Starting a Pool Hall

starting a pool hallBy Donald Michael Schwartz

Job Duties

Do you remember that pool table you had in your basement or your friend’s basement? There are few things like a pool table to increase the popularity of a place. Have you ever thought of making a business on this concept? When starting a pool hall you will need to lease some space and purchase some pool tables and equipment. You will need to maintain that equipment and those tables. Marketing and management duties are important to keep your pool hall business running. Public relations will also be very important. Did you see the “The Music Man?” You don’t want people to think “there is trouble in River City,” by opening a pool hall. You need to overcome some of the bad connotations of a pool hall.

Where will you work?

When starting a pool hall you will want to locate somewhere that has lot of demand and not much competition. You can use Superpages.com to search for other pool halls in your area. It is a good idea to check out your competition. See if they have many people in their pool hall. If you see that the pool hall is overcrowded it may be because they have more demand than they can handle. When starting a pool hall locating in a high traffic area will be ideal.

Basic Costs

When starting a pool hall you will need to buy the pool tables, cues, supplies, and equipment. You can purchase your pool tables wholesale. One of your biggest costs will be your location so try to get a good deal on this. When choosing your location you also want to consider parking and if there is walk by traffic. You will need liability insurance, and cover a payroll. You will also want to furnish and decorate your pool hall according to the target audience you are attracting. It is a good idea to have flat screen tvs and music to keep customers in your pool hall longer, after all, the longer they stay the more money your pool hall makes. You can also decide to have a soda machine and concession stand in case customers get hungry or thirsty. You can also decide to serve alcohol in your pool hall but you will have to abide my stricter rules.  If you decide to serve food and/or alcohol in your pool hall you will have to get a separate license for that. If you decide to offer food you may need a location with drains, refrigerators, dishwasher, grills and ovens depending on what foods you plan to serve.

Tips for Starting a Pool Hall

  • Offer consistent customer service– your customers will get frustrated if they have unnecessary waits for pool tables. Always keep the pool room looking clean and inviting.
  • Offer quality equipment– The tables and equipment should be in good working order, and supplies well stocked.
  • Identify your knowledge and skills– You will need the usual business skills and knowledge. When starting a pool hall consult with professionals, such as accountants and business consultants, to make sure you know your business strengths and weaknesses. A good pool room supplier should be able to help you identify specific skills and knowledge for running a pool room business.
  • Hire Employees– Make sure you conduct good background checks on your employees, and understand proper hiring and interviewing practices.
  • Have a wall of fame– Document, in photos, the good times had by your customers
  • Have well defined marketing approach– There are many different possible niches you could cater to, but they may not mix well. For instance, a college crowd may not mix well with families or high-end older customers. However, once you choose your niche, you may consider setting up special times for other niche markets when it is slow for your regular customers.
  • Licensing and Registration– Make sure you have all the necessary licenses, and permits. Also check the local ordinances and state regulations for compliance.
  • Have other products and services– You may want to serve food, but keep it simple and focus on high margin food like pizza or sandwiches. You may want to offer Wi-Fi and other modern amenities. Think in terms of how you can make your pool hall a home away from home for your targeted clientele.
  • Liability insurance– You will need to go to a good commercial insurance agent to find out about covering your liabilities.
  • Monthly membership– It may be profitable for your pool hall to offer monthly membership which encourages people to come often.
  • Start a pool league– When starting a pool hall you can consider starting a pool league or holding pool competitions to attract pool enthusiasts.
  • Offer pool lessons– Offering pool lessons can be a great way to increase your profits.
  • Offer more– Depending on your target market you can decide to have more attractions in your pool hall. You can have a room for people to rent out for parties. You can have an arcade, darts, air hockey, ect.

Advertising a Pool Hall

When advertising your pool hall keep your target market in mind. Who is more likely to visit your pool hall in your area? College kids? Professional pool players? Look for effective advertising methods to reach your target market. For example if you are planning to target college kids, you can decide to put up flyers at their college. Try various advertising methods when starting your pool hall. Keep the advertising methods that are producing the highest return on investment.

  • Pool Hall Business Cards-Create business cards and hand them whenever an opportunity appears. Network as much as possible.
  • Flyers– Determine if you can put up flyers in local grocery stores, schools, recreational center, community centers, and more. It is best to ask the owner of these businesses for permission first. Also hand out flyers to passer byes on the street.
  • Yahoo Local Searches– If you include your business in the Yahoo Local Searches, when people search for your service in your local area your business will appear in the list. To add your business to Yahoo local search, enter the term “add business to yahoo local search” in Yahoo.com and click on the first link.
  • Google Local Searches– Google has a local search as well. To add your business to Google local search, enter the term “add business to google search” in Google.com and click on the first link.
  • Website– You can decide to develop a website to provide customers with access to general information about your pool hall such as the hours you are open.
  • Social Media– Create a twitter and facebook page for your pool hall and encourage visitors to join. If you have a website you can provide links to your twitter and facebook page.
  • Online– People are constantly looking online for fun things do in their city and local area. Search for “things to do in (your state or city)” in search engines such as google and check out the websites that appear. Contact the website owner and let them know of your pool hall and if they can add your pool hall to their website. You can also use Craigslist.com to advertise your pool hall.

Not sure about starting a pool hall? See a list of small business ideas

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