Archive for July, 2011

Amusement Equipment Leasing

Saturday, July 30th, 2011 | Permalink

General equipment leases options may help the new amusement center developer improve your business or expand your business. However some lease options may be expensive and so you need to go for general equipment financing to fulfill your needs.

There are various types of loans available for general equipment financing. However, coin operated amusement equipment such as arcade games, redemption games, and even some other indoor play activities like inflatable playgrounds and soft contained indoor play structures or climbing gyms. The equipment not only provides fun to people but also provides revenue to the companies through activity diversification. Some reliable financing companies offer financial assistance at low interest rates to acquire this type of amusement equipment. It is also a good idea to get used amusement equipment in good condition. Used amusement equipment might include used arcade games, used park rides, used laser tag equipment, etc.

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Vending machine financing comes under a general equipment financing category. Vending machines provide a source of revenue for some indoor fun businesses as well as full featured family entertainment centers. A bottle vending machine, can vending machine or juice vending machine help generate revenues for the respective amusement center business. Some business owners may want a number of such vending machines for their impulse-buy revenue opportunities. These amusement owners can generally find financial help from any of the genuine amusement equipment financing companies.

Fitness and exercise equipment also comes under the general equipment category for the purpose of financing. These equipments are essential for a gym, fitness center or a fun centers whose business goals include family-fit. Nowadays people are willing to spend more for exercises and fitness routines, if they can be positioned as a one-stop easy fit program that caters to the entire family. Today, that includes making fitness fun, especially for the younger set. Hence a gym or fitness center must contain modern equipment in order to inspire their customers. However some of the equipments like exercise bike, treadmill, rowing machine are expensive. Hence general equipment financing helps them flourish their business by way of providing loans at low interest rates to acquire fitness and exercise equipment.

Building maintenance equipment like carpet cleaning machine, floor scrubbing machine, polishing equipment are essential for amusement centers to clean and maintain their buildings. Some companies may require garbage disposal equipment like cardboard crushers or can crushers. In larger fun centers, this equipment can dramatically improve customer perception and help minimize the work of facility maintenance staff. They may not be cheap and so general equipment financing is often needed to acquire this equipment.

Fixture financing helps in acquiring any fixtures like lighting systems, shelving, cabinets display cases and other redemption and/or food service counters.

General equipment financing can be an resource of initial funding if the new family fun business meets some base requirements. Although harder for amusement start-ups, there are companies out there willing to write lease options for your amusement business.


To get additional information about used arcade games, laser tag equipment, and used laser tag equipment, please visit our used arcade games informational site.

To get additional information about used amusement park equipment, and used amusement park rides, please visit our used amusement park equipment informational site.

9 Steps to Develop a Family Fun Center

Friday, July 29th, 2011 | Permalink

by John Gerner |

If you’re thinking about developing a family entertainment center, the following advice is for you. It’s from my 20+ years of consulting experience with new leisure attractions, and watching many who have gone down the path you’re looking at right now. One of the real benefits of our industry is shared experience. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to FECs. Sure, there are always improvements that can be made to the concept, but it’s a proven one with an established track record that now spans decades. With that in mind…

First, look within yourself and think about why you want to develop a FEC. If the main reason is to get rich, think again. Although there’s always the feeling that a clever new idea can lead to great fortune, few in our business actually do get rich developing leisure attractions and those that do probably didn’t think they would when they started. If your main reason is to take on the challenge of developing a thriving fun business that could entertain thousands every year, then welcome, we need more like you. Many FEC developers are actually buying themselves a job, and an enjoyable one at that. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s the motivation driving most of the small businesses today in our country. The goal of being your boss, doing something you enjoy, and hopefully building something of value that you can pass on someday to others.

Second, you’re going to need money. Not all of it, that’s what lending institutions like banks, help with. But you’re going to need what we call “seed money”. If you’re the creative type that simply wants to conceptualize and not deal with money, this is the time to begin finding a business partner. The leisure attractions industry has benefited time and time again from pairing creative and business types. I’m sure you’ve heard of Walt and Roy Disney.

How much seed money you’re going to need is hard to say. I’ve been asked if there is some way that a consultant can provide a “preliminary” feasibility analysis that would help get this seed money. Sadly, the answer is no. Any worthwhile feasibility report is going to take considerable time and effort.

Think carefully about the general risk involved in developing a new business. There are no guarantees and you will need to be comfortable with these risks before you can seriously move forward.

A good idea for keeping the costs in check is getting used amusement equipment for your family entertainment center. Examples of second-hand equipment you can get for your FEC are: used arcade games, used park rides, used laser tag equipment, etc. Just check the equipment is in good condition.

Third, you should have a good idea of what type of family entertainment center you want to develop. One type is not inherently better than another; such as indoor versus outdoor or teen-oriented versus children-oriented. This is the time to educate yourself as much as you can about FECs. The Family Entertainment Center Directory is a good start, but you should expand your education. In particular, you should visit as many family entertainment centers as you can, and see first-hand what you like and don’t like. Soon, you should have a good idea of what you want to develop.

Fourth, you should also have a good idea where you want to develop your family entertainment center. Ideally, you should have a specific site in mind.

Fifth, you’re very likely going to need a feasibility study unless you have the financial resources to develop the project on your own. That’s because our industry, like most, has its own version of the golden rule and it says “the one with the gold makes the rules”. Lenders and other investors want to see an objective, analytical report prepared by an expert that evaluates the potential of your proposed type of FEC at your prospective location. This effort might be divided into separate market and financial feasibility studies, but typically it is done in a single report.

Although you’ve paid for it, the feasibility study is not written directly for you. It’s written for prospective lenders and investors, and assumes they have little if any knowledge of family entertainment center. That’s why it will often begin by describing the FEC concept, a topic you probably already know much about.

The study will then likely identify the potential markets for your proposed FEC, through distance rings, travel corridors, or other means. It may or may not include tourists, depending on the location. It should present the size of each market segment and its demographic characteristics. It should project potential attendance by applying market penetration rates to these market segments, influenced by the quality of these markets, competition, and the experience of comparable FECs elsewhere.

The feasibility study should provide general physical recommendations to ensure that the proposed FEC will physically be able to effectively service its expected attendance. This study, however, does not design the FEC and should give the designers flexibility.

The study should also project potential financial performance and provide guidance on the total development costs needed to achieve a worthwhile return-on-investment to investors. This amount needs to be high enough to provide the “critical mass” of experiences needed to achieve its market potential, yet avoid overbuilding. An FEC can often be expanded later if needed, but downsizing is generally very difficult. With the feasibility study in hand, you’re ready to continue moving forward.

Sixth, you should prepare a detailed business plan for your proposed family entertainment center. Its purpose differs from the feasibility study. The feasibility study is prepared by an outside expert and hopefully demonstrates the potential of your proposed FEC. If not, you will need to make changes to the concept and/or location. Even a positive feasibility study does not predict or guarantee success. Instead, it shows the potential performance if the FEC is developed and managed effectively.

The business plan shows how you plan to effectively develop and manage the FEC so that it will achieve the potential identified in the feasibility study. Although the business plan may partially or completely be prepared by outsiders, it is ultimately your document. It will need to persuade skeptical readers that you can actually make this happen. They will look hard at the top people involved in the project that are described in the business plan, and will want comfort that these individuals are qualified.

Seventh, you may need initial design and concept development work as part of the complete package to present to prospective investors and lenders. I’m not a designer, so I won’t speak for that profession concerning this particular step. There are many fine design firms in our industry that will be happy to discuss this with you and you should begin talking with them early in the planning process. There may also be other consultants needed to effectively move the planning process forward.

Eighth, you may need to bring in other equity investors. Banks and other lending institutions will rarely provide all of the funds needed to develop the FEC, so the remaining amount has to be provided by equity investors. Since the lenders will likely have liens on the assets of the FEC, the equity investors have higher risks, but also have the potential to reap the higher rewards from a successful operation.

Ninth, you have funding in place and are ready to begin construction. If you’ve made it this far, you’ve accomplished quite a bit and should take a moment to celebrate. More challenges lie ahead, but you’re well on your way.


To get additional information about used arcade games, laser tag equipment, and used laser tag equipment, please visit our used arcade games informational site.

To get additional information about used amusement park equipment, and used amusement park rides, please visit our used amusement park equipment informational site.

Go-Karts for Fun Centers and Attractions: Go Karting for Fun Centers and Beyond

Friday, July 15th, 2011 | Permalink

An amazing little vehicle that started out as a way for airmen in the 1950s to kill some time has gradually turned into a popular worldwide sport for many. The go kart has quick become a phenomenon all over the world. Art Ingels was given credit for inventing the go kart when he built his very first one in 1956. That first kart was little more than a riding lawn mower compared to the models available today. Today, modern go karts can travel 160 mph or faster. Now that’s pretty amazing.

There are many different words to call them: go karts, go carts, go-karts, shifter karts, gokarts, enduro carts, off road go karts and other variations. Go karts are related to Formula One and Indy Car open-wheel racing. One thing is clear, getting behind the wheel of one is exciting. Many professional race car drivers, including Michael Schumacher, Sarah Fisher, Darrell Waltrip, Tony Stewart and Kyle Petty all got their start on the go kart racing circuit.

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So what exactly makes a gokart a gokart? Gokarts have a motor, transmission, chassis, seat and 4 tires. Since they don’t have a suspension, the chassis has to provide flexibility while retaining enough stiffness to let the kart grip around the track, especially through the turns. The chassis can be either be closed, also known as a caged chassis, which allows protection for the driver in the event of a rollover, or open, which provides no driver protection.

Engines used in gokarts are typically either 2-stroke or 4-stroke. The 2-stroke engine is usually more specialized and is made by companies like Honda or Briggs and Stratton. The 4-stroke engine is usually the standard type used in lawn mowers. The 2-stroke is typically more powerful than the 4-stroke and can be up to 30 horsepower or more.

As with Formula One racing, the kart tires can be either rain tires or slicks. Slicks have no tread and are used to achieve the best traction on a dry track. Rain tires are used during wet weather and have a tread. Icy conditions warrant specially-made spiked tires that give good grip on slippery surfaces.

Gokarts can be a stepping stone for drivers who want to work their way up to professional Formula One or Indy Car racing. It’s a less expensive way to get involved with racing. Of course, go karts are not just for those who aspire to become professional drivers. Mostly go karts are raced by people who want to have a little fun. Their popularity has reached all over the world. There are kart tracks for every skill level, from the extremely tame tracks located in family fun centers and amusement parks, to high end speed grand prix karting tracks found in larger cities.

Go carts are a great acquisition for fun centers. You can get your gokart from a store specialized in used amusement equipment or used amusement center equipment, and get your business going.

With the many different stages available for go kart drivers today, anyone can race at a comfortable level. The sky is the limit to a talented driver, who, with a lot of practice and a little luck, may just find himself racing alongside a professional someday. It is an exciting possibility.


To get additional information about used arcade games, laser tag equipment, and used laser tag equipment, please visit our used arcade games informational site.

To get additional information about used amusement park equipment, and used amusement park rides, please visit our used amusement park equipment informational site.

Laser Tag: Facts and Records Worldwide

Friday, July 15th, 2011 | Permalink

There are around 1500 laser tag attractions throughout the world. The average laser tag attraction produces 4000-5000 plays per month. This equates to 6 million games of laser tag per month or 72 million games per year, conservatively and upwards to 90 million games played per year.

The most expensive laser tag system probably, it was Photon, the first laser tag in the world. The price for a single arena retail franchise could be as high as USD 1,200,000.

The most advanced laser tag system till latest time it was commonly believed that the most advanced laser tag equipment was produced by Stunner (besides the other unique features, they used an electronic robotic gun that could be operated distantly – as an additional maze device). After Stunner’s shutdown, probably we can mention British DarkLight V.5, Australian LaserForce Gen.6 and Delta Strike (New Zealand) as the most advanced laser tag systems in the world.

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The most famous laser tag brand is for sure Q-Zar, Earth’s beloved laser game. In spite of the fact that no single set of this equipment has been manufactured since the late 1990-s, this brand is still often used as a synonym for laser tag (at least, in Russia).

The record to biggest quantity of different types of laser tag systems produced by one and the same manufacturer has been achieved by Zone Empire (founded by Australian P&C Micro), the current manufacturer and distributor of such systems as: Zone T, Infusion (marketed till autumn, 2010), Nexus, Nexus PRO, Begeara, Zone Skirmish (outdoor system), Hangar 51 (distributor). Besides, this company introduced rather a wide range of laser tag brands: DarkZone, MegaZone, Zone Laser, Zone 3, Zone 4 (though all of them are used to name one and the same system, yet in different countries).

The biggest number of modern laser tag systems inspired by one and the same system is probably 4; all of them being inspired by Actual Reality (which is out of production at present time).

The greatest number of players simultaneously participating in one laser tag game – is 279; this record has been achieved in Autumn, 2008 at a BattleField Sports’ site in Australia.

The largest laser tag maze in Europe (as per 2010) – is, probably Dutch Silverstone Lasergames (LaserMaxx system) at Zwanenburg with a 1500 sq.m maze.

The biggest laser tag arena in Europe (as per 2010) – is the opened in spring, 2010 LaserZone in Bradford, United Kingdom. The 1670 sq.m’ arena is equipped with ZetaBlast (Laser Blast) laser tag system for 40 players and has a multilevel maze themed after Resident Evil movie.

World’s largest indoor laser tag site where outdoor equipment is used (as per 2010) – is said to be Hard Knocks (BattleField Sports system) in Orlando, USA. The site consists of two playing zones (arenas) themed as ‘Office’ and ‘Warehouse’, totally 2200 sq.m.

The heaviest laser tag phaser (as per 2010) – probably the first place here can be shared between heavy machine gun phazer Gattling Gun produced by American Zone Skirmish and Cannon phazer produced by Australian BattleField Sports.

The biggest quantity of different types of phasers has been produced under LaZer Tag brand by Worlds of Wonder and (later on) by Tiger Electronics (so called consumable laser tag equipment).

The most tasty laser tag pack – a birthday cake in a form of Delta Strike laser tag pack was made in 2010 by Judy Dubois for her son Westley’s party at AlfaStrike Laser Tag and Arcade (Dartmouth, Canada).


To get additional information about used arcade games, laser tag equipment, and used laser tag equipment, please visit our used arcade games informational site.

To get additional information about used amusement park equipment, and used amusement park rides, please visit our used amusement park equipment informational site.