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How to Start a Roller Skating Rink

Written by:

Carolyn Young is a business writer who focuses on entrepreneurial concepts and the business formation. She has over 25 years of experience in business roles, and has authored several entrepreneurship textbooks.

Edited by:

David has been writing and learning about business, finance and globalization for a quarter-century, starting with a small New York consulting firm in the 1990s.

How to Start a Roller Skating Rink

Fast Facts

Investment range

$19,800 - $39,850

Revenue potential

$218,000 - $359,000 p.a.

Time to build

3-6 months

Profit potential

$76,000 - $126,000 p.a.

Industry trend

Growing

Commitment

Flexible

Roller skating was one of the most popular pastimes of the 1960’s and 70’s. Today, people of all ages still enjoy a day or evening at the rink. Whether you’re hosting a kid’s birthday party or gathering colleagues for a team-building event, roller skating is a great way to celebrate and connect while engaging in healthy physical activity. 

The recreational sports centers industry, which includes roller skating rinks, is worth $78 billion and expects steady growth in the coming years. 

While you might be eager to dive in and become a rink owner, it’s important to understand the relevant procedures and concerns. Fortunately, this step-by-step guide provides the entrepreneurial foundation you need to launch your business. 

Step 1: Decide if the Business Is Right for You

Pros and cons

Before starting a roller skating rink, it’s important to consider the pros and cons.

Pros

  • Fun Environment – Create a positive customer experience and have fun doing it
  • Good Money – Charge up to $500 for private events
  • Room to Grow – Add an arcade or a full-service restaurant

Cons

  • Expensive Startup – High costs to rent and renovate a facility
  • Potential Injuries – Skaters often slip and fall, creating liability issues

Roller skating rink industry trends

Roller skating rinks fall within the fitness and recreational sports centers industry. 

Industry size and growth

roller skating rink industry size and growth

Trends and challenges

roller skating rink Trends and Challenges

Trends within the roller skating rink industry include:

  • People have discovered that roller skating is a great cardio workout, so many rinks now offer a variety of skating work-outs.  
  • Roller rinks are perfect for dance parties. Rinks across the country hold nightclub-style events for teens and young adults, boosting revenue. 
  • Some rinks are expanding their skate rental offerings to include inline skates alongside the traditional quad skate. 

Challenges within the roller skating rink industry include:

  • Accidents happen at roller rinks, as skaters trip, fall, or collide. To minimize liability and avoid lawsuits, owners should have customers sign wavers, keep their facilities clean, and carry strong insurance. 
  • While skating rinks are popular places to host birthday parties, there are countless other recreational activities to choose from. You’ll need to focus on smart marketing and quality services to make your rink a top destination.  

What kind of people work in roller skating rinks?

roller skating rink demographics
  • Gender – 31.1% of skating rink managers in the U.S. are women and 68.9% are men.((https://www.zippia.com/skating-rink-manager-jobs/demographics/))
  • Average level of education – The average skating rink manager has a bachelor’s degree.
  • Average age – The average age of a skating rink manager in the United States is 46.

How much does it cost to start a roller skating rink?

Startup costs for a roller rink range from $19,000 to $39,000. Costs include the facility lease, renovations, purchase of skates and equipment, website, and advertising.

You’ll need a handful of items to successfully launch your roller skating rink, including: 

  • Roller skating rink
  • Roller skates
  • Equipment
  • Website
  • Maintenance tools
Start-up CostsBallpark RangeAverage
Licenses and permits$100 - $300$200
Insurance$100 - $300$200
Marketing and advertising$1,000 - $2,000$1,500
Website$1,000 - $2,000$1,500
Software$100 - $250$175
Facility rental$3,000 - $6,000$4,500
Rink renovations$10,000 - $20,000$15,000
Roller skating accessories$2,500 - $5,000$3,750
Employee wages$2,000 - $4,000$3,000
Total$19,800 - $39,850$29,825

How much can you earn from a roller skating rink?

roller skating rink earnings forecast

The average cost for roller rink admission is $10, with skate rentals costing about $5. After considering labor and overhead costs, expect a profit margin of around 35%

In your first year or two, you could charge $10 admission and $5 skate rentals to 250 customers per week. You could also host one private event each week at a rate of $450 per group. This would result in $218,000 in annual revenue and $76,000 in profit, assuming that 35% margin. As your roller rink increases in popularity, you could increase sales to 400 customers and two private events per week. With annual revenue of $359,000, you’d make a handsome profit of $126,000. 

What barriers to entry are there?

There are a few barriers to entry when it comes to starting a roller rink. Your biggest hurdles will be:

  • Finding an affordable, suitable facility in a great location
  • Cost of renovations and equipment

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Step 2: Hone Your Idea

develop a business idea

Now that you know what’s involved in starting a skating rink, it’s a good idea to hone your concept in preparation to enter a competitive market.

Market research will give you the upper hand, even if you’re already positive that you have a perfect product or service. Conducting market research is important, because it can help you understand your customers better, who your competitors are, and your business landscape. 

Why? Identify an opportunity

Research roller skating rinks in your area and online to examine their services, price points, and customer reviews. You’re looking for a market gap to fill. For instance, maybe the local market is missing a roller skating rink with a snack bar or video game room. 

You might consider targeting a niche market by specializing in a certain aspect of your industry, such as birthday parties, corporate events, or skating work-outs.

This could jumpstart your word-of-mouth marketing and attract clients right away. 

What? Determine your services and offerings

You’ll be charging customers for skating time at your rink. You could also host private parties and events and charge a flat rate to rent out the facility. Some roller skating rinks offer skating lessons, exercise classes, and host nightclub-style events to teens and young adults. You might also serve food and beverages or have an arcade onsite.

How much should you charge for roller skating?

The average cost for three to four hours of roller skating is $10. Skate rentals cost around $5. Rates for private events average around $400 per group. After the cost of labor and overhead, expect a profit margin of 30%.

Once you know your costs, you can use this Step By Step profit margin calculator to determine your mark-up and final price points. Remember, the prices you use at launch should be subject to change if warranted by the market.

Who? Identify your target market

Your primary target market will be kids and teens who want to enjoy a fun afternoon or evening of roller skating. You’ll also attract adults who enjoy this nostalgic pastime. 

Find your ideal customers by marketing your business on Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram. To attract corporate customers, consider using LinkedIn. You could also network with local schools and youth organizations.  

Where? Choose your roller skating rink location

The location of your roller skating rink is key to its success and the overall experience of your customers Depending on your target audience, you may want to consider proximity to schools or family-friendly attractions.

When choosing your location, think about how you can create a unique and memorable experience for your customers. For example, you could look for a space with an outdoor area for roller skating during the warmer months, or a location with adjacent restaurants or bars to offer a complete night out experience.

You can find commercial space to rent in your area on sites such as Craigslist, Crexi, and Instant Offices.

When choosing a commercial space, you may want to follow these rules of thumb:

  • Central location accessible via public transport
  • Ventilated and spacious, with good natural light
  • Flexible lease that can be extended as your business grows
  • Ready-to-use space with no major renovations or repairs needed
roller skating rink idea rating

Step 3: Brainstorm a Roller Skating Rink Name

Here are some ideas for brainstorming your business name:

  • Short, unique, and catchy names tend to stand out
  • Names that are easy to say and spell tend to do better 
  • Name should be relevant to your product or service offerings
  • Ask around — family, friends, colleagues, social media — for suggestions
  • Including keywords, such as “roller rink” or “skating rink”, boosts SEO
  • Name should allow for expansion, for ex: “Speedy Skates” or “RollNation” over “Roller Disco Inferno”
  • A location-based name can help establish a strong connection with your local community and help with the SEO but might hinder future expansion

Once you’ve got a list of potential names, visit the website of the US Patent and Trademark Office to make sure they are available for registration and check the availability of related domain names using our Domain Name Search tool. Using “.com” or “.org” sharply increases credibility, so it’s best to focus on these. 

Finally, make your choice among the names that pass this screening and go ahead with domain registration and social media account creation. Your business name is one of the key differentiators that sets your business apart. Once you pick your company name, and start with the branding, it is hard to change the business name. Therefore, it’s important to carefully consider your choice before you start a business entity.

Step 4: Create a Roller Skating Rink Business Plan

Here are the key components of a business plan:

what to include in a business plan
  • Executive Summary: Provide a snapshot of your roller skating rink business, highlighting its entertainment value, target demographic, and revenue-generating services like parties and skate rentals.
  • Business Overview: Describe the core business of operating a roller skating rink, including the customer experience and types of events hosted.
  • Product and Services: List the services your rink will offer, such as open skate sessions, private event hosting, and skate lessons.
  • Market Analysis: Assess the local demand for recreational activities and the potential customer base for a roller skating rink.
  • Competitive Analysis: Compare your rink to local entertainment options, emphasizing what will make your rink a preferred choice, like modern facilities or themed skate nights.
  • Sales and Marketing: Outline how you will attract patrons through promotional events, partnerships with schools, and social media marketing.
  • Management Team: Highlight the qualifications and roles of your management team members, focusing on experience in entertainment management and customer service.
  • Operations Plan: Detail the day-to-day operations of the rink, including staffing, maintenance, and customer service standards.
  • Financial Plan: Provide an overview of the financial projections, including start-up costs, pricing strategy, and profit margins.
  • Appendix: Include supplementary documents such as market research data, building plans, or equipment purchase agreements that support your business plan.

If you’ve never created a business plan, it can be an intimidating task. You might consider hiring a business plan specialist to create a top-notch business plan for you.

Step 5: Register Your Business

Registering your business is an absolutely crucial step — it’s the prerequisite to paying taxes, raising capital, opening a bank account, and other guideposts on the road to getting a business up and running.

Plus, registration is exciting because it makes the entire process official. Once it’s complete, you’ll have your own business! 

Choose where to register your company

Your business location is important because it can affect taxes, legal requirements, and revenue. Most people will register their business in the state where they live, but if you are planning to expand, you might consider looking elsewhere, as some states could offer real advantages when it comes to roller skating rinks. 

If you’re willing to move, you could really maximize your business! Keep in mind, it’s relatively easy to transfer your business to another state. 

Choose your business structure

Business entities come in several varieties, each with its pros and cons. The legal structure you choose for your skating rink will shape your taxes, personal liability, and business registration requirements, so choose wisely. 

Here are the main options:

types of business structures
  • Sole Proprietorship – The most common structure for small businesses makes no legal distinction between company and owner. All income goes to the owner, who’s also liable for any debts, losses, or liabilities incurred by the business. The owner pays taxes on business income on his or her personal tax return.
  • General Partnership – Similar to a sole proprietorship, but for two or more people. Again, owners keep the profits and are liable for losses. The partners pay taxes on their share of business income on their personal tax returns.
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC) – Combines the characteristics of corporations with those of sole proprietorships or partnerships. Again, the owners are not personally liable for debts.
  • C Corp – Under this structure, the business is a distinct legal entity and the owner or owners are not personally liable for its debts. Owners take profits through shareholder dividends, rather than directly. The corporation pays taxes, and owners pay taxes on their dividends, which is sometimes referred to as double taxation.
  • S Corp – An S-Corporation refers to the tax classification of the business but is not a business entity. An S-Corp can be either a corporation or an LLC, which just need to elect to be an S-Corp for tax status. In an S-Corp, income is passed through directly to shareholders, who pay taxes on their share of business income on their personal tax returns.

We recommend that new business owners choose LLC as it offers liability protection and pass-through taxation while being simpler to form than a corporation. You can form an LLC in as little as five minutes using an online LLC formation service. They will check that your business name is available before filing, submit your articles of organization, and answer any questions you might have. 

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Step 6: Register for Taxes

The final step before you’re able to pay taxes is getting an Employer Identification Number, or EIN. You can file for your EIN online or by mail or fax: visit the IRS website to learn more. Keep in mind, if you’ve chosen to be a sole proprietorship you can simply use your social security number as your EIN. 

Once you have your EIN, you’ll need to choose your tax year. Financially speaking, your business will operate in a calendar year (January–December) or a fiscal year, a 12-month period that can start in any month. This will determine your tax cycle, while your business structure will determine which taxes you’ll pay.

The IRS website also offers a tax-payers checklist, and taxes can be filed online.

It is important to consult an accountant or other professional to help you with your taxes to ensure you are completing them correctly.

Step 7: Fund your Business

Securing financing is your next step and there are plenty of ways to raise capital:

  • Bank loans: This is the most common method but getting approved requires a rock-solid business plan and strong credit history.
  • SBA-guaranteed loans: The Small Business Administration can act as guarantor, helping gain that elusive bank approval via an SBA-guaranteed loan.
  • Government grants: A handful of financial assistance programs help fund entrepreneurs. Visit Grants.gov to learn which might work for you.
  • Friends and Family: Reach out to friends and family to provide a business loan or investment in your concept. It’s a good idea to have legal advice when doing so because SEC regulations apply.
  • Crowdfunding: Websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo offer an increasingly popular low-risk option, in which donors fund your vision. Entrepreneurial crowdfunding sites like Fundable and WeFunder enable multiple investors to fund your business.
  • Personal: Self-fund your business via your savings or the sale of property or other assets.

Bank and SBA loans are probably the best option, other than friends and family, for funding a roller skating rink. You might also try crowdfunding if you have an innovative concept.  

Step 8: Apply for Roller Skating Rink Business Licenses and Permits

Business Licenses and Permits

Starting a roller skating rink requires obtaining a number of licenses and permits from local, state, and federal governments.

Federal regulations, licenses, and permits associated with starting your business include doing business as (DBA), health licenses and permits from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), trademarks, copyrights, patents, and other intellectual properties, as well as industry-specific licenses and permits. 

You may also need state-level and local county or city-based licenses and permits. The license requirements and how to obtain them vary, so check the websites of your state, city, and county governments or contact the appropriate person to learn more. 

You could also check this SBA guide for your state’s requirements, but we recommend using MyCorporation’s Business License Compliance Package. They will research the exact forms you need for your business and state and provide them to ensure you’re fully compliant.

This is not a step to be taken lightly, as failing to comply with legal requirements can result in hefty penalties.

If you feel overwhelmed by this step or don’t know how to begin, it might be a good idea to hire a professional to help you check all the legal boxes.

Step 9: Open a Business Bank Account

Before you start making money, you’ll need a place to keep it, and that requires opening a bank account.

Keeping your business finances separate from your personal account makes it easy to file taxes and track your company’s income, so it’s worth doing even if you’re running your skating rink as a sole proprietorship. Opening a business bank account is quite simple, and similar to opening a personal one. Most major banks offer accounts tailored for businesses — just inquire at your preferred bank to learn about their rates and features.

Banks vary in terms of offerings, so it’s a good idea to examine your options and select the best plan for you. Once you choose your bank, bring in your EIN (or Social Security Number if you decide on a sole proprietorship), articles of incorporation, and other legal documents and open your new account. 

Step 10: Get Business Insurance

Business insurance is an area that often gets overlooked yet it can be vital to your success as an entrepreneur. Insurance protects you from unexpected events that can have a devastating impact on your business.

Here are some types of insurance to consider:

types of business insurance
  • General liability: The most comprehensive type of insurance, acting as a catch-all for many business elements that require coverage. If you get just one kind of insurance, this is it. It even protects against bodily injury and property damage.
  • Business Property: Provides coverage for your equipment and supplies.
  • Equipment Breakdown Insurance: Covers the cost of replacing or repairing equipment that has broken due to mechanical issues.
  • Worker’s compensation: Provides compensation to employees injured on the job.
  • Property: Covers your physical space, whether it is a cart, storefront, or office.
  • Commercial auto: Protection for your company-owned vehicle.
  • Professional liability: Protects against claims from a client who says they suffered a loss due to an error or omission in your work.
  • Business owner’s policy (BOP): This is an insurance plan that acts as an all-in-one insurance policy, a combination of the above insurance types.

Step 11: Prepare to Launch

Launching a Business

As opening day nears, prepare for launch by reviewing and improving some key elements of your business. 

Essential software and tools

Being an entrepreneur often means wearing many hats, from marketing to sales to accounting, which can be overwhelming. Fortunately, many websites and digital tools are available to help simplify many business tasks.  

You may want to use industry-specific software, such as Roller, Partywirks, or LilYPad, to collect payments, manage bookings, and collect waivers. 

Accounting

  • Popular web-based accounting programs for smaller businesses include Quickbooks, Freshbooks, and Xero
  • If you’re unfamiliar with basic accounting, you may want to hire a professional, especially as you begin. The consequences for filing incorrect tax documents can be harsh, so accuracy is crucial.

Develop your website

Website development is crucial because your site is your online presence and needs to convince prospective clients of your expertise and professionalism.

You can create your own website using services like WordPress, Wix, or Squarespace. This route is very affordable, but figuring out how to build a website can be time-consuming. If you lack tech-savvy, you can hire a web designer or developer to create a custom website for your business.

They are unlikely to find your website, however, unless you follow Search Engine Optimization (SEO) practices. These are steps that help pages rank higher in the results of top search engines like Google. 

Marketing

Here are some powerful marketing strategies for your future business:

  • Theme Nights: Host different theme nights like retro or disco, and family-friendly events to attract various people.
  • Local SEO — Regularly update your Google My Business and Yelp profiles to strengthen your local search presence.
  • School Partnerships: Work with schools and youth groups for discounts or special events to positively impact the community and build lasting connections.
  • Social Media Events: Use social media for fun challenges and contests, encouraging people to post about their visits and attract more customers.
  • Loyalty Programs: Offer loyalty programs and membership cards for regular visitors to give them discounts and special benefits, encouraging them to keep coming back.
  • Work with Local Influencers: Collaborate with local social media influencers to promote your rink to their followers and reach more people.
  • Community Sponsorships: Support local teams and events to increase your visibility and show your commitment to the community.
  • Group Discounts: Provide discounts and packages for group events like parties or corporate gatherings to make your rink a popular choice for group activities.
  • Referral Programs: Reward customers who bring new visitors, using word-of-mouth to gain more customers.
  • Seasonal Deals: Offer special deals or events during holidays and school breaks to attract more visitors when they have free time.
  • Interactive Marketing: Create engaging marketing materials like flyers and posters, and place them where people will see them to keep your rink in mind.

Focus on USPs

unique selling proposition

Unique selling propositions, or USPs, are the characteristics of a product or service that sets it apart from the competition. Customers today are inundated with buying options, so you’ll have a real advantage if they are able to quickly grasp how your roller skating rink meets their needs or wishes. It’s wise to do all you can to ensure your USPs stand out on your website and in your marketing and promotional materials, stimulating buyer desire. 

Global pizza chain Domino’s is renowned for its USP: “Hot pizza in 30 minutes or less, guaranteed.” Signature USPs for your roller rink could be:

  • Safe, speedy skating at our state-of-the-art rink
  • Roller skating fun for the whole family!
  • Skating parties and events for all ages

Networking

You may not like to network or use personal connections for business gain. But your personal and professional networks likely offer considerable untapped business potential. Maybe that Facebook friend you met in college is now running a roller skating rink, or a LinkedIn contact of yours is connected to dozens of potential clients. Maybe your cousin or neighbor has been working in skating for years and can offer invaluable insight and industry connections. 

The possibilities are endless, so it’s a good idea to review your personal and professional networks and reach out to those with possible links to or interest in roller skating rinks. You’ll probably generate new customers or find companies with which you could establish a partnership.

Step 12: Build Your Team

Building a Team for a New Business

If you’re starting out small from a home office, you may not need any employees. But as your business grows, you will likely need workers to fill various roles. Potential positions for a roller skating rink include:

  • Rink Attendants – Sell tickets, rent equipment
  • Office Manager – Bookkeeping, run payroll
  • Facilities Manager – Clean rink, keep up with maintenance and repairs
  • Marketing Lead – Manage social media accounts, book private events

At some point, you may need to hire all of these positions or simply a few, depending on the size and needs of your business. You might also hire multiple workers for a single role or a single worker for multiple roles, again depending on need. 

Free-of-charge methods to recruit employees include posting ads on popular platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, or Jobs.com. You might also consider a premium recruitment option, such as advertising on Indeed, Glassdoor, or ZipRecruiter. Further, if you have the resources, you could consider hiring a recruitment agency to help you find talent. 

Step 13: Run a Roller Skating Rink – Start Making Money!

Running a Business

Operating your own roller skating rink is a fun and rewarding way to make a living. You’ll provide good times for kids and teens, as well as a place to hang out. You’ll also give nostalgic adults a chance to relive the past and make new memories!

Now that you’ve done your entrepreneurial homework, it’s time to lace up those skates and start building the best roller skating rink in town. 

Roller Skating Rink FAQs

Is a roller skating rink a profitable business?

Yes, roller skating rinks are profitable. You can increase revenue by offering skating lessons, hosting nightclub events, and selling food and beverages.

How can I handle skate rentals and ensure proper sizing and maintenance?

Train staff members to accurately measure customers’ feet and provide guidance on selecting the appropriate skate size. Regularly inspect and maintain the rental skates, including checking for wear and tear, and replacing worn-out parts.

How can I ensure the safety of skaters and maintain a secure environment?

To ensure the safety of skaters and maintain a secure environment, implement safety protocols and guidelines. Clearly communicate and enforce rules such as speed limits, no backward skating, and appropriate behavior on the rink. Provide safety equipment, such as helmets and wrist guards, and encourage their use, especially for beginners or children. 

How do you promote roller skating rink?

Develop a professional website that showcases your rink’s amenities, events, and pricing information. Utilize social media platforms to share engaging content, such as photos or videos of skaters enjoying the rink. Offer special promotions, group discounts, or theme nights to attract new customers. 

How big a roller skating rink should be?

A standard roller skating rink can range in size from approximately 5,000 to 15,000 square feet. However, the size can vary significantly based on local regulations and the capacity you aim to accommodate. Consider factors such as the layout of the rink, seating areas, rental area, and other amenities you plan to include.

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How to Start a Roller Skating Rink