View Full Version : Wish me luck/Need some help..Please
12-07-2008, 03:21 AM
This is my first post, I hope it gets a few responses from a few of you. My location will remain anonymos until this gets a little more developed. Anyways, I am living in a city/region with almost 400,000+ citizens. We do not have an inline hockey rink to play on. We have a couple skating rinks, and a few ice hockey rinks, but nothing inline. Hockey is quite a large sport here considering the Redwings are so close. I've been doing my homework lately and find that the potential for this is huge, and could sew a few other rinks together and start a small regional league. If there is anyone with any experience starting a rink from the ground up, or anyone that is willing to help it would be greatly appreciated. At this point, I need more of a mentor than anything else, and financing. What business idea does't need financing though. As I was saying before, the potential is here, it is an hour drive to play any decent inline hockey, and this would be the only rink to serve nearly a half a dozen counties. Im am willing to talk to anybody one on one or have a small meeting anytime, just PM me and something can be arranged. Thanks for your time and I look forward to hearing what you all have to say about the subject.
12-07-2008, 10:44 PM
Haha this sounds almost like a Prince Abu Dabi mail me your money email :D
Good luck though! I know nothing about starting up a rink, but I can definitely give you ideas on what I would include if I were starting up a facility if you want to draw tournaments and the like there in the future.
12-07-2008, 11:51 PM
is the idea to start up a league? or start a rink to start a league to make $$$?
have you tried getting the existing rinks to play roller hockey?
12-08-2008, 02:40 AM
Thanks. Yes this is kind of like Price Abu Whatever... email me your money...if it were that easy. As I was saying before, its about starting a completely new inline hockey rink. We do not have one in our city. We are a little more than an hour away from Joe Dumars and do not have an inline rink. It is quite a large metropolitan area without any place to play inline during the winter. I am currently in an outdoor league and know many people that are willing to play. There are almost two dozen high schools within 20 minutes that would give at least one team but without a place to play. We used to have an inline facility about 10 years ago but they sold out to a business selling billiard tables and what not. I have been in contact with a skating rink here but the owner has not called back and claimed the additional insurance would not be an ideal situation for her. I am not convinced that she is aware of the market for the sport or the potential that inline hockey possesses for our region, especially considering the large hockey following here and lack of indoor places to play during the poor seasons of the year.
12-08-2008, 03:51 AM
Sanction your league through either USA Hockey InLine or AAU and the player membership fee includes the standard $2 million liability insurance policy that also protects the landlord (the skating rink that you mentioned above). The owner's concern should be alleviated with this condition.
I started my rink business on January 5, 2007. small floor, indoor soccer, kids' all-sports club, 11 divisions of inline hockey play, a dozen other activities to bring in money.
I am presently several months behind in rent. It is taking/has taken this two years to build up the business to where I am now making enough money monthly to begin catching up on the rent. I have not taken home a paycheck in two years, we have been living off my wife's part-time salary...how's this sound so far?
On the plus side, I have an understanding landlord. I am guessing it is in the landlord's best interest to allow me to catch up on the rent, rather than shut me down and try to find another tennant, at least for the moment.
I have a very, very, very supportive wife (do ya think!!!?)
I quit my cushy government job, pulled out my entire retirement fund, and have now sunk over $65,000 into this...and will not break even for another six months or so (2 and one-half years into the business?)...How's it sound now?
I would have quit if this did not have potential, but, sheeesh, has it taken a looong time to get this going!
If you can stick it out, go for it. For my part, I do not regret it for a minute, but I'll be glad to have a more deteiled conversation after this business has "made it," in a more "in the black" sense.
email me if you would really like to have this conversation.
12-08-2008, 08:59 AM
I know you wish to keep the area anonymous, so I won't mention any city names...but I have a pretty good idea of the area you are talking about.
First, I would do a little research and see what rink(s) may have been in the area in the past. Or if this would be the first one. If there was a rink in the past, why did it fail? Market? Management? Also, you may want to hold off for 6 months to a year and see what happens with the "Big 3 bailout". If any of those companies were to fail, Michigan's economy is going to be screwed...as if it isn't already bad. Will the market for a rink in this "area" still be there if 100,000+ jobs leave the state?
Ok, I lied...THIS is what you need to do first. Sit down with your wife/family/business partners (notice I mentioned wife and family FIRST - of course this won't apply if you are single) and discuss the sacrifice that will be required to make this idea a success. Also, discuss that this idea may be a success, but probably won't make you rich. I know many wealthy people that own rinks, but I can't think of a single one that made his wealth FROM the rink. Generally this was a project that they took on because they enjoy the sport. Also, discuss with your family the possibility that the idea (just like any other business venture) could fail.
Not trying to pee in your corn flakes, the idea sounds good, but you asked for advice so I thought I would play devil's advocate for you.
Just my $0.02
12-08-2008, 10:59 AM
I currently run a rink on my own dime, it is definitely no walk in the park. Having said that, if you are driven, don't require sleep, and really want it to work, it is very possible.
The number one thing I'd tell you, DO NOT base your business on Inline Hockey!!! You will not survive. You must find other sports and activities to fill the majority of your rink time. Now i'm not saying eliminate your hockey program ideas. I'm just saying not to make it your #1 income for the place. I love Inline Hockey, it's my life. There's nothing I look forward to more in my work week than Mon & Wed nights because that's our adult hockey nights. Just don't make the mistake of thinking that hockey alone will carry the place.
I've been a hockey director at a few multi-sport facilities in the past 10 years and I'll tell you this, it's always the hockey director that's at the tail end of the pack in terms of revenue income for the facility. For the first time with this rink, I run all of the programs and trust me, it's much easier to build leagues and programs for other sports because they have a much larger target demographic.
As for building a place yourself, that's a tough one unless you have an investor. I've been down that road myself and seen it fall through because of $$. I was very fortunate in my situation that I came accross a rink that was for lease to the right person and I landed the deal. I've read many opinions and I'd have to say in your situation, speak to DannyG. He knows all about public financing, parks & rec. etc. That might be your best route if you aren't too concerned with making a buck yourself but more concerned with the sport and personal reward of making it work for your community. I guess you have to ask yourself, what's your motivation and what do you want to accomplish? Business, community & goodwill, or both?
I personally do it for both because in all honesty, I've spent my 20's trying to make things like this work for the good of the sport only to realize that I've spent so much time doing so, that I have no other real career to fall back on because of it. So I do it for BOTH out of neccessity these days.
I'll give you one thing in the positive column, coming on here and asking for help will probably save you a lot of time and money in errors and mistakes that other people have already learned before you. Good Job!! Welcome to the club!
12-08-2008, 12:14 PM
To comment on my motivational reasons for starting this it is two-fold, with some writing on each page. I graduated college back in May and am still pressed to find a decent job/career. It just doesnt seem to be the time, or something like that. Also, with nearly half of my family, and my friends' families working among the big 3, I sincerely do not rely on anyone to take care of me but myself, which is why I would like to start my own rink. Yes, there is a personal interest involved but it is deeper than that. I am not trying to make a million dollars by any means. I am single and do not require much more than the standard of living, but am willing to put in my sweat, blood and tears into something I enjoy to make a HONEST living.
The second fold involves this, the HONEST living does not work unless you find a way to give back to the community and have it complete support. Finding a way for my community to play a cost effective method of hockey could not make me happier. There are so many people here that love the sport but have stopped playing because ice hockey is such an expensive sport. I have several ideas for events and fundraisers that I know would generate tens of thousands of dollars for our city and its residents. Having been born and raised here in my home city, I am in disbelief of the shape it is in right now. Would do anything to change that, and believe this would be a start. Im not saying this would be the best thing that happened has ever happened here. We have a minor leage baseball and hockey team that is loved dearly.
I apologize for my all that. It felt good to actually spell it out for myself.
DannyG, I appreciate the offer to speak to you. I will be sending you an email here shortly so that we can continue with this. The information you have given me sparked another idea and I will be calling one of the skating rinks in town shortly.
As for the rest of you, thank you as well. I think this sport has a larger potential than the state it is in currently. With everyone working together and supporting the cause it can only get better, I hope.
12-08-2008, 02:34 PM
I think this sport has a larger potential than the state it is in currently. With everyone working together and supporting the cause it can only get better, I hope.
If we (people who love this sport) all play our cards right, I think our sport will see another boom in the near future. The kids that played the game during the last boom are just now reaching the age that THEIR kids are lacing up the skates so you are beginning to see second generation love of the game...which is GREAT! Ice has enjoyed this support for years. "My Dad played, so I want to."
Oh yeah...don't forget my suggestion about researching past rinks in your area. You might be surprised...
12-08-2008, 04:29 PM
Actually, I played at the last rink in the area. It was called Central Inline Hockey Arena. It was about 10 years ago. It was an nice facility, sport court with full boards and glass. There were about 7 teams in my league(youth at the time) and several adult teams. It seemed to be very busy during games. It was around $300 dollars a person per season. Your could form your own team or you were placed on a team depending on the individuals situation. I spoke to my parents about it(they are the ones that paid), they said Central Arena did not proactively market the facility. It was basically open door policy and word of mouth marketing. They ended up selling the building. It was the last time inline hockey has been here.
12-08-2008, 04:37 PM
To add to that last statement...
I am aware of the rules of inline hockey. 4 vs 4, no contact, no offsides, etc. It also has occurred to me that another reason the facility never continued its success is because it never aligned itself with any other inline hockey arenas, mostly because there were not any. Most of the arenas within a 12 hour drive from here have been built in the last 8 years. We played 5 vs 5, full pads, offsides, which are not the inline hockey rules we have today, plus contact was allowed. I would love to continue playing inline hockey the way it was played there, but rules are rules. I have an entire notebook filled with information about other rinks, prices, location, number of teams, length of operation.
12-08-2008, 05:05 PM
Glad to see all the helpful responses here. I was a rink owner at one time as well.
Honestly, what DannyG said is probably the best indirect advice you'll get.
If you're planning to make a living doing this, I would recommend having at least 2-3 years worth of liquid (cash) assets to get you through with enough for living expenses, yet alone all the financing you're going to need for the facility.
Building permits, materials, labor - it's not cheap or easy. Oh, and don't forget about red tape too. It has squashed many-a-dreams.
12-08-2008, 06:11 PM
I'd have to think that being right out of college, you'd be in a good position to go for something like this, assuming of course you have the financial resources to build the facility to begin with in place. With your cost of living being relatively low, and the average 22 year old's familiarity with eating substandard meals (including the fried chicken food group) and being willing to live in less than adequate conditions (turn up the heat?? It's already 55 in here!) it's not like your asking yourself or family members (I'm assuming you don't have a wife or kids, obviously that changes things if you do) to suffer through a major lifestyle change to make this happen.
12-09-2008, 02:28 AM
GoRangrHky, I completely agree with you. At this point in time, I feel that it is the best time to try and make a move like this. I am young, 23, without a girlfriend(or any potentials), no kids, live at home(no bills), not to mention I do not have any student loans to pay back. I can completely dedicate myself to the operation of the facility without anyone constraints from anyone or anything. Not only is that a benefit, even in the chance that it does not work, and I have taken out loans to pay for it, I can still declare bankruptcy and be clean at the age of 30. Not bad. However, I do not consider that as an option.
Next issue is making a living. I do need to make a living, and dont know that this would be the best way to do that right now. I am trying to find a job (have an interview wednesday, please pray for me) aside from this, only because I do not believe I will earn enough to make a living from it right away. I would like to save enough from the next job/career move I make so that I can live for as long as it will take to get this going. I have been blessed in life so far, and still have been able refuse signing up for a credit card. Living at home has definitly had its benefits, but, I have no credit. Not bad credit, no credit. I already know this to be a major problem for the business, but great for myself. Its getting frustrating at this point in time because I have hit a road block and do not know where to go from here with the rink. Which is why I have come to all of you. I enjoy playing hockey as much as you, but I am well aware of the fact that you have more experience with the start-up and the continued operation of this type of facility.
I appreciate all your input so far. Keep it coming, Im soaking it up.
12-09-2008, 02:56 PM
Hey bro -
You're throwing up a lot of red flags. I don't know you at all, but I'd be genuinely concerned for you if you do this.
1) No credit. Not sure if everyone understands the extent of the "credit crisis" that the doom-and-gloom media keeps shoving down our collective throat - but it's ugly out there. It's hard for people with FICO's in the 600's to get decent terms on loans, if they can even get them at all. And you have no credit at all...yikes.
2) You're very much understating what bankruptcy could do to you. I'm 27 now, which means 4 years ago I was your age. Believe me, a LOT of things can change in the next 4 years (and the next 7 years of hell in personal bankruptcy). You don't have a girlfriend or kids now, but what happens if you somehow find an angel investor and get this rink going...then you meet the girl of your dreams. Then, she ends up accidentally pregnant. Then, everything falls apart at the rink (it happens to good, smart people too). So you're 25, bankrupt, a kid on the way, and the girl's conservative Catholic parents are forcing you to get married. Where is this money going to come from? (No, this did not happen to me, but as I'm sure you can all understand, you're probably in a totally different place than you expected to be a few years ago.)
3) What's your Plan B? Any idea what you'll do with your life should things fail? Not sure if you said you have a degree or not...sorry if I missed that. But you said you are interviewing for a job...so do you plan on working full-time while also operating the rink? Take it from someone who did that for a couple years - it's next-to-impossible.
I dunno bro, I love the game as much as anyone, but I don't like the odds on that kind of risk.
12-09-2008, 03:03 PM
I am not a mom & pop operation, I am a pop operation...me, myself, ich selbst, I, solo mio, etc...
I wash the floor everyday. I unclog the toilets, I sweep the floors, I clean the spectator areas, and marvel at what slobs people are in general.
Where we would have game officials, I referee every game, or use volunteers, trained by me.
We have created/invented/developed indoor/"arena" versions of twenty-two different sports, I can play, demonstrate the skills, and teach/coach 'em all.
I hold national certifications in four main sports, coaching, officiating, or both.
I have not yet been able to hire anybody to do anything, so I do everything.
I do not think I would be into my (almost) third year in this if I did not have all this sports knowledge...and remember:
1. I am not yet in the black in this as a business,
2. I cannot yet say this will be a success financially...
3. In between corporate and government jobs over the past thirty years, I have failed as a small businessman two times already, both as sports ventures.
Continued good luck in your research, you are obviously examining this thoroughly and well.
12-09-2008, 06:10 PM
Thanks again. Yes I have a degree, Business Management. As I said before, Im looking for a job, full time with benefits, standard issue stuff there. As far as red flags are concerned, I know quite well what the red flags are, that is the reason I mentioned them. The reason I'm doing any of this is for feedback and advice. Understanding that this is not an ideal way to make a living is the reason I have not invested 100% of my life into at this point. If I thought I could make a reasonable go at it in my current situation I would. Maybe sometime in my life, I can coordinate my efforts and the efforts of others and give my city a place to play inline hockey. Dont get me wrong, if I could make a living doing this I would. The biggest concern at this point is having a place to play. The sport is incredible, it just isnt reasonable for myself and a dozen of my guys to drive over an hour to play, and no chance to practice, especially when there is an opportunity to have a rink here. Honestly, if someone wanted to put a rink in, I would be more than happy to talk with them. I am not looking to profit from something like this, but it only works if your doing everything, and it's impossible to put that kind of time and effort into anything without getting some monetary return. I thought if there is a chance I could open it relatively soon, and give myself next to nothing, why not try?
Spending time volunteering for an outdoor roller hockey league is something I do now. This would not be much different from that, except it would require much more time. Its a way of giving people an organized place or opportunity to remain active. An indoor league would be very similar. I know inline hockey could be something large here if people are willing to make an effort. Like the sport itself, this kind of business works best with a team. DannyG, if I were remotely close to you, I would give you much of my free time trying to get your leagues going. As important as the business is, I think it is more important to focus on the sport. If enough individuals are participating, the business should be able to run without any problems. Speaking for myself, it would not require a lot of money to put forth a valient effort to promote this. I do it now and don't even have a place to play.
Toledo does not have a place to play inline hockey. That is the most disappointing fact about all of this. The opportunity isn't even there. I am willing to make the effort and the risk. The concept of this not being successful is not understandable. Many of you probably think I am naive, you may be right, but determination is an easy thing to underestimate.
To ask those of you who have a rink, what have you done to promote your facility?
Lower team entry fees?
Advertisements? TV? Local Newspaper? Billboard?
Gone to high schools to hand out flyers?
Hired a salesman or sport representative?
I know the salesman sounds crazy, but if its 100% commission based, it could be a great way for you to find someone truly into the sport, and does not take money out of your pocket unless he/she is actually helping you out.
Joined hockey associations?
12-09-2008, 06:54 PM
You mentioned the rink 10 years played 5-on-5 with pads and contact. That may have led to the lack of interest, who knows. Even then, people wanted to play inline hockey, not ice hockey on sport court. If they wanted to play the "ice game" they would just go to the ice rink. True, inline is cheaper, but how many of your customers are PURELY at the inline rink because of the cost?
Some people just like inline better. Maybe they like the flow of the game, the rules, that fact that there isn't contact, who knows. I got away from ice (even though I still play now and again) because inline skating didn't both my knees as bad.
My point is, that if you are going to run an inline rink, my suggestion is that you run a INLINE league with the inline rules.
Of course you also need the other activities that Chris mentioned.
12-11-2008, 12:31 PM
3) What's your Plan B?
I dunno, but this is an option:
12-11-2008, 06:49 PM
Actually, this rink has never been plan A. Its just something I would really like to try and do. I had a second interview with a company today that went really well and should be hearing back from them tomorrow. But, with that said, all I really want is a place to play inline hockey here. After talking to all of you here, and making a few phone calls to a few other rinks in the surrounding cities and states, it might still happen. We have a rink in town that gets almost 0 business. Its on the other side of town, but its still in town. Its the lady with the 'insurance' objection. I called her back and told her I have a solution or an option to get her insured and it sparked her interest. I didnt get a chance to talk to her and will probably call her back on Monday. The only thing it needs is a set of boards to go around the rink.
From what I hear they can get pricey too, but its not as bad as building a whole new facility. I might even be able to get her to help considering it would be profiting her business. However, as the title of this thread goes, wish me luck? :cool:
12-12-2008, 09:49 AM
I don't think the Senate is on your side here...
12-12-2008, 03:24 PM
Good luck to you in whichever way this ends up going. I admire your desire and courage, especially in this ugly economy. Keep the faith.
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