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ForeverYoungENT

How Much Will It Cost Me To Open A Hookah Lounge

62 posts in this topic
I'm from the are and have been to all of the major lounges out there. My advice is to visit "Hookah Lounge" and then "The Spot" if you want an idea of why it's a bad idea to open on Ventura. Hookah Lounge has better smoke than anywhere I've ever visited, and The Spot has a better vibe than just about anywhere else. I don't think you have any chance of doing something different in that area- there are just too many bars.


But, if you must and want to do it right, these are the numbers I've always assumed when considering that area and a decent size bar (20-30 tables)

Startup costs:
Hookahs & such- $5000
TVs, Sound, Entertainment - $10000+
Tables, Chairs, Ect. $5000

Monthly costs-
Rent- $5000+
Payroll- $6000 (7 hrs x 7 days x 3 staff x $10/hr)
Insurance- $500
Hookah supplies- $1000+

I hope this all gives you an idea. I've thought about opening one many times. But when you realize it would cost $20k just to open the doors, and then about $12k a month to keep it running... it's not as cheap as people dream. Remember, this doesn't even account for the fact you need to be able to pay YOUR salary so you don't starve to death or sleep in the bar after it closes.

I've seen people go cheapo with bars, and even with the best knowledge of hookah smoking they can't make it work, because it looks like someone gutted an old dry cleaner, added lawn chairs, and setup a few hookahs.

I'd say if you have $75k in your pocket to dump into things, you're good. That's the startup cost, three months of staying open, and a few grand to keep your rent paid and food on your table until you build a crowd.


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QUOTE (ocmusicjunkie @ Apr 6 2008, 10:13 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'm from the are and have been to all of the major lounges out there. My advice is to visit "Hookah Lounge" and then "The Spot" if you want an idea of why it's a bad idea to open on Ventura. Hookah Lounge has better smoke than anywhere I've ever visited, and The Spot has a better vibe than just about anywhere else. I don't think you have any chance of doing something different in that area- there are just too many bars.


But, if you must and want to do it right, these are the numbers I've always assumed when considering that area and a decent size bar (20-30 tables)

Startup costs:
Hookahs & such- $5000
TVs, Sound, Entertainment - $10000+
Tables, Chairs, Ect. $5000

Monthly costs-
Rent- $5000+
Payroll- $6000 (7 hrs x 7 days x 3 staff x $10/hr)
Insurance- $500
Hookah supplies- $1000+

I hope this all gives you an idea. I've thought about opening one many times. But when you realize it would cost $20k just to open the doors, and then about $12k a month to keep it running... it's not as cheap as people dream. Remember, this doesn't even account for the fact you need to be able to pay YOUR salary so you don't starve to death or sleep in the bar after it closes.

I've seen people go cheapo with bars, and even with the best knowledge of hookah smoking they can't make it work, because it looks like someone gutted an old dry cleaner, added lawn chairs, and setup a few hookahs.

I'd say if you have $75k in your pocket to dump into things, you're good. That's the startup cost, three months of staying open, and a few grand to keep your rent paid and food on your table until you build a crowd.


many good points. Insirance isn't quitye $500 a month heer in NC, more lie 300 every 6 months. and supplies won't be nearly a grand a month unless you are real Busy. Bit the over all sentiment is correct. Remember, 9 out of 10 businesses fail...

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QUOTE (mushrat @ Apr 7 2008, 12:51 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (ocmusicjunkie @ Apr 6 2008, 10:13 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'm from the are and have been to all of the major lounges out there. My advice is to visit "Hookah Lounge" and then "The Spot" if you want an idea of why it's a bad idea to open on Ventura. Hookah Lounge has better smoke than anywhere I've ever visited, and The Spot has a better vibe than just about anywhere else. I don't think you have any chance of doing something different in that area- there are just too many bars.


But, if you must and want to do it right, these are the numbers I've always assumed when considering that area and a decent size bar (20-30 tables)

Startup costs:
Hookahs & such- $5000
TVs, Sound, Entertainment - $10000+
Tables, Chairs, Ect. $5000

Monthly costs-
Rent- $5000+
Payroll- $6000 (7 hrs x 7 days x 3 staff x $10/hr)
Insurance- $500
Hookah supplies- $1000+

I hope this all gives you an idea. I've thought about opening one many times. But when you realize it would cost $20k just to open the doors, and then about $12k a month to keep it running... it's not as cheap as people dream. Remember, this doesn't even account for the fact you need to be able to pay YOUR salary so you don't starve to death or sleep in the bar after it closes.

I've seen people go cheapo with bars, and even with the best knowledge of hookah smoking they can't make it work, because it looks like someone gutted an old dry cleaner, added lawn chairs, and setup a few hookahs.

I'd say if you have $75k in your pocket to dump into things, you're good. That's the startup cost, three months of staying open, and a few grand to keep your rent paid and food on your table until you build a crowd.


many good points. Insirance isn't quitye $500 a month heer in NC, more lie 300 every 6 months. and supplies won't be nearly a grand a month unless you are real Busy. Bit the over all sentiment is correct. Remember, 9 out of 10 businesses fail...

but when you have your heart into, it more than likely will succeed.
I know once I'm a professor, I will have a successful lounge open evenings

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Well I said it can be done on 10K so today we sign our lease God willing. If it all goes well we should be able to get open on 10K by Friday lets see how this endevor goes.

If I can do it as a country Bumpkin you can too.

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Brand sounds good if you ask me. All the lounges there have bad reputations from what I have heard.

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I only pay about $250/month in insurance, and thats a 1,000,000/2,000,000 policy. \

My guess would be around $25,000-$60,000

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I'm with Mush on start up costs.

I had elaborate plans, a building/Realtor, and even suppliers. But could only get half the money I was needing, I could have still opened it with the money I had but my plan was to make the first year as easy as possible financially on myself.

Personally I would say don't do it cheap, if you do, people will enjoy it but the atmosphere could be killed. I've been to various hookah bars and the more detailed ones will get my money every time.

I took my first years rent into account, viewed the hookahs/hoses as a sunk cost, and set my prices where I would attract college smokers without losing money. Beyond that it's all decoration and licenses. So I would say first look into the various licenses you'll need for your bar, I was going to go with mostly prepackaged food, smoothies, and drinks to minimize health dept requirements and focus on the hookah.

-although I hate cigs being put along side hookah- i considered selling certain specialty cigarettes because companies will normally PAY YOU to have their products on display along with your profits from sales. And even having a small curb order situation where you could call and your order would be brought to you (because smokers hate walking lol) That and I had a contact in the tobacco industry that could take care of everything for me for free.

Also, I considered building a humidor room, that's right a fucking room! For cigars and offering them for sale. May not be your thing but it will lead to higher customer base.

On top of all this consider a ventilation system. I was going to install some simple air filters to keep the air a bit cleaner for all the non smokers that wanted to come hang out with friends. Because we all know they'd try hookah eventually wink.gif

With rent, hookahs/supplies, and construction I was looking at the cheapest being about 50k, but you might want to look at a bit more just in case.

- advice: cover your rent for 6 months to a year as well as most of your bills and insurance.


So I'll second Mushy's 60,000


And if you want to steal one of my ideas you're welcome to. Plus I want to share. I was going to have a bar right by where the register was for people who might want to come see the game, etc. I was going to pad the whole side with leather, put black tiles on top, and using a clear binder (calk, or whatever it is) with blue leds underneath.

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I did a start up cost sheet and am thinking of doing it. I have the best location and geat ideas. I think, so you have reserves put aside 50k for everything and that will not all be used up front there will be back up money included in that like 20k. If you hit it big immediatly you may not have to touch it so 30k. a lot of variables. but im talking bob, no alcohol, light food if any, happy hours large screen projection onto screen and sales room. Edited by ngraz617

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Open down the block from an existing popular lounge, stay open 2 hours later than them, advertise your brand new equipment, stock more tobacco than they do.

Offer your customers the ability to make reservations.

Offer an early bird special to get them to come in early for their first bowl and then stay. You don't want them going to your competitor then stopping at your place after they close.

Tinker around with "per hour" pricing, and have a deal for staying the entire evening. Just make sure you have plenty of other shit to sell them while they are there all night- tea, coffee, deserts.....whatever.

Find a good belly dancer for the weekends (and if you want, you can even let her dance in your lounge) tongue.gif

On your slowest night have "amateur belly dance competitions" (you can occasionally hold these in your lounge also if you want) wacko1.gif

Don't know if "rapper, or other local music act" night is the way to go. I always get pissed off when I'm at a lounge and some band is on stage keeping me from finding my mellow. If I wanted to listen to someone not shut the fuck up I wouldn't have gone to a hookah lounge.

Instead of bands- build a little stage area and have silent performances like contortionists or fire-breathers or shit that can go along with the "Exotic" feel that most people look for in a hookah lounge. Set it to ambient music.......you can watch it or not, doesn't matter- just make sure it blends. Bands stick out like sore thumbs, you can't ignore them if you want to. Everything in a hookah lounge should be easy going.

Offer a 1 hour "Hookah Training Camp" in your retail front and offer 10% off for everyone who completes the course. 90% of them will buy a hookah from you on the spot, especially if you just showed them how to use that exact same one. If they don't buy a hookah they are at least going to feel more attached to your lounge after the experience. Customer involvement equals customer loyalty.

Install a large flaming pit in the center of the room to light all the coals.

That should just about do it. Edited by Elektrobot

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Anyone still in the salt lake area?

 

Edited by Hookah Ed

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