Should I open a pool room?

Rhea

Retired Road Player
Silver Member
Should I open a pool room as a retirement plan or is that silly?
 

sjm

Sweating it at Derby City
Silver Member
Not enough information.

Should you put your life savings into a poolroom and figure that the income will provide for your retirement? Maybe not. Should you incorporate and obtain financing that enables you to limit the majority of your financial exposure? That's a better idea. What have you done to gauge the public's interest in playing pool in the area in which you're thinking of starting a poolroom? Is pool playing growing or declining in that area? How far away are the other poolrooms in the area in which you're considering? Are you building a poolroom from square one or are you buying an existing poolroom?

It's silly if you haven't thought out your plan from soup to nuts and studied the local pool scene in the area in which you'd like to operate your business. If you have, it may be wise or it may be silly. Some will open new rooms that make money and others will open poolrooms with unsustainable business models.

Do your homework and you can make an informed decision.
 

MattPoland

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
The question I’d ask is how much experience do you have engaging the local pool community, promoting the game, running tournaments, what field sizes (8, 16, 32, 64?), what games (9b, 8b, 10b, banks, 1p?), what formats (single room, double room, chip?), getting men to show up, getting women to show up, supporting juniors, etc?

You don’t need to feel proficient at all those things. But a core amount of them will likely be the heart of your venue. I don’t think a field of dreams approach will work (If you build it, they will come).
 

Bavafongoul

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
No......Okay, yes......Maybe....Absolutely.......Now take your pick.
Based upon the information you provided, pick one of the above.
 

PracticeChampion

Active member
Buddy of mine has a decent size bar/room, he says food is his real money maker.

I'm considering it myself, ways away but if the right building fell in my lap I'd go for it. Our nearest place that even holds a tournament is an hour away. Being a college town we have tons of bar activity but not much pool playing but I can only think of 3 places that even a single table
 
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JusticeNJ

Four Points/Steel Joints
Silver Member
No. You shouldn’t take the risk of a pool hall on in retirement. I think it’s great you want to keep active. But having worked at a pool hall when it started to go under, it’s not pretty. The love you had for the game can turn to disgust. Just the sight of the tables makes you angry. Being responsible for a dying business is a lonely place to be. There is no help, and it’s incredible how fast the bills and arrears pile up. By the time you’re one month behind, it can be almost impossible to climb out of the debt cycle.
Enjoy your retirement playing pool. Owning a pool hall is too risky in retirement. IMHO.
 

Jude Rosenstock

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Opening a poolroom on its face is not a good or bad idea. However, there is a reason why some poolrooms thrive while others struggle. In fact, two of New York's most successful rooms occupy locations of prior poolrooms that had gone under. I think, the key to success is understanding that simply having a few tables and a jukebox isn't enough. You need to be great and you need to constantly look for ways to remain relevant, not just in pool, but in your region's nightlife scene.

Is it a good idea? That's entirely on you.
 

Straightpool_99

I see dead balls
Silver Member
Running your own business as a retirement? Most people starting a business work almost round the clock for the first few years, and rarely see much of a profit in the beginning, most earnings go back to the business. I don't know the details of starting a business in the US, but I'd imagine that part is much the same for the Western world.

I'd say running a pool hall is one of the worst investments you can make. Huge demands on real estate, heating cooling and expensive equipment maintainance, picky customers with no money and low earnings potential. I don't think anyone should really consider it, unless they have no other options.
 

Welder84

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Should I open a pool room as a retirement plan or is that silly?

Buying in on an established small bar, poolroom that has a liquor license and pool league is the best formula (in my opinion).

Most invest in pool because they love it, and try and turn their passion into a business. So making money off of your passion is a total hit or miss.

Q Master Billiards is the only large scale poolroom I have ever seen that survived long term...
 

HNTFSH

Birds, Bass & Bottoms
Gold Member
Silver Member
Opening a poolroom on its face is not a good or bad idea. However, there is a reason why some poolrooms thrive while others struggle. In fact, two of New York's most successful rooms occupy locations of prior poolrooms that had gone under. I think, the key to success is understanding that simply having a few tables and a jukebox isn't enough. You need to be great and you need to constantly look for ways to remain relevant, not just in pool, but in your region's nightlife scene.

Is it a good idea? That's entirely on you.
I've been wondering lately if a truly "Retro" room WITH food and alcohol, along with 7 and 9 footers and regular weekend morning and weekday evenings league/tournament play might draw young and old alike. No FRI/SAT evening tourney's/leagues.
 

ChrisinNC

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Should I open a pool room as a retirement plan or is that silly?
No, not if if you enjoy pool! Not unless you are single, have more $ than you know what to do with, and spend 24/7 in a poolroom anyway.

If pool means that much to you, make sure you have a room in your residence big enough to have a high quality commercial table (Gold Crown or a Diamond). Also, live in an area where there is a nice pool room available to frequent.

Your pool table rental $ by itself will be a small % of the total revenue. The main income producers will be the food/grill and the bar operation, which believe me is a lot of work and constant issues.

The hassle of owning and running a pool room, bar and grill is a lot of work, and most likely not profitable. This is coming from someone who has owned/operate a pool room / grill for 25 years!

Honestly if I had to do it all over again knowing what I know now, I likely would have chose something else, but at this point I’m too far along and it’s too late to turn back.
 
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Jude Rosenstock

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I've been wondering lately if a truly "Retro" room WITH food and alcohol, along with 7 and 9 footers and regular weekend morning and weekday evenings league/tournament play might draw young and old alike. No FRI/SAT evening tourney's/leagues.
Those are all solid ideas but the truth is, there isn't a single winning formula. In my opinion, you want to double down on your pool experience while remaining flexible with your other ideas. You need a good and young team of employees who can feed you ideas on how to become/remain a staple in the nightlife industry.
 

HNTFSH

Birds, Bass & Bottoms
Gold Member
Silver Member
Those are all solid ideas but the truth is, there isn't a single winning formula. In my opinion, you want to double down on your pool experience while remaining flexible with your other ideas. You need a good and young team of employees who can feed you ideas on how to become/remain a staple in the nightlife industry.
That's where the Retro theme comes in, young folks dig it but would love to get real feedback from them.
 

Nikrnic

Member
My family had 3 rooms. Two in S CA then one in SE MI. Two closed, one sold and still in biz... It was great while it lasted. The smaller room is still there, did the best in the long run and in net profit. The smaller the better. Less employees, very minimal food. The kitchen (food biz) is a nightmare.

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