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How Much Does It Cost to Start a Bowling Alley?

Bowling Alley Business

You need a minimum of $650,000 to open a standard bowling alley. The real deal in starting a bowling center is securing a facility that is large enough to contain a full-sized bowling alley including spectator’s stand, changing room, and enough parking space.

It might take you months to get an ideal facility, so it is better that you inform your real estate agent in advance to help you with the search.

Opening a bowling center can be capital intensive, but if you know how to manage the business, you are sure going to make huge returns on your investment especially if you are an active bowler and socialite in your community.

Starting your own private bowling center is not an easy task. It requires a complete project team and solid capital base. It also requires long term planning to successfully build a bowling center from the scratch to finish.

If you don’t have enough time to spare, you can source for bowling centers that are put-up for sale. One of the drawbacks of buying over a bowling center is that you can’t change the location.

One huge expense to take into account when establishing a bowling alley would be the cost of acquiring the facility’s equipment as well as furnishings. Bowling lanes, scoring devices, ball returns, as well as comfortable seats, are examples of such things.

Furthermore, numerous bowling alleys provide facilities and services including arcade games, pool tables, or a bar or snack area, which could also raise the general price of equipment and fixtures.

Estimated Cost Breakdown for Opening a Bowling Alley

  1. The Total Fee for Registering the Business in the united states of America – 0.
  2. Legal expenses for obtaining licenses and permits – $1,500.
  3. Marketing promotion expenses (8,000 flyers at $0.04 per copy) for the total amount of $10,000.
  4. The cost for hiring Business Consultant – $2,500.
  5. Insurance (general liability, workers’ compensation and property casualty) coverage at a total premium – $30,800.
  6. The cost of accounting software, CRM software and Payroll Software – $3,000
  7. The cost for leasing facility for the bowling alley – $200,000.
  8. The cost for facility remodeling (please note that a 2-lane residential project can run anywhere from $120,000.00 to $195,000.00 or more with installation) – $350,000.
  9. Other start-up expenses including stationery – $1000
  10. Phone and utility deposits – $3,500
  11. Operational cost for the first 3 months (salaries of employees, payments of bills et al) – $40,000
  12. The cost for start-up inventory – $15,000
  13. The cost for acquiring bowling wares – $40,000
  14. The cost for the purchase of furniture and gadgets (various furniture types, lighting, scoring / scoring monitors, audio/ music system, video screens or graphics, graphics and décor, and theming et al) – $80,000.
  15. The cost of launching a website – $600
  16. Miscellaneous – $5,000

From the rough estimate as listed above, you would need a minimum of six hundred and fifty thousand USD ($650,000) to establish a standard bowling alley in any city in the United States of America. The cost of opening a bowling alley can be shaped by a myriad of factors.

These elements are explained in considerable depth below to help business owners understand the costs associated with opening a bowling alley.

Factors Affecting the Cost of Opening a Bowling Alley

  1. Location

A bowling alleys location could have a massive effect on its price. A high-traffic site can draw in more clients, yet it comes with relatively high rent or sales prices. Furthermore, zoning and building regulations may have a substantial effect on your expenses.

For instance, in certain places, extra authorizations or safety checks might be necessary to guarantee that the construction satisfies safety regulations.

Because the cost of such authorizations varies by location, it is critical to investigate the prerequisites in the region prior to making investments.

  1. Size

The scale of a bowling alley could as well influence its price. A smaller bowling alley would need less space and resources, lowering the upfront outlay.

A bigger bowling alley, on the other hand, would need finances. Because the cost of hardware and upkeep rises with the caliber of the bowling alley, it is critical to tread a fine line between size and affordability.

  1. Equipment

The next substantial expenditure when establishing a bowling alley is equipment. Bowling lanes, pins, as well as balls, along with footwear or other items, are all included.

The price of equipment varies depending on its durability and brand, with more costly technology typically offering better functionality and longevity. When acquiring tools, maintenance costs must likewise be taken into account.

  1. Advertising

Promotion is crucial for any organization, including bowling alleys. Advertising costs differ depending on the technique utilized.

Conventional marketing methods, including print ads as well as radio commercials, are impactful but also expensive. Although digital marketing including is less expensive, it needs more work to implement.

  1. Employees

Furthermore, when establishing a bowling alley, the expense of staff members must be taken into account. The above includes wages, perks, as well as training expenses. The amount of staff needed is determined by the capacity of the bowling alley as well as the services provided.

A bowling alley with a restaurant or bar, for instance, will require extra employees. When creating a business plan, it is critical to take into account the cost of staff benefits and salaries.


Please note that this is a rough estimate and we usually advise our readers who are interested in starting a bowling alley to have a clear picture of what they want to achieve, go to the market or directly contact sellers of the items they would need to get real time prices of these items.

Interestingly, most bowling centers in the United States of America are constructed using a combination of new and used equipment so as to cut down cost. Besides, bowling equipment will last 30 or more years if properly maintained.

The truth is that if you are a good bargainer, you can get a better deal that will help you beat down the estimated price as listed above.