View Full Version : Open a Pool Room 101 - Episode 1. Is It For You?

08-04-2002, 05:03 AM
I've been blessed early in life to have been able to open my own pool room, I've been open for 7 months, and it has been the toughest 7 months of my life. Actually, it's been the toughest 2 years of my life. I first started to look into the idea of my own room about 3 years ago, but, it was not until 22 months ago that I was able to get the ball rolling. I made a lot of mistakes and was humbled many times. Hopefully my mistakes can help some others from repeating them for themselves.

The first thing to ask yourself is, is this what I want to do with my life. Do I want to deal with drunks, nits and just people in general. Dealing with the public day in and day out can be trying at the best of times, at the worst of times it is almost enough to make you pull your hair out. The next question is, am I cut out to be a business man, not everyone is. There is no such thing as a turnkey small business. You WILL work 60 hours a week to start out, you MAY be strapped for cash for a long time. %50 of all small businesses fail in the first year, are you willing to risk your financial situation? If you think this is the job for you, now is the hard part. What you need to do first...

The first things I did, and you will need to do.

What Type of Pool Hall - Do you want a players room, a sports bar, a lounge, a family room.... They all have different needs and different amounts of startup money. I wanted a medium size players room from the start. I had no desire to run a bar, and no desire to run a 50 table megaplex. I got into the business because I love pool, so pool was going to be my focal point.

Size up competition - I had to move. Simple as that. The city I lived previously was already oversaturated with pool tables. 2 have since gone out of business since I left. The big problem was there was already a fabulous players room, that all the locals were very loyal to. It wasn't worth my effort to go against them, so I didn't. I made inquiries and took a few road trips to neighboring cities and provinces. I eventually ended 800 miles away. With a 400,000 population and not a single players room in sight. Heaven for someone like me.

Learn the Law - Boy was I in for a surprise. I was smart enough to look into local laws before quitting my real job. This process held me up for almost 7 months. The city heard pool hall and freaked out. I realized why there were no good pool rooms, the city didn't want them. Zoning laws were all screwy, and were much different than my old place of residence. I ended up having to go through 2 appeals and then once that was all straightened out after 7 months, the local residence tried to block me from opening up(I'll go into this in detail in a future post). The liquor lisence was another battle alltogether, but I got that all sorted out. OY VEY

Startup Cash - Go into a bank and try loan money to open a new small business. My father, also a small businessman, made sure that I had a solid business plan in place(get professional help!!!!) It didn't matter. I was too much of a risk. I was fortunate that I'm quite frugal(I still have 73 cents of the first dollar I earned) and I own land(inhereted from my Grandfather). I didn't wan to sell my land but my life savings were coming up a little:0 short. I decided to get a partner.

Partners - Never again, never again. I can not recomend a partner. Not one iota. The biggest mistake I made was going into partnership with a family member, in this case my brother. My brother and I were quite close and he had some financial stability. He still has financial stability but we haven't talked except for at Christmas for over a year. It started out all right until the Zoning problems. Arguments, different ideas...anything that could go wrong between us did. I wish I could go back and do it over, but time heals all wounds. In the end I did what I didn't want to. I sold half my land.

Once I had the money in place, and the city in line, it was time to select a place of business and start the building. I'll deal with that in the next couple series.

Rich R.
08-04-2002, 06:55 AM
Thanks for sharing Grumpy. I find your story very interesting and I am looking forward to you next installment.
Rich R.

08-04-2002, 09:47 AM
excellent. i fugure you've averted at least a half dozen bankrupts and a couple of suicides already.

keep it comin.


08-04-2002, 10:17 AM
So what you're telling me is that I should look deeper into my dream of winning the lottery and opening up my own room??


Barbara~~~still hoping to win the lottery...