(Topic ID: 222576)

Finally have some pins on location....

By Coz

3 years ago


Topic Heartbeat

Topic Stats

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

You

Linked Games

No games have been linked to this topic.

    Topic poll

    “Should I open my own arcade?”

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

    (90 votes)

    Topic Gallery

    View topic image gallery

    CA753B60-EC26-4C21-8724-B56022CD911E (resized).jpeg
    40951FA6-7936-4CB1-B4FC-1BB2F41794A6 (resized).jpeg
    4C1267AA-DCE5-4EB4-A4AD-BA5E04CC5254 (resized).jpeg
    BD8B34B8-08D8-4D62-B947-23B54EC02E32 (resized).jpeg
    cozcade01 (resized).jpg

    There are 128 posts in this topic. You are on page 2 of 3.
    #51 3 years ago
    Quoted from Coz:

    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

    Unless you are very comfortable financially, I would strongly advise against it.

    I'm very good friends with one of the largest operators in NJ and he considers breaking even to be a success. He only does it for the love of the games and he can afford to subsidize all expenses whenever need be.

    #52 3 years ago
    Quoted from Only_Pinball:

    I vote you call it "Cozcade".

    conjures up this image

    cozcade01 (resized).jpg
    #53 3 years ago

    I met with multiple local officials this morning to discuss the arcade. All things are in place to open a commercial indoor recreation facility. A few legal fees, licenses and rent is all in need to finalize. Definitely doing all my homework and due diligence to make sure this can work. Thanks for all the advice and opinions so far

    #54 3 years ago

    Running your own show can be both very rewarding and very frustrating. . . sometimes at the same time!

    As long as you are getting enjoyment out of the time, money, and work spent on your goal keep at it. Once it becomes a burden and should it start to lessen your love of pinball then it might be time to think of other options.

    Best luck with the project and hope to hear good things moving forward.

    #55 3 years ago
    Quoted from pookycade:

    1. It will take more money than you think it will.

    Think about how much you think you might spend. Then triple it.

    Quoted from pookycade:

    2. It will take more time than you think it will.

    Think about how much time you'll think you'll spend on it. Then triple that as well.

    Quoted from pookycade:

    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).

    If you don't have supplemental income to help support yourself and the business, plan to eat a lot of PB&J's for the next few years.

    Quoted from pookycade:

    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.

    You'll also have to keep thousands of dollars of tools, supplies, and parts in stock. A game that isn't earning is a waste of space (and rent).

    Quoted from avspin:

    Startup costs

    Set aside at least $5k for all the miscellaneous startup costs, fees, insurance, etc.

    Plan to set aside enough to cover 30-90 days of expenses, including payroll.

    There are a lot of expenses involved before even getting to the fun stuff of a business.

    Talk to a lawyer to help set up some of the legal stuff.

    Setting up an LLC will help protect you in case the business gets sued or goes bankrupt.

    With an arcade, plan to do a lot of redemption games. Non-redemption games don't earn a whole lot. Think about how you want to handle tickets and prizes, and how much that will cost, and how to balance that against earnings so that you're still making money.

    Try to focus on games that people wouldn't really have access to at home. Or, familiar games, but giant size. Also, people seem to like bowling games and carnival-style games (at least in my area).

    Good luck

    #56 3 years ago
    Quoted from Coz:

    Definitely doing all my homework and due diligence to make sure this can work.

    I love business plans. I've killed a lot of ideas because I couldn't make them work on paper.

    This has to make money, otherwise it will become the worst job in the world.

    I'm a big fan of "Bar Rescue". There are countless episodes where someone opened the bar because they like bars, and it became the worst decision they ever made. Jon Taffer will tell them if you like bars, then make your ultimate bar in your basement, and have buddies come over, and don't have the actual business kill you.

    That quote literally inspired me to create my basement arcade that looks just like my version of a real business, but isn't.

    #57 3 years ago

    At least have some vintage games. Nothing worse to go to an arcade see a line up of shitty new games.

    #58 3 years ago
    Quoted from ForceFlow:

    Think about how much you think you might spend. Then triple it.

    I applied this "triple it" rule to a new business investment, and it is saving my ass. Of course the costs have spiraled out of control, but I steeled myself for triple so it's under budget. And the investment works at "triple it", and if it didn't, I wouldn't have done it.

    #59 3 years ago
    Quoted from pinkid:

    Nothing worse to go to an arcade see a line up of shitty new games.

    Sad looking old beat-up and routed ones are usually more of a turn-off than brand new games.

    #60 3 years ago
    Quoted from ForceFlow:

    Sad looking old beat-up and routed ones are usually more of a turn-off than brand new games.

    And it takes a lot more time to keep them running.

    #61 3 years ago
    Quoted from stevevt:

    And it takes a lot more time to keep them running.

    Eventually, it comes to a point where you might be pouring more into repair a game than it's actually earning, so you always have to keep an eye on how games are doing.

    I would also avoid games on the cutting edge that have just been released unless you're prepared to be a beta tester. That can be frustrating as well, and can take time, effort, and lose on potential earnings if the game is down due to a manufacturer issue or bug.

    #62 3 years ago
    Quoted from pinkid:

    At least have some vintage games. Nothing worse to go to an arcade see a line up of shitty new games.

    At least have games that earn. Old or not. Get rid of dead weight.

    Quoted from ForceFlow:

    Plan to set aside enough to cover 30-90 days of expenses, including payroll.

    A year worth of money is better. What happens if they redo the road by you and people can't get to you for half a year ? Takes time to rebuild when things happen beyond your control.

    LTG : )

    #63 3 years ago

    When I first came to Pinside, there was a thread like this, and Lloyd was there, and I immediately thought "wow, this guy is too negative for me" but then I realized he was trying to save people a lot of pain.

    I really appreciate what you bring to the conversation, Lloyd. You are the real deal.

    #64 3 years ago
    Quoted from LTG:

    A year worth of money is better.

    Better from a safety net perspective, yes.

    However--that's also money that's just sitting there that you can otherwise put into the business or seriously invest elsewhere.

    Quoted from LTG:

    What happens if they redo the road by you and people can't get to you for half a year ?

    Set up a lunch & lemonade stand for the road workers

    #65 3 years ago
    Quoted from ForceFlow:

    Set up a lunch & lemonade stand for the road workers

    Too funny. Bad this is a half mile away your customers are stopped and can't get to you.

    When there is a fire up at the town homes south of me. I've let the firemen know they can use my bathroom and I'll buy them pop.

    When there is work done on the building or parking lot, I let the workers know they can use my bathroom.

    Most of the surrounding businesses won't let others use their restrooms.

    LTG : )

    -2
    #66 3 years ago

    Set up two corporations, one that owns the arcade (Arcade Corp), and another that owns the pinball machines (Pinball Corp).

    Pinball Corp buys a crap load of pinball machines on credit
    Pinball Corp leases those machines to Arcade Corp (1 year lease to own at $10/month)
    After 1 year, Arcade Corp owns all the machines, and Pinball Corp is no longer able to bring in any money, so Pinball Corp goes bankrupt.

    Pinball Corp has no assets, so creditors are left with nothing while Arcade Corp ends up with all the machines for $120 each.

    All joking aside... you would be able to depreciate the machines over probably 7 years or so which does give you a pretty good tax advantage.

    #67 3 years ago

    I'm surprised no one has mentioned about the horrific things people do to your games. Someone tried to pry open the coin doors on free play games and even stole the toilet paper holder at our local arcade. People will carve their names,play with dirty hands and the maintenance to keep pins going can be a lot of money and time.

    #68 3 years ago
    Quoted from Buzz:

    I'm surprised no one has mentioned about the horrific things people do to your games. Someone tried to pry open the coin doors on free play games and even stole the toilet paper holder at our local arcade. People will carve their names,play with dirty hands and the maintenance to keep pins going can be a lot of money and time.

    Yeah, you can forget about HUO games staying in HUO condition. The public can be rough on equipment.

    I've seen a couple pinball museums that give the public access to a large portion of the games, but then have a VIP membership of some sort to have access to a quieter area with nicer games.

    #69 3 years ago

    I think you have to keep a good rotation of games or things get stale and people stop coming and that adds up as well. I think the world needs more locations and applaud anyone who is strong enough to do it. Best of luck

    #70 3 years ago
    Quoted from Buzz:

    stole the toilet paper holder at our local arcade.

    I gave up on a mirror in the bathroom. People scratching initials into it, or even stealing it.

    I figure if they need a mirror that bad, they can have it.

    LTG : )

    #71 3 years ago

    I always thought I wanted to open an arcade too. Until a friend did. I'm to emotionally attached to all my games for that. In fact I feel bad when I see the couple of pins I've sold him after the public gets a hold of them. I went the Frolic route and that can be to much work sometimes. LOL

    #72 3 years ago
    Quoted from Coz:

    Also the location will be half a mile from my home

    This was the big thing for me. My locations are 1 mile from my home. If I had to drive a long distance and sit in traffic to fix things and collect quarters I wouldn't still be doing it.

    The counter argument is that since they're close you can't get away from the business, but I find that isn't the case. I'd rather be able to run in and take care of something simple in 10-15 minutes total rather than letting everything pile up, and then make a trip that involves a a 30+ minute drive each way, and then spend hours fixing all the crap that broke over the last week or two.

    I've written on this subject a lot in the past so I'm not going to rehash things. But one thing I'll reiterate is some pinball advice. If you run pins, and you have a little issue that crops up every once in a while and makes you have to remove the glass or stop a game, FIX IT! It may only happen once every few weeks or once a month at home, but on location it will end up happening EVERY DAY. Take the time to get rid of these little issues and figure them out before you put the game out on location. Otherwise you'll end up with it down or trying to fix it when people are at the location bugging you.

    Okay, I said I'd keep it short but that's not happening. Another thing is try to get all your repairs, maintenance, and collections done before you open and people are in the business. Otherwise you'll have customers and kids bugging you the entire time you're working and messing with your stuff. Don't get me wrong, it is often nice to talk with people about pinball and the games, but a lot of times you just want to get the damn thing fixed. I'd rather have those conversations when it is convenient for me and when I can devote time to the answers and enjoy the interaction.

    #73 3 years ago

    What's your goal here? A place for you and your friends to play games or a place to make money from games?

    - Maybe take the funds you're thinking about spending on an arcade and build your personal collection. Have regular parties with friends.
    - Rent or Buy a space for a games/event center. You can rent out for private parties to supplement fixed costs. That way you're open by appointment only.
    - Consider becoming an operator and place games at an existing location near you.
    Just a few thoughts in alternative to an arcade.

    #74 3 years ago

    Make it your business and risk losing your love for the hobby.
    Plus, employees can be more trouble than you think. I know from experience, and won't do that again.

    #75 3 years ago
    Quoted from brenna98:

    What's your goal here? A place for you and your friends to play games or a place to make money from games?
    - Maybe take the funds you're thinking about spending on an arcade and build your personal collection. Have regular parties with friends.
    - Rent or Buy a space for a games/event center. You can rent out for private parties to supplement fixed costs. That way you're open by appointment only.
    - Consider becoming an operator and place games at an existing location near you.
    Just a few thoughts in alternative to an arcade.

    You could try doing a yearly show instead of a coin op business. That is more or less satisfying my itch for now.

    Granted, you would need to find the right space for it that can provide enough electrical circuits and one that wouldn't charge a small fortune to rent.

    #76 3 years ago
    Quoted from Coz:

    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!

    A guy near me did it last year, he’s still open and doing well in a lower income part of town too.

    https://www.mysticpinball.com/

    #77 3 years ago
    Quoted from ForceFlow:

    Eventually, it comes to a point where you might be pouring more into repair a game than it's actually earning, so you always have to keep an eye on how games are doing.
    I would also avoid games on the cutting edge that have just been released unless you're prepared to be a beta tester. That can be frustrating as well, and can take time, effort, and lose on potential earnings if the game is down due to a manufacturer issue or bug.

    I was there for Dragon's Lair, M*A*C*H*3 and Astron Belt.

    #78 3 years ago

    There is also a local brewery that may be interested in having some pins on location. What is the normal split with an operator and the location? Instead of owning my on shop, This is one potential option to make pinball available downtown.

    #79 3 years ago
    Quoted from Coz:

    There is also a local brewery that may be interested in having some pins on location. What is the normal split with an operator and the location? Instead of owning my on shop, This is one potential option to make pinball available downtown.

    Why choose, do both.
    I have about half of my locations on a 100% split, other half is 75% and 2 are 60%(top locations), it all depends on you and the owner/manager.
    If people are asking you what it costs them to put a pin in their location you know you are good.This is quite different than it was in the old days where 50/50 was the norm.
    I operate 30 games, old and new, and have very little downtime or problems.
    What is the hardest part for me is to keep coming up with shopped games, i need to rotate games much faster than in the old days.
    3 month is about the time a game lasts until players get tired of it, that used to be 6 month.

    #80 3 years ago

    My only advice is to remember that the name "Gay Museum" is already taken.

    Good luck with whatever route you decide to take.

    #81 3 years ago
    Quoted from cudabee:

    Why choose, do both.

    A couple of the arcade owners I know also have games out on location. The games occasionally get rotated around to keep things earning.

    #82 3 years ago

    I think your head is probably spinning Coz! So many ideas and ways to go about this. It's entirely up to you but an arcade is gonna be a lot of work right off the bat. You might want to test the waters first by putting some pins on location before you take a financial risk.

    #83 3 years ago

    Looking forward to checking out the next VA location!! Good luck!

    I'd try to talk to Paul of Paul's Pinball Palace and some of the people from RPC. Two different but similar models but I think both of them are operated and maintained by owners or volunteers 100% of the time, not sure what you're going for.

    #84 3 years ago

    SPEND DAT MONEY.

    It's good for the economy.

    Good luck! If I'm ever near by I'll swing in and spend a few bucks.

    #85 3 years ago

    Make sure you have a baywatch sitting on a piece of cardboard!

    #86 3 years ago
    Quoted from Phat_Jay:

    Make sure you have a baywatch sitting on a piece of cardboard!

    I bet if I owned “the imamaculate Baywatch” pinsiders from all over the world would come just to see it!! Great idea, it would be my main attraction

    #87 3 years ago
    Quoted from Chalkey:

    Looking forward to checking out the next VA location!! Good luck!
    I'd try to talk to Paul of Paul's Pinball Palace and some of the people from RPC. Two different but similar models but I think both of them are operated and maintained by owners or volunteers 100% of the time, not sure what you're going for.

    Don’t forget about Nick at Roanoke ! That place was here before any of us. They have a prime location I am envious of.

    Talk also to Silverball owner in Johnson City too. He is on here as haryworm I think and avid pin player. Good for lots of helpful advice.

    RPC has a lot of funds from membership fees. Richmond is a lot bigger town and a lot more hardcore pinball players. It is a true co-op in that most of the members pooled their machines.

    PPP makes little off it’s pinball league since it only charges $5 per session and has only about 20 members. It’s more driven by public. And finally I own all the machines, but in our new debut we will have some league members bringing in their machines too.

    As you note both mostly run on volunteer power. I’d venture it’s damn near impossible for it to work any other way unless you want to just put in 2010 and later Sterns. Those are the only mostly set them and forget them machines I am aware of. The older ones break too much. But we’ve surprisingly had only maybe 1-2 machines down on any given day. And I will say that you HAVE to budget time for this and during weekdays. Too hard to fix during open hours.

    Think about your demographic. Yes having lots of pins is nice and RPC makes it on pins alone, but kids want to play video games too. That’s why Martinsville works. In my next incarnation I will have 30 videos in addition to all the pins and also an old console room too. While we all look at the nuance of all machines, kids just see a ball and flippers and all are mostly the same. They get bored.

    Really easiest thing to do is put your pins in an existing bar and see how much it stresses you out just dealing with this. Go from there.

    We are all here to help and support you in whatever way we can. Good luck

    #88 3 years ago

    No luck with the breweries, they said “pinball does not fit our taproom aesthetic right now”......oh well, I thought a few pins would go great in a bar

    #89 3 years ago

    I've never owned or ran an arcade, though it's an interesting idea.

    I have owned and sold 2 businesses so far and currently own another business that does 7 figures a year that has been built from the ground up.

    The main advice I'd give is DO NOT over budget. Literally, take your budget and don't assume you'll go higher, do not assume you'll pay double or triple. Making these assumptions, while on the outside seems practical, is a recipe for disaster. I've seen this bite multiple people in the ass. Take your budget and cut it back by 20%. If what you can do after that is still viable then proceed forward because you have your wiggle room built in. You will have a much greater chance of keeping a healthy business and keeping yourself sane. One of the biggest reasons a business will fail is because their costs get way out of control compared to actual revenue being generated. Don't come out of the gates assuming you're going to automatically feed more money to the beast.

    The name of the game is making more money than you spend while attracting a new client base and retaining your current client base. Keep your focus on that and it'll help guide the way.

    #90 3 years ago

    Lots of bored car owners at new car dealerships waiting for their autos to be serviced. They have money and the time to waste. A few pins there might make a profit.

    #91 3 years ago
    Quoted from Electrocute:

    Lots of bored car owners at new car dealerships waiting for their autos to be serviced. They have money and the time to waste. A few pins there might make a profit.

    Great idea, never thought to have a pin there!

    #92 3 years ago

    I actually thought renting a small space in a mall might not be a bad idea, 500-1000 sqft maybe. Have no idea how much that would cost, but I can't imagine it would be as bad a full fledged venue... guess it depends on the mall and if something like that already exists. I'd get a few other games like a key master, some cranes maybe a coin pusher so your not just chasing one source of revenue. Might even have some overlap. People love easy to understand games where they have the potential to win a crappy mp3 player or some plush toys
    Seems like places come and go all the time in malls, maybe the leasing options are more flexible.

    #93 3 years ago
    Quoted from hocuslocus:

    I actually thought renting a small space in a mall might not be a bad idea, 500-1000 sqft maybe. Have no idea how much that would cost, but I can't imagine it would be as bad a full fledged venue... guess it depends on the mall and if something like that already exists. I'd get a few other games like a key master, some cranes maybe a coin pusher so your not just chasing one source of revenue. Might even have some overlap. People love easy to understand games where they have the potential to win a crappy mp3 player or some plush toys
    Seems like places come and go all the time in malls, maybe the leasing options are more flexible.

    A 1200sq ft spot at a busy local shopping center was about $1200 a month for rent and utilities. I think having limited hours at a smaller location could work???

    #94 3 years ago
    Quoted from Coz:

    A 1200sq ft spot at a busy local shopping center was about $1200 a month for rent and utilities. I think having limited hours at a smaller location could work???

    Wow a dollar a sqft. not bad at all. You sure utilities aren't split btwn. the centers tenets (CAM)? or is that worked into the rent price? if so yeah that's a pretty descent deal.

    If all you need is 1200, you should be able to make that pretty easily I'd think. You know your area better then I do though.
    If your looking at going the "freeplay" route, I'd be careful. free play games take probably X10's the abuse vs. pay per play. Personally I'd just set the games cheaper ranging from .25, .50 or .75 depending on ball times and value. I've found that most casual players don't really understand that 2-3 is almost .10 cents cheaper then .75. All they see is the $2 dollar sign, think it's phycological or something. Once you go free play it would be a lot harder to go back to pay per play then the other way around.

    If you do wind up going the free play route, just be prepared to triple or quadruple your parts budget and your time down there fixing stuff. Sometimes free play is a good deal, some times it isn't. Personally I'd rather go to a pay per play place, I usually wind up spending the same amount or less for the same amount of time anyway and the machines are usually in better condition. I'm probably in the minority though, most casual players won't be able to hit replays enough to make the money last.

    #95 3 years ago

    I appreciate everyone’s opinions and advice, any more words of wisdom?

    #96 3 years ago

    Yes, I have a trademark on KozMck Arcade. Even CozMck would be an infringement. jk

    #97 3 years ago

    Hire me as a tech for a great deal of money!

    #98 3 years ago
    Quoted from Chalkey:

    Hire me as a tech for a great deal of money!

    Sure! Can you travel down here to danville?? Would you like a company car too? I promise you’ll be the top paid pinball tech in the city!

    #99 3 years ago
    Quoted from Coz:

    I appreciate everyone’s opinions and advice, any more words of wisdom?

    Be careful what type of commercial lease you get. Unlike a residential home, commercial leases (generally) come in two types: Modified Gross, and Triple Net.

    Modified Gross is going to look more like a residential lease, whereas a NNN lease will come with some strings attached. In most cases, you’d be expected to pay for repairs to the building as well as taxes.

    When looking at spaces, I would immediately inquire about the lease type.

    #100 3 years ago
    Quoted from BeaglePuss:

    Be careful what type of commercial lease you get. Unlike a residential home, commercial leases (generally) come in two types: Modified Gross, and Triple Net.
    Modified Gross is going to look more like a residential lease, whereas a NNN lease will come with some strings attached. In most cases, you’d be expected to pay for repairs to the building as well as taxes.
    When looking at spaces, I would immediately inquire about the lease type.

    Great info! One place I’m looking at is in a shopping center. 1200sq ft for about $1000 plus utilities. Only requirement is agree to one year lease. I met with the building manager and they take care of the hvac unit. I will definitely ask lots of questions before anything is official.

    There are 128 posts in this topic. You are on page 2 of 3.

    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