Do you want to start a miniature golf course? If yes, you have landed at the right place. Here in this article, we list down all the steps to launch a mini-golf business with costs, licensing requirements, setting up, and much more.
An outdoor mini-golf course is a seasonal business. It remains operational for not more than 6 months a year. The mini-golf course is an age-old popular activity center in the United States and remains so even today. However, you need sufficient capital to start this business.
Is Mini Golf Course a Profitable Business?
For the last few years, mini-golf ventures are observing financial setbacks mainly because of the economic downturn and also of the growth of alternate entertainment businesses.
However, in a country like the US, the golf sports business is still much popular among local people. Even today, the mini-golf industry in the United States is valued at more than $1 billion annually. Mini-golf course business attracts high-profit margins and ensures a fast payback to the relatively high startup investment.
Mini Golf Course Business Plan Guide for Beginners
Here are the 10 steps to start a profitable miniature golf course business:
1. Understand the Local Market
The first step before jumping into the miniature golf business is to collect detailed information regarding the local demography and demand for such entertainment activity.
In the present day, there are plenty of family entertainment businesses that give tough competition to the mini-golf businesses. Some of them are the following:
- Movie theaters
- Video Arcade in Shopping Malls
- Bowling Alleys
- Rolling Skating Rinks
- Par 3 Golf Course
- Local Restaurants
- Coffee Shops/ Cafe
Do market research and find out the gaps that can be explored to your advantage and plan your business accordingly.
2. Create a Business Plan
Creating an in-depth and detailed business plan is an essential part of building a successful miniature business. Some of the key areas your mini-golf course business plan must include are the following:
- Startup costs and recurring costs
- Your target customers
- Manpower plan
- Pricing Strategy
- Profit Expectations
- How do you plan to promote your mini-golf business
If you find it difficult to write a business plan for yourself take help from attorneys or professional plan writers. You can also check the online freelance marketplace like Fiverr and get a job from freelance plan writers at a lesser cost.
3. Name Your Business
Selecting a catchy business name for your mini golf business is extremely important for long-term success. There are various aspects you need to consider before finalizing your business name.
Furthermore, check whether a similar website domain name is available or not. If not available, you will face difficulty in creating a website with a domain name similar to the name of your business.
4. Register Your Mini Golf Business
If you want to start and run a hassle-free legally compliant miniature golf course business, it is essential to register your company. Every state and country offers a different type of legal company formation structure.
For example, in the United States, the most popular small business structures are sole proprietorship, partnership, and limited liability companies (LLCs). Forming an LLC will provide you with some extra benefits at an extra cost.
You can register an LLC yourself directly by depositing the required filing fees of the specific state where you are planning to launch the business.
You can also hire a professional LLC formation service provider to form the LLC by paying some extra fees.
5. Licenses & Permits for Miniature Golf Course Business
There are certain licenses and permits you need to obtain to run a mini-golf course business. The legal requirements depend from state to state and country to country.
However, the most common legal requirement to run a golf course is to acquire a Certificate of Occupancy(CO) from the appropriate legal authority.
If you are planning to start a miniature golf course in the United States, it is advised to visit the official site of the US Small Business Administration(SBA) and learn more about the needed licenses and permits.
After obtaining the legal licenses to operate a miniature golf course business, it is time to open a business bank account. A business bank account in your name of your is an absolute necessity as it makes it easier for you to file annual taxes at the end of the year.
Also, don’t forget to buy appropriate business insurance. Talk to local vendors and buy the best insurance that covers most of your budget.
6. Select a Proper Location
The key to success for a mini-golf course business is finding a good location. The place must be easily accessible and people can reach it easily.
It is often asked how much land area is required to set up a mini-golf course. On average, an 18-hole outdoor miniature golf course can be built on a half-acre of land or around 20,000 sq. ft.
Remember, most customers prefer to come to family entertainment zones in the late afternoons and on weekends. Ensure enough parking space as lots of traffic is expected to come with their personal cars. Make necessary arrangements so that you can keep your golf course open for visitors from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Experts suggest not compromising with location if someone wants to run a profitable mini-golf course business.
You can buy an “off-the-shelf” miniature golf course to be built on your property, or you can build your own. I strongly suggest you compromise on the course quality if you must; you can always improve it over time—but not the location.
You need to be open lots of hours, such as 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and have lights for night play—you don’t want patrons arriving to play and finding out you are closed! Ideally, you can really ramp up income and visibility by having youth groups use the facility and host celebrations like birthday parties. You can make a nice side income selling items like soft drinks, candy, and maybe some impulse toys or other novelty items.
7. Calculate the Cost of Starting a Mini-Golf Course
The cost of opening a miniature golf course will largely depend on the size and the facilities provided to customers. The total estimated cost of launching a miniature golf business can be started with an investment of $50,000.
However, the cost will increase if you plan to buy a feature-rich “off-the-shelf” miniature golf course and add more entertainment facilities. Some of the basic equipment you need to purchase are an 18-hole miniature golf course, balls, parking, a music system, golf clubs, and night lights.
8. Hire Manpower
A mini-golf course can’t be run by any single individual. To run the show, you have to recruit a few staff. Some of the key employees to recruit are the following:
- Asst. Manager
- Floor Staffs
- Security Personnel
Since it is an entertainment business, select staff have good communication skills and a good appearance.
9. Pricing Strategy
Before fixing a pricing plan, it is wise to collect information on the pricing structure of existing mini-golf courses. The fees charged to customers largely depend on the region and the demand in the immediate community.
However, in general, you can charge $8 – $15 for playing 18 holes. Most successful miniature golf course owners make more than $1,00, 000 a year.
10. Have a Promotional Plan
For a successful golf course business, sales promotion is vital. Create a good mix of online and traditional marketing strategies to build your brand and attract customers.
Promote your golf course and entertainment-related activities in local newspapers, television, and radio stations.
Creating a website is a must-include in your marketing plan at present. Also, explore social media platforms and reach more customers for your miniature golf course business.
About the Author: 99businessideas.com led by Rupak Chakrabarty is committed to helping beginners, entrepreneurs, and small business owners in starting, managing, and growing their businesses.