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View Full Version : Buying a pool hall....HELP!!



scratchyyy
08-08-2005, 09:38 AM
Quick question for all of you veterans…to give a brief background, I have no business ownership experience, and currently have a very well paying job (upwards of 6 figures) and I am seriously considering quitting everything I know to open a pool hall. My question is, has anyone ever done this? if so, what can I expect? Any tips or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Knowing of course that location and advertisement etc will play a major roll in this figure Im curious mainly what kind of income I can expect. Also, does anyone have an idea of how these things are financed or how hard they are to get lending on? Thanks everyone in advance!

Billy_Bob
08-08-2005, 09:48 AM
Well I would certainly travel around first and look at different billiard rooms. See which ones are full of people every night. See what they are doing right. What other things they offer which draws in the people - is it food, drinks, video games, locations, whatever?

May want to check out the following chain...
http://www.clicks.com

cueball1950
08-08-2005, 10:12 AM
i would say forget it. to big a risk. you have to much to lose. there are pool halls closing up shop every day. and i think you will find it hard to get a bank to finance one. sorry to burst your buble. but i gotta tell it like i see it...................................mike

Rich R.
08-08-2005, 10:48 AM
I have never owned a pool room and I can only help you, from my own observations.

The most successful pool rooms I have been seeing are those that have a good food and bar business. They do not have to rely on the pool for their income. Most, but not all, support the major leagues, like the APA and BCA, because it brings in a lot of food and bar business during the weeknights, when things would normally be slow. Some also support dart leagues, which also bring in people for food and drinks.
Keep the place clean, well maintained and treat your customers well and I think you can make it.
Of course, location will mean a great deal, as always.

P.S. I do know of one place, not too far from me, that seems to be fairly successful. They do not have a bar and their food is not great. Their main buisness is the pool. The place is not fancy, but it exceptionally well kept, fairly quiet for the serious players, yet accessible to the family players also. I guess it can be done that way too, but it is much more difficult.

jerrodbottini
08-08-2005, 11:39 AM
For more info about A pool hall contact Julie Hunter in Carson City Nv She is selling her place and could give you alot of advise.... 1-775-882-5997

ceebee
08-08-2005, 11:44 AM
The Dallas-Ft Worth area has about 75 Pool Rooms & pool playing Sports bars, only very few are having a bad time (poor management & no venue)

Tulsa has numerous Pool playing facilities & they are all doing well. Oklahoma city is doing OK too. Maybe other members will have some info about their region.

I would think that a great menu, good selection of beverages, activities, location, overall cleanliness, good comfortable chairs & a couple "centerpiece tables" for the action, would do for a start.

The Tulsa Biiliard Palace just enlisted the aid of a good cuemaker & repairman, plus they have a "House Pro". The Billiard Palace is packed every night of the week. They have more great tournements a year, than any other Pool Room I know. Magoo's is also busy, it is owned by the same people.

Since you aren't broke, you should take a few trips, so you can see a few successful business models, before you start your planning. The wrong kind of tables, chairs, lights & layout will be your doom. A cheap menu of frozen sandwiches, potato chips, pickled eggs & candy bars won't pay your bills. Having a clientel of ner-do-wells will kill your dream quicker than an ringing phone to wake you up from your dream.

Go for nice, everyone likes nice. They want to go there, be seen there, have fun there & be safe there.

You can have a nice place by doing it right the first time.

Good Luck.

Scott Lee
08-08-2005, 12:00 PM
scratchyyy...There is a poster on here (Chris from NC), who has a non-smoking pool room. You might want to talk with him, about that option. Depending on where you are, that might be a viable alternative. I know I patronized non-smoking poolrooms any time I get the opportunity. They are few and far between!

One thing for sure...you're not gonna make a six-figure income running a poolroom. So, if you need that kind of income to maintain your family's lifestyle, this is a very risky investment, imo. If you can do the poolroom 'part-time', while keeping your good job for a while, that might be better.

Scott Lee

theinel
08-08-2005, 01:13 PM
From the business side of things you might want to check out the products in the Business Aids (https://www.bcastore.com/default.php?cPath=24) section of the BCA website. This isn't a BCA plug but this info relates directly to the original post. They have... a video ($13) for presenting the industry to financiers, a Proprietors Manual ($86), a pamphlet called "Survey Data: Profile of a Billiard Room" ($10), and a "New Room Package" that contains several of these products ($100). If you join the BCA ($150 minimum) you can get what they call the "Billiard Creative Agency" which has a lot of marketing info in it.

Some minor thing that for me have a huge impact on whether I play in a room are, the tables not being too close to each other, good AC and air filtration to control how much smoke is in the air (if smoking is allowed), and the quality of the table lighting. Clean bathrooms matter a lot to many women.

If you're looking to have a players room having a good houseman, or house pro, can make a big difference.

houseman
08-08-2005, 02:33 PM
I have owned my small 8 table room for 12 years now. No alcohol or food. Sodas and snacks only.
I work open till close all by myself. If your a family man it can be very hard on them.
I have been trying to keep the place as a pool room, not an entertainment business, and believe me its tough If you don`t serve food and alcohol. Try to own the building not pay rent like I do. $2000.00 PER MONTH OFF THE TOP FIRST. What ever you decide good luck.

Fran Crimi
08-08-2005, 02:46 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote scratchyyy:</font><hr> Quick question for all of you veterans…to give a brief background, I have no business ownership experience, and currently have a very well paying job (upwards of 6 figures) and I am seriously considering quitting everything I know to open a pool hall. My question is, has anyone ever done this? if so, what can I expect? Any tips or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Knowing of course that location and advertisement etc will play a major roll in this figure Im curious mainly what kind of income I can expect. Also, does anyone have an idea of how these things are financed or how hard they are to get lending on? Thanks everyone in advance! <hr /></blockquote>


You can make it a lucrative business if you do all your homework up front. Get the demographics for within a 10 mile radius of the neighborhood. Find out the mean income. That will help you determine your hourly table time rates for your projection. (Bring in an accountant or financial planner early on and have them help you do a 5 year projection. It's vitally important if you want to stay in business.) Research zoning laws, gaming and liquor licensing, etc. for that area. Don't spend a penny on the room until you've researched those laws for that area. Determine what kind and how many tables you want, so you will have to find a location first.

Financing is like any other business. Depends on your assets and present income. Projected income has a minmal effect. Lending institutions are more concerned with the present than an unknown future of a new business.

You should be able to purchase tables on a payment plan basis. That will help cut down financing.

Expect losses for at least your first year while you pay off your debt. Your projection, if done right, including all start-up costs and advertising estimates, ongoing costs, taxes and projected income, should give you an idea of when you should start to make money.

Don't take shortcuts on doing your legwork. It doesn't pay. Without a projection, you won't have any idea how long you may have to carry the business before you make money. Do your homework up front.


Good luck!

Fran

cueball1950
08-08-2005, 06:17 PM
while everybody on here is giving you good advice. My question still remains. Is opening a pool room/what ever else you decide to sell, ie: food alcohol worth giving up a near 6 figure salary? If you can di it and maintain your job i would then say go ahead with it, just don't put your families financial future at stake or in hock........mike

SPetty
08-09-2005, 07:46 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote ceebee:</font><hr> A cheap menu of frozen sandwiches, potato chips, pickled eggs &amp; candy bars won't pay your bills.<hr /></blockquote>I just gotta take a side track here and ask... Who reading this has ever eaten a pickled egg? Did you eat the whole thing? Have you done it more than once? Why? /ccboard/images/graemlins/crazy.gif

What is a pickled egg?

Fred Agnir
08-09-2005, 07:57 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote SPetty:</font><hr> I just gotta take a side track here and ask... Who reading this has ever eaten a pickled egg? Did you eat the whole thing? Have you done it more than once? Why? /ccboard/images/graemlins/crazy.gif

What is a pickled egg? <hr /></blockquote>Always with the in depth questions... the ones nobody else dares to ask!

I've eaten them. And the pigs feet. And that hot saugage thingy. When you're hungry, drunk, or (egad) stoned out of your mind, it all seems like a good idea at the time.

Fred

Rich R.
08-09-2005, 08:35 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote SPetty:</font><hr> Who reading this has ever eaten a pickled egg? Did you eat the whole thing? Have you done it more than once? Why? /ccboard/images/graemlins/crazy.gif

What is a pickled egg? <hr /></blockquote>
Pickled eggs are hard boiled eggs that are pickled in some kind of purple colored liquid. /ccboard/images/graemlins/confused.gif

I remember a time when there were jars of pickled eggs on the counter at all the mom and pop grocery stores, as well as most of the neighborhood taverns. However, I never got hungry enough, or drunk enough, to try one. /ccboard/images/graemlins/tongue.gif

stickman
08-09-2005, 11:11 AM
They're not necessarily purple. They're tasty, good for you, and high in protein. There's not much in my diet at the poolhall, but pickled eggs is one thing that I can have.

bluey2king
08-10-2005, 11:44 AM
Along with the advise given...I would add. Hire a experienced Pool Room Manager. He will be able to run the tournys and give advice that will be sooo valuable!
Good Food Really Helps the place I play half is a resurant seperate bussniss compleatly but it brings lots of people. I like goog music and TV's around.
Booze seems to be the Big bill payier! That is one reason I would not allow kids it will be troube at some point with them drinking or trying to.
One more thing I will add that I have seen yet is POKER. I don't play but it seem real popular right now. They all will eat and drink (profit)
Good Luck
Please let us know what you decide!!

opposedtwin2
08-10-2005, 12:45 PM
My first question would be are you wanting to buy a pool room because you love to play pool or do you want to make money? If it's because you love to play pool then you're already on shaky ground. Cut your six figure income in half to begin with and ask yourself if you're still having fun. Guess who is the waitress, cook, or bartender when the real ones don't show up? Compare your work day of 8-10 hours to the number of hours you plan your room to be open daily. Remember, this is primarily a cash business so you must be there to watch where the cash goes. Your clientele pays by degrees, meaning the higher degree of their pool skills the less money you will make off them. They play pool a lot in order to develop/maintain their skill so they drink little (except for water or coffee) and eat before or after they leave at nearby fast foods. Without leagues (BCA and APA) it is difficult to impossible to make ends meet. Their members are ordinary working people to people with six figure incomes who are die hard pool enthusiasts. Your relationship with the league operator is paramount since you would not want he or she to disallow play at your room due to a disagreement. Having said this it can still be an enjoyable and financially rewarding business but it is not an easy business. Without a sound business plan you are in trouble. Ask if your friends, associates, or fellow posters want to make monetary investments?

DickLeonard
08-10-2005, 02:05 PM
OPPosedtwin2,

I have run one room and let my self get screwed out of the Albany Golden Cue. I call it the Albany Golden Screw.

The first room was on a city street with no off street parking and I kept it going for 5 years and there was 9 poolrooms in Troy. How did I do it.
1st treat everyone as if their family, reward steady customers, hey that half hour is on me, offer to play newcomers and split time with them.
2nd there are usually kids around in the morning and give them free time for cleaning the room,tables,the floor etc and be generous with the free time. They become good players faster and a lifelong poolplayer.
3rd become acquainted with the sports editors,newapapers and TV, When you book a pool exhibition you get plenty of writeups in the paper and on Tv. When I was running the Golden Screw, Minnesota Fats showed up to give us three free days of exhibition with no notice. With in an Hour I had the presses rolling and the TV cameras on their way. I had him booked in the Thruway Hyatt House with his name on their 50 ft sign, Minnesota Fats at the Golden Cue.

We had three exhibitions Joe Balsis vs Irving Crane, Dick Leonard vs Steve Mizerak. A double match Dick Leonard vs Joe Canton another screwee and the winner to play Arthur Cranfield.
The poolroom went from dead to mobbed within 6 months. Eli Albert a pro bowler and prop of Midway bowl, who I didn't know stopped in to congratulate me on turning the business around, even though it was putting him out of business.
4th keep the eqipment up, try selling reasonable priced cues and learn how to put on tips and keep the chalk at reasonable depth. That means cutting or sanding the chalk down so they are not wearing out your ferrules with the chalk.
I guess that is it for now my brain is giving out. ####

Thunderduck
08-10-2005, 04:42 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote ceebee:</font><hr> The Dallas-Ft Worth area has about 75 Pool Rooms &amp; pool playing Sports bars, only very few are having a bad time (poor management &amp; no venue)

Tulsa has numerous Pool playing facilities &amp; they are all doing well. Oklahoma city is doing OK too. Maybe other members will have some info about their region.



Good Luck. <hr /></blockquote>

I live in Dallas, Im not too happy with the selection of pool halls... The ones I go to are Sharkys and Cape Buffalo, both are usually empty... you walk in and get crappy service, they make you give your driver's license cause they think you're gonna steal their balls, they bother you about drinks every few minutes when you only want to shoot pool... the clients are all drunk... whats the fun in that? I stopped shooting pool in public...

tduck

SplinterHands
08-10-2005, 04:47 PM
I wouldn't do it unless it's already a proven business that sells a lot of alcohol. Pool is on the decline. Poker and non-smoking laws have pool in a tailspin.

ras314
08-10-2005, 07:18 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote SPetty:</font><hr> I just gotta take a side track here and ask... Who reading this has ever eaten a pickled egg? Did you eat the whole thing? Have you done it more than once? Why? /ccboard/images/graemlins/crazy.gif

What is a pickled egg? <hr /></blockquote>
As said by others they are hard boiled peeled eggs. Usually stored in gallon jars of vinegar, hence "pickled". I thought every red neck bar and pool hall had to have them. Along with the pickled pigs feet and sausage. When you're in a long game and hungry you'd be suprised what you can eat. /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

I think maybe Fast Eddies had eggs, not sure.

Saw some places up north (mid west?) that had chicken feet, not much to eat on them. Some of the Lousiana pool halls had mud bugs, not pickled though. Maybe a cajun poster will explain how to eat them, doubt you'd believe me. /ccboard/images/graemlins/cool.gif

Vagabond
08-12-2005, 04:26 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote SPetty:</font><hr> <blockquote><font class="small">Quote ceebee:</font><hr> A cheap menu of frozen sandwiches, potato chips, pickled eggs &amp; candy bars won't pay your bills.<hr /></blockquote>I just gotta take a side track here and ask... Who reading this has ever eaten a pickled egg? Did you eat the whole thing? Have you done it more than once? Why? /ccboard/images/graemlins/crazy.gif

What is a pickled egg? <hr /></blockquote>


Yes,I did it.I did it again.Because I liked it.It is a southern thang. /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/blush.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/tongue.gif

Vagabond
08-13-2005, 06:12 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote ras314:</font><hr> Some of the Lousiana pool halls had mud bugs, not pickled though. Maybe a cajun poster will explain how to eat them, doubt you'd believe me. /ccboard/images/graemlins/cool.gif <hr /></blockquote>

Traditional method is to ``Pinch the butt and suck the head``.U break the tail and discard it.Mud bugs are also called Crawfish.They taste similar to shrimp.
PS:I am NOT a COON ASS.( Cajuns feel respected,well liked if one refers to them as Coon asses) /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

ras314
08-13-2005, 07:56 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Vagabond:</font><hr>

Traditional method is to ``Pinch the butt and suck the head``.U break the tail and discard it.Mud bugs are also called Crawfish.They taste similar to shrimp.
PS:I am NOT a COON ASS.( Cajuns feel respected,well liked if one refers to them as Coon asses) /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif
<hr /></blockquote>
I was once told to pull off the little eye stalks and suck out the innards thru those little holes. I suspect that's what they tell touresters, takes a whole lot of suction. /ccboard/images/graemlins/cool.gif
Not sure I'm refer to a Cajun as coon ass, more of a Creole term? /ccboard/images/graemlins/confused.gif

All pool halls should have such gormet delicacies, much better for you than greasy hamburgers and fries.

bobroberts
08-13-2005, 09:15 AM
I would say,no way! unless you own the building where the room is going to be and if you are going to invest close to a $100k
to make it a full sports bar and pool hall with good food,poker,tournaments a full bar and a few more gimmicks,its probably not worth the investment.I actually think pool is on the rise again.Its like any other bisiness,you can make it work if you have the time money location commitment,and a strong business plan.
Good luck if you open.