Are Roller Skating Rinks Profitable in 2021


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Roller skating was once considered a very popular pastime, particularly in the 1970s and 1980s. Everyday people of all ages rushed into those roller rinks to socialize with friends, thanks to the disco age and generous labor laws.

Unfortunately, with the emerge of inline skating, the hype started to die down. For the last couple of decades, roller skating only exists among young children and teens.

Many rinks struggled to turn it into a profit and had to close down eventually. Because owners had to adjust the price to the rise of utility bills and real estate taxes, it turns out a big factor too. Following the downfall, finding a roller rink nearby becomes increasingly harder.

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However, that isn’t to say that, setting up a roller-skating rink is a guaranteed failure. A Sports Data survey revealed that 10.8 million people roller skate (traditional quad skating) in US. The rebirth of roller derbies and nationwide semi-pro leagues should take the credits.

Additionally, recent pandemic has inspiredolder people toroller skate once again. Suggested by American Heart Association (AHA), this aerobic sport improves build circulation significantly. 

This has led to many entrepreneurs thinking of bringing back roller rinks as a profitable venture. However, since the business is dependent on real-estate prices, one question is still relevant, are roller skating rinks profitable? 

Is It Difficult to Make Profits from Roller Skating Rinks?

The roller rink industry in US is at its maturity right now. The country currently has 443 roller rinks in operation, generating well above $419 million a year of aggregated revenues, providing jobs to nearly 11,500 Americans (approximate payroll size is $114 million) at the same time.

However, today roller skating is not as popular as it happened to be, making it increasingly difficult for roller rink owners to make a decent profit. The enormous startup cost is a crucial barrier to entry. Once the rink is set up, its maintenance become onerous as well.

In addition, the fluctuation in roller rink turn outs remains a big issue. In most cases, these rinks get busy only on weekends. This in turn means that owners have to look out for hosting some other events such as hockey classes or skating derby to compensate for the empty week days.

Yes, you can raise your rent prices, but this could result in even fewer people visiting your place.

To better understand the profitability let’stake a look at some data and learn the different ways we can pull more profits out of this business.

How Much Does It Cost to Build A Roller Skating Rink?

Most entrepreneurs who are contemplating giving a roller rink a try will have a hard time getting the startup capital for it. Depending on whether you will buy an existing rink or build your own, the startup capital may vary between a whopping 1 to 3 million US dollars.

This doesn’t even include the state authority licensing, health department insurance, or renovation costs. Eventually, you might end up spending an additional $30,000 or more on initial setup. Here is an estimated expense break-down for you to take note of:

Start-up ExpensesApproximate Amount
Renovation$9500
Equipment$8000
Rent (if relevant)$4000
Legal$1500
Consultants (public relations & marketing)$2000
Insurance$2000
Brochures$1000
Stationary$500
Website$1500
Total$30,000
Are Roller Skating Rinks Profitable

You can save a significant investment if you own a parking lot yourself, but that has to be located in a densely populated area and twice as big as the actual rink so that people have a wholesome experience with related facilities (such as snacks bar). 

Besides, the type of rink floor you want to build will have a direct impact on that required capital. A wood floor will cost you around $5 to $10 per square foot. So, for a 17,000 square feet rink, you will need a budget ranging from $85,000 to $170,000.

Alternatively, you can install concrete floors. With $2 to $5 needing per square foot, they are a lot cheaper option. There is no good or bad choice, but you should be willing to accept the difference of experiences.

Woods deliver more grip and don’t hurt as bad as falling on concrete. However, concrete rinks are easier to do powers and spins.

How Much Does It Cost to Maintain A Roller Skating Rink?

To operate a roller rink facility, you can expect a monthly cost of around $30,000 which includes payroll, marketing, administrative expenses, rent and utilities, professional fees/charges, travel/vehicle costs, insurance payment, etc.

How Much Does A Roller Rink Need (per month) to Break Even?

To break even a roller rink needs a monthly turnover of 35,000 US dollars approximately. In other words, it has to earn more than 35,000 USD a month to make profits. On average, it turns out $1,166 per day.

Should You Consider Roller Rink Your First Business?

Not at all! A roller rink is not the ideal option to start as your first business. It has a low turnout and requires a lot of maintenance when compared to other businesses. To break even, you’d have to put in more effort.

You’ll need to hire people to look after your rink and its day-to-day activities. If you lack experience in managing people or have little to no knowledge about how to keep a roller rink running, this business is not an easy fit for you.

How Many Ways A Roller Skating Rink Can Make Money?

It may come as a surprise, but the good news you can diversify your roller rink business and reach the daily ~ $1,100 threshold more easily. Let’s discuss some of the common facilities that you can include in your business plan:

Entry Fees

Surely, you can’t get into a roller rink and skate for free! Admission fees are the most obvious and a significant income stream a roller rink makes money from.

Skate Rental

Many skaters, avid, and beginners do not bring a pair of a roller skates with them.Offering these people a $10 skate rental will make a huge chunk of profit for you. The RSA international suggests that renting roller skates should account for 70% of the total income.

Snake Bar

Every roller rink should have a separate area where visitors can buy food and beverages while they skate. This added facility will bring a significant profitand reputation to your business.

Skate Sale

Apart from just renting your roller skates you can set up a skating shop and sell different equipment in case you have space for it. Since a single sale makes a decent margin putting this idea into action could be very rewarding.

Skating Lesson

Many rinks offer private coaching on how to excel at roller skating or hockey to boost their income. This can be a great idea because a lot of skaters will be willing to pay a premium price if they can improve their skills.

Birthday Parties& Games

You can turn the roller rink into an entertainment zone by offering a range of facilities to your customers like birthday parties and video games. This might add some side hassles but the profit that you will generate will be more than enough to compensate for it. 

Video Tutorial On Skating Rink’s Hope

Can You Generate Quick Profits from A Roller Skating Rink?

There is no such thing as an overnight success in life. Building a successful roller rink business is no different. However, planning ahead will help you do well in this sector and optimize your opportunities faster than expected.

Know Your Clientele

Instead of trying to please everyone, it is wise to aim for a specific demographic and establish an authority around it. Learn more about the area, and interest of your customers. Also, figure out their income potential to identify the type of programs and activities your audience would be willing to buy.

Devise A Marketing Plan

Nowadays, advertising online is considered a proven channel to bring more people to your service/business. Additionally, you can distribute coupons on relevant social media groups and steal your competitor’s traffic.

Choose A Suitable Location

Try to build your venue at least 30 miles away from other rinks. Find a community that has a fair amount of population with no rinks around. It is also important to keep your leasehold rent to a minimum. Avoid large cities and try evaluating different suburban areas to do it.

What Is the Takeaway: Are Roller Skating Rinks Profitable?

Maintaining a roller rink can be overwhelming. Unlike a regular business, you have to overcome a lot of challenges to make a decent living from it. Although diversification will attract more people and profits, you can’t breakeven under a year or two.

However, it doesn’t dismiss the likelihood of roller rinks being profitable. Roller skating is not going to be decimated anytime soon. People will be searching for roller rinks for years to come. In the end, all you need is to earn in-depth skating and business knowledge and take a long-term interest in it.

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