This is the biggest cause of damage. A game on location would likely be there for at least 6 months, but I've had some for 3+ years. That's much better than moving a game every month or two (for home rentals).
This isn't as nearly much of an issue at venues, which are designed for high traffic: hundreds or thousands of patrons. But at homes...people don't want so much as a tiny scratch on their hardwood floors. I had someone insist on taping foam on the lip of the floor leading to the first step so that it wouldn't be damaged by the dolly rolling over it.
Walls too are a big one. In homes, they are pristine and white. Any little ding is immediately obvious.
The numbers would say this is more likely on location. But aside from beer spills, I've never had anything happen to my on location games in 5+ years (except the head of one game was damaged by venue employees when they moved a game and clipped a doorframe on the way through). Haven't had enough games in homes to compare.
There is a massive difference between doing repair work on 10 games in once place vs. 10 games in 10 different places. Also, with games on location, you have known hours when you can show up and do repairs without needing to coordinate. In homes, you'll probably only get small windows of time on specific days (and usually nights and weekends) to do repairs. (Although that statement no longer holds during Covid.)
I think theft could be more likely at homes, but I haven't done enough at homes to judge. Is a complete loss from fire more likely at an arcade or a home? Dunno. I have had leaking pipes from above drip onto games on location, but it was caught immediately.
For me, with venues, the moving is generally easier and known ahead of time. The doorways and inner spaces are wider and designed to accommodate large items.
I haven't moved that many games into and out of homes, but I'd say 75% of the time, there is something difficult about the space that I wasn't discovered until the last second. Different moves lately:
- Door at bottom of stairs needed to be taken off hinges and child gate needed to be unscrewed from wall at top of the stairs. Was told there were no stairs to go up, but there were actually 3 up the front walkway to the house.
- Redone hardwood stairs, freshly painted walls...with a double landing in the middle
- Different house: Redone hardwood stairs, freshly painted walls...with a double landing in the middle where the landing turned out to be too small if the game was on a dolly (which I didn't discover until my non stair-climbing dolly was halfway down the stairs, and unable to be tipped upright)
- Outdoor steps made of cinderblocks that were not regulation depth (they were so steep that the dolly wasn't really able to work as intended)
- Doorway -> turn down stairs with no room to tip dolly, followed by stairs -> turn onto walkway with no room to tip dolly -> more stairs
- Stairs -> landing -> turn to more stairs -> space at landing of bottom of stairs is so narrow that the game becomes wedged between the wall and bottom step
- Door off hinges, hallway turn, hallway turn, too narrow for dolly, elevator so small that the machine rides by itself, narrow doorway -> narrow turn -> stairs -> awkward turn down step
- A walkout basement! Backyard has lumpy, uneven ground, with pavers that are about 2 inches narrower than the outer width of the dolly wheelbase. Stone steps narrow, different heights, and slightly curving
- Gravel driveway like quicksand with a machine on a dolly, entry through large wooden gate where the ground transitions from gravel -> flat round stone -> brick just as you pass between the narrow fence opening, two uneven stone steps with a one inch lip that is difficult to roll over, extra high single step onto a landing with a door that needs to be removed (and is too small to rotate the machine while on a dolly), stairs with three inches of extra width, another door off hinges through a doorway that is one inch wider than the machine and has a wall corner that prevents a game from being tipped back on a dolly. This is my house...I actually had to remove the head of High Speed to get it through because it's a bit wider. Also, games with toppers like FT and TAF must be positioned along one wall so that the topper can be fit between the joists. Head must be put upright before putting the back legs on, and then game is lifted up into place while legs are secured.
I'd never really thought of it before, but every location and office where I've had machines (except one) are much easier moves than any home move I've never done. Wide entrances, no narrow hallways and doorways, and most of them have elevators!