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Old 11-29-2003, 02:09 PM
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Bucks County, PA
Posts: 329
Cost of installing home bowling alley?

Does anyone know how much it costs to have a bowling alley installed in your house? What companies would do this?

I'm talking about a full ten pin bowling alley, with automatic pin counting and replacing and full ball return.
Old 11-29-2003, 02:26 PM
Join Date: Jun 1999
Posts: 27,127
Big money. Big, BIG money. You need 10 ft ceilings for the equipment, and a 100ft unobstructed length, at least 15ft wide.

New pin-setting machines are roughly $25,000. Then there's the lane construction, ball return, furniture, soundproofing...

As a guess, I'd say that if you went cheap, you might be able to put a single lane in a house for $100,000 if you already have the space.

If you need to put an extension on the house (and unless you live in a mansion you'll have to - not many houses have 100 ft open lengths), then I'd say putting a bowling alley in your home will be more like a quarter of a million bucks.

Fine home construction is hideously expensive. Modern houses are built in a way to allow workers to move extremely quickly. A builder can hire anyone to put drywall on four square walls and cut out holes for standard electrical boxes. That keeps costs down.

As soon as you try to do anything custom, you need real craftsmen on the job. Your average $15/hr apprentice just can't do the work. So the labor costs skyrocket. Have a look at the home theater industry. A home theater is much, much easier to build than a bowling alley. Typically bult in a space maybe 17 x 25 ft or so, they're just normal rooms with soundproofing, but with custom touches like wall sconces, raised platform seating, a proscenium arch, acoustic wall panels, and wiring for all the automation stuff. CHEAP home theaters can run $40,000 as a renovation, and a lot of people are spending $200,000 for the full meal deal including custom woodwork, star-field ceilings, etc.
Old 11-29-2003, 04:10 PM
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Bucks County, PA
Posts: 329
Interesting - I've looked on the web and can't find anyone advertising installation. I don't doubt it woiuld be pricey, but if you could install used equipment, and design the house with the alley in mind I wonder what the cost is.

The reason I'm asking is I have a wealthy (owns 3 houses, 2 on the ocean) relative who is in the beginning stages of planning a new house - big one - and is interested in having a bowling alley in the basement. $50k or so might be workable, so I'm interested in the cost.

A relative with a personal bowling alley would be extremely cool. I only have a dartboard.
Old 11-29-2003, 04:21 PM
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: lO-'kA-sh&n
Posts: 2,967
Don't forget such sundries as upkeep, like:
a pinsetter mechanic (pinsetters are potentially lethal—this isn't much of a layperson skill);
lane oil (around US$140 for 5 gallons, reapplied daily?),
balls (around $50 for a half-decent one, less for "alley" balls);
pins (US$120 for ten, 20 per machine, you might get 2 years out of them from private home use)...

You might save a bit if you skipped the automatic scorer (you wouldn't really need it if you're such a fan that you have a bowling lane in your house), bought an older machine (I think $6,000 is an average price for an older machine); i.e. if you shopped for deals.

They do make miniature bowling lane installations; MiniLane is one such purveyor. However, they aren't your thing if you wish regulation-size bowling and pins that aren't on strings.

I might mention that I used to do this on the cheap in my driveway with some buddies—here are the expenses:

-- One set of pins: US$10 for an old set from the bowling alley, US$75 for some used duckpins I have; ball included

-- Backstop: essentially free; cobbled from an old hockey net and boards

-- One automotive tail-light: US$120
Old 11-29-2003, 04:38 PM
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Staring blankly at my GPS
Posts: 11,874
Although they don't have a price list, these guys look like they might be able to help.
Old 11-29-2003, 04:40 PM
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: lO-'kA-sh&n
Posts: 2,967
Here is where you might look for this endeavor.
Old 11-29-2003, 04:42 PM
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: lO-'kA-sh&n
Posts: 2,967

Another note: I think it would be a trick to install just one lane; two lanes are generally the minimum. I could be wrong...
Old 11-29-2003, 05:54 PM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Montreal, Canada
Posts: 557
Don't forget the bowling balls and shoes (in various and sundry sizes for your future guests), that's an expense as well...
Old 11-29-2003, 10:50 PM
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 70
Instead of $25,000 for automatic pin setting equipment, why not hire pin girls like some places used to do in the 1950s. I think the average hooters waitress would like a part time job. Let's see 2 girls, 20 dollars per hour, 2.5 hours per game, one game per week, thats about 5 years of no maintenance hooter pin setting.
Old 11-29-2003, 11:44 PM
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: North of Canada. Really.
Posts: 7,710
Originally posted by Joe K
-- One automotive tail-light: US$120
I have to ask: what was the taillight used for?
Old 11-30-2003, 12:06 AM
Join Date: May 2001
Location: #clique
Posts: 2,486
Originally posted by Duke
I have to ask: what was the taillight used for?
You're kidding, right?
Old 10-25-2011, 12:17 AM
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 1
Home bowling alley cost

My buddy is designing his new custom home and is seriously considering putting in a 2 lane in-home bowling alley and has been doing some research on this. By the way, I should point out we are talking about a 'real' bowling alley, with the pinsetters, underground ball return device, automatic score keeping system... the whole 9. THere are some options out there.........

If you are a serious bowler, you probably know that there are basically two companies that make the equipment (the real/good equipment)...... Brunswick is the first. My buddy did make a call and the price is north of $200k. This includes 2 fully loaded lanes, delivery, installation, everything, with all new equipment by Brunswick.

AMF is the other big name brand bowling equipment company besides Brunswick. No word on AMF pricing yet, but I'm sure it's in the sameballpark as Brunswick and probably approx same quality as well (just my guess).

Also found another company Fusion Bowling which claims to use a combination of new and used ("reconditioned") equipment. They do list some price ranges for a 2 lane setup.... between $89k on the low end with few options to $164k for all the upgrades.

Saw this article today about Murrey Bowling. Scroll down to the last section of the article and it talks about pricing for both 1 and 2 lane setups. For 1 lane, prices are from $80k to $105k. For 2 lanes, $130k to $200k. Not sure if this equipment is new, used, or some off-brand or what.

Anyways, thought I would share our findings thus far. It's not everyday that someone has to look up the cost of installing a bowling alley in your house!!!! Not cheap, but if you LOVE bowling and if your house is $2 million+, what's another $100k or $200k, right???
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