How to Start a Bowling Alley Business

Bowling is one of the most social sports that exists in the world today. It also has the added benefit of being something that anyone of almost any age can do. People love to come to a bowling alley to practice their skills, eat some decent food, have a drink or two, and ultimately have a good time. Supplement your bowling alley with leagues and public events and you’ll have the foundation of a recipe for success.

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Knowing how to start a bowling alley business means you’ll need to be involved from the concept stages to the completion of your business when it achieves a grand opening. You could purchase an existing bowling alley as a shortcut of this process, but building your own building center may be more cost effective for what your business plans may be. Here are the steps you’ll want to follow.

1. Get Your Business Plan in Place.

If you’re starting a bowling alley from scratch, then you’ll want to give yourself about 2 years for the entire process to be successful. Begin by making sure you have a solid business plan in place. You’ll want to look for financing options and decide if equity investments are something you’ll want to allow. Construction opportunities will also need to be examined and you’ll need to finalize the blueprints for your new bowling center.

2. Apply for the Financing That You’ll Need.

It takes money to build something from scratch, so make sure that you get your applications for the financing that you’ll need in as early as you can. You’ll also want to make sure that you have finalized all of your business plans as the applications are going out. Having a final construction plan in place will be helpful as well because it will allow you to get started as soon as the funding comes in.

3. Prepare for the Staff That You’ll Need to Hire.

Around the 1 year mark before you plan your grand opening is the time to begin preparing your policies and procedures. Focus first on the staffing requirements that you’ll anticipate having. Draw up job descriptions for attendants, cooks, repair persons, and anyone else you may wish to have on your staff. Compliment this work by drawing up specific operations procedures that will help your business be responsive to individual employee and customer needs.

4. Find the Inventory That You’re Going to Need.

Bowling centers have inventory requirements that many first-time owners might not think about. Everyone knows that you’ll need pins and balls, but what about lane cleaning or oiling machines? Will you keep spare parts for your pin setters or order them when the equipment breaks down?Are you going to have a pro shop on the premises? Make sure your contracts are in place for these items as your financial commitments come in and your building rises from the ground. This will also be the time that you’ll want to apply for specific licenses for your new business, such as your liquor license.

5. Give Yourself 3 Months to Find Advertisers.

Your bowling alley can be a passive money making machine with all of the advertising space that it has. From the ball guards to the ball return machines to all of the signage above the pins at the end of the alley, you have a lot of sellable space that may be tempting to fellow business owners. Give yourself at least 90 days to secure the amount of advertising you wish to have in place for your grand opening. Charge rates that make sense for your community and the amount of expected return you anticipate providing them.

6. Staff Training is Your Key to Success.

A good bowling alley is going to run itself with the right staffing in place. Give yourself 30 days at minimum to train your new employees on your expectations.

7. Keep up the Good Work.

To maintain high standards, you’ll need to also maintain your staff training. Make sure that you continue staff training throughout the year so you can always have your bowling alley operating as a well-oiled machine. Consider adding special events, like a neon pin night, to add more interest to your establishment. Your work is never really done with this type of business.

Knowing how to start a bowling alley business means creating an environment that is warm and welcoming. The general public knows how to bowl for the most part. You’ve just got to be able to meet the expectations they already have to run a successful business.