View Full Version : starting a pool hall

01-07-2007, 10:40 AM
I'm looking to start a pool hall but i dont know what to do. i live in philadelphia pa and i dont think we have enough pool halls. will someone help me with this please. any ideals will help. thank you

01-07-2007, 10:58 AM
If you can, I would get a job (any job) at an existing pool hall so you can learn the business. Listen to what the customers have to say. Also might want to monitor how busy the existing pool halls are at different times. What is the most busy pool hall doing and what is the least busy pool hall doing? Which locations are the most busy? Which locations are the least busy?

In theory if you give customers what they want and pick a good location, you will have a better chance of succeeding.

I would guess that things other than pool tables are what helps a pool hall to draw customers. What are those things in your area? Attractive employees? Food service? Booze? Prices? Looks of the place?

01-07-2007, 02:36 PM
One reason you might not "have enough" pool halls is that they don't make money. Do you "have enough" McDonalds there? How about cheesesteak places? How about dry cleaners? I would like to see more pool halls myself. I am less excited about investing in one. That doesn't mean you shouldn't do it necessarily. I understand the BCA puts out a book for those interested in owning a pool hall. I have not seen it myself, but I have heard some good things about it. It only costs $150 I think, so I would start there.

01-07-2007, 03:52 PM
I do not know a lot about this myself, but it has been asked before. I have seen threads asking what pool players wanted to see in a new pool hall. I would do a search for that stuff. Also, while I really like this forum the best, their are a lot of pool players on azbilliards.com, and that may be a good place to ask people what they would like to see in a pool hall. I know the smoke in a pool hall drives me crazy.

01-08-2007, 06:08 AM
Here is what the pool players want:

Have the best tables with Simonis cloth that is replaced every 3 months.

Have several tournaments a week where you add $100.

Table time for $1.00 an hour.

Sell bottled water (that they can refill in the john) for $1.00.

Don't get upset at them when they are practicing their masse and jump shots on your tables.


01-08-2007, 05:20 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote jjinfla:</font><hr> Here is what the pool players want:

Table time for $1.00 an hour.

<hr /></blockquote>
That's a bit more than most of the players that I know think that they should have to pay /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif

01-12-2007, 12:43 PM
Here's my suggestion. Get financial advice of course but most important get MARKETING ADVICE! Do the research! find out if there is a need in your area for the product and the best location if there is. Then look into the things you will need to get the business rolling, advertising, food preparation, extra amenities like video machines etc. MOST IMPORTANT hire an experienced manager who knows billiards. Pool halls have a bigger bankruptsy rate than even restruants. You will need to be fully knowlegeble and prepared if you take this on. Good luck -Brad

01-13-2007, 05:03 AM
Before you plunk down the money go in and talk to the powers to be at City Hall. Find out if there are any restrictions that they will put on you.

There has been an on-going battle here between the pool halls and City Hall and if you have a band at night and charge admission then you are not allowed to have anyone in the place, at any time, who is under 21.

01-15-2007, 11:44 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote blackmask42:</font><hr> I'm looking to start a pool hall but i dont know what to do. i live in philadelphia pa and i dont think we have enough pool halls. will someone help me with this please. any ideals will help. thank you <hr /></blockquote>

From my previous experience, you cannot live with tables alone.

here are some thoughts:

*investing on tables costs already a fortune. then you have regular maintenance (ex. change of cloth). usually, it takes 5-10 years to get ROI (return on investment) if you have really good patronage. do you think your market will be able to support you for at least half a decade?

*your customers will only go to your place on specific time(s) of the day &amp; on specific day(s) of the week. let's say customers come in at 7pm &amp; stay until 10pm &amp; occupy an average of 3/10 tables on weekday &amp; 6/10 tables on weekends. how does the monthly table sales contribute to the monthly costs? how will you (address) generate income during the dead hours/days?

*usually, a successful billiard hall has other revenue centers to address per square foot costs of daily operations:

a standard billiard table measures 4.5'x9' w/ allowance of say 60" on both sides for a player to move around. a small dining table measures about 3sqft. considering the space occupied to generate income, a dining table is more profitable than the billiard table in a per square foot basis. balancing this will help you generate income to pay for other necessary costs (like vacant billiard tables)

*here's a basic list to consider in projecting your ROI:
Cost of Tables
Cost of Balls
Cost of Cues
Other Investments (kitchen equipment, etc)
Food &amp; Beverage Costs
Maintenance (table cloths, property/building, etc)
Other costs

*I saw this from previous replies: YOU MUST GIVE WANT YOUR CUSTOMERS WANT.

I used to manage a one of the successful pool chains in the country. I learned that you cannot give everything that your customers want. If they want something, YOUR CUSTOMER must also be ready to PAY for it.

Let's say your market want you to have a Brunswick table (approx $4,000) with simonis cloth (~$250) &amp; super aramith pro-cup tv balls (~$200). Above all, they just want to pay $1/hr for these premium services. You, the operator, will have to wait approx 1,483 hours, or 741 days at 6hrs/day of average use, before you can make a break even (excluding other operational costs)... you will surely be out of business sooner than you think. You can only deliver what your customers can really pay for. You are running a business, not a charity.

There's a lot more homework to do, but I hope this gives you an idea where to start


01-15-2007, 06:10 PM
Sometimes your biggest difficulty is the lessor and the surrounding tenants.

01-17-2007, 01:30 AM
I've always wanted to own a pool hall as well, but since I began helping to manage the one I have worked at for years and actually have some insight into the numbers and such, that dream is fading fast. It's not that I don't want to own one still someday, but I don't know if I'd want the headaches and hardships that go along with it.

A quick rundown of what we have: we're in Montgomery, AL (a fair sized town, but far from a buzzing metropolis). We've been in town for years and currently have only one other similar competitor in the close area (what I would define as a "pool hall" these days). We sell food, beer and liquor, have a dart machine, a megatouch video game machine, and a jukebox. We also have the benefit of the APA in this area for some extra business.

Sounds like fun and a dream to have. But now that I get to see the checkbooks side of things, man is it a hassle and don't see how much profit is made (in fact, as established as we are, we aren't making any profit at all right now... shhh!)

Between rent, taxes (everything seems to have some sort of tax), payroll, liquor and beer costs, repairs, license costs , fees for playing music etc., the base price for the various equipment, and whatever else I'm forgetting to add right now--- you start off in the hole quite a bit.

Then the headaches of customers. The pool players want good equipment, but for the most part don't want to pay for too awful much. The joe or Jane Blow comes in and tears up your expensive equipment. You run promotions (free pool nights for certain groups like APA or Ladies night-- for example) to generate interest, but must find a balance between increasing business and plain getting taken advantage of. Ladies night, for example, you'll have a group of guys come in and have the girl get the table. She'll procede to sit down while the guys play all night, and they all drink water if anything.

Don't get me wrong, I love the business and this line of work. And for me personally the good outweighs the bad. But I also have the benefit of working there and getting paid as long as we are in business. Were I the one owning the place, I honestly don't know if I could handle it. It'd be fun to try, but I definitely suggest looking into all aspects of owning and operating such a place in your area in great detail.