Quoted from Ibanezshreader:
Thanks for the responses! What does everyone think about the 50cent price point but making it VERY difficult to win free games? I want to keep it affordable and become an attraction locally. I understand the maintainace, and maybe some one more experienced with a route can chime in but here is my current business model,
Immediately LED, cliffy my machines, clean them every Saturday morning before the big Weekend crowd flows in. Wax as needed. My time honestly does not matter to me so I put zero value on my labor. I absolutely love working on machines and watching the joy folks get from playing the machines.
I may look at the break even a bit different then everyone else as this is NOT a full time job. This is really a way to keep my collection out of my house(for my girlfriends sanity) I have a local flipper who will purchase machines, I can buy a new machine for 5k, set a 1000k goal to "break even" and sell it to the flipper for 4K, then I view the rest as profit.
I truly love pinball and I want everyone else to experience the love and hopefully keep this bad ass game alive!!!!!
New games should be at $1 a play, older stuff is whatever the market will bear. You can always lower your price per play, much harder to increase it. I price all my new stuff at $1 a play, 3/$2 and make no apologies for it. Pins are not cheap to maintain, things break and you are the guy that has to fix it. OTOH, if you are trying to discourage location play at other locations, go ahead and price all of your stuff at 50 cents, 3 for $1.00. That price point will make other operators think twice about bothering to route pins near you. Cheap pinball on location does not help pinball overall.
Regarding replays, I look for a replay percentage between 15-20%. People enjoy winning games, plus it keeps them at the location longer and that helps the location, too.
I don't see bill acceptors on any of the games in the above pictures. If you have eight games at a location, bill acceptors on each game or better for you at this point would be a change machine, especially if you are going to stay at 50 cents a play.
You don't value your time at all? Okay, no problem. I'll bet you do value your free time, at least you do what you want to do in your free time. Pins break at the most inopportune times. You enjoy working on games, it might be a little different when you have something else you want to do but you have to go fix a pin instead.
What happens when you buy a new game and it is a poor seller overall. Do you really think your local flipper will want to buy that game for $4k? You might be stuck with it, or have to sell it for a loss.
Best of luck to you in this new venture.