Answers to common questions we get from bowling businesses and future bowling center owners.
What’s the most expensive aspect about running a bowling business?
Simply put, maintenance. The biggest contributor of these maintenance costs is the traditional free-fall pinsetter. Free-fall pinsetters can have thousands of moving parts, any of which can malfunction and cause a breakdown. This is why many bowling alleys that utilize free fall pinsetters have an on-site, full-time mechanic to make sure the equipment stays up and running. Given that the free-fall pinsetter results in so much required maintenance and the associated costs, many bowling businesses are turning to the string pinsetter. Widely used in Europe, the string pinsetter eliminates the need for a full-time mechanic and the majority of the repairs and maintenance can be conducted by any of your existing staff.
How profitable is a bowling business?
Every business and market are different. Some bowling experiences focus on offering a broad range of entertainment options and diversify the revenue stream. Some focus just on bowling and food and drinks. Either way, Bowling.com offers some figures as to the financial impact each bowling lane can potentially have on a bowling business. The article says: “A bowling center averaging 11,000 games per year generates about $36,750 per lane annually.”
How much space do I need for each bowling lane?
The average length of a bowling lane can be anywhere from 90 to 100 feet. The standard length of a lane from the foul line to the back of hte pin deck is 63 feet (1920 centimeters). The standard approach is usually 15 to 16 feet (457 to 488 centimeters). Additional length is needed for the pinsetter (Funk’s string pinsetter requires an additional 5 feet and 3 inches (160 centimeters). Finally, the seating area can vary but typically ranges from 8 to 12 feet (245 to 366 centimeters). All of these measurements are standard but everything is customizable. In terms of width, two lanes with an above ground ball return usually comes to aboue 11 feet and 7 inches (354 centimeters). For two lanes with an underground ball return, expect to dedicate 11 feet and 4 inches (345 centimeters).
How long is a bowling lane?
The average length of a bowling lane can be anywhere from 90 to 100 feet. The standard length of a lane from the foul line to the back of hte pin deck is 63 feet (1920 centimeters). The standard approach is usually 15 to 16 feet (457 to 488 centimeters). Additional length is needed for the pinsetter (Funk’s string pinsetter requires an additional 5 feet and 3 inches (160 centimeters). Finally, the seating area can vary but typically ranges from 8 to 12 feet (245 to 366 centimeters).
How wide is a bowling lane?
The width will depend on the type of ball return you work with. Here are the measurements for an underground ball return:
- 2 Lanes – 11’ 4” Wide
- 4 Lanes – 22’ 5-1/4” Wide
- 6 Lanes – 33’ 6-1/2” Wide
- 8 Lanes – 44’ 7-3/4” Wide
- 10 Lanes – 55’ 9” Wide
- 12 Lanes – 66’ 10-1/4” Wide
- 14 Lanes – 77’ 11-1/2” Wide
- 16 Lanes – 89’ 3/4” Wide
- 18 Lanes – 100’ 2” Wide
- 20 Lanes – 111’ 3-1/4” Wide
- 22 Lanes – 122’ 4-1/2” Wide
- 24 Lanes – 133’ 5-3/4” Wide
- 26 Lanes – 144’ 7” Wide
- 2 Lanes – 11’ 7-1/2” Wide
- 4 Lanes – 23’ 1/4” Wide
- 6 Lanes – 34’ 5” Wide
- 8 Lanes – 45’ 9-3/4” Wide
- 10 Lanes – 57’ 2-1/2” Wide
- 12 Lanes – 68’ 7-1/2” Wide
- 14 Lanes – 80’ Wide
- 16 Lanes – 91’ 4-3/4” Wide
- 18 Lanes – 102’ 9-1/2” Wide
- 20 Lanes – 114’ 2-1/4” Wide
- 22 Lanes – 125’ 7” Wide
- 24 Lanes – 136’ 11-3/4” Wide
- 26 Lanes – 148’ 4-1/2” Wide
What material are bowling lanes made-of?
In the past most bowling lanes were actually made out of wood. Today, Funk uses synthetic HPL (high-pressure laminate) that are USBC approved. It consists of numerous layers of laminate, soaked and glued with phenolic resin. High-pressure machines press the layers of material to a thickness of about 10mm. The material is robust and long-lasting, which makes it perfect for bowling lanes. We offer various style and finish options to deliver a lane that will fit perfectly with the style of any bowling center. Additionally, we offer our customers the ability to customize lanes and approaches with logos and graphics via digital printing.
What is the process of building a bowling lane?
Typically, at Funk we take a 5-pronged approach to the building of any bowling lane. It starts with a conversation. Here is our process.
- Consulting: With our extensive experience with bowling centers and in-home installations all over to world we will help you to plan all technical, financial and organizational aspects of your bowling project.
- Production: We own every step of the production/manufacturing process and take pride in our craftsmanship. The actual production and manufacturing of your equipment will take place in our two production facilities in Germany. We also keep an extensive inventory of our products at our U.S. Headquarters in Detroit Michigan.
- Installation: Depending on the size of the center, the installation will likely take multiple weeks. Our international team of American and German engineers and craftsmen will come to your location and install everything from seating to pinsetters. The best product means nothing if it’s not installed properly! That’s why we do the installation ourselves.
- Training: As soon as all technical components are installed, we will train your staff on how to maintain and repair our equipment and technology. Unlike other pinsetters, the Funk String Pinsetter does NOT need an expert technician in order to maintain the machines.
- Service: Once you sign on with Funk, you are our partner. That means we are here to support your business however we can. We will be available to help you service your equipment either over the phone or on-site.
Will the String Pinsetter be sanctioned by the USBC?
It hasn’t yet, but we believe that is coming. Given the huge cost-savings that string pinsetters offer bowling businesses, and the fact that many who bowl on string don’t notice a major difference in how pins behave, we expect the United States Bowling Congress (USBC) to sanction string pinsetters for competitive play. One of our partners, Bill Straub, Hall of Fame Bowling Coach and Former Head Coach of the University of Nebraska Bowling Team, used string pinsetters for training and practice with his players. In addition to minimal maintenance, the reliability and consistency of the string pinsetters allowed his players an improved training experience. The results speak for themselves: Nebraska has won twelve national championships, finished runner-up four times, and is the only program to qualify for every NCAA tournament.
How much does it cost to build a bowling lane?
Every bowling project is unique. With so many options and customizations to choose from, it is difficult to offer general pricing information. From design to installation, there are many choices bowling business owners have, which is why we build custom quotes to fit your needs. Contact us today to request a quote for your bowling project.