Episode 27- New Games, Hobby Operating Checklist, Corndogs!
Welcome back to episode 27! THANK YOU SOOOOO MUCH FOR LISTENING TO US RAMBLE ON!
Tony- Got myself a lawnmower! all grown up now! Electric! Pinball on a stick meeting underway!
Corn Dog- Has a bad back!
Kiss and Elvis have left the building! Ghostbusters and Metallica LED are in the house!
Ghostbusters Launch Party Success! D&G was amazing! My friend John put on a top notch show! I also spent the weekend with Jared from Stern Pinball!
Super League Games
•Star Trek Pro
•Eight Ball Deluxe
April 30th-May 10th, 2016
East Side Pinball
West Side Pinball
NEW OPERATORS CHECKLIST! This is for you Tommy!
CoinMechs- These are your friends but a nightmare because of the jams and such.
We use The IMONEX® V9 Series on our games and this has practically eliminated jams. Well worth the extra money!
Bill Acceptors- A must have for every game that can accommodate! Look on eBay for these and check Pinside as well. We get all of ours from our friends at the Pinball Warehouse. MARS are the best but others are fine as well. Some of the stackers you may have to shave the corners on older 90s games but you can make it work without having to purchase a different stacker.
PayRange- You all know how we feel about it! It wont happen overnight but by running specials and advertising on the machines and through your social media network will greatly increase revenue! Price your PayRange pricing 10% less than cash. It sounds crazy right? WRONG! Customers will spend more money using PayRange because its too easy! They have to have a balance and a minimum funded account of $5 that defaults to $10. You will make more money even with fees! If it isn’t work for you or your not seeing higher numbers its because you’re not utilizing it correctly!
Pricing- Pricing is difficult! You will never get a group of Pinheads to agree! I fought with myself for years on pricing but I will say its easier to lower the pricing than to raise it! Many will argue that your not in it for the money but at the end of the day, it has to be a factor! You can’t spend money on insurance, licensing fees, splits, and parts just to have a location! Make sure you are covering yourself!
Coinbox- Seems like a no-brainer but it gets old really quick having to fetch quarters from the bottom of the cabinet!
Locks- Get quality locks from 7/8 CAM LOCKS from COBRA or where we are buying locks from Baton Lock Company in CA. They are solid!
Lockdown Bars- You may think you’ll never need them and so did we and a few weeks ago we got broken into! We are using no drill bars with Baton Locks all keyed to one lock making life much easier!
DON’T USE LOCKS FROM A PINBALL SUPPLIER! They are all keyed alike and easily picked or for $4 you could easily just order one and have a key!
We spent $900 for 12 padlocks and 15 CAMs. from Baton and you may think this is a large amount to spend but we lost more than that to s group of scumbags that stole from us!
Log- Keep a log of game repairs big or small. This will help you a ton when you are trying to figure out why you are spending so much time at location! :-)
Cleaning- Create a cleaning schedule and stick to it! Pinball has a bad reputation for not working and dirty. If you’re a hobby operator, take care of them like you do at home and spend the time to do it right!
We clean games every other day MON-WED-FRI and often more as needed. We use NOVUS 2 on the PlayFields and or CP100. Get some non streaking glass cleaner and don’t forget to clean both sides! We use ZEP 40 Cold Weather Formula and we use microfiber rags. Green for Novus, Blue for Glass Cleaner, and Yellow for CP-100.
Tournaments- Don’t be afraid to run a tournament!. Partner with a passionate local who will help you! There are wonderful people that will help you! We have some of the greatest people that are willing to help run tournaments! They are great to generate additional income but most importantly, It helps bring new players to your location! You could run a half off special for the tournament, free pizza, or even put into the prize fund!
Leagues- This was one of the biggest things we did! Our leagues have grown and grown and its not only excellent for your CoinBox, its awesome for the location! Start a league and run it fair for all players, not just the top players or the casual players. Find out who the players are and make sure its working for them! We have made a lot of changes because we have a lot of casual players that are more interested in just having a beer and playing some pinball!
Games- choosing games is never easy! We personally obviously lean heavily on the newest titles and themes. Our customers that walk in the arcade are mostly casual players not pinball players. We also have learned the newer the game the less trouble you will have! :-) One other thing we have learned is when buying a new game, get it ready before you drop it off! Take the time to go through the boards, connectors, replace rubber, balls, clean it really well and of course play test it! Leave it on for a few days straight and make sure it doesn’t develop problems. Nothing is worse than bringing a new game up, telling everyone, and having your phone ring nonstop from trouble!
HOW IT WORKS- This is what we do! Its not how everyone does it!
Building up a location from the hobby side means more time to do things right! don’t put a game on location if your intention is to immediately make money by sitting at home and not doing anything! Be active with your customers, listen to them, and most importantly understand and fix things quickly!
How do we do it? Not alone! East Side Pinball started very small and we grew! To this day I have not taken a single penny out of the business, We do expense our trip to Chicago EXPO and the rest in reinvested. Create a Facebook page, website, and advertise! We use Facebook and Google ADs to generate interest! We have Angry Andy now on payroll cleaning games, Corn Dog does our technical service, and parts! Rubbers, balls, broken plastics, LEDs, motors and whatever else decides to break! The rest funds new games, advertising, promotions, and tournament prizes, pizza, league banquets and whatever else comes up!
Are we successful? Depends on who you ask! We grew our collection level and number of games! I still haven’t paid myself back entirely because we are constantly investing our earnings to improve our business! Our latest expansion efforts to the West Side are being funded by East Side Pinball. We plan to continue growing locations at the rate we can without putting more of my personal finances into it. We spend hundreds of dollars monthly for parts, hundreds on labor, more on Software management.
Would we do it again? I can’t honestly think of something I love more! Its a ton of work, long hours, and stress but I love it! I have met some of the greatest people! Pinball is a passion! Maybe its the lights, maybe its the history, the artwork, or maybe we are crazy! At the end of the day, its who I am! My passion is pinball, and I hope it shows in my machines!
thanks for listening! Tune in next week for an interview with CEO of PayRange!