Are you keen on building a bowling club in your local community? Do you want to play an integral part in its creation and ensure its long-term success?
If so, this article can provide you with some helpful tips on planning and building your bowling club.
You don’t just need exemplary bowling skills to be able to run a successful club. (In fact, it’s not entirely necessary). What you do need is a proper plan, infrastructure, funding, and the right equipment to draw and retain a dedicated and active community.
With the right plan, you can draw an active number of people to play and interact in your bowling club—both young and old folks alike!
But that aside, the truth is that the road to running a bowling club can be quite arduous, much more so if you’re looking at its feasibility over the long term.
But if you stick to the game plan, you can reap the fruits of your labour and take pride in owning the title of the best bowling club in town.
So without further ado, here’s a step-by-step guide on bringing your bowling club to fruition.
1) Create a Feasibility Study and Business Plan
While promoting fun and recreation to the local community is a commendable act, building a bowling club is a business at the end of the day. And with most business ventures, it’s important to have a solid foundation underneath it all to minimise the risk of it crashing and burning.
First, take a look at your community. Is there a severe lack of recreational hubs in your area? If so, that’s a good sign that building this club may be feasible.
Then ask yourself, do you have potential competitors in your area?
If your local area doesn’t have its own bowls club, the idea of building a bowls club can seem like a no-brainer. However, it’s important to take a step back and meticulously assess whether the local community is enough to support the costs of running a bowls club in the first place.
One way to assess feasibility is by determining the costs of buying and running a bowling club and pairing it against the projected spending habits of your target market. You can draft an initial pricing model, break-even point, and profitability forecasts during this time.
From there, you can more informatively decide whether running a bowling club is worth your time, effort, and money.
2) Secure Grants and Funding
As with every other brick-and-mortar business, financial capital is a crucial element in setting your bowling club’s gears in motion. In fact, money is required in nearly every step of the way, from purchasing materials and equipment to paying off monthly rent and salaries.
If you’ve gathered enough savings to carry you through the first initial months, that’s a fantastic start. However, not everyone has the savings or the cash flow to continuously run the company—especially in its crucial early stages.
Thankfully, there are ways you can cushion the incoming financial blow.
Several government programs can help provide funding to sports clubs through grants. In New South Wales, for instance, eligible organisations can apply for Club Grants Category 3 funding, which can give upwards of up to $200,000 to help allievate construction and renovation costs.
Located in Victoria? Prospecting club owners in Victoria can apply for the Local Sports Infrastructure Fund for financial assistance.
And if you’re not eligible for these public grants, or want to access more funding, private organisations can also be a big help. Greenline’s grants for bowls clubs help you design and construct your club, with the installation of aesthetic additions like shade solutions being one major inclusion.
3) Design Your Layout
When designing your bowling club, it’s important to ensure that your layout balances both functionality and aesthetics.
A bowling club will naturally entail enough space for multiple, standard-grade bowling lanes. Standard measurements for a single lane is about 60 feet by 42 inches, so make sure that your club has enough space both in the front and the back.
Besides that, you also want to look beyond the bowling lanes and think about what other recreational hubs you plan on including in your space. For instance, you’d want to have some comfortable seating for your guests, a shoes-for-hire booth, as well as a ball return system.
And if you want to feature other sports besides bowling, you can consider setting up a concessionaire stand for food and beverages, as well as other recreational areas that feature other sports like foosball, table tennis, pinball, and billiards.
Above all, you want players to have adequate space where they can roam and lounge without feeling crowded. You also want to have the right mix of acoustics, lighting, and furnitures to ensure a good time for everyone.
4) Acquire Furniture
Now comes the part where you have to spend a big portion of your capital to gather all the things needed to run and operate a bowling club.
Typically, you can buy stools, tables, and basic recreational equipment from a local hardware or furniture store.
But for more specialised equipment, you’ll have to look for niche sellers who can provide these items for you. A quick search online can bring you to a couple of viable leads.
5) Hire The Right Contractors
The right contractors can make or break the success of your bowling club. As such, you want to partner up with those with a proven track record in constructing sports facillities, or at least hold some degree of familiarity setting up a bowling lane.
These people will be responsible for setting up the heart of your club—that is, your bowling lanes, pinsetters, scoring systems, and seating areas. You want to ensure that these items, alongside your other fixtures and furnitures, are properly fastened and installed.
Besides that, you also want to ensure that these contractors adhere to safety guidelines and are compliant with local laws. You deserve peace of mind knowing that your contractors aren’t doing anything sly under your nose.
But above all, hire contractors that you feel happy to work with. You want them to understand the vision and goals of your bowling club project. You also want to ensure that they stick with the budget and carry out the construction in a steady pace.
In general, you can hire a general contractor that oversees a construction and utilities team. This way, you don’t have to coordinate with multiple parties regarding your project development, which can help streamline tasks considerably.
6) Market Your Bowling Club
Once you’re done with the construction phase, you can now begin opening the club to the public and building the community.
Use social media platforms like Facebook to spread the word of your new club. Post appealing pictures and happy faces. Building a digital presence can help you build a community of active members, which can in turn lead to the success of your club.
Besides getting eyes on your new club, you can entice your local community by pushing out discount promotions and package deals for your target market. You can also host tournaments and weekly games to draw in a crowd.
Building a bowling club is a lot of work at the start. But if you want to ensure its long-term success, you’ll need to do your part in building it from the ground up.