(Topic ID: 222576)

Finally have some pins on location....

By Coz

3 years ago


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  • 128 posts
  • 55 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 2 years ago by JohnnyPinball007
  • Topic is favorited by 12 Pinsiders

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    Topic poll

    “Should I open my own arcade?”

    • Yes! Go for it! 62 votes
      69%
    • No! You’ll fail 28 votes
      31%

    (90 votes)

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    There are 128 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 3.
    #1 3 years ago

    I’ve been a huge fan of gaming and pinball my whole life. I’d love to turn this into something bigger and provide a place for others to enjoy pinball and arcade games. This would not be my full time job and plan to only be open limited hours a few days a week. I also live in a smaller city with no other gaming or pinball options. The closest place to play pinball is 30 miles away. I’m looking for advice and opinions on opening something on a smaller scale that has the potential to grow. Rent and utilities aren’t too expensive and I plan on putting my collection of pins and games in to start. This arcade will also provide other things such as skee ball, foosball, pool tables and driving games to appeal to casual fans. Any advice and input is appreciated!

    11
    #2 3 years ago

    How small is this smaller city ? I ask because if there are no other alternatives, there might be a reason. Like the area won't support it.

    Really do your home work. And best wishes.

    LTG : )

    10
    #3 3 years ago

    Count on it taking at least 2x longer, being at least 2x harder and 2x more expensive than even your most elaborate estimates. And then you gotta run the place. It will test your love of gaming and it will probably win. Best of luck.

    #4 3 years ago
    Quoted from LTG:

    How small is this smaller city ? I ask because if there are no other alternatives, there might be a reason. Like the area won't support it.
    LTG : )

    There’s approximately 100,000 in the area. Closest arcade is uptown pinball in Martinsville VA, which is a smaller city and it’s doing great.

    #5 3 years ago

    One thing to consider. While weighing all your options. The amount of time you'll need for this. Is a lot of time spent away from your family.

    Is that worth it ?

    LTG : )

    #6 3 years ago
    Quoted from sethington:

    Count on it taking at least 2x longer, being at least 2x harder and 2x more expensive than even your most elaborate estimates. And then you gotta run the place. It will test your love of gaming and it will probably win. Best of luck.

    You’re probably correct! I do have help and potential partners what will provide their pins/games as well. Also the location will be half a mile from my home

    #7 3 years ago

    What you want is a monetized man cave. A bar that has all your toys and sells enough booze to enough locals to cover costs. But drunks and alcohol can get annoying so...

    If you are wealthy enough that making money doesn’t matter than going the non-profit museum style might work fine too. You wouldn’t need the liquor license or the alcoholics to stay in business.

    #8 3 years ago
    Quoted from Coz:

    I do have help and potential partners

    You keep adding parts to this.

    How dedicated are they ? I've found most are good with ideas or offers of help. But once work commences they often disappear or prime time hours like dinner with the family, their needs come first. You'll be stuck with the crappy hours and dirty work.

    LTG : )

    #9 3 years ago

    Well, I enjoy VIR, so next time I'm there I'll stop in and donate some quarters.

    Maybe more of a co-op to start? Doesn't The Sanctum run that way? I believe members have open access, and the public has Monday nights. But check with them because I'm purely guessing.

    #10 3 years ago
    Quoted from LTG:

    You keep adding parts to this.
    How dedicated are they ? I've found most are good with ideas or offers of help. But once work commences they often disappear or prime time hours like dinner with the family, their needs come first. You'll be stuck with the crappy hours and dirty work.
    LTG : )

    That’s true, I would be looking at at least 15- 20 hours a week starting out. The arcade would possibly be open on Friday night, Saturday night and Sunday afternoon That’s would give me some nights at home, also it’s a half mile from my house, so my kids could come hang out too. Also since this is in the beginning phase, things will change. I have a fellow collector that has offered up some of his collection to help fill the arcade. My biggest question is whether to offer free play or the coin/token route.

    #11 3 years ago
    Quoted from RonSS:

    Well, I enjoy VIR, so next time I'm there I'll stop in and donate some quarters.
    Maybe more of a co-op to start? Doesn't The Sanctum run that way? I believe members have open access, and the public has Monday nights. But check with them because I'm purely guessing.

    I love VIR, it’s awesome to be so close to a world class racetrack! It’s a fun track to drive on too. I’ve never heard of the sanctum, don’t think it’s near me. Closest arcades to me are Uptown Pinball in Martinsville Va and Boxcar bar arcade in Greensboro NC. I’m debating whether to go full free play pay per day or coin/token

    #12 3 years ago

    The Sanctum is in Connecticut but posters on Pinside are active with it.

    http://www.myrecordjournal.com/News/Lifestyle/Features/Out-and-about-at-The-Sanctum-in-Meriden.html#ath

    #13 3 years ago

    Richmond pinball collective is like that I think. All the pins are owned any maintained by the owners and only open a few nights a week. I stopped by there a couple times and it seemed like a good setup

    #14 3 years ago

    Go for it.
    I would rather fail trying to do something than to never have tried at all.
    You are keeping your full time job so you will not be using the money( profit ) from this venture to survive in life. That makes a big difference.
    -Mike
    -Mike

    #15 3 years ago

    There is a place near me called The Arcade located in Brighton,MI. They have similar hours to what you mention and go on free play with a flat fee to enter. I personally like the flat fee over the coins. Maybe you can check out their website/info.

    #16 3 years ago

    I say go for it but check out the zoning and liquor laws first.

    #17 3 years ago
    Quoted from cjmjmm2006:

    I say go for it but check out the zoning and liquor laws first.

    Already spoke with the vice mayor and I’m meeting with the economic Development group tomorrow. There do not seem to be any weird laws in reference to pinball or arcades. Also this is all in the planning stage. Things can and will change along the way

    #18 3 years ago
    Quoted from Atrain:

    There is a place near me called The Arcade located in Brighton,MI. They have similar hours to what you mention and go on free play with a flat fee to enter. I personally like the flat fee over the coins. Maybe you can check out their website/info.

    Sounds just like uptown pinball, they have been very profitable and have had over 17000 guests in a year

    #19 3 years ago
    Quoted from Grizlyrig:

    Go for it.
    I would rather fail trying to do something than to never have tried at all.
    You are keeping your full time job so you will not be using the money( profit ) from this venture to survive in life. That makes a big difference.
    -Mike
    -Mike

    Yes! My thoughts exactly. I have a great full time job, this is just a way to provide smiles and fun to our area and provide a service not currently offered locally. Worst case scenario I’m out rent money if I sign a one year lease and the business fails and I bring all my games back to the basement

    #20 3 years ago
    Quoted from Coz:

    Already spoke with the vice mayor and I’m meeting with the economic Development group tomorrow. There do not seem to be any weird laws in reference to pinball or arcades. Also this is all in the planning stage. Things can and will change along the way

    Great job on the first steps. Good luck with this. It is a lot of hard work but I think it can succeed if you put in the time.

    #21 3 years ago
    Quoted from Coz:

    That’s true, I would be looking at at least 15- 20 hours a week starting out. The arcade would possibly be open on Friday night, Saturday night and Sunday afternoon That’s would give me some nights at home, also it’s a half mile from my house, so my kids could come hang out too. Also since this is in the beginning phase, things will change. I have a fellow collector that has offered up some of his collection to help fill the arcade. My biggest question is whether to offer free play or the coin/token route.

    I don't see any time set aside for repairs.

    #22 3 years ago
    Quoted from stevevt:

    I don't see any time set aside for repairs.

    Great point- Im off a few days a week and I have a couple of potential guys to help with repair. I know repairs will be something that comes with the job

    #23 3 years ago

    So your going to do this in Danville?
    I spent some time as a kid there. I was 10 and lived in Grove Park. Fond memories. Good luck with it. If you get her up and running I will try and stop in when I am in Raliegh.

    #24 3 years ago

    Go for it Coz! You've got a great sense of humor and that can carry ya a long way in life.
    Best of luck bub.

    #25 3 years ago
    Quoted from whthrs166:

    So your going to do this in Danville?
    I spent some time as a kid there. I was 10 and lived in Grove Park. Fond memories. Good luck with it. If you get her up and running I will try and stop in when I am in Raliegh.

    I live over by grove park in the newer section of town and the potential arcade would be at the southwyck shopping center beside food lion and multiple restaurants and shops.

    #26 3 years ago

    Wish you all the best with this!

    Please keep us all posted as you do more research, find out more and progress with this venture.

    #27 3 years ago

    I know this dude that was just trying something similar. name on here was Otaku or something like that. I hear if you whine a lot and expect everyone else to fund your dream you'll be an Internet rockstar.

    jokes aside. good luck to you. I've seen 2 models. first is free entry pay for beer. pins on 50 cents or a buck per play. 16 bit arcade in ohio. seem to be doing well. have been opened quite a while.

    2nd is a pool hall near my house. 60 ish pins. anything new is a buck per play some older titles are 3 plays for 2 bucks. have billiards, darts, a full bar,and a handful of arcades. run a pinball league all year round have machines on route in bars in the area and also seem to be doing ok.

    if you're keeping your reg gig and think you'll pull enough people why not give it a go. just be smart. set up a llc so if it takes a shit your personal stuff ain't on the line ( hpuse, cars, etc). talk to a lawyer for a hr. the money would be well spent.

    #28 3 years ago

    I vote you call it "Cozcade"!

    #29 3 years ago
    Quoted from Only_Pinball:

    I vote you call it "Cozcade"!

    Sounds good to me, not sure how the general public would respond. Definitely need to have a catchy easy to remember name.

    #30 3 years ago

    Get some shuffle alley action going man!

    #31 3 years ago
    Quoted from gmkalos:

    Get some shuffle alley action going man!

    Any there other games or machines you’d recommend?

    #32 3 years ago

    Oldie but a goodie "the Pinball Parlor"

    #33 3 years ago

    Or how about "Pinball Point"

    #34 3 years ago

    I've heard from very successful operators around here, if you want to make money in the arcade biz you need coin pushers, claw machines and retro mainstream arcades (early 80's) those are what sucks in the quarters. Oh and some swear air hockey is the ticket!

    #35 3 years ago
    Quoted from Coz:

    Sounds good to me, not sure how the general public would respond. Definitely need to have a catchy easy to remember name.

    Oh that's easy...tournaments! Just make sure i get a regular cut of the profits! best of luck !

    #36 3 years ago
    Quoted from gmkalos:

    I've heard from very successful operators around here, if you want to make money in the arcade biz you need coin pushers, claw machines and retro mainstream arcades (early 80's) those are what sucks in the quarters. Oh and some swear air hockey is the ticket!

    Definitely would like to have a claw machine, skeeball and air hockey! What else do you recommend?

    #37 3 years ago

    I did the exact same thing in Dec. A learning experience for sure, but well worth it.

    #38 3 years ago
    Quoted from Aflacjack:

    I did the exact same thing in Dec. A learning experience for sure, but well worth it.

    So, how it it working out? Feel free to pm me, I’d love to talk.

    #39 3 years ago
    Quoted from Coz:

    So, how it it working out? Feel free to pm me, I’d love to talk.

    Pm sent

    #40 3 years ago

    I started a pinball operator business because it was my dream. I don’t expect to make much, haven’t made a quarter yet, but I’m glad I did start my own biz.

    Follow your heart.

    Pinsiders have given me some good advice. You might find some good tips here about how best to start your business:

    https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/a-pecos-diary-my-journey-to-pinball-operator

    Best wishes and, most importantly, have fun!

    #41 3 years ago
    Quoted from Pecos:

    I started a pinball operator business because it was my dream. I don’t expect to make much, haven’t made a quarter yet, but I’m glad I did start my own biz.
    Follow your heart.
    Pinsiders have given me some good advice. You might find some good tips here about how best to start your business:
    https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/a-pecos-diary-my-journey-to-pinball-operator
    Best wishes and, most importantly, have fun!

    I live vicariously through Peco's thread.

    #42 3 years ago
    Quoted from Coz:

    I live over by grove park in the newer section of town and the potential arcade would be at the southwyck shopping center beside food lion and multiple restaurants and shops.

    Heck thats near my old stompin grounds!

    #43 3 years ago

    Great advice!! Thanks for the input and ideas so far

    #44 3 years ago

    If it’s your dream then pursue it, I love to see new locations open up, but it sounds like you still have some questions that need to be answered. If you run this like a part time hobby then it’s probably not going to be around very long. It needs to be run as a business and you need to have a business plan or it’s just going to keep bleeding money out of you. Best of luck!

    #45 3 years ago
    Quoted from Coz:

    Definitely would like to have a claw machine, skeeball and air hockey! What else do you recommend?

    Those games where you pin the tail on the donkey and win an ipod.

    #46 3 years ago

    So here is my basic advice:

    Do what you want to do and will bring you joy and meaning.

    BUT realize:

    1. It will take more money than you think it will.
    2. It will take more time than you think it will.
    3. It will become more of a burden on you than you can possibly imagine right now until it is entirely financially self sufficient (years).
    4. You will constantly be pressed to spend more time doing other things that actually make money other than being at your arcade.
    5. Your family will wonder why Dad can’t come along for (insert event).
    6. You will constantly be dealing with repairs, expensive repairs that will additionally suck your time away and cause you headaches because you don’t want to be THAT arcade that has half the games down.

    If ALL OF THAT doesn’t scare you off, then yes you should run an arcade. I still run an arcade (just barely) even though I am a surgeon, run a full time research lab, run a startup medical imaging company, and have a family I want to spend lots of time with. It’s either a calling or it’s not. If it’s not a calling and you can’t float the cash outlay to do it, don’t do it. Just remember there is an opportunity and financial cost to everything you do and at this point you commodity likely in shortest supply is your time. Just be sure that’s how you want to truly spend your time

    #47 3 years ago
    Quoted from pookycade:

    So here is my basic advice:
    Do what you want to do and will bring you joy and meaning.
    BUT realize:
    1. It will take more money than you think it will.
    2. It will take more time than you think it will.
    3. It will become more of a burden on you than you can possibly imagine right now until it is entirely financially self sufficient (years).
    4. You will constantly be pressed to spend more time doing other things that actually make money other than being at your arcade.
    5. Your family will wonder why Dad can’t come along for (insert event).
    6. You will constantly be dealing with repairs, expensive repairs that will additionally suck your time away and cause you headaches because you don’t want to be THAT arcade that has half the games down.
    If ALL OF THAT doesn’t scare you off, then yes you should run an arcade. I still run an arcade (just barely) even though I am a surgeon, run a full time research lab, run a startup medical imaging company, and have a family I want to spend lots of time with. It’s either a calling or it’s not. If it’s not a calling and you can’t float the cash outlay to do it, don’t do it. Just remember there is an opportunity and financial cost to everything you do and at this point you commodity likely in shortest supply is your time. Just be sure that’s how you want to truly spend your time

    Great advice. Definitely have to look into all aspects of opening my own arcade. It’s not going to be my full time job either, but will require lots of work. I’m looking to add a few friends and family to help me out. It’s a work in progress

    #48 3 years ago

    How many pins do you plan on having? Old, new?

    #49 3 years ago
    Quoted from Coz:

    Any there other games or machines you’d recommend?

    Might be good to try your hand at operating, find a location or two first and add some stuff. Try to build a rep and find a following that way first, before going all in.
    This would give you more time to find out what your demographic is, and what game types you'll need sustain your location.
    What might work in New York or Idaho might not work for you.

    #50 3 years ago

    Here is some basic info that I wish I was told before I opened my first business. I’ve had two others since then. I’m not trying to discourage just tell the facts. I fully support anyone that want to follow their dream.

    First of all, know that there are certain things that will cost you 24/7 such as rent, utilities, banking fees and insurance. No matter how many hours you decide to be opened. Startup costs include construction cost which can be as little as sweeping it out or you may need at the least an electrician to wire for a bunch of games.
    Licenses such as state, county and city. Signage can be expensive if the owner requires channel letters like in a strip mail. A lease will most likely need to be personally guaranteed. And you may have a minimum time frame, usually 3 years. That means if you decide to close after say after a year you would have to come up with the money for the remainder of the lease. Don’t forget advertising. Word of mouth only goes so far.

    You will need to know accounting unless you have a bookkeeper. You will have monthly/quarterly/annually reports for all the entities. Everybody has their hand out.
    Insurance is a must. What if some breaks the glass and cuts their hand. Slip and falls. Break-ins and they took a hammer to the coin doors.

    Believe me there are many more.

    Again, I’m not trying to discourage but you need to have both eyes open. If you are doing this alone think about who will work when you get sick or have a family matter or just a vacation.

    Wish you the best of luck.

    There are 128 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 3.

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