Cost to Run a Strip Club?

gatorjoe2
Florida
Wednesday, June 20, 2012 9:37 PM
In real dollars, how much? Obviously you have to pay some things: Liquor License Business License Rent/Mortgage Property Taxes Insurance Start-up Liquor plus par Sound System Light System Bar Construction Stage Construction Seating Cameras/Security Computers for Bar Registers Computers for Accounting of Business Records Attorney Fees Changing Room/Lockers Promotions Bouncers? D.J.? Door Girls? Cooks? Cleaning Crew? I am assuming a relatively hollowed out building with a fire code sprinkler system installed.

15 comments

Some I've been in, I'd say less then $100.
Clubber
12 years ago
From a few thousand up into the millions. Find a place already set-up, do a lot yourself to keep costs low and it could be done super cheap. But then you've got a place like Capitol Cabaret in Raleigh, they spent years fighting legally over whether or not they could open. Not to mention the gigantic building they put up.
jester214
12 years ago
For the construction stuff, I'd figure around $200 per square foot for build-out from a "hollowed out building." Less if there's no kitchen, more if it's small. Just a guess but I think the smallest club you could profitably run would be at least a couple thousand square feet. So a few hundred thousand up to a million or more. A lot of what you listed would fall under operating cost, not capital. That's much harder to estimate and is key to thriving or failing.
Ermita_Nights
12 years ago
If I ever hit a 100 Million dollar or higher Lottery, then I MIGHT think about opening my own Club, until then I'll just spend $$$ on my ATF or any future ones.
Alucard
12 years ago
And if txtittyfan (remember the guy who has said to be short treasuries the last three years) is your financial advisor you can expect to kiss every penny you have goodbye. Oh, unless you do the opposite of what he says. That way will make you rich.
Dougster
12 years ago
There is a profitable club close to where I live that might be 3000 square feet total at the most and it's probably close to 2000 square feet. The club itself is less than 1000 square feet, there are a small number of private rooms that are upstairs above the club. If you want to open a club that doesn't serve alcohol you can do it for less than $100,000 in Pennsylvania. Strip clubs are cash cows even without selling alcohol. Hire an attorney to find a town where there aren't any rules about needing a business license or approval from the town to open a business. Find a vacant building in the town that is in good physical shape, lease it, and hire a crew to clean it out. An empty storefront in a strip mall is good enough. Do something that looks decent to cover up any windows so that no one can see in. Painting the name of the club and a couple of girls in bikinis on the inside of the windows and then paint over that with black paint and you'll have something that looks good and that can't be seen through. Then put walls in front of the windows so that no one can break them and see in. The expensive part will be hiring a carpenter to build the stage. Don't skimp on safety or on a smooth surface for the customers to rest their arms. You don't want any lawsuits. A good enough sound system will cost less than $2,000. You only need 4 speakers, one in each corner, and it only has to be loud enough that customers can't eavesdrop on other customers negotiating with the dancers. You will need to install dim lighting with a few "spotlights" focused on the stage to light the dancers when they're on the stage. Flood lights with a dimmer will work just fine. Chairs for the customers to sit in and tables are inexpensive. You're not furnishing a 5 star restaurant and the lighting is dim so no one will notice that they're cheap. The same with the floor, concrete will work except in the lap dance area. Security cameras aren't that expensive. You'll probably need a dozen of them and a computer to monitor them. $10,000 will let you cover the entire club. Buy cubical walls for the lap dance room and the "private rooms". Make the "rooms" big enough for love seats and put the love seats where you can't see them from the door without poking your head in. Buy love seats for the lap dance area too and put them all in one "room" made of cubical walls with a bouncer to monitor things. You'll need a standing desk at the front and in the lap dance area with cash boxes, an ATM, and have the carpenter build a bar and give away bottom shelf alcohol. A $20 cover will easily pay for the amount of alcohol most guys will drink. Buy the love seats and tables for the private rooms and lap dance room from a furniture store that's going out of business. Who cares what color they are, it's going to be too dark to see anyway. There you go, less than $100,000 up front for a dive strip club that will bring in an easy $15k a month in profits in the slow season. And don't computerize anything. Cash only with cameras watching the cash boxes so that nothing can be proven and the IRS won't have any documentation other than the paper sheet that you fill out by hand every night on how much money came in.
canny
12 years ago
I think I read it here first, the easiest thing to do is buy out an existing one. All the legal battles have been fought and you have something to start from with already dancers around. The more I've thought of it, the more I think it's only for the deep pockets and experienced corporations to try and open something new.
JackKash
12 years ago
First let me take the example of buying an existing club. If it is a profitable club expect to pay the net asset value of the club's owned physical assets and then 3-5 times the net annual profits of the club. Get audited records! Do not just take their word on it. If it is not a profitable club then you will get it for little more than the net asset value, but you better have a realistic turn-around plan. Also, do not presume that the conditional use permit of the club or the alcohol permit are transferable. Make the sale contingent on getting approval for the transfer of ownership of the licenses.
inno123
12 years ago
Next is the example of building or fitting out a new space. Start with some big picture topics Step one is research, research, research the local conditions. One city may have placed a whole lot of conditions on what can go on in a club and where they can be located and the next, or unincorporated land, might have only a requirement that they be a certain distance apart. Either way you will need to have a conditional use permit even for a non-alcohol club. These things are not automatic. Before you sign a lease be sure that there is an escape clause if you can't get all of the necessary permits. There WILL be moral busybodies wanting to stop you. Get the temperature of those who will have to vote on your application. Unless the building has in the past served as a bar or restaurant then a major factor in the build-out is plumbing. You will need customer restrooms, employee restrooms, and kitchen. So the decision to serve hot food vs. cold food vs. no food and the decision to serve full bar vs. beer/wine vs. soft drinks will affect costs. Another interesting decision is whether to include dishwasing facilities or not. A catering company will gladly deliver a fixed number of clean glasses/dishes/utensils and take away the dirty ones for a fee. That saves you the cost of the industrial dishwasher and plumbing for same. Then there is your design professional. There are architects and designers who understand construction, bulding codes and how to design efficiently. Then there are decorators who understand only appearances. You want the former. If they arent in the latter then get a separate person for the furniture and finishes selection.
inno123
12 years ago
The most profitable and well run (from a business standpoint) clubs in my neck of the woods routinely spend roughly a quarter of a million dollars a year on legal expenses. As far as I know, their other expense is insurance- nuisance businesses like strip clubs pay insane rates on liability. Throw in a restaurant, add alcohol, and your fire insurance is going to be quite expensive as well. And no, you can't skip those. Your creditors will demand you carry that kind of insurance. Those issues aside, buying a business like a restaurant or an entertainment venue is a colossally stupid idea. The success of a business like that is absolutely not transferable. All business ventures related to either of those categories have a failure rate of 90% - 95% within any five year time span. Almost always, it's a matter of liquidity (running out of cash). Giving someone else a wad of the cash you're going to need is suicide. There's a reason why strip clubs are usually side ventures for people otherwise engaged in activities that handle a lot of cash. If you're that determined to work 90 hour weeks with no time off, then start one of your own and get an accountant to help you crank your numbers. Make that your second hire, after an attorney who's chummy with the regulators you're going to have to interact with.
mroo
12 years ago
On the interior itself it is possible to have a 10X at least range in what you can spend. If you go with the hardwood paneling, leather all over, designer furniure, and select artwork you are talking big bucks. You can spend a thousand dollars for a chair or less than two hundred or so. You can spend three hundred dollars on a side table or ten. On the other extreme you could try to get away with painting everything black, buying a prefab stage and some folding chairs. You might not get occupancy approval though. I think that the sweet spot that you are looking for in terms of cost/benefit is a 'clean and comfortable dive'. Paint it a dark color but not black get some nice laminate flooring (which will last better than carpet or vinyl) and the rest of the fixtures and furnishings you can franky get from IKEA just fine. One thing most clubs overspend on is TV screens. You have live entertainment, don't act like it isn't good enough. Get ONE good LCD projector and a screen for really big sports events (superbowl etc.) and let your entertainers be the entertainment. Some small TV screens functioning as electronic signage might be worth it. On the sound and lighting you need good but not great. Don't try to put one massive set of speakers around the stage and make it loud enough to be heard everywhere. Be willing to put satellite speakers in the lapdance and VIP rooms rather than blasting the stage speakers super loud. For lighting some a simple chain of DMX controlable multicolor LED stage lights and perhaps one effects unit (NOT STROBE)for variety. Do not bother with a typical club DJ turntable/mixer setup but just a PC running a show automation software including the DMX control.
inno123
12 years ago
3-5x earnings would be cheap in my line of work but I could believe it for a strip club. In a place like Ann Arbor you could pay $60K just for the liquor license, much less in Inkster or Dearborn, which is just one reason there are no strip clubs in Ann Arbor. I don't see the point of opening a club without liquor. Last time I had a bar put in to an existing building it cost me $50 a square foot but that wasn't commercial quality or ADA compliant.
Ermita_Nights
12 years ago
In Pennsylvania a liquor license will run you well over $100k, and there are quite a few strip clubs which are juice bars or which give away alcohol for free. The more the customers drink the more they spend on dances, the club wants the customers drunk.
canny
12 years ago
Repaying the Mob, payoffs to police and a fund to pay nusiance law suits you don't want to report to your insurance company are hidden expenses.
SuperDude
12 years ago
Those are estimates for the minimum cost to run a club. To run a nice club, I would say around $350,000 startup cost.
lapdanceking82
12 years ago
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