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MINISTRY
10-14-2004, 01:36 PM
I am currently putting the finishing touches on my business plan for my proposed Billiard Room/Cyber Cafe and am looking for some data on the popularity of billiards/pool.

My goal with this data would be to show that this is a growing sport that anyone can enjoy. We all know this is true, but I need data to prove it.

Any ideas?

Doctor_D
10-14-2004, 01:58 PM
www.bca-pool.com (http://www.bca-pool.com)

Good afternoon:

You should join the BCA and then take advantage of their resources and inforational demographics on billiard rooms and the billiard industry.


Dr. D.

MINISTRY
10-14-2004, 03:38 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Doctor_D:</font><hr> www.bca-pool.com (http://www.bca-pool.com)

Good afternoon:

You should join the BCA and then take advantage of their resources and inforational demographics on billiard rooms and the billiard industry.


Dr. D.
<hr /></blockquote>

Thanks DOC

Maybe a member could post in here, call it a one time freebie with an I.O.U and some free pool time in my room. /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

Popcorn
10-14-2004, 04:59 PM
quote

"My goal with this data would be to show that this is a growing sport that anyone can enjoy. We all know this is true, but I need data to prove it.."

How do you know this to be true?
Many of the rooms that opened during the pool boon after the Color of Money have long since closed. I think participation may have dropped off considerably since it's peak and I can't foresee anything happening any time soon to reverse this. With rising real estate costs, the high cost to run a room, insurance, rent and so forth, as well as the fact that there is a limit to what you can reasonably charge to play, pool rooms may be on a permanent decline. A pool room say 30 years ago would produce a better living for the owner then today. A nice little 12 or 15 table room would have a nut of like $1000.00 or $1200.00 a month total, and easily provide a very nice living for the owner without much risk. Today a pool room would be far down my list of business I would be looking to invest in. Although there are a lot of people who like to play a game or two now and then, the real hard core center of pool is very small. Pool is by no means a fad, but if you are looking for some ground swell in pool, I don't believe you will find it.

MINISTRY
10-14-2004, 06:49 PM
[ QUOTE ]
How do you know this to be true?
Many of the rooms that opened during the pool boon after the Color of Money have long since closed. I think participation may have dropped off considerably since it's peak and I can't foresee anything happening any time soon to reverse this. <hr /></blockquote>

I don't know this to be true. However I will explain a theory I have regarding the game. I too have read the closing article in this months issue of Billiards Digest, and I agree it is sad. You are also right that real estate costs are increasing. I have only enjoyed the game in Colorado and New Jersey, but in the limited experience I have I can tell you that the pool halls I frequented, it was painfully obvious to me that the owners never updated their rooms with the changing times. Same nasty smell, same nasty felt, same poorly maintained customer cues, and most of all same poorly maintained pool tables. Pool/Billiards needs a serious facelift. The game has not been able to shake the stereotype room (smoke filled, alcohol pushing environments). Gone are the days of someone enjoying a stinky, smoke filled, alcohol pushing environment. People now days need a more positive environment to frequent. If the game is to succeed as a business it can not continue in the direction it has been going for the last several decades.

In my opinion, the alcohol is the problem. I know this is outside the box thinking, but bear with me for a moment. What follows is a description of my Billiard Room (Notice the word Billiard and not Pool) that effectively sheds the stereotypical room we all accostomed to. It is a NON-alocoholic environment (increasing customer base substancially). The room measures 50'x75' and is well lit by ample but not overwhelming overhead lighting. The first thing you notice as you walk in, is that everything is black and chrome. There are 2 black and chrome complete living room sets, to sit and enjoy your NON-alcoholic beverage. Free wireless internet, if you happen to have your laptop with you, if not you can jump on one of my five high end computers for a small hourly rate (located on a 50'x25' mezzanine that overlooks the main Billiard area). These computers will be set up with the latest videogames as well. As you walk into my Billiard room you will notice everything is black and chrome, the pub tables and the stools around them, the cues on the wall, the art, the lighting above the tables, even the 8 OHAUSEN 9' Grand Champion tables, in fact the only color in the whole place is a dozen roses located at the coffee bar and the classic green simonis cloth on the tables.

The trick to this succeeding is where you put it. "LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION." My rent is right at $3,000 a month. You do the math. $5.00 hourly for table time, $3.00 hourly for computer time, and assorted coffee drinks that seem to be all the craze now (Note a "STARBUCKS" on every corner you look at.)

I cant' believe these coffee places are succeeding. $5.00 for a coffee then you sit there and do nothing. They are doing something right and I think it is the all important "ATMOSPHERE", something overlooked in our beloved sport.

Keith Talent
10-14-2004, 07:37 PM
pro forma (pr$ frm),
1. according to form; as a matter of form; for the sake of form.
2. Com. provided in advance of shipment and merely showing the description and quantity of goods shipped without terms of payment: a pro forma invoice.
3. Accounting. indicating hypothetical financial figures based on previous business operations for estimate purposes: a pro forma balance sheet.

Hey, I'm in favor of pool rooms turning up wherever, but the biz-school tone of your post gives me the feeling you're thinking about this as some sort of rational commercial enterprise. /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

I think it would be plain nuts to go into this business unless it's a labor of love. The game takes too much trouble to learn for 99% of the people who grab a stick off the wall ... blame it on the need for instant gratification, maybe.

Anyway, I see a couple of problems right off ... first, I wonder whether cybercafe types would appreciate the crashing of a power break every other minute.

And this anti-drinking bit ... is it a religious objection, considering your handle? Can't see how you'd keep casual players without that available ... even more serious players like a couple in the course of a night.

Seems to me that in order to "succeed" you have to have a sizable core of serious, regular players, mixed with a shifting crowd of bangers, who also need to feel welcome ... a small minority of them you could expect to watch the better players and get inspired to rise to mediocrity, like yours truly, or even beyond.

Bob_Jewett
10-14-2004, 07:46 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote MINISTRY:</font><hr>...

My goal with this data would be to show that this is a growing sport that anyone can enjoy. We all know this is true, but I need data to prove it.<hr /></blockquote>
The NSGA runs annual surveys. Contact them. For example:
http://www.nsga.org/public/pages/index.cfm?pageid=153

Popcorn
10-14-2004, 09:22 PM
I would never argue with you and I wish you well with what ever you choose to do. Having said that, with your ideas you will be taking the worst of it trying to operate a recreation pool room with over priced coffee and computers. I am always curious about the anti beer people when it comes to pool rooms. It is a pool room that serves beer, not a bar where people come to play pool. The beer augments your base business. It is what many adults want when they go out. Let me ask you, unless you eat exclusively in Burger King or McDonalds, the restaurants you go to probably serves alcoholic beverage. Do you boycott those restaurants? I am sure you go out and eat and never give it a thought, the pool room is the same. That room is also a little small, how many tables can you get in there and have decent room around the tables? The $3000.00 a month rent is only a part of your total cost to operate. You need to really know what it will cost, and don't lie to yourself. To be successful you have to be able to stay afloat with a minimal of business. most people like to use the best case scenario when talking themselves into things like this. You have to use the worst case scenario and see what that produces. If it shows you can survive the worst case then if things are average you have a business, and if things really go you may have gold mine.

Nostroke
10-14-2004, 11:01 PM
One thing for sure, You will not find pool players willing to pay more than a buck for coffee. They will even be pissed it isnt free and will want refills all night long.

Your bangers on fri, saturday and sunday nite are a different story but the rest of the time it will be pool players dominating unless you have leagues. If you dont have beer, you are not going to have leagues.

Things are real tough in the pool business right now. In my town, Hi Pockets that was declared the third nicest pool room in the country by BD maybe 5 years ago, just folded its tent with 2-3 years remaining on their lease. Let me put it this way, if you need a partner, don't call me.

And like Popcorn said, figure the worst case scenario. If you cant survive that, don't do it!

pooltchr
10-15-2004, 04:14 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Doctor_D:</font><hr> www.bca-pool.com (http://www.bca-pool.com)

Good afternoon:

You should join the BCA and then take advantage of their resources and inforational demographics on billiard rooms and the billiard industry.


Dr. D.
<hr /></blockquote>\

The Doctor is correct. The BCA offers a manual for sale that covers ALL aspects of opening and operating a successful business. It is a MUST HAVE for anyone considering this.
In addition to your monthly rent, consider
Utilities
Equipment maintenance
Payroll (You can't do it all yourself)
Insurance
Security
Business licenses
CAM (Common Area Maint. required if you share parking, etc with other business, ie shopping centers)
etc

Now, be honest about table time. You will NOT have all tables rented every hour that you are open. Something has to generate income besides table time. Most rooms depend on food and drinks to bring in most of the money.

I don't want to discourage you...just don't want to see you lose your shirt.
Steve

SnakebyteXX
10-15-2004, 05:42 AM
Your post has all the earmarks of an optimistic individual looking to launch an untried business concept fraught with pre-conceived notions and insufficient information. It is good that you are seeking further information to support your ambition to start your own small business - in fact it is critical to your prospects of future success. You should know that no matter how good you 'think' your plan is - the odds are stacked against you.

Statistically, the odds against a new small business succeeding are roughly forty to one. Think about it this way: If you were about to walk across a busy city intersection and someone came up to you and said, "If you try and cross here your chances of making it to the other side without being run over are about forty to one.", would you still try and cross the street? A good answer would be, "Not without more information on what to do and what not to do - combined with a very well thought out plan of action."

Small businesses startups typically fail for two main reasons: insufficient funding and poor management. Among the most important questions you'll need to answer is how long will it take for your new business to break even? Do you have the money to keep the doors open until that happens? It takes a while to build up a customer base - even with a good location. Do you have the funds to keep paying the overhead while you wait for that to happen? What if it takes a year? Two years? Are you prepared to wait as long as it takes?

My advice to you at this point is that you take your time and get as much solid information as you can. Then sit down and finish drawing up your business plan. Above all - do not act in haste. The time, energy and money that you might spend in pursuit of developing a solid business plan could save you a great deal of trouble and potential financial loss as you set about trying to achieve your goal.

Hope this helps.

Snake

Wally_in_Cincy
10-15-2004, 06:28 AM
Pardon my candor but you sound a bit myopic about this whole thing.

I would not go to a pool hall that did not serve beer. You got no beer, you got no leagues. YOU NEED LEAGUES !!

I was at SnookerS in Cincy Sunday. The weather outside was beautiful. There were 2 tables (out of 18) rented. I went in there Tuesday night. There were 40 people in the back room eating, drinking, and playing pool. It was league night.

Admittedly when the weather gets worse, business will pick up a lot. I'm just making a point.

Best of luck.

Billy_Bob
10-15-2004, 07:29 AM
Seems to me the pool halls which seem to have few customers are those which are 100% pool tables and nothing else. And of these, those which are run-down and tacky looking and in a bad location have the least customers.

Those which seem to have the most customers also offer something else. i.e. Restaurant, bar, yuppie coffee, big screen TV, video games, darts, modern internet jukebox with every song you can imagine on it, T-shirt/hat equipment/accessories sales, etc. And they seem to have a particular atmosphere/theme to the place via the "look" of the people who work there, location, artwork or posters on walls, furnishings, signs, plants, colors... Like a "Hooters" type, yuppie type, college student type, family fun type, or high class "I have more money than you do" exclusive club type.

The question is: Am I going to go to this place and be in fear of my life and property -or- am I going to go to this place and have fun, feel secure, and be around fun people.

MINISTRY
10-15-2004, 09:37 AM
[ QUOTE ]
I would never argue with you and I wish you well with what ever you choose to do. <hr /></blockquote>

Thanks. I think this is the kind of healthy conversation this sport needs. This is a discussion and not an arguement, at least as far as I am concerned.

Just to quickly re-state the problem with some pool rooms.

[ QUOTE ]
Same nasty smell, same nasty felt, same poorly maintained customer cues, and most of all same poorly maintained pool tables. Pool/Billiards needs a serious facelift. The game has not been able to shake the stereotype room (smoke filled, alcohol pushing environments). Gone are the days of someone enjoying a stinky, smoke filled, alcohol pushing environment. People now days need a more positive environment to frequent. If the game is to succeed as a business it can not continue in the direction it has been going for the last several decades.<hr /></blockquote>

[ QUOTE ]
Hey, I'm in favor of pool rooms turning up wherever, but the biz-school tone of your post gives me the feeling you're thinking about this as some sort of rational commercial enterprise.<hr /></blockquote>

Yes I am, and yes it is rational. Sports need to evolve and adapt to the changes and demands of society. Salary caps, free agency, uniform changes, lots of other examples I won't go into. My point is this sport needs to evolve to the next level.

[ QUOTE ]
The game takes too much trouble to learn for 99% of the people who grab a stick off the wall ... blame it on the need for instant gratification, maybe. <hr /></blockquote>

I disagree. The game is like any other in that the more you play the better you get. Just cause you can't do the same thing a professional can do doesn't mean you should not try. We need to bring new people to this game, the question is "HOW?".

[ QUOTE ]
Anyway, I see a couple of problems right off ... first, I wonder whether cybercafe types would appreciate the crashing of a power break every other minute.<hr /></blockquote>

Have you ever been in a cyber cafe? Computers set up for gaming are capable of more noise than any billiard table. Besides, most of the time the people using the computers will be using headphones with mics - so they can talk to their oppents over the internet.

[ QUOTE ]
And this anti-drinking bit ... is it a religious objection, considering your handle? Can't see how you'd keep casual players without that available ... even more serious players like a couple in the course of a night. <hr /></blockquote>

No, my drinking habits have nothing to do my beliefs. I prefer to enjoy a beer or whatever at my home, as opposed to drinking and driving. I would not drink and drive with my children in the car, so why would I drink and drive with myself and anyone else in the car. I go to a billiard room to shoot pool, to hang out with my friends, not to get drunk. My favorite pool room is in New Jersey called is Cue Bridge Billiards located at 3257 Quakerbridge Road, Hamilton New Jersey (Phone # 609-586-0205). They are proof of success without alcohol, and they have some vets that hang out there that I would put against any pro - this proves that even the "Old School" types can enjoy themselves in this type of setting.

[ QUOTE ]
The beer augments your base business. It is what many adults want when they go out. <hr /></blockquote>

Like beer, non-alcoholic beverages, vending machines, pro shop, computers, and t-shirts will augment the business. Many adults that go out may not want alcohol - I don't.

[ QUOTE ]
If it shows you can survive the worst case then if things are average you have a business, and if things really go you may have gold mine. <hr /></blockquote>

I have shown with my projections that I can survive the worst case, and I agree, I think it will be a gold mine.

[ QUOTE ]
One thing for sure, You will not find pool players willing to pay more than a buck for coffee. They will even be pissed it isnt free and will want refills all night long. <hr /></blockquote>

I agree, thats why regular coffee will be offered for $1.00 with free refills for that day. Specialty coffee will cost more. Cue-Bridge in New Jersey, that I mentioned earlier, does this with success.

[ QUOTE ]
Let me put it this way, if you need a partner, don't call me. <hr /></blockquote>

Oh don't worry I won't. I am sure your positive attitude has offorded you all the success you can handle.

[ QUOTE ]
You should know that no matter how good you 'think' your plan is - the odds are stacked against you. <hr /></blockquote>

Yep, guess I'll just give up now. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!! /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif My plan will succeed. I have carefully done the math and all the projections you can think of to prove this fact.

[ QUOTE ]
Statistically, the odds against a new small business succeeding are roughly forty to one. Think about it this way: If you were about to walk across a busy city intersection and someone came up to you and said, "If you try and cross here your chances of making it to the other side without being run over are about forty to one.", would you still try and cross the street? A good answer would be, "Not without more information on what to do and what not to do - combined with a very well thought out plan of action." <hr /></blockquote>

Yep, I would cross that street because my naked girlfriend is on the other side - so to speak. My plan of action is well thought out and I will get acroos that street because the goal is well worth the effort.

[ QUOTE ]
I would not go to a pool hall that did not serve beer. You got no beer, you got no leagues. YOU NEED LEAGUES !! <hr /></blockquote>

I believe you. You probably won't go to pool hall that does not serve beer. I don't agree that you need leagues, what you need is customers. You need to have tournaments, designed in way that almost any player can win. Have you heard of chip tournaments? Players are given a certain number of chips based on their skill level (1-9 chips), and the winner of the tournament gets one chip taken away each time he wins the tournament. Unkowns are given 6. I have also seen this type of tournament done with heavy success. Once you get 30 or so winners, they are then invited to a "tournament of champions" where the entry fee is increased and so is the prize money. In-house leagues are also good. The problem with "OUT HOUSE LEAGUES", is that you are in a different place each week, and sometimes you wind up in an OUTHOUSE- that sucks IMO.

[ QUOTE ]
Seems to me the pool halls which seem to have few customers are those which are 100% pool tables and nothing else. And of these, those which are run-down and tacky looking and in a bad location have the least customers.<hr /></blockquote>

I agree. Prime example of the world changing and sport not changing or adapting to those changes.

[ QUOTE ]

Those which seem to have the most customers also offer something else. i.e. Restaurant, bar, yuppie coffee, big screen TV, video games, darts, modern internet jukebox with every song you can imagine on it, T-shirt/hat equipment/accessories sales, etc. And they seem to have a particular atmosphere/theme to the place via the "look" of the people who work there, location, artwork or posters on walls, furnishings, signs, plants, colors... Like a "Hooters" type, yuppie type, college student type, family fun type, or high class "I have more money than you do" exclusive club type.<hr /></blockquote>

Yep, this is an example of success in this business. Like it or not - time to adapt.

[ QUOTE ]

The question is: Am I going to go to this place and be in fear of my life and property -or- am I going to go to this place and have fun, feel secure, and be around fun people.
<hr /></blockquote>

Well put, when my place opens you should come in and bring your family too. I was in a pool hall the other night that serves alcohol. There was a family of 4 - two tables down from my table. The parents were drinking water and the kids were drinking coke. This family was surrounded by drunken college kids. They were there because they had no place else to go. Sad.

Wally_in_Cincy
10-15-2004, 09:46 AM
[ QUOTE ]
The problem with "OUT HOUSE LEAGUES", is that you are in a different place each week, and sometimes you wind up in an OUTHOUSE- that sucks IMO.
<hr /></blockquote>

I was referring to an in-house BCA league

Wally_in_Cincy
10-15-2004, 09:49 AM
[ QUOTE ]
There was a family of 4 ... The parents were drinking water and the kids were drinking coke....

This family was surrounded by drunken college kids. <hr /></blockquote>

I wonder which group spent more money.

Sorry MINISTRY, you obviously have thought this through to a great degree, I'm just playing a bit of devil's advocate with you /ccboard/images/graemlins/wink.gif

Popcorn
10-15-2004, 10:59 AM
Sounds like you have convinced yourself, no need to convince us, we are not investing anything.
I suggest you sell everything you own and do it. I will tell you something interesting. I own several strip centers and I have over the years rented to people with ideas everybody but them knew were not going to make it. They always seem to be the last to know. They seem to have one thing in common, they don't want to hear bad news. They get so caught up in the project they just don't see the realities. You have to remember one thing, you can be certain and still be wrong. When you refer to ,"The problems with some pool rooms" You seem to be referring to your personal dislikes and not the cause of their failures. Some of what you see as problems may in fact be what makes them successful even though it does not appeal to you.

I'll tell you a funny story. Years ago I had a guy looking to rent a small space to open a one hour photo shop. He had been to a seminar where they sold franchise and was ready to invest something like $50,000. in the equipment. This was when one hour photo was first out. We sat around talking and he was telling all the his plans and all the money he was going to make. After listening I told him what I thought. I told him that it sounded like such a great idea he would most certainly have competition if it catches on. Places like supermarkets and drug stores offering one hour would put him out of business. They would offer it and the people could shop while they were waiting, they would not even care if it was a break even deal as long as it brought in customers, How can you compete?. He didn't rent but I saw him about a year later and he told me I saved him $50,000. with our little conversation. What I said was exactly right. People he knew that invested lost their investments. You should always want to hear bad news before good, that is the news that can hurt you. People that tell you what you want to hear, are not doing you a favor. Brain storm it all out as best you can. Just something to think about. I am not the smartest guy around but sometimes someone who is not emotionally involved may have a better perspective. On a more positive note, many successful people say, if they knew then what they know now they would not have done it. Meaning you seem to be able to deal with problems as they arise, but if you foresaw all the problems you would never have gone forward and realized what was ultimately a success.
good luck.

Perk
10-15-2004, 11:56 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Popcorn:</font><hr> You should always want to hear bad news before good, that is the news that can hurt you. People that tell you what you want to hear, are not doing you a favor. Brain storm it all out as best you can. <hr /></blockquote>

Great post! This statement sums it up for me. I am in a business with dealing with individuals with high expectations, and sometimes they need to see both sides. This is no different than recruiters for jobs or colleges. They are going to tell you everything you want to hear, not necessarily the dirt. Find the dirt prior to diving in, and you might have a chance. Good Luck with your decision.

Dagwood
11-14-2004, 02:44 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Perk:</font><hr> They are going to tell you everything you want to hear, not necessarily the dirt. <hr /></blockquote>

Gawd, that sounds so much like an Army recruiter it's scary. I personally would want string my recruiter up by the neck with the miles of paperwork that I had to sign in order to join...LOL

Dags