of time of a hobby enveavor.

    #53 5 years ago

    Scout out the location and make sure you have bill validators on them. If it seems like good location, go in strong and bring in a good game. The latest Star Trek is a good one, fairly short game times but fun.

    #54 5 years ago

    Put everything aside and ask yourself one question:

    How much money would it take for you to be on call 24/7?

    It's going to break and your going to have to fix it. Answer that question and you will find that this will not be worth your time.

    #55 5 years ago

    If I did anything, it would definitely be as a hobby endeavor. Nothing more than to "see what happens", really - and to see a pinball machine in my home town.

    I'm not in the market to start an arcade business, just something I've been curious about. Since "rediscovering" arcade gaming in the past year, I find myself constantly on the look out for games when I'm out and about. I rarely see any - just a few video games. I've never seen a pinball machine.

    One last question, if you don't mind. Again, just out of curiosity... For those of you that route games, do you see more plays on a pinball, or a video game?

    #56 5 years ago
    Quoted from inhomearcades:

    Put everything aside and ask yourself one question:
    How much money would it take for you to be on call 24/7?
    It's going to break and your going to have to fix it. Answer that question and you will find that this will not be worth your time.

    Really? Are there a lot on location games in your town breaking down in the middle of the night?

    I'd love to have games in a location open 24/7. Unfortunately, my area has very few businesses that stay open all night. When one of my games occasionally has an issue, it usually happens around lunch or dinner time. I get a phone call and if it's not late, I fix it that day. If it's late, I fix it the next day. The business owners don't expect me to drop what I'm doing and get right over there.

    My farthest location from my house is about 14 miles. More for regular maintenance than emergency repairs, you don't want to be too far from your locations.

    #57 5 years ago

    @scubadiver, from the OPs I've talked to a key thing is to have several machines at a location. if you just have one, it's a novelty, if you more than four or five, it can be a destination for pinball folks. people will actually come to play the machines etc.

    For the rotation, if you are an OP you should have enough machines to be able to rotate them out. So you don't need "new" machines so much as 'fresh' machines meaning games that are new to that location. Some machines will continuously earn no matter what while the 'new shiny' object will usually earn nicely when it's first in - then see how long it's worth keeping at that one location and rotate them out.

    I am a huge supporter of location pinball and feel like it's a great way to get more people into pinball so that's a great reason to route games (not the $ so much). In fact, last night I was looking at my Shadow and realizing I pay to play more than just play my own machine

    #58 5 years ago
    Quoted from phishrace:

    Really? Are there a lot on location games in your town breaking down in the middle of the night?
    I'd love to have games in a location open 24/7. Unfortunately, my area has very few businesses that stay open all night. When one of my games occasionally has an issue, it usually happens around lunch or dinner time. I get a phone call and if it's not late, I fix it that day. If it's late, I fix it the next day. The business owners don't expect me to drop what I'm doing and get right over there.
    My farthest location from my house is about 14 miles. More for regular maintenance than emergency repairs, you don't want to be too far from your locations.

    Yes really. Nothing worse than 2 am calls or texts asking how to fix something. You must be in a rural area because here 14 miles could mean 1.5 hrs of a commute.

    #59 5 years ago

    you cant base cost per play into how long it takes to pay a game off.
    you have to figure:
    1) split with location owner
    2) opportunity cost
    3) parts
    4) keeping it shopped (cost of cleaner, rags and time to do it).
    5) time for coin collections.
    6) time for getting coins and balls unstuck calls.

    *not to mention gas each time and if you pay anyone to help you move games here and there or other help.

    these days, 50/50 is not the norm, esp on pinball machines. that was only fair when games as a whole made a lot of coin so there was enough to go around.
    its more like 70% to operator, 30% to location owner.
    sometimes its even 100% to operator, location owner gets 0% of coin drop... people drinking, buying food etc is what the location owner gets. it helps their business keep patrons around spending money.
    if you go 50/50 you will get nowhere.

    1 year later
    #60 3 years ago

    I split 50/50 with the owner, I have 21 machines at the location including the jukebox and atm.
    3 pinball machines going to make it a fourth soon. mainly because the better variety you have, the more of a certain crowd you attract. All my pins are set on $1 per game. total investment for the three pins was 27k, since they were all purchased brand new, and they are all LE's mainly for resale value (not sure if that is going to make much of a difference).

    The highest earning item is of course the 8 liners, then the golden tee's, then the pinball machines. The pins altogether make 3 to 4 hundred a week. usually the way I look at an investment is if I can pay it back in 3 years, it's worth it. Based on my calculations, pinball machines are right at that cutoff at least at that location. If it takes longer possibly, depending on what type of patrons the machine attracts. If your location doesn't have high traffic, I can almost guarantee it won't be worth it. unless your willing to wait 5 or 6 year to get reimbursed. You could always get a used machine, but that is risky in itself. I waited until now to buy one so I could take it home and get it back to mint condition. new targets, switches, solenoids, clear coat, decals, leds, t-molding, rubbers, buttons etc.. I actually have 5 project machines 4 aren't really pinball. revenge from mars, virtual pinball machine, baby pacman, granny and the gators and a second vending machine I got from aliexpress (china). I've spent close to 2k on parts already and still got a ways to go.

    The down side to routing pinball machines is they are easily require a lot of maintenance at the location especially if you want the game to play "perfect". Most people won't play a machine with a malfunction. Make sure you have thread locker on hand. yearly I have to pay county, state and city tax on each machine totally $95 per, you get a decal for each. Usually once you get all the bugs worked out, it usually goes pretty smooth. Just regular cleanings, also another big reason is if you love pinball and own a machine you can swap the ones at your house for the ones at the location. That way the patrons and you always have something new.

    #61 3 years ago

    That was one other thing I saw a lot of, people and this 24/7 stuff. the only thing I would come out to fix right away is the jukebox everything else can wait till the next day. It makes it extremely difficult to fix stuff and concentrate when you have patrons constantly coming over and asking questions or giving you "helpful suggestions" on what your doing wrong. If it's broken, yes it's sucks to loose a little bit of money. None of my machines have ever been down for more then a week. That was only because I was waiting on the parts from the manufacture. If I have control then they are repaired the following day, no question. The hard thing is having others you can rely on. Since it's mainly a cash business I handle all the collections. I am currently training one other person how to fix these things so I can actually take a few days off. when it rains it pours. seems like I can have two weeks with zero payouts, then all the sudden it's like gremlins are running a muck. Or it's an issue that is almost impossible to diagnose because it only happens every once in a while or under different conditions.

    #62 3 years ago

    When a bar reaches out to you, tell them you supply game, handle all maintenance and take 60-100% depending in whether they are looking for the customer draw. If one place gives you 75% and another 50%,all things being even, who gets the new game? Who they gonna call?

    Promoted items from the Pinside Marketplace
    $ 48.00
    Playfield - Other
    ModFather Pinball Mods
    $ 14.95
    Playfield - Toys/Add-ons
    ULEKstore
    From: $ 175.00
    Gameroom - Decorations
    Pinball Photos
    From: $ 44.95
    Playfield - Toys/Add-ons
    PinBoss Mods
    $ 48.00
    Cabinet - Other
    ModFather Pinball Mods
    From: $ 35.00
    Boards
    PCB Emporium
    $ 7,499.00
    Pinball Machine
    Little Shop Of Games
    $ 15.00
    Cabinet - Decals
    ModFather Pinball Mods
    $ 229.99
    $ 65.00
    Playfield - Toys/Add-ons
    G-Money Mods
    $ 117.00
    Playfield - Toys/Add-ons
    The MOD Couple
    $ 200.00
    Lighting - Interactive
    Professor Pinball
    $ 229.99
    From: $ 10.00
    Electronics
    Third Coast Pinball
    $ 125.00
    Cabinet - Armor And Blades
    Id Rather Play Pinball
    From: $ 9.99
    Eproms
    Matt's Basement Arcade
    $ 88.00
    $ 20.00
    Playfield - Decals
    Flashinstinct
    $ 5,799.00
    Pinball Machine
    Nitro Pinball Shop
    $ 17.50
    Playfield - Plastics
    Pinball Haus
    $ 175.00
    Lighting - Interactive
    Professor Pinball
    $ 5.00
    Playfield - Decals
    Doc's Pinball Shop
    $ 208.87
    $ 89.99
    Lighting - Led
    Lighted Pinball Mods
    There are 62 posts in this topic. You are on page 2 of 2.

    Hey there! Got a moment?

    Great to see you're enjoying Pinside! Did you know Pinside is able to run thanks to donations from our visitors? Please donate to Pinside, support the site and get anext to your username to show for it! Donate to Pinside