pub pin required

Netheredge

Registered
Dec 11, 2019
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Sheffield
Hello, casual player and fanboy here, Ive got to opportunity to put a pinball into a local pub so im looking for a basic machine thats going to be as reliable as poss. I realise nothing is guaranteed on an older machine but budget constraints mean ive got to test the water before i can commit to newer kit. Any advice gratefully received
 

Pick Holder

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Jul 18, 2016
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Most operators I know favour modern sterns 10 years old or newer.

With the modern ones stick in a PRO.

Deadppol - Star Trek (Stern) - Ghostbusters - Star Wars.

Wouldnt stick in say Avatar!

If you go down the music route - AC/DC. Iron Maiden, Metallica etc - then check what kind of music and clients the pub has!

Dont get putting in old Data East or Bally Williams games that are over 20 years old as they will need maintaining more.
 

Wayne J

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What kind of budget do you have to work with?
What kind of pub is it?
How often will you be able to get in there and clean/maintain it?

All of these will help give a clearer idea of what would suit.
 
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Netheredge

Registered
Dec 11, 2019
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Sheffield
Budget 1-2k medium busy pub with games room can get access for maintenance anytime, there is a stern Indiana out there that seems to fit the bill, any advice?
 

JAG555

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Jul 23, 2017
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As above go for a modern Stern.

£2k - £2.5k should get you a nice one, so you will probably have to max or even up your budget a bit.
 

Chief

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Mar 21, 2016
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Invest more for a bigger return is the best advice I can give.
Avoid music pins.
Search for a modern LCD stern if you can afford to.
Guardians, deadpool, Jurassic park are your best bets.
Failing that a Star Trek pro or Ghostbusters pro.
Anything older be prepared for things going wrong more often (and the machine being switched off)
 
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Netheredge

Registered
Dec 11, 2019
11
3
3
Sheffield
I'm more hobbyist than businessman in this venture, I don't have a big budget. My fear is having a machine that is constantly out of order.
 
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Netheredge

Registered
Dec 11, 2019
11
3
3
Sheffield
Invest more for a bigger return is the best advice I can give.
Avoid music pins.
Search for a modern LCD stern if you can afford to.
Guardians, deadpool, Jurassic park are your best bets.
Failing that a Star Trek pro or Ghostbusters pro.
Anything older be prepared for things going wrong more often (and the machine being switched off)
Why avoid music pins I kinda thought they might hold value better due to collectability
 

Sako-TRG

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Aug 3, 2018
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DG126TW
Part of Pinball to me, I need to hear the damm thing. Tried playing Metallica and Tron at Northern Blackpool - felt a bit underwhelmed.
Later down the line.....when I was elsewhere- Boy what a difference when your senses switch on when you can hear the bloody thing 😂
 
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Dex-Jay

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Nov 20, 2016
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Absolutely. Played Metallica at Arcade Club, fell in love with it - when you could hear it. Next time you could hardly hear it at all, it took away an awful lot. Totally different experience.
 
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philpalmer

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Oct 21, 2013
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Looking at Indiana atm
Dont waste your time with this old cheap crap, those early cheap Stern games are not reliable, they dont take money, you're just fooling yourself.

Find the cash and get a Ghostbusters Pro at the very least (4k ish) or a more modern one with LCD, Deadpool, Guardians, Star Wars etc.

Do not waste your time with junk that wont work or take money.

If you wanted to be ultra safe, get an Addams Family, always takes money, always holds its money or goes up even more!

We operate about 40 pins on sites and apart from the "classic stuff" at Tilt, I wouldn't operate anything older than about 3 years and my preference is 2 years!

Phil
 
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Netheredge

Registered
Dec 11, 2019
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3
Sheffield
Dont waste your time with this old cheap crap, those early cheap Stern games are not reliable, they dont take money, you're just fooling yourself.

Find the cash and get a Ghostbusters Pro at the very least (4k ish) or a more modern one with LCD, Deadpool, Guardians, Star Wars etc.

Do not waste your time with junk that wont work or take money.

If you wanted to be ultra safe, get an Addams Family, always takes money, always holds its money or goes up even more!

We operate about 40 pins on sites and apart from the "classic stuff" at Tilt, I wouldn't operate anything older than about 3 years and my preference is 2 years!

Phil
Totally get what you're saying and that is def the way forward, just dipping my toe in the water
 

philpalmer

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By using new stuff, we dont really have hardly any breakdowns. If no problems, some of the games would have a 6 monthly check up if not sooner.

Because I mainly hire games out rather than %, so a fixed fee, they keep all the takings... they have the keys and I dont have to worry about emptying cash box etc and if it breaks, its in their interest to report it asap!!!

Before you ask, I charge £250 + VAT a month for something under 1 year old. Assuming you can find the money, it would be your best option to get a sensible game like those I listed above and after a year you'd not lose much if any money....
 

The seeker

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Oct 13, 2015
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I've considered getting into the pin operator business but i don't think its a good idea to do it on a very restricted budget. id say you really need to buy a recent machine with a suitable theme. ghostbusters would be good general theme but each to there own i guess
 
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Netheredge

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Dec 11, 2019
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Sheffield
Yeah i take on board what youre saying, more of a hobby than a business, who knows, its a great excuse to own a machine and get involved in a local pinball community
 
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Pick Holder

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Jul 18, 2016
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As you have a 1k-2k budget I would say keep your money in your pocket and forget about putting pinballs on site.

If you put junky machines on site you will be getting breakdowns.

It just is not worth the trouble.

Put one from your own collection in for a month and see what it takes money wise and see how much hassle you get from it. But people do get bored with the same pin if its in there for too long, and they also get better at the game - so 2nd month it will take less. After 6 months it will get the odd £1 coin thrown in.
 
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puddlewick

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Jul 15, 2015
14
14
3
fraserburgh
Pick holder has got it spot on !

I operated loads of pinballs back when they were popular in the 90s. At the time because of gambling regulations you could only operate them on a rental (we charged £25 / week + vat for a new machine) which guaranteed an income unless the site decided not to pay 😠.

I had the same idea recently & thought that pinball might once again be lucrative ?

The first was a lethal weapon to replace a quiz machine ! It went into a nightclub & took around £100 for 8 weeks. It’s been there for about two years & we haven’t been near it for around 6 months, but still not expecting to get much from it. (But it’s a convenient store at the moment). There have been no service calls with it !

I put a fish tales onto a site on 50/50 share. The first month it took £100 in total then by the 6th month it was taking about £25. There was only one service call with a flipper spring breaking. The owner Refurbished his lounge & decided that the customers didn’t like the clunking & threw it out !

Tried a corvette next ! It went into a spare space in a pub ! It lasted about 3 months. Took about a tenner a month as the older customers didn’t like the clunking noise & it was mostly switched off. It should have been out earlier as customers complained to owner that the machine was in a space where they liked to sit 🤯 ! The only service call was to repair the engine block which wouldn’t shake (resistors on engine pcb under play field had dropped off)

The next one was a ghostbusters premium. It went into a busy city center student orientated Pub which was open from 11.00 until 01.00 the next day ! (Retirement here we go 😎). The machine was in a premium position next to the bar ! (I can imagine the cash rolling in 🥂). Emptied it after 8 weeks & it took about £40 😱. Found out that it wasn’t taking coins & that there was a £2 coin jammed exiting the coin mech as the coin path on the bracket was blocked with a piece of plastic which wouldn’t let the coin through ! (Manufacturing fault). It lasted on the site for around a year & took an average £35 / month 😠 (found out that it was mostly the managers wee boy who played it). Service calls were a jammed Coin & dead machine (their faulty extension cable) !

We put a tracker into the ghostbusters costing around £50 including a years tracking & sim data as it was a lot of machine to lose if someone decided to walk in & take it (especially with the head bolts on the outside now 😱) it also sent data as to when the machine was switched on / off ! It did sometimes send false data but worth it for peace of mind !

Personally I wouldn’t bother doing it again as the return is not worth the hassle. Eg, by the time you move it, set it up, repair it, insure it, get **** from the publican, change it, remove it etc. There’s nothing worse than trying to repair a flipper or board fault in a busy pub on a Saturday night with drunken engineers (every pub has one !) giving you advice !!

You also should have public liability insurance to operate just in case the machine injures someone or damages something !

My advice, Buy yourself some digital Jukeboxes & operate them instead, better return, less hassle but obviously not so much fun !!

I hope that helps a little & Good luck with whatever you decide to do
 

Chief

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@puddlewick sorry to hear you didn’t have much luck!
Sounds like your locations were a bit ****ty, and although the older games are harder to make a good return on, there are exceptions - MM , AFM and MB which in my experience smash it year after year.

Surprised GB didn’t do well for you, again the location was clearly not right.

I wouldn’t give up though, stick a GB or new LCD Stern game (JP , DP, guardians,SW ) in a good location and you’ll be laughing (with a heavy sack of coins to the bank every week)
 
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Chief

Registered
Mar 21, 2016
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I bet puddlewick now wishes he had venues around Chiswick😊
😁 Any area with a lot of families would likely work.
Pubs are tricky due to the noise pins make /disturbing customers.
Think outside the box- Make friends with a coffee shop owner who has a spare /back room. Maybe a laundrette, cinema foyer, train station, airport... Pinball doesn’t have to be in a pub or bar
 

puddlewick

Site Supporter
Jul 15, 2015
14
14
3
fraserburgh
Don’t think that I will put a pinball out again 😢 along with space invader tables, & video games, (they don’t make enough to warrant the hassle) Although I Don’t think the retro idea has come this far north yet 🙁

The ghostbusters was in a city center Pub bang in the middle of Aberdeen ! (Thought it would make a fortune even for the novelty value !)

I still like the idea of pinball on a site but for us it’s not worth the hassle !

Should have spent the money on a cruise instead 😎😂😂
 
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Wayne J

Site Supporter
Jul 22, 2011
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Pick holder has got it spot on !

I operated loads of pinballs back when they were popular in the 90s. At the time because of gambling regulations you could only operate them on a rental (we charged £25 / week + vat for a new machine) which guaranteed an income unless the site decided not to pay 😠.

I had the same idea recently & thought that pinball might once again be lucrative ?

The first was a lethal weapon to replace a quiz machine ! It went into a nightclub & took around £100 for 8 weeks. It’s been there for about two years & we haven’t been near it for around 6 months, but still not expecting to get much from it. (But it’s a convenient store at the moment). There have been no service calls with it !

I put a fish tales onto a site on 50/50 share. The first month it took £100 in total then by the 6th month it was taking about £25. There was only one service call with a flipper spring breaking. The owner Refurbished his lounge & decided that the customers didn’t like the clunking & threw it out !

Tried a corvette next ! It went into a spare space in a pub ! It lasted about 3 months. Took about a tenner a month as the older customers didn’t like the clunking noise & it was mostly switched off. It should have been out earlier as customers complained to owner that the machine was in a space where they liked to sit 🤯 ! The only service call was to repair the engine block which wouldn’t shake (resistors on engine pcb under play field had dropped off)

The next one was a ghostbusters premium. It went into a busy city center student orientated Pub which was open from 11.00 until 01.00 the next day ! (Retirement here we go 😎). The machine was in a premium position next to the bar ! (I can imagine the cash rolling in 🥂). Emptied it after 8 weeks & it took about £40 😱. Found out that it wasn’t taking coins & that there was a £2 coin jammed exiting the coin mech as the coin path on the bracket was blocked with a piece of plastic which wouldn’t let the coin through ! (Manufacturing fault). It lasted on the site for around a year & took an average £35 / month 😠 (found out that it was mostly the managers wee boy who played it). Service calls were a jammed Coin & dead machine (their faulty extension cable) !

We put a tracker into the ghostbusters costing around £50 including a years tracking & sim data as it was a lot of machine to lose if someone decided to walk in & take it (especially with the head bolts on the outside now 😱) it also sent data as to when the machine was switched on / off ! It did sometimes send false data but worth it for peace of mind !

Personally I wouldn’t bother doing it again as the return is not worth the hassle. Eg, by the time you move it, set it up, repair it, insure it, get **** from the publican, change it, remove it etc. There’s nothing worse than trying to repair a flipper or board fault in a busy pub on a Saturday night with drunken engineers (every pub has one !) giving you advice !!

You also should have public liability insurance to operate just in case the machine injures someone or damages something !

My advice, Buy yourself some digital Jukeboxes & operate them instead, better return, less hassle but obviously not so much fun !!

I hope that helps a little & Good luck with whatever you decide to do
Am I reading that right - you put a GB into a pub, and the first time you went back to empty it was 8 weeks later?
I can only imagine that it needed a clean by then to say the least. Putting a machine on site is not a license to print money without actually doing anything.
That's just one of the reasons pins on site went downhill, operators not regularly cleaning and visiting to check on any little problems, adjusting settings to lengthen ball time, or shorten, as necessary..etc. etc.
Once a pin gets a reputation for not being fun to play, it'll never get played enough.
 
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