How to Start a Bowling Alley
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How to Start a Bowling Alley

Bowling is considered a wholesome, family-friendly activity. This could help make a bowling alley an excellent investment opportunity for people looking to generate a year-round profit. You can start a bowling alley by following a few simple steps.

Decide if you will be opening an independent bowling alley or if you are interested in purchasing a franchise from a national company.

Opening an independent bowling alley will allow you complete control over marketing decisions, promotions and other daily operations. But you may find yourself hard-pressed to compete with the large marketing budgets of the franchise bowling alleys.

Purchasing a franchise opportunity from a national company will decrease the amount of marketing necessary to succeed but may also mandate what hours you are open, what prices you charge and what promotions your bowling alley will honor.

Choose a property that you can rent or purchase for your business. Check to be sure that your planned bowling alley meets the allowable usage for the property before you sign any contracts.
Look for a location with plenty of parking that is central to other main sources of entertainment in your area such as shopping malls, movie theaters and concert venues.
Vacant warehouses are common prospects; they typically have more than enough square footage and require a minimal amount of interior renovation to be turned into a bowling alley.
If you are building to suit your needs, check your contractors' qualifications closely to ensure that they will be able to meet your expectations.

Decide what other sources of entertainment will be provided at your bowling alley. Arcade games, bowling shops, taverns and concession stands are all popular choices for inclusion to increase revenue.
Consider the possibility of serving alcohol in your bowling alley. You will have to obtain a liquor license but serving alcohol has the potential to increase your revenue.

Contract with a bowling alley design and construction group to design and construct a new building or to finish the interior of your existing building into a bowling alley.

Purchase the equipment for your bowling alley, and arrange to have it delivered several weeks prior to your anticipated opening date.
Anticipate some pin loss due to breakage, and order more bowling pins than you think that you are going to need.
Order an assortment of bowling balls in different weights and finger hole sizes; remember to order lightweight bowling balls for children.
Remember to order one handicapped assistance bowling ramp for every two handicapped parking spaces in your parking lot.
Decide which arcade games you are going to purchase or lease and arrange for delivery; remember to order the prizes.

Order the concession equipment including grills, refrigerators, microwaves, pretzel cases and, if you are serving alcohol, beer taps.

Order the food to be delivered no more than 7 days prior to your scheduled grand opening.

Hire your staff 2 to 3 weeks before your anticipated grand opening to allow for enough time to train your staff in the proper usage of the bowling alley equipment.
Special training should be provided to any employees who will be repairing or unjamming the pin setting machines to ensure employee safety.

Schedule and advertise your grand opening.

Send out postcards with a grand opening coupon.

Contact the local schools, and offer a discount field trip package.

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