View Full Version : Opening up a pool hall, plz help

01-18-2011, 06:39 PM
A friend and myself have recently been discussing opening up a pool hall just out side of orlando but east. They had closed down the pool hall everyone goes to, they said the lease was too high, but it was deffinatly poor management and advertising. So right now all of our APA in house and traveling leagues have moved and most are unhappy. *me too* So my friend and i have been getting more serious with this. So I started looking into the process of all the licenses and just want some opinions on the situation. I would be wanting to do both beer and liquor, as well as some finger foods. Looking at about 16 tables, with both APA and BCA being played here. *BCA would be new as i have alot of friends who drive 40 mins for one and love it, so it would be new to the area. I just almost dont know where to start and anyone who has advice would be greatly appreciated.

Rich R.
01-19-2011, 07:41 AM
I can't help much as I probably know less about starting a business than you but one of the first things I would do is get together with a good accountant and a good business attorney. Between the two of them, they should be able to provide a lot of guidance.

Good luck. I only wish I was 30 years younger and in your position.

01-19-2011, 11:41 AM

Rich R.
01-20-2011, 07:48 AM
I think the BCA used to have information on their web site to help someone opening a poolroom but I don't know if it is still there. It may be worth a search.

01-22-2011, 06:46 AM
I would visit some small bars to try and catch some owners working and ask them about the liquor license issues in your area. If you order a drink and be a customer most will answer your questions. offering food will prob make it fall under restuarant rules also so that may be alot up front so it may be something to add once the pool hall is up and running. Running a business of any kind is an art all by itself. You can find meet ups of local small business owners to network with other people for the business side and rules for your area, and they vary alot by area. You hit the nail on the head about management and marketing, that can make or break any business. Networking with other local small business owners will help you learn stuff from their experience rather than the school of hard knocks.

01-22-2011, 08:46 AM
Piece of cake as long as you and your partner each have $100,000 start up money. That's after you pay an attorney to write up a partnership contract. And you purchase a liquor license, if one is available. And serving food means no smoking. And you are willing to work 28 hours a day; 8 days a week.

Actually, you probably should find a pool room that you would like to imitate and sit down with the owner and see what is involved. Of course find one who you would not be competing with.


The Man
01-27-2011, 10:56 PM
In my opinion pool halls are hard to manage I've seen a lot of them close down. I would get a few serious locals by having a monthly membership even if it's just open to members a few hours a day or night. I believe it helps bring in new customers. I have never managed a pool hall though. Just food for thought.

02-02-2011, 12:43 PM
Pool halls can be opened fairly cheaply if you go on line and find used equipment. You can generally find good equipment for cheap from halls that have closed. Most players prefer Brunswick's and it will keep complaints about the type of tables you have down.

Make sure the building you find has reasonable rent and that the landlord is responsible for heating, cooling and roofing repairs.

If you have to do renovations the more you can do yourself the better. Remember you will be needing electrical work for the lighting over the tables.

Pool halls are drive to destinations. Pick an area that separates you from the undesirables. Parking is of the utmost importance if you are going to have events there.
Also Sq footage is important. Consider the dimensions. How many tables you want. Do want room for small cafe's style pedestal tables and billiards chairs.

35 feet wide by 50 gets you about 9 tables with about 5 feet around the permitter and 5 feet in between tables. Thats 1750 sqft with no room for anything else.
No chairs. No counter. No bathrooms. So your minimum room size should be around 2750 for a small hall.

Remember if you are going to sponsor a league such as the APA you can contain the entire league within your premises. That is 128 customers for every night a league is playing.
Leagues can be run on 9 foot tables rather than bar boxes. Check what league franchises are in the area and what nights they play on. If can attract several and there are no conflicts with scheduling so much the better.

Keep your music under control. You pool hall is open to attract customers not drive people away because the music is loud, thump and obnoxious. Your not opening a night club. You want to cast the broadest net for customers not limit it a particular niche.

For extra money look into having a small kitchen.
If you are not a restauranteur keep it simple. Hamburgers, hotdogs, wings and fries. Perhaps frozen pizza.
Consider acquiring a beer and wine license. Stay away from the hard stuff.
You would be amazed at how few cases of beer will pay your utilities as well as the rent if your sales volume is high enough.

Remember you will also have to consider the added sqft for a bar and kitchen if you go this route.

Hope this helps.