How Much Does It Cost To Build A Bowling Alley?

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By Barry Arthur | Mar 26, 2024

If you’re thinking of turning your spare room into a bowling alley, it’s time to start planning for the costs. Building a professional-grade bowling alley requires considerable investment and involves several complicated steps.

Whether you are making yours at home or in your business space, knowing how much it will cost to build a bowling alley is essential to stay within budget. From permits and construction plans to flooring materials and pinsetters, this blog post will help you understand the myriad of expenses associated with creating an impressive bowling venue.

Building a bowling alley can be an expensive endeavor, but the costs will vary depending on a variety of criteria. The size of the facility, its location, and the type of equipment employed are all critical factors to consider. In general, a bowling alley may be built for roughly $3,203,300.

However, if you want to build a larger building or one with a range of facilities, the price can easily exceed $5 million. With so much money at stake, it is critical to conduct thorough research before breaking ground on a new bowling alley.

The following elements could affect the cost of building a bowling center:

  • Purchasing used/new equipment
  • Furniture types
  • Lighting
  • Scoring/scoring monitors
  • Audio/ Music
  • Video screens or graphics
  • Graphics and décor
  • Theming

Considerations When Constructing A Bowling Alley:

It’s easy to understand why bowling is such a popular hobby. It’s simple to learn, fun to play with friends and family, and a wonderful way to exercise. If you want to create a profitable bowling alley, then estimating247 provides a few things you need to think about.

1. Starting, Licensing, And Business Costs:

When it comes to building a bowling alley, there are several expenses that must be factored into the cost. Depending on your location and how many lanes you intend to build, the licensing fees can vary widely.

Additionally, you may need to pay additional fees for things such as building permits or inspections. All of these costs must be taken into consideration when estimating the overall cost of building a bowling alley. The total cost for licensing and business-related costs can range from $2,000 to $10,000 depending on the specifics of your location and project.

In addition to the start-up costs, you’ll also need to factor in ongoing operational expenses such as staff wages, monthly rent or mortgage payments (if applicable), utilities, insurance and other overhead costs that come with running a successful business.

Finally, you’ll need to factor in the cost of equipment and materials. Depending on your chosen design, this could include items such as bowling lanes, pinsetters, ball returns, bumpers, scoreboards, and more. The total cost for these items can range from $50,000 to $100,000 or even higher depending on the quality and quantity of material needed.

2. Location:

The location of a bowling alley can make a big difference in the overall cost. Building it inside an existing building, like a shopping mall or an entertainment center, is typically less expensive than constructing it from the ground up on its own lot. It’s important to consider factors such as foot traffic and convenience for customers when choosing a location.

In the United States, for example, a population density of 2,000 per lane is critical within a 5-mile radius. This indicates that a bowling alley with 12 lanes should have a population of 24,000 people. This will help to ensure a consistent flow of customers. Furthermore, the financial level of the local neighborhood must be considered.

3. Cash Flows:

A bowling alley, like any other business, needs a positive cash flow to be successful. In fact, due of the high expense of maintaining the equipment and keeping the facilities clean and in good repair, cash flow is extremely critical for a bowling alley. A bowling alley must also maintain a consistent flow of customers in order to produce revenue, which can be difficult to achieve if the business is not well managed.

According to RSMeans, the average cost per game in the United States is around $3.00, and non-bowling revenue is $.67 for food and beverage, vending machines, shoe rental, arcade games, and so on. This implies you can earn approximately $36,750 each year.

4. Necessary Equipment To Open A Bowling Alley:

In addition to the building and installation costs, there are also some essential pieces of equipment that must be purchased in order to open a bowling alley. These items include bowling lanes, pinsetters, ball returns, video scoreboards, lane cleaners, and shoe rental centers.

Each piece of equipment has its own associated costs depending on the type and brand. The cost of these items can range from several thousand dollars for basic models to tens of thousands for more elaborate systems. In addition to these primary components, other necessary items such as seating, lighting fixtures, sound systems, and counters may need to be purchased as well.

 All together these costs could add up quickly easily ranging upwards of $50-100K for a full setup with all the bells and whistles. Ultimately, the total cost of building and equipping a bowling alley will depend on the size and scope of the project. 

5. Staff:

When it comes to staffing a bowling alley, the cost will vary depending on the size and scope of the business. Depending on your budget, you can either hire part-time or full-time staff. It’s also important to consider having some additional staff around during peak hours when more customers are likely to be visiting.

The total cost of staffing a bowling alley will depend largely on how many employees you need and their wages. On average, it could range from $20k per year up to $100k or more depending on the size of the business. It’s important to consider staff costs in your overall budget since they can quickly add up. 

6. The Number Of Bowling Alleys:

The number of lanes also influences the cost of constructing a bowling alley. To build two lanes, it typically costs between $90,000 and $120,000 per lane. As a result, constructing a 12-lane bowling alley would cost between $1,080,000 and $1,440,000.

The number of lanes has an effect on the size of the building as well. A 12-lane bowling alley needs at least 9,600 square feet of space, while a 24-lane alley needs at least 19,200 square feet. The cost of leasing or purchasing land for the bowling alley is also affected by the growth in size.

Final Thought:

Building a bowling alley is no small feat, it can range from the low thousands to millions of dollars to get started. It takes skill, time, and money, plus a space with proper access and permits, in order to open up a successful bowling alley. While costs vary depending on the space, size of the construction, and features, there are general guidelines that provide an estimate when looking into the idea of building your own bowling alley.

Hopefully, this post has been informative enough for those wishing to pursue constructing their own residential or commercial bowling alley, so go out there and strike up that perfect game!

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Author Details

Barry Arthur

Editor | Writer

Barry Arthur is the dedicated author and CEO of, a website that specializes in providing comprehensive construction estimating services. With his deep-seated passion for the construction industry, Barry has leveraged his expertise to create a platform that offers accurate and timely estimates for construction projects. A relentless pursuit of excellence and innovation has marked Barry's journey in the construction industry. His vast experience and keen understanding of the industry's intricacies have enabled him to develop into a trusted resource for contractors, developers, architects, and homeowners. As the CEO of, Barry leads a team of professional estimators committed to delivering top-notch services. Together, they utilize advanced tools and methodologies to provide precise estimates that enable clients to manage their budgets effectively, reduce risk, and increase profitability. Under Barry's leadership, has grown into a reputable name in the construction industry. His dedication to customer service, transparency, and the delivery of high-quality services has earned the trust and respect of clients across the board. In conclusion, Barry Arthur isn't just an author and CEO; he is a seasoned construction industry expert whose contributions continue to shape the landscape of construction estimating services. His work at embodies his commitment to excellence and desire to positively impact the construction industry.

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