How Much Does It Cost to Open a Bowling Alley in 2023

Are you planning on opening a bowling alley? If you do, you must wonder how much does It cost to open a bowling alley? Bowling is a popular fun activity for many families as a Friday or Saturday night out. It gives people great recreation. Teens and adults have embraced it as a casual fun activity and sport.

So, it’s no doubt that bowling alley offers great pleasures for simple and professional bowlers. And if you are passionate about bowling and starting a bowling business, it can be a worthwhile business venture. But it can be overwhelming and daunting as there are so many factors involved in the cost of starting and managing a bowling alley business.

That’s why we’re here with an effort to help you sort out the entire spending plan. To make your job easier. Let’s see how much it costs to open a bowling alley and how you can optimize costs based on your planning.

Step-by-step guide on how much it costs to open a bowling alley

1. Starting, Licensing, and Business Costs

If you want to start a bowling alley, first you have to think about the administrative cost. Registering your business, licensing fees, taxes, and other government-related paperwork costs fall into the category of administrative bowling alley costs. And there’s another essential factor you need to consider called financing. It is crucial to have the funding for starting your project. These fees can differ significantly depending on your location in the world.

Suppose your location is in the United States. In that case, you can create a business with an average cost of a few hundred dollars while paying another average of $1200 for insurance every year. But you’ll have to pay more expensive insurance for bowling alleys because of the significant area requirement. And that expense will vary depending on your alley’s size and setup.

Also, you will need to create a website and spend money on advertising to successfully get your business off the ground. A standard website may cost you less than $100. Still, you should have a professionally built website that will be far more successful in attracting folks to bowl in your alley. A website like that will cost a few thousand dollars.

And add another few thousand dollars in advertising. Furthermore, you may have to worry about taxes after you start to make some bucks. And it may bother you at first; however corporate taxes can take a good chunk of bucks from your wallet if you’re not too careful. You should carefully plan these operating costs. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself in financial jeopardy. We recommend having a CPA or accountant solve the issues regarding taxes and other operating expenses.

2. Location

Location will be the biggest expense in your plan, and it can differ depending on a few factors of your business. People trying to build home bowling alleys may not face the same cost issues as those trying to run commercial bowling alleys. Whether you rent an existing place or build a new space for bowling, your cost will vary a lot.

The cost of renting will be considerably lower while making a new place can attract customers in a better location. You should keep your bowling area within 50% of the building space. For an eight-lane establishment, you need at least 8000 square feet. And you shouldn’t expect to make your revenue only from bowling.

Keep distance for adding dining, bar, game room, laser tag, and other sources of income. If you find a suitable area to start your business, find out the average cost per square foot. And then estimate your approximate monthly rent by multiplying that value by the total square feet you need.

3. Necessary Equipment

Now, as you have a basic knowledge about how much you’ve to spend on the space and the lanes, now you should envision it’s time to think about the rest of the equipment that comes with the bowling alley business.

Bowling balls, lighting, shoe rentals, pinsetters, and scoreboards are some of the equipment you need to purchase. Whether you choose new or used equipment, your cost estimation can differ. Usually, you’ll have to spend between $45,000 and $60,000 per lane.

Also, the number of lanes will influence the per-lane price. For example, a 16-lane center will cost less per lane than an 8-lane alley. Price can vary because of the construction cost too.

4. Staff

After considering the above costs there are still many other costs you’ve yet to consider to open a bowling alley. Some of them are utilities, interiors, cleaning, payment, and software. You have to install lights and temperature control.

You can probably save money with essential decorations or a simple system in other places. Most bowling centers use payment software which is a part of the POS system. Here the cost depends on you. the more you want to do better, the more it takes costlier.

5. Miscellaneous Costs

There are still many other costs you’ve yet to consider. Utilities, decorations, cleaning, payment, and software are just some of them. You have to install lights and temperature control. You can probably save money with essential decorations or a simple system in other places.

Most bowling centers use payment software which is a part of the POS system. POS system is usually provided by the company which furnishes the computerized scoring system.

6. Total Cost range

Most of this depends on the type of business you want to run and what budget you can afford. If you’re going to establish a fun trip for the whole family, you have to add video games, food, bowling, and prizes.

On the other hand, you want to focus solely on bowling, and you cut a lot of costs by keeping things simple. By taking almost everything into account, the total cost to start your bowling alley will range between $80,000 and $500,000. It’s a wide range, and the total cost greatly depends on the factors above.


We’ve covered all the necessary places you should look at before planning your budget. As you have already known, the range of money it will cost you to open a bowling alley gives a lot of room for focusing on your business’s priorities. Good luck.

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