(Topic ID: 157607)

Operators: How long does it take for a machine to pay for itself?


By uptownsinclair

3 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 34 posts
  • 27 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 3 years ago by smokedog
  • Topic is favorited by 1 Pinsider

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    #1 3 years ago

    Thinking about newer Sterns in bars and restaurants. Is it weeks, months, or years?

    #2 3 years ago

    About 9000 plays us my guess.

    #3 3 years ago

    Up to five years over here.

    #4 3 years ago

    Years, if you are lucky.

    LTG : )

    #5 3 years ago

    Depends on the location - good luck paying one off...

    #6 3 years ago

    It's looking like infinity over here.

    I haven't invested in new Stern. I have placed nice DMDs on location (TOM, WCS, DW, NF) and kept them well maintained which costs $$$. Not sure if maintenance costs are lower for new Stern though, I've posed the question here and it sounds like even out of the gate you can count on regular maintenance - boards dying, components breaking, etc, so that's kind of kept my from making that investment. Yer looking at 7k plus tax plus delivery is about 8.5k for a Stern pro in Canada now.

    #7 3 years ago

    it won't be weeks, but definitely months to years. If you have your pins set up to $1 a game and you buy your nib for around $5k and have a fair split system w/ your location, you'll need X amount of plays to break you even...

    Is it worth it? If it brings more working, functional, fun pinball to the messes, I'd say hell yeah. I do it with 10 of my pins right now and I'd do it with another 10 if I found the right partnership and location tomorrow.

    #8 3 years ago

    Keep in mind that the game itself retains value - you can always sell it to offset the initial cost. So factor in the game value to that "paid off" calculation.

    #9 3 years ago

    Well, estimating on the low side, if there are 50 plays a week, that's 200 plays a month, and about 2400 plays per year. So that could be about 3-4 years to break even.

    If it's about 100 plays a week, then you're looking at about 2 years to break even.

    And that's assuming an operator doesn't put any more money into the games for repairs and whatnot.

    Then there's also games that are only on seasonal locations, so they may earn well in the summer, but poorly or not at all in the winter.

    But, some operators might make a profit on selling the game after it fully or nearly pays for itself.

    #10 3 years ago

    I picked up a routed ST Pro about a month ago. The audits had over $4500 as money taken in. I paid $3500 & put money into it to get it where I would like.

    #11 3 years ago

    I have some on location & paying commission to location it will be years & years or roughly 12,000 plays when you factor $1.00 per play, cost of machine, freight, & Sales Tax (8%). I have some at a location I own & the main attraction is pinball so sooner, but with my own location Ive been buying premium machines.

    #12 3 years ago

    2-3 years for the machine to pay for it self. If I keep it in great condition then it's worth about what I paid for it at the end. Not bad. That's a pretty good ROI.

    #13 3 years ago
    Quoted from MoonwalkerArcade:

    I have some on location & paying commission to location it will be years & years or roughly 12,000 plays when you factor $1.00 per play, cost of machine, freight, & Sales Tax (8%). I have some at a location I own & the main attraction is pinball so sooner, but with my own location Ive been buying premium machines.

    Loved your place! Played for a few hours last month when I was in town for work. All the best!

    #14 3 years ago

    A question for the operators (it being tax season and all), do you purchase the machines as a business expense and depreciate over 5 years or so? Any write-offs should help somewhat.

    #15 3 years ago
    Quoted from BR80:

    A question for the operators (it being tax season and all), do you purchase the machines as a business expense and depreciate over 5 years or so? Any write-offs should help somewhat.

    Yes, yes they do.

    It takes awhile, a couple years at a minimum (if you are not counting your labour).

    #16 3 years ago

    What kind of locations is everyone putting their machines in?

    #17 3 years ago

    I wonder how much is split between the operator and the owner of the location?

    #18 3 years ago

    My splits are usually 60/40 and 50/50 in some locations. I also depreciate my Machines over 5 years.

    #19 3 years ago

    If you depreciate them don't you have to add that back in once you sell a game?

    #20 3 years ago
    Quoted from yuriijos:

    If you depreciate them don't you have to add that back in once you sell a game?

    Yes.

    Does anyone use Section 179 depreciation?

    #21 3 years ago

    $4600 pin cost

    $9660 Gross revenue needed
    With 5% sales tax and 50% split
    No including parts and labor costs

    32 months at an $300 month average

    #22 3 years ago
    Quoted from Allcastlegames:

    $4600 pin cost
    $9660 Gross revenue needed
    With 5% sales tax and 50% split
    No including parts and labor costs
    32 months at an $300 month average

    And if it's a hot title you can sell it for 4,600.00 or sometimes a little more and you've made 4,600.00 in 32 months.

    #23 3 years ago

    It doesn't work this way. You don't pay $4500 and then the machine is worth $0. If you maintain the machine well it may only ever lose $500-$1000 in value. So you put it on route, collect the money, and sell it when you're done. So the machine never has to "pay for itself" as if you are out the initial $4500 you purchased for.

    #24 3 years ago

    way TOO long!

    Quoted from Fast-Ed:

    And if it's a hot title you can sell it for 4,600.00 or sometimes a little more and you've made 4,600.00 in 32 months.

    I have never seen that but you are right that games do tend to have resale value if well maintained. Often they bring in a bit less than what the purchase price is.

    #25 3 years ago
    Quoted from Trekkie1978:

    What kind of locations is everyone putting their machines in?

    Bars. 19+ years and older. One sports bar, one video game bar.

    Quoted from Stones:

    I wonder how much is split between the operator and the owner of the location?

    80/20 split, which should be the new normal. Anything less and it doesn't justify the original outlay.

    Machines are at $1 a play, 6 plays for $5 for new titles. No need for bill acceptors as we have 1 and 2 dollar coins in Canada.

    Quoted from Whysnow:

    Often they bring in a bit less than what the purchase price is.

    Also depends on the title. Most do the above. Others, like my AC/DC Pre I could sell easily for purchase price, if not more.

    #26 3 years ago
    Quoted from smokedog:

    Also depends on the title. Most do the above. Others, like my AC/DC Pre I could sell easily for purchase price, if not more.

    yeah some titles are worth more sold then on route

    #27 3 years ago

    No one throws machines in the land fill anymore after operating them, so I don't think the total cost of the machine should be the factor of the true "cost". The real cost is any depreciation of that machine.

    #28 3 years ago
    Quoted from Whysnow:

    yeah some titles are worth more sold then on route

    Yup. It's too bad I like the game too much to sell! Pretty much all my route games are keepers right now. The only one I have not decided about is BSD.

    #29 3 years ago
    Quoted from frolic:

    No one throws machines in the land fill anymore after operating them, so I don't think the total cost of the machine should be the factor of the true "cost". The real cost is any depreciation of that machine.

    still need to factor in the real purchase cost since that is the money that you need to have in order to buy.

    Most will find it tough to put 20, 40, 60k of real dollars worth of games out in order to make pennies on that return and labor for free.
    I have said it many times, but operating pinball shoudl not be done as a business. It is an extension of the hobby at best.

    Granted if you have a hit location or 100% split then I suppose it possibel to actually get paid out for your time.

    #30 3 years ago

    5-6 years not including service costs, if you stick to buying earners. I've had some games for 10 years not pay for themselves. And this of course doesn't include service costs. Don't plan on gettin rich operating pins!

    #31 3 years ago
    Quoted from frolic:

    No one throws machines in the land fill anymore after operating them,

    Except Chuck E Cheese's, right?
    https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/chuckie-cheeze-takes-simpsons-pinaball-to-the-dump

    #32 3 years ago

    Around 10 bucks per day (though from what other people say, that seems to be on the high side), before splitting with the location. That doesn't include time or parts.

    People always ask how long it takes to pay off a machine, but like others mentioned above, it doesn't matter, since you'll be able to sell for close to what you bought it for (or perhaps a few hundred less if it was NIB).

    #33 3 years ago

    Tired of hearing ops - casual and otherwise - whine about how long it takes for them to pay for new equipment.

    Stuff like the bally williams 90s games are paid off a dozen times over by now. There are TAFs still on route for chrissakes raking in the dough.

    A new Ghostbusters? Yeah, it would take "years" to pay it off. Or, it can be on route for 3 years, make a bunch of cash, and then the op can sell the game for about $500 less than he paid for it. I've seen this with local ops on games like AC/DC and Metallica a lot recently. An op selling a Metallica off route that he bought in 2013 is gonna come out well ahead in that deal.

    I know operating pinball games ain't some kind of fairy tale but with the aftermarket and hobby so strong these days a new pinball machine is a pretty low-risk investment, especially compared to 10-15 years ago.

    #34 3 years ago
    Quoted from CrazyLevi:

    Tired of hearing ops - casual and otherwise - whine about how long it takes for them to pay for new equipment.

    I didn't see many doing that in this thread. The majority is quite positive.

    Anyone who has ever contacted me with questions or concerns regarding operating, I have heavily encouraged to give it a go.

    Prior to myself starting, a few of the old timers here tried to discourage it. I ignored that advice and I'm glad I did. It's been very rewarding, has helped to grow the pinball scene, and I've made a lot of good friends because of it. On top of that, it's helping me build my collection one loonie at a time!

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