(Topic ID: 282378)

Pinball rentals?

By the96stang

3 years ago


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  • 39 posts
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  • Latest reply 2 years ago by newpinbin
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    #1 3 years ago

    I am considering starting a pinball rental business. Ideally I'd be looking at month to month home rentals.

    Anyone ever done this? Any horror stories? Who would insure something like this? Any advice?

    #2 3 years ago
    Quoted from the96stang:

    I am considering starting a pinball rental business. Ideally I'd be looking at month to month home rentals.
    Anyone ever done this? Any horror stories? Who would insure something like this? Any advice?

    Yeah Brian you should join the Facebook group lol!

    #3 3 years ago

    A bunch of dealers and distribs do this already..

    Seems like a ton of work and risk for not much profit to me but its not my biz.

    #4 3 years ago

    Seems like a lot of work with risk. Moving those games in and out of basements/stairs is a liability and it seems like the chance of a game disappearing could be a possibility as well killing all profits.

    #5 3 years ago

    I am sure they can be insured but in general people renting do not take as good care of things as they would if they owned.

    #6 3 years ago

    I've thought about it. The risk vs. reward seems to be heavy on the side of risk. Damage, theft, non-payment, insurance, endless service calls, game catches fire, etc. Just doesn't seem worth it. Maybe if you only rented to friends it might be different. Renting to strangers...hard pass.

    #7 3 years ago

    I dunno about a business, but I do this with my friends with some pinball experience. Mega cheap. Mostly because it's better than them sitting in storage.

    The threshold I see most people hitting is ~$200 a month with all the service included. Any more and people just don't have any interest. I usually do it for far less depending on the game. If you don't want to put your collection in storage, it's a nice option, but doesn't seem like much of a business.

    #8 3 years ago
    Quoted from radial_head:

    I dunno about a business, but I do this with my friends with some pinball experience. Mega cheap. Mostly because it's better than them sitting in storage.
    The threshold I see most people hitting is ~$200 a month with all the service included. Any more and people just don't have any interest. I usually do it for far less depending on the game. If you don't want to put your collection in storage, it's a nice option, but doesn't seem like much of a business.

    maybe depends on where you are?

    Ive seen people asking 400 or more a month plus delivery and getting it.

    There are no lack of people with money in the hobby... I dont think on newer titles throwing down $500 to try something out really bothers that many people.

    Its easier than having to sell out of it later and no different than taking the hit on a NIB.

    #9 3 years ago

    What would your prospective competition look like should you delve in? This would be a big consideration for me. Also, and others have brought this up, if you’re renting to folks who are not pin heads and don’t appreciate that these games can and will be a bit wonky at times, you may be doing more service calls than what you might expect as your clients are not pinheads if you will. I own my business so have some experience in liability , insurance etc. no way would I do this. The potential return is just not large enough at $200 a month. $500. Let’s talk

    #10 3 years ago
    Quoted from GPS:

    What would your prospective competition look like should you delve in? This would be a big consideration for me. Also, and others have brought this up, if you’re renting to folks who are not pin heads and don’t appreciate that these games can and will be a bit wonky at times, you may be doing more service calls than what you might expect as your clients are not pinheads if you will. I own my business so have some experience in liability , insurance etc. no way would I do this. The potential return is just not large enough at $200 a month. $500. Let’s talk

    Agreed. 200 isn't the number. I'm in the ballpark of 3 or 350m looking to only deal with newer sterns, which are probably the more reliable games.

    #11 3 years ago
    Quoted from the96stang:

    Agreed. 200 isn't the number. I'm in the ballpark of 3 or 350m looking to only deal with newer sterns, which are probably the more reliable games.

    My buddy has rented a few games recently. It was $350-$400 for newer premiums. He ended buying the rented TWD Premium. I don’t get the risks people are saying, he signed a contract just like you would for a car rental.

    #12 3 years ago
    Quoted from schudel5:

    The risk vs. reward seems to be heavy on the side of risk. Damage, theft, non-payment, insurance, endless service calls, game catches fire, etc.

    Add Covid to risk list as well.
    Buddy can’t retrieve his game as the couple came down with it right as their contract expired.
    He has a buyer for the game as well.

    Odd situation but worth considering in this environment before renting.

    #13 3 years ago
    Quoted from the96stang:

    Agreed. 200 isn't the number. I'm in the ballpark of 3 or 350m looking to only deal with newer sterns, which are probably the more reliable games.

    Just search "stern pinball rental" there are already people who have been doing it all during the pandemic and prices are posted.

    Stern actually recommended this as a revenue stream for dealers when covid hit.

    To me its all about your area... if you dont have a fairly dense population of people that can afford such things why bother.

    Charging $200 isnt worth it but yah 400 and up almost makes sense.

    #14 3 years ago
    Quoted from Jaybird815:

    My buddy has rented a few games recently. It was $350-$400 for newer premiums. He ended buying the rented TWD Premium. I don’t get the risks people are saying, he signed a contract just like you would for a car rental.

    yah and this... doing it as a rent to own situation.

    #15 3 years ago

    I’d ask for minimal 3months.
    100 deliver and 100 haul out (no stairs) plus your monthly.

    #16 3 years ago

    We have been doing home rentals for a couple years now, not worth it without proper insurance, and to get insurance you need an actual business location and not your garage (at least here in California).

    #17 3 years ago
    Quoted from krazy53:

    We have been doing home rentals for a couple years now, not worth it without proper insurance, and to get insurance you need an actual business location and not your garage (at least here in California).

    Who do you use for your insurance? What kind of insurance. Thats probably my biggest question surrounding all of this.

    #18 3 years ago
    Quoted from the96stang:

    Who do you use for your insurance? What kind of insurance. Thats probably my biggest question surrounding all of this.

    I forget who we went with, my partner does that stuff. Our situation was a little different because not only did we have the home rentals, but also a mobile arcade we use for events as well.

    #19 3 years ago

    be prepared if anything happens, you need make the drive to fix it, even as little as a post coming loose getting wedged somewhere, rubber breaking, flipper spring breaking, pop bumper coil failing, a ramp switch suddenly not working. make sure you charge enough. driving 2 or 3 hours to replace a sling or rubber is possible and will happen. we have had games get 1500 plays in one month so yeah, stuff will break. Make sure to charge enough. steps, people smoking in their homes and pet hair all over, hard to move games in homes, tight stairwells and curves. all of that matters.
    check out our website for our info, we think its fair, once you go through the above and knowing you are renting pricey games that will get mad plays in a month and lots of rubber will need be replaced, play field cleaned well, flipper rebuilds will take place after the rental is over, we think our pricing is fair.
    you seriously have no idea how many times a game can get played in a month. One rental they averaged 60 plays per day. do the math.
    argamingrentals.com

    #20 3 years ago

    There seems to be a decent number of people who do this around the country, but none in our area that I know of. I'd be a frequent customer of yours, there's a bunch of recent Sterns I've wanted to try but next to nothing is open in MA for location play, along with Mystic and FTJ's sadly closing permanently. I'd rent older ones, too.

    #21 3 years ago
    Quoted from Elvishasleft:

    Charging $200 isnt worth it but yah 400 and up almost makes sense.

    Quoted from Elvishasleft:

    maybe depends on where you are?

    Quoted from GPS:

    The potential return is just not large enough at $200 a month. $500. Let’s talk

    In my defense, I am not doing this as a business, just more as a way to avoid paying for a storage unit. If you’re in New England, I’ll happily rent you a game for $200 a month.

    -1
    #22 3 years ago

    As a potential client and running the numbers in my head at what I would only be comfortable with $75 a month if I know it's money to something I'll never own and will never ever see again. It would only be worth it if games get moved in and out every year and all maintenance is covered. Otherwise, I'm taking the money and buying my own.

    Edit: I have to add I am not a NIB buyer or have the money to buy A-list pins, so take my price point in that persepective. If was rich the $200-$300 would be a drop in the bucket to make myself and kids happy and not worry about the game breaking as long as it would be fixed in a couple days.

    #23 3 years ago
    Quoted from RyanStl:

    As a potential client and running the numbers in my head at what I would only be comfortable with $75 a month if I know it's money to something I'll never own and will never ever see again. It would only be worth it if games get moved in and out every year and all maintenance is covered. Otherwise, I'm taking the money and buying my own.
    Edit: I have to add I am not a NIB buyer or have the money to buy A-list pins, so take my price point in that persepective. If was rich the $200-$300 would be a drop in the bucket to make myself and kids happy and not worry about the game breaking as long as it would be fixed in a couple days.

    I suspect you'll Never be renting a game then at that price. At 75$ the ROI with virtually Perfect no issues to a renter would be close to 9 Years! lol As hard as these games would be played there is No way any sane person would rent for 75 unless its family.

    #24 3 years ago

    Check the nw pinball buy/sell thread fir an idea on some pricing.. Theres a rental list posted recently. No basements. Most in the 200-300 a month range if I remember , 2 or 3 month minimum? Seem to be renting most out

    #25 3 years ago
    Quoted from Yelobird:I suspect you'll Never be renting a game then at that price. At 75$ the ROI with virtually Perfect no issues to a renter would be close to 9 Years! lol As hard as these games would be played there is No way any sane person would rent for 75 unless its family.

    It really depends. Lets say you have a collection of 9 pins and live in a 1200 sqft. apartment. I’ll gladly rent out a game for $75/mo if it saves me $150/mo on a heated storage unit.

    #26 3 years ago

    Id love to hear about insurance people use.

    #27 3 years ago

    If I were to rent machines here is how I would do it. I would purchase two to three brand new Sterns(probably Star Wars Premium, Jurassic Park, and a Spiderman Vault or something?) Then I would charge $250/mo. with a two month minimum.
    Once the games reached several thousands of plays-(3000-6000) I would sell them on second hand market and go buy some more new ones. I think maintenance would be minimal with limited number of service calls. Only thing unclear is how to handle disputes. What do you do when the children decide to play tic tac toe scratched into the side of the cabinet? What happens when someone decides to move or try and keep the machine. Small claims court seems like a nightmare. Would almost have to charge out the machine in full before rental-but then what is the point of the rental? Lots of questions

    #28 3 years ago

    For people that are operators this is the same risk they already face. They put machines on location. Usually have limited access. No guaranteed amount of coin drop each month per game. Maintenance issues rely on the operator. The operator ALWAYS faces the risk of a business closing and fighting to get machines/equipment back or lose it. Proper insurance is key but it has a price too. I could see the rental being more profitable than putting games on location possibly. You just have to have the population/clients to support it. Also machines that require little to maintenance would be key.

    #29 3 years ago
    Quoted from Pickle:

    For people that are operators this is the same risk they already face

    I operated 10 games at two locations for about 5 years up until Covid. 4 machines at one location are back home and another 6 are still in a building closed since March. Fortunately, I'm good friends with both owners so I'm not worried (other than a break-in, fire, etc). But it's basically how I would approach renting games. I'd pretty much only rent to people I knew fairly well. When my games were on location, they were monitored by the owners almost continuously. I never had any issues in all that time.

    #30 3 years ago

    Someone should rent Bingo pins. There might be a huge demand for multiple rentals there. Magic Screen, Six Card, Mystic Lines and a Miss America four pack right there....

    #31 3 years ago
    Quoted from pinmister:

    If I were to rent machines here is how I would do it. I would purchase two to three brand new Sterns(probably Star Wars Premium, Jurassic Park, and a Spiderman Vault or something?) Then I would charge $250/mo. with a two month minimum.
    Once the games reached several thousands of plays-(3000-6000) I would sell them on second hand market and go buy some more new ones. I think maintenance would be minimal with limited number of service calls. Only thing unclear is how to handle disputes. What do you do when the children decide to play tic tac toe scratched into the side of the cabinet? What happens when someone decides to move or try and keep the machine. Small claims court seems like a nightmare. Would almost have to charge out the machine in full before rental-but then what is the point of the rental? Lots of questions

    $250/mo is too low. The guy in our area has a waiting list at $350-$400.

    #32 3 years ago
    Quoted from Jaybird815:

    The guy in our area has a waiting list at $350-$400

    Wow who knew? To me $350-$400 would be too high, $250 seems reasonable and still profitable?

    Big question is how do you cover your ass? What do distributors/operators do besides a contract? What kind of deposit? How do you secure your interest and how do you put a valuation on certain damages, etc. So many scammers nowadays-you basically would have to deal with only people you trust? Or charge up front in full and refund after rental?

    #33 3 years ago
    Quoted from pinmister:

    Wow who knew? To me $350-$400 would be too high, $250 seems reasonable and still profitable?
    Big question is how do you cover your ass? What do distributors/operators do besides a contract? What kind of deposit? How do you secure your interest and how do you put a valuation on certain damages, etc. So many scammers nowadays-you basically would have to deal with only people you trust? Or charge up front in full and refund after rental?

    I’m going over to my buddies this weekend, I’ll read over the contract and get some details.

    1 month later
    #34 3 years ago

    Just to follow up, I have started the business. I have insurance on the machines, as well as general liability. Did it as a one person LLC. Seems like the sweet spot for me is 275 a month plus 100 delivery fee.

    #35 3 years ago
    Quoted from the96stang:

    Just to follow up, I have started the business. I have insurance on the machines, as well as general liability. Did it as a one person LLC. Seems like the sweet spot for me is 275 a month plus 100 delivery fee.

    Nice! Let us know how it goes. How many machines do you have available to rent?

    #36 3 years ago
    Quoted from the96stang:

    I have insurance on the machines, as well as general liability.

    What kind of contract? How do you protect for damage/disputes? What clause can cover varying cost/damages?

    Is there a demand-how much? I would buy some Pros to rent out if some local people were interested in renting out and I knew how to cover liabilities, etc.?

    3 months later
    #37 3 years ago

    Any updates?

    6 months later
    #38 2 years ago

    Stern pros are the way to go. I have 10 available to rent right now. The only insurance I have on them is total loss insurance.

    Running an event tonight.

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    1 week later
    #39 2 years ago

    Thanks for the update

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