How Could You Estimate the Cost of Building Bowling Alley?

Setting up a bowling alley can be a thrilling yet challenging venture. Unlike setting up shops like a bakery, restaurant, or a café, bowling alleys have more costs due to the space requirements, specialized infrastructure, and the fact that bowling lanes, pins, scoreboards, and other vital components need to be built from scratch. If you’re planning to set up a bowling alley, you need to accurately estimate the cost of building a bowling alley. This article will discuss the various expenses that you need to consider when setting up a bowling alley – from procuring building materials and paint to furnishing and fitting out the bowling alley – and provide tips for reducing the cost.

What Are the Different Costs Involved in Building Bowling Alley?

The total estimated cost of building bowling alley can analyze and deviate considerably based on the size, layout, and equipment. However, basic components of a bowling alley usually include a desk, lanes, seating, oil machines, Pro-Shop, balls, skyline fabric, lane machines, pins, pin spotters, and bowling shoes. You may also need to install a computer or a pin-setter that manages scoring, ball return system, and lane oiling systems. There are also all the extras that you might decide to buy – from making the bowling alley look attractive to stocking a café or snack bar. All these additional costs, together with the initial set-up costs, add up to make the cost of building a bowling alley very high.

Factors that Determine the Total Cost of Building a Bowling Alley

The total cost of building a bowling alley depends on several factors.

Firstly, the cost of the raw materials and the necessary infrastructure like building the lanes, painting them, and laying the synthetic gutters can quickly add up. You must also consider other factors such as furnishing the alley, replacing the pins, and buying bowling hapes and balls. Insurance, permits, and taxes also contribute to the overall cost of the bowling alley.

Another factor to consider is staff– hiring and training staff come with associated costs. For instance, hiring a lane mechanic to maintain the lane machines and the pinspotter can be essential but adds to the overall cost. It is also worth considering the competitiveness of the area – if there are already existing bowling alleys, then your budget needs to factor in this cost of competing against them.

Typical Costs Included in the Construction of a Bowling Alley

The most significant cost incurred in building a bowling alley is the cost of setting up the bowling lanes. You must consider the cost of the base materials, gutters, plaster, etc. and the cost of hiring specialized workers to install and maintain these lanes.

Setting up the equipment also involves a number of costs, such as the pins, machines, and computer or pin-setting systems. The signage board is also a major cost that you should include in your estimates.

Finally, you must consider the cost of making the bowling alley pleasant and attractive to customers– this includes costs such as seating and furniture, designing the café or snack bar, and fitting out the Pro-shop for selling bowling accessories.

Enhancing the Business Model of Your Bowling Alley Has Additional Costs

Aside from the initial costs to building and equipping a bowling alley, you must factor in additional enhancement costs such as painting the bowling lanes to give them a professional look.

If you intend to increase the revenues, you can introduce a cocktail bar or bowling-themed food items, employ bartenders, servers, and chefs, and install a sound system with laser light shows for events. You must also consider the cost of upgrading the bowling alley’s website for online bookings, as well as the cost of buying a cash register system.

Where Do You Look for Financing Your Bowling Alley?

When looking for financing options for your bowling alley construction project, you must consider different options. Banks may offer you loans for a bowling alley construction project depending on its scale and your personal financial history. Alternatively, you can try to get crowd-funding or invest in stocks of bowling supplies companies as a means for capitalizing your business.

You must also consider the option of leasing the bowling alley or the equipment from a third party, this way you needn’t include the initial cash outlay on the construction project when calculating the total cost.

Analyzing the Profitability of Your Bowling Alley

Once you have determined the cost of constructing the bowling alley, you can use industry data to analyze the potential profits. This involves researching the local market, breaking even point, customer behaviors, and projecting the potential returns for different scenarios.

It is essential to punctiliously study the potential returns and break-even point before investing. This helps you calculate the potential return on investment and the time it would take you to break-even.

Hiring Staff and Maintaining Your Bowling Alley

Hiring qualified staff to handle the day-to-day maintenance of the bowling alley is also crucial. This includes the maintenance of the alleys, machines, and other equipment, as well as collecting and storing fees.

You might also need to hire a Pro-shop manager who can manage the bowling supplies and order stock, and a lane attendant to handle the customers’ requests. The cost of hiring and training staff must also be considered when estimating the total cost of building a bowling alley.

Tips for Reducing Costs When Setting Up a Bowling Alley

One way to reduce costs is to negotiate with suppliers and negotiate to lower the cost of raw materials. You can also look into different financing options and use crowd-funding’s to finance part of the project.

It is essential to research the market and hire staff who have experience in the bowling industry. This way, you can reduce the cost of training and hiring staff. You may also cut back on the costs of scoring and pin-setting systems by looking into cheaper but reliable alternatives.

Sources of Low Cost Building Materials for Your Bowling Alley

While buying materials for your bowling alley, it’s best to compare prices from multiple sources. You can look for low-cost manufacturers of raw materials or repurpose inexpensive materials for use in the bowling alley, such as recycled steel girders and synthetic pinspotting machines.

You can also look into buying secondhand bowling equipment, as this can reduce the cost of setting up the bowling alley significantly. You can even buy used fixtures, furniture, and decor from eBay, thrift stores, and flea markets to save money on the bowling alley’s furnishings.

Legal Matters Related to Owning and Operating a Bowling Alley

You must also consider the cost of obtaining the necessary clarification or licenses required to set up and operate the business. This involves filing forms, such as the Employer Identification Number Application, to register the business with the IRS, or acquiring certifications such as permits to sell alcoholic beverages or to exempt the bowling alley from certain taxes.

You must also ensure that your business is in compliance with state laws, such as legal measures that require owners to provide a safe environment for the customers by insuring the bowling alley, installing smoke detectors, and providing fire escapes, among other regulations.

Leasing Options for Your Bowling Alley

Mounting the costs of buying all the necessary building materials and equipment can be quite challenging, even with financing options. As such, you can consider leasing most or all of the equipment from third parties. In this case, you have to pay monthly or annual leasing fees that are usually lower than the cost of buying the equipment outright.

Leasing your bowling lanes also has benefits for businesses that are new on the market. Leasing allows you to “test the waters” and explore the potential of a bowling alley before investing in the business on a large scale.

The Environmental Impact of Building a Bowling Alley

Bowling alleys are large spaces that require a lot of material and have several implications on the environment. Many building materials used in constructing bowling alleys, like steel and wood, require energy to manufacture. Similarly, cleaning materials used in the bowling alley can emit harmful gasses and can contaminate water sources if not properly disposed of.

Bowlers must also remember to follow environmentally friendly practices when maintaining the bowling alley, such as reducing water usage and utilizing non-toxic cleaning materials. Considering the cost of installing environmental protection systems, such as airconditioners and ventilation, when constructing a bowling alley is wise.

The Benefits of Owning a Bowling Alley

Despite the high cost and environmental impact, setting up a bowling alley also has its own rewards. Not only does it provide the opportunity to become financially independent, but it also opens up avenues for people to enjoy leisure activities with their friends and family.

Most bowling alleys offer bowling leagues, fun activities for children, and parties where families can celebrate birthdays and other special occasions. As such, owning a bowling alley gives you the opportunity to create a positive atmosphere and make lovely memories for your customers.


Q1. What Are the Different Costs Involved in Setting Up a Bowling Alley?
A1. The cost of setting up a bowling alley includes the cost of building lanes, installing the necessary equipment, obtaining permits, and acquiring the necessary infrastructure. It also involves the cost of hiring staff to manage and maintain the bowling alley.

Q2. How Can I Reduce the Cost of Setting Up a Bowling Alley?
A2. You can try negotiating with suppliers to reduce the cost of raw materials, seek financing options from banks and crowd-funding, and buy secondhand equipment to cut back on the total cost.

Q3. What Is the Break-Even Point for My Bowling Alley?
A3. Your break-even point will depend on the total cost of setting up the bowling alley and the amount of profit you need to make to cover the initial costs. Analyzing the local market and researching customer behavior can help you determine this.

Q4. What Legal Documents Must I Acquire to Operate a Bowling Alley?
A4. You may need to file forms to register the business with the IRS and acquire permits to serve alcoholic beverages, among other certifications. You must also follow local laws to provide a safe environment for your customers.

Q5. Are There Environmental Implications of Building a Bowling Alley?
A5. Yes, it does have environmental implications. The materials and cleaning supplies are usually energy-intensive to produce, and their disposal can contaminate water sources. Installing protection systems such as airconditioners and ventilation is also recommended.


We have discussed the various costs involved in setting up a bowling alley and how the scale of the project together with the local market can influence the total cost. We have also looked into the financing options and leasing possibilities, as well as tips to reduce the cost. Ultimately, it is essential to research the local market, analyze the potential returns, and explore various financing options and cost-saving options before investing in the project.

Leave a Comment