Is Owning a Bowling Alley Profitable?

From grown-ups to kids, Bowling is one such fun activity that all can enjoy.

It’s a time-honored tradition that has been around for quite some time now, and even ancient Egyptians enjoyed this game.

The Bowling industry has been rising again after a decline in the past few years. Now the main question for those interested in investing in this business is – Is owning a Bowling Alley profitable?

In this guide, we have covered it all right, from the investment required to profit potential, pros and cons, etc. So make sure to skip nothing!

Is Owning a Bowling Alley Profitable

Bowling Alley Business Investment Breakdown

The cost to start up a Bowling Alley is substantial, and it can vary depending on the size, location, etc.

On average, it costs around an estimated $650,000 to start a Bowling Alley, with each lane costing $30,000 to $75,000. 

Start-up CostsBallpark Range
Licenses and permits$1,500
Marketing and advertising$10,000
Phone & Utility$3,500
Leasing Facility $200,000
Operational Cost$40,000
Start-up inventory$15,000
Bowling Wares$40,000
Furniture and Gadgets $80,000
CRM software and Payroll Software$3,000
Other start-up expenses$1000

Is Owning a Bowling Alley Profitable?

Is Owning a Bowling Alley Profitable

Bowling Alley is a billion-dollar industry, and by 2028, it is expected to reach USD 6172.1 Million with a growth rate of 13.9%.

As of 2023, there are 3,001 Bowling Alleys in the U.S., showing a decline of 1% over the past year.

Now it all boils down to is owning a bowling alley is profitable.

Well, a conventional bowling alley has thirty lanes, and a single lane can generate $36,700 in yearly revenue. So as you can imagine, owning a bowling alley is definitely profitable.

Calculating Profit Earned From Bowling Alley

Calculating Profit Earned From Bowling Alley

The average cost of bowling in the U.S. is $25 per lane per hour. After deducting employee salary, maintenance cost, leasing costs, etc., you will get to keep 35% profit.

So, for example: suppose you have a bowling alley of six lanes in the first two years of business. If you rent for five hours a day for $25 an hour, then your total yearly revenue would be $274,000.

Now after deducting all your expenses, with a 35% profit margin, you will make an estimated profit of $96,000 a year.

Now as your bowling alley business grows, you can rent your lanes for eight hours a day and increase charges to $30, making your annual revenue $526,000 and annual profits $184,000.

Factors That Affect the Cost of Opening a Bowling Alley

Factors That Affect the Cost of Opening a Bowling Alley

The size and location, among other factors, can have a huge impact on the sales of your Bowling Alley.

Here are factors that will affect the cost of opening a Bowling Alley:


The location of your bowling alley is one of the most important factors that would affect sales and revenue directly. A high-traffic area can drive more sales, but the rent in such areas can be huge.

Additionally, building or zoning regulations may have an impact on your expenses. Hence, before you build your bowling alley, ensure you have studied the desired place carefully.


Another thing that will add to your investment is equipment. Balls, footwear, pins, lanes, etc., are some key pieces of equipment that you will have to buy.

Since Bowling is a rough game, ensure that you buy high-quality items. This will cost you more, but in the long run, this will be fruitful.


The size of your bowling alley will influence your investment and earnings.

A smaller alley will require less investment, resources, and employees, while a large alley will require more of everything. To remain competitive, make sure you keep in line with affordability and size.

Number of Employees

When establishing a bowling alley, make sure to take into account the cost of hiring and training employees.

Make sure to hire the needed number of employees for smooth service and to avoid overstaffing costs.


In some areas in the U.S. bowling alley market is too saturated. So advertising as such becomes an inevitable expense.

You can opt for social media marketing or traditional marketing as per the area you live in.

How To Start a Bowling Alley?

Pros and Cons of Bowling Alley Business

Pros of Bowling Alley Business

  • Low inventory cost
  • Lucrative business
  • Can diversify your revenue streams
  • Can be enjoyed year-round
  • Can offer partnership opportunities

Cons of Bowling Alley Business

  • High investment cost
  • Low pofit margin
  • Labor-intensive business
  • Maintenance cost
  • Saturated in some areas

What are the operating expenses of a Bowling Alley?

operating expenses

Bowling Alley requires substantial running costs. The operating expenses or the cost to run a Bowling Alley ranges from $30,000 and more.

Now the expenses to run bowling can vary depending on the size, location, amenities, etc. Here are a few operating expenses of a Bowling Alley:

  • Maintenance cost
  • Equipment cost
  • Alley Staff
  • Climate Control feature cost
  • Marketing cost

Wrap Up

If getting rich is your goal, then opening a Bowling Alley may not be the best business for you, considering the competition and high-cost investment.

However, owning a Bowling Alley is quite lucrative, and it can be a great source of additional income for you if done right.

The location, size, type of Bowling Alley, etc., are factors that you must consider carefully before opening your Bowling Business.


How Much Should You Charge For Your Bowling Business?

The average charge for a bowling alley is $25 per lane, however, if you want to offer concessions at the start if your business then you can charge $15-$20 an item.

What are some good Bowling franchises?

If you do not want to start a bowling business from scratch, then you can always buy a franchise instead.

Here are some really good bowling franchise options for you:

  • 810 Billiards & Bowling
  • Main Event
  • AMF
  • Brunswick Bowl

What can set my new Bowling Alley apart from others?

To become successful in a Bowling Alley business, you must set yourself apart from others.

You can include the following ideas for differentiating your new bowling alley business:

  • Offer concession at the start of your business.
  • Offer additional arcade games & activities.
  • Include bar service.
  • Launch a bowling league.
  • Upscale your menu by replacing typical food items.
  • Create a signature look.
  • Come up with party or corporate packages.

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