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(Topic ID: 260776)

How much could you make off operating 1 pin?


By cyberslunk

8 months ago



Topic Stats

  • 106 posts
  • 40 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 6 months ago by DS_Nadine
  • Topic is favorited by 4 Pinsiders

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    There are 106 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 3.
    #1 8 months ago

    I've been very curious, reading a lot about operating a pinball machine on a route and figured someone must know. Say you bought a brand new Stern of something really popular and put in on location in a bar or someplace profitable, how much in 2020 would you say that could make you a month?

    #2 8 months ago

    That depends on so many different variables. Which game, what location, is it maintained, how much per play, etc...

    Most people with options are not going to travel to a destination for a single pin, so you would end up with mainly whatever casual traffic that location gets that cares enough to drop money into whatever themed single game you have there. The short answer is most likely not enough to justify doing it.

    #3 8 months ago

    At least 10 dollars and a few beers.

    #4 8 months ago
    Quoted from LesManley:

    That depends on so many different variables. Which game, what location, is it maintained, how much per play, etc...
    Most people with options are not going to travel to a destination for a single pin, so you would end up with mainly whatever casual traffic that location gets that cares enough to drop money into whatever themed single game you have there. The short answer is most likely not enough to justify doing it.

    Say it's Stranger Things in a really hip new bar that's perfectly maintained and on for $1 a play. How many would you say you need to justify the income?

    #5 8 months ago
    Quoted from TheLaw:

    At least 10 dollars and a few beers.

    #6 8 months ago

    I can see you haven’t put a lot of thought into this.

    You may “make” a few hundred bucks in a good month with your new pin. Divide that in half with the location.

    Most likely, that one game will make less money the next month, and less still the month after that as players tire of it and the game starts to get beat up.

    This is when you rotate a different game in there.

    So now you have two pins. And so on.

    I wouldn’t “operate” a single pin on anything other than a total lark.

    18
    #7 8 months ago

    Not much. I have a route. I do pinball because I love pinball. A good spot may do 3 or 4 hundred for a month or two, then the next big thing comes out and it's doing 80 bucks a month. Games like JP, SW, GB that are huge names will make money longer then something like IMDN. While IMDN is considered a great game by pinheads, you make your money on the casual player.

    I have 2 pins, Mbrse and JP2 premium, in one location. They do well but the crane that cost me 1/8 the cost of the pins makes double what the pins make every month. My worst jukebox does more then my best pins.

    #8 8 months ago
    Quoted from cyberslunk:

    Say it's Stranger Things in a really hip new bar that's perfectly maintained and on for $1 a play. How many would you say you need to justify the income?

    $1.00 unless you fix the lock post and the one way gate before you route it because that's how much you'd probably get before it broke and jammed up the balls on you.

    I couldn't resist, and yes I know from personal experience.

    #9 8 months ago
    Quoted from CrazyLevi:

    I can see you haven’t put a lot of thought into this.
    You may “make” a few hundred bucks in a good month with your new pin. Divide that in half with the location.
    Most likely, that one game will make less money the next month, and less still the month after that as players tire of it and the game starts to get beat up.
    This is when you rotate a different game in there.
    So now you have two pins. And so on.
    I wouldn’t “operate” a single pin on anything other than a total lark.

    That's the type of answer I was looking for

    #10 8 months ago
    Quoted from freeplay3:

    Not much. I have a route. I do pinball because I love pinball. A good spot may do 3 or 4 hundred for a month or two, then the next big thing comes out and it's doing 80 bucks a month. Games like JP, SW, GB that are huge names will make money longer then something like IMDN. While IMDN is considered a great game by pinheads, you make your money on the casual player.

    Would you consider this your primary occupation or just a side gig? How many games do you have?

    #11 8 months ago

    $200 - $300 is about what Twd did per month at a local sports bar, Pre split.
    Only pin but they had pool and golden tee.

    #12 8 months ago
    Quoted from LesManley:

    $1.00 unless you fix the lock post and the one way gate before you route it because that's how much you'd probably get before it broke and jammed up the balls on you.
    I couldn't resist, and yes I know from personal experience.

    Ha, that's really too bad. Hopefully they fix their QC issues

    #13 8 months ago

    Really going to depend on the location traffic. I'd say if you had 1 pin in a brew pub, you might make $40 a month the first month. Split that with the location you made $20. By the end of the year you might make $10 a month after the split.

    Figure you're going to be replacing coil stops, flipper buttons, balls, cleaning, etc. So figure parts and time. Then a ball gets stuck, someone put a Canadian quarter through and jammed up the coin mechs. So now the game has been off for 2 weeks. You just made $5 that month.

    If you average even $25/mo after the split its going to take 200 months or 16.5 years to pay off the game.

    Good luck.

    #14 8 months ago
    Quoted from schudel5:

    Really going to depend on the location traffic. I'd say if you had 1 pin in a brew pub, you might make $40 a month the first month. Split that with the location you made $20. By the end of the year you might make $10 a month after the split.
    Figure you're going to be replacing coil stops, flipper buttons, balls, cleaning, etc. So figure parts and time. Then a ball gets stuck, someone put a Canadian quarter through and jammed up the coin mechs. So now the game has been off for 2 weeks. You just made $5 that month.
    If you average even $25/mo after the split its going to take 200 months or 16.5 years to pay off the game.
    Good luck.

    Your projection is that the operator will do $40.00 per month or 1.33 games per day in the best case scenario? What information do you base this opinion on? Are you running a route now?

    #15 8 months ago

    I'd route something other than Stranger Things Pro. I have no experience in routing but did not enjoy the pin. CGC remakes on the other hand, that would get my attention. Stern Deadpool Pro might do well. Real operator feedback here obviously would trump my opinion. I mean would impeach my opinion. Disclaimer. I am no hipster, just a suburban Dad.

    #16 8 months ago
    Quoted from cyberslunk:

    Would you consider this your primary occupation or just a side gig? How many games do you have?

    It's my company. Been routing games for a while now. Jukes are the money maker. I would never run a pinball in an establishment unless I have everything else...juke, atm, pool, etc.

    Like I said before, pins are a passion. Every bit of the business side says dont bother with them. Fortunately, because I love them, I have tinkered with them for years. I had a retail store selling pins before prices got crazy (sold tz for 1800, whirlwinds for 1100, basically a small fraction of current value back in the 90s.) Probably have my finger prints on close to 1000 pins out there. Now I do some flipping to pass the time.

    #17 8 months ago

    Today, Definately not like the say the 90s. It was quarter mania then. I would love to see a couple years like that for todays operators/ collectors. It takes alot longer to pay off the debt nowadays.

    #18 8 months ago
    Quoted from FlippinJimmy:

    Your projection is that the operator will do $40.00 per month or 1.33 games per day in the best case scenario? What information do you base this opinion on? Are you running a route now?

    I run 10 games at 2 locations. 1 location with 4 of my games and 8 of someone elses. This location does extremely well. It's a barcade with beer, food, kids area, darts and 2 pinball leagues.

    The other with 6 is at a movie theater and it doesn't do as well. No food, no beer, no league, etc. I've had months where CV made $8 the entire month. These are on $0.75 per game. The EM on $0.25 a game does almost as well as the DMD games.

    Now if you only have 1 game, it's going to get boring real fast and you won't keep any regular players. Just casual passerbys. I'm thinking $40 per month is generous. It's going to decline over time. I have to continually rotate games around. Some 6 months others can go a year.

    #19 8 months ago

    You've seen schudel5's figures. Only thing I'd add is manufacturers' warranties usually don't cover games being operated.

    Allow me to add. Will the location you seek allow one pin ? If an operator has equipment there already, he may not allow it.

    Then get your own insurance. Might be a one in a million shot. If someone gets hurt playing your game, kiss everything you own good bye.

    Then check into zoning ordinances, and what licenses you'll need.

    Do your home work. Best wishes.

    LTG : )
    Disclaimer : One pin or many games. You are an operator. On call 24/7. This could effect your holidays, vacations, and even dinner with the family.

    #20 8 months ago

    I currently have 4 pins out at a local brewery. The amount of money you could make would depend on many factors: How much you split with the location, how busy the location is, how many times will people want to play the same title? Lots of variables. You could definitely try it out and see how you enjoy being an operator. If you have any questions feel free to message me. I’ll be glad to help any way I can.

    #21 8 months ago
    Quoted from LTG:

    If someone gets hurt playing your game, kiss everything you own good bye.

    I'd be very curious to hear how people get injured while playing pinball. Not that I don't believe it could happen, the world is always made of unexpected stories, but I keep trying to picture how an accident could happen, aside from bad legs that could break, without seeing it.

    #22 8 months ago
    Quoted from adol75:

    I'd be very curious to hear how people get injured while playing pinball. Not that I don't believe it could happen, the world is always made of unexpected stories, but I keep trying to picture how an accident could happen, aside from bad legs that could break, without seeing it.

    Maybe accidentally break the glass?

    #23 8 months ago

    Kid playing with the cord. Something dropped or tossed on glass or backglass and someone gets cut. Some dummy loosens leg bolts ( competitor)?

    Stupidity finds a way.

    #24 8 months ago
    Quoted from adol75:

    I'd be very curious to hear how people get injured while playing pinball. Not that I don't believe it could happen, the world is always made of unexpected stories, but I keep trying to picture how an accident could happen, aside from bad legs that could break, without seeing it.

    In today's lawsuit happy world you can get sued for anything. If you forget to set metallica on family mode and it drops a few f bombs on an 8 year old, you can find yourself in trouble if the parents are looking to cash in. If you ever seen a modern golden tee it has warnings on screen not to hit ball with excessive force. That was due to guys breaking hands and trying to sue. Back to pinball, getting hurt on a pinball is hard to do. Maybe someone punching a backglass and getting there hand ripped up. No matter how they get hurt, it's going to cost a but load of cash just to get a lawyer to get the case dismissed.

    #25 8 months ago
    Quoted from freeplay3:

    ...My worst jukebox does more then my best pins.

    Damn, I need to put some jukes on route. Of course, none of mine are CD, just restored 50s Seeburgs, Wurlitzers, Rockola, and AMIs.

    #26 8 months ago
    Quoted from adol75:

    I'd be very curious to hear how people get injured while playing pinball.

    Ground fails and they get a shock. People f'ing around tip it over and crush a baby in a carriage. People pick it up to carry off to steal it and trip, damn, too bad you forgot that warning sign. Someone drains a ball and smashes the glass with their fist and cut themselves. Etc. Etc.

    Building burns down and people die in the fire. And the investigation leads back to your game as the cause.

    You could imagine many scenarios. And you only need one to ruin your life if you aren't covered.

    People die every year tipping vending machines over on themselves trying to unstick a product. My old roller towel in the bathroom had a guard on it because somewhere in the United States someone couldn't dry their hands with out slipping, falling, and hanging themself.

    Never under estimate what can happen once people are involved.

    LTG : )

    #27 8 months ago
    Quoted from CrazyLevi:

    I can see you haven’t put a lot of thought into this.
    You may “make” a few hundred bucks in a good month with your new pin. Divide that in half with the location.
    Most likely, that one game will make less money the next month, and less still the month after that as players tire of it and the game starts to get beat up.
    This is when you rotate a different game in there.
    So now you have two pins. And so on.
    I wouldn’t “operate” a single pin on anything other than a total lark.

    Then again the planet consists of more then New York and there's a lot of people out in the wild that'd get curious to see even one single pin - first time in decades.

    And the pin on location may belong to the owner of the bar himself, so there'd be no "split".
    That's more the rule here at least then the exception. If a bar here (rarely) has a pin it's usually just one machine.

    If they're good they have someone that sets it up for them and rotates it of course, but as said, that's the exception.

    So the correct answer, as always, is:
    It depends.

    #28 8 months ago
    Quoted from LTG:

    Ground fails and they get a shock. People f'ing around tip it over and crush a baby in a carriage. People pick it up to carry off to steal it and trip, damn, too bad you forgot that warning sign. Someone drains a ball and smashes the glass with their fist and cut themselves. Etc. Etc.
    Building burns down and people die in the fire. And the investigation leads back to your game as the cause.
    You could imagine many scenarios. And you only need one to ruin your life if you aren't covered.
    People die every year tipping vending machines over on themselves trying to unstick a product. My old roller towel in the bathroom had a guard on it because somewhere in the United States someone couldn't dry their hands with out slipping, falling, and hanging themself.
    Never under estimate what can happen once people are involved.
    LTG : )

    Always remember, there is the right way, wrong way and legal way. The legal way is usually the wrong way but costs you thousands in lawyer fees.

    #29 8 months ago
    Quoted from freeplay3:

    Always remember, there is the right way, wrong way and legal way. The legal way is usually the wrong way but costs you thousands in lawyer fees.

    So it's a great way!!!

    If you're a lawyer that is.

    #30 8 months ago

    Go to a real brick and mortar distributor and discuss entering the Operating business with them. Most of the sales guys worked in game /vending Operating at some point. Don't rely on the ones who primarily sell pins to hobbyists/collectors, they are valuable but cater to a different market and most don't have route operating experience.

    Alternately, call your state Operator's association and ask to attend a meeting and consider joining the association. Subscribe to RePlay Magazine. Read the articles, consider attending the annual industry trade show.

    This will help you decide if the business is right for you. Everyone who started a route placed a first machine into a location. Some may have had another three in their truck, but it all starts with one.

    #31 8 months ago
    Quoted from DS_Nadine:

    So it's a great way!!!
    If you're a lawyer that is.

    I actually met my lawyer because of pinball. He came in my shop and bought a bride of pinbot.

    #32 8 months ago
    Quoted from freeplay3:

    I actually met my lawyer because of pinball. He came in my shop and bought a bride of pinbot.

    That's a cool lawyer.

    I had to sell multiple machines to pay my *** ***** **** *******-lawyer!!!

    (Sadly not joking.)

    #33 8 months ago
    Quoted from LTG:

    Ground fails and they get a shock. People f'ing around tip it over and crush a baby in a carriage. People pick it up to carry off to steal it and trip, damn, too bad you forgot that warning sign. Someone drains a ball and smashes the glass with their fist and cut themselves. Etc. Etc.
    Building burns down and people die in the fire. And the investigation leads back to your game as the cause.
    You could imagine many scenarios. And you only need one to ruin your life if you aren't covered.
    People die every year tipping vending machines over on themselves trying to unstick a product. My old roller towel in the bathroom had a guard on it because somewhere in the United States someone couldn't dry their hands with out slipping, falling, and hanging themself.
    Never under estimate what can happen once people are involved.
    LTG : )

    Dayumm...that’s some dark shit right there Lloyd! Wow.

    #34 8 months ago
    Quoted from schudel5:

    I run 10 games at 2 locations. 1 location with 4 of my games and 8 of someone elses. This location does extremely well. It's a barcade with beer, food, kids area, darts and 2 pinball leagues.
    The other with 6 is at a movie theater and it doesn't do as well. No food, no beer, no league, etc. I've had months where CV made $8 the entire month. These are on $0.75 per game. The EM on $0.25 a game does almost as well as the DMD games.
    Now if you only have 1 game, it's going to get boring real fast and you won't keep any regular players. Just casual passerbys. I'm thinking $40 per month is generous. It's going to decline over time. I have to continually rotate games around. Some 6 months others can go a year.

    If CV= Circus Voltaire and it only makes $8.00 a month then I wouldn't even allow it to stay on route. That's 11 plays a month. After the split, parts, insurance and permits I'm guessing it costs you money to keep it there. Seems like a lot of risk to have it on route for so little return.

    I have never found a game that didn't take at least five bucks of mine at a time unless it was in really bad shape. It's really sad to hear how little interest/profit there is in Pinball for most places.

    #35 8 months ago
    Quoted from CrazyLevi:

    I can see you haven’t put a lot of thought into this.
    You may “make” a few hundred bucks in a good month with your new pin. Divide that in half with the location.
    Most likely, that one game will make less money the next month, and less still the month after that as players tire of it and the game starts to get beat up.
    This is when you rotate a different game in there.
    So now you have two pins. And so on.
    I wouldn’t “operate” a single pin on anything other than a total lark.

    Now how about 20 pins, well maintained and dropped in a college town micro brewery?

    #36 8 months ago
    Quoted from FlippinJimmy:

    If CV= Circus Voltaire and it only makes $8.00 a month then I wouldn't even allow it to stay on route. That's 11 plays a month. After the split, parts, insurance and permits I'm guessing it costs you money to keep it there. Seems like a lot of risk to have it on route for so little return.
    I have never found a game that didn't take at least five bucks of mine at a time unless it was in really bad shape. It's really sad to hear how little interest/profit there is in Pinball for most places.

    Well in places like a movie theater you're there for a reason (wich isn't to play pinball), not too much time before the movie starts and when it's over, well... you're usually not alone when going to the cinema, so you won't keep the others waiting.

    It's just not the ideal Location (depending on the cinema as well, of course).

    #37 8 months ago

    I once had 2 pins (TWD & GB Pro, both like new) in a nice bar in a college and adult party town, the earnings were going to take 10 years to pay them off.

    #38 8 months ago

    Trolled defcon 4.

    #39 8 months ago

    HOw MuCh wOuOLD mY GaLAga mAkE duDe

    #40 8 months ago
    Quoted from herbertbsharp:

    I once had 2 pins (TWD & GB Pro, both like new) in a nice bar in a college and adult party town, the earnings were going to take 10 years to pay them off.

    Both are games that sell used at a fair Price tough, so you can possibly make a profit if you take resell value into account.

    #41 8 months ago
    Quoted from LTG:

    Ground fails and they get a shock. People f'ing around tip it over and crush a baby in a carriage. People pick it up to carry off to steal it and trip, damn, too bad you forgot that warning sign. Someone drains a ball and smashes the glass with their fist and cut themselves. Etc. Etc.
    Building burns down and people die in the fire. And the investigation leads back to your game as the cause.
    You could imagine many scenarios. And you only need one to ruin your life if you aren't covered.
    People die every year tipping vending machines over on themselves trying to unstick a product. My old roller towel in the bathroom had a guard on it because somewhere in the United States someone couldn't dry their hands with out slipping, falling, and hanging themself.
    Never under estimate what can happen once people are involved.
    LTG : )

    Classic Lloyd potential op reality check rant. I remember these from the RGP days and this stuff always gets repeated by me when a friend decides he or she wants to route.

    Hey Lloyd how about one of those electric horse coin op rides?

    #42 8 months ago
    Quoted from DS_Nadine:

    Both are games that sell used at a fair Price tough, so you can possibly make a profit if you take resell value into account.

    Profit or not, $10/week ain't worth it

    #43 8 months ago
    Quoted from herbertbsharp:

    Profit or not, $10/week ain't worth it

    Yeah, if you take everythin into account (like the electric bill) it's loves labor lost.

    #44 8 months ago
    Quoted from FlippinJimmy:

    If CV= Circus Voltaire and it only makes $8.00 a month then I wouldn't even allow it to stay on route. That's 11 plays a month. After the split, parts, insurance and permits I'm guessing it costs you money to keep it there. Seems like a lot of risk to have it on route for so little return.
    I have never found a game that didn't take at least five bucks of mine at a time unless it was in really bad shape. It's really sad to hear how little interest/profit there is in Pinball for most places.

    That was the worst month I used as an example. Kids in school, parents back to work less traffic. Nice summer days, kids out of school and everyone gone on vacation. Middle of winter, bad storms nobody heading out. Sometimes I can't figure it out. One month $8 the next $55. ACDC up, CV down it's weird.

    I don't worry too much about it as it's still making me money and I don't have room for them at home anyways.

    #45 8 months ago
    Quoted from CrazyLevi:

    Hey Lloyd how about one of those electric horse coin op rides?

    A kid would never try standing on one of those and fly off and crack his noggin. In the 1980's I was thinking of picking up a Sandy Horse or Bally horse ride and park it out front of my business in the summer. More of an attraction to my business than a great source of income. Until at one of the shopping centers I saw a lady holding a very young child on one and she lost her grip or something and the kid slid off. I don't think anything came of it. Other than me thinking this isn't the best of ideas for me.

    Around 1950 in St. Paul a child was electrocuted on one of those ferris wheel rides. Kind of a seat that went around in a circle against an upright stand. That gave rise to cities being sure electrical coin op stuff being grounded.

    I'm not trying to scare off people from being operators. I'm trying to tell them to learn all they can and to protect themselves. So they have the best chance at success and don't risk losing all their stuff.

    LTG : )

    #46 8 months ago
    Quoted from ChiTownPinHead:

    Now how about 20 pins, well maintained and dropped in a college town micro brewery?

    You don't know until you try. Could be highly profitable. Could lose money.

    Welcome to the wonderful world of being an operator. It is a constant learning experience. And not guaranteed riches.

    And coin op is kind of a dead industry. Maybe 20 or 30 operators left in Minnesota. Not that many years ago there were a couple hundred in Minneapolis alone. Must be a good reason for that.

    LTG : )

    #47 8 months ago
    Quoted from DS_Nadine:

    so you can possibly make a profit if you take resell value into account.

    Assuming a routed pin has resale value. It is nice. But I wouldn't depend on it.

    LTG : )

    #48 8 months ago
    Quoted from Gryszzz:

    HOw MuCh wOuOLD mY GaLAga mAkE duDe

    Haha

    #49 8 months ago

    Since it appears you want to operate a pinball machine or two, let's look at the options available to you:

    Option A - Buy an expensive pinball machine, put it out on location and pray you make enough to payback the electricity it consumes annually.

    Option B - Just give me half the money you were going to spend on a pinball machine, we'll go out back, I'll kick you in the nuts and we'll call it a day?

    #50 8 months ago

    I'd love to operate a pin. Sounds like fun as long as it's close to home and not trashed by customers.

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