Opening A Nightclub On A Dime

Your budget may be tight, but it is still possible to open a Nightclub on a Dime. This can be accomplished by negotiating a beneficial lease, finding an old nightclub space, creating an illusion, doing it yourself or by taking on partners and the right marketing.  

Negotiate a Beneficial Lease
Negotiating your lease is one of the most important parts of Opening a Nightclub on a Dime.  Find a Landlord who is willing to work with you.  You can try to propose half price rent for 3 months, 6 months, or even free rent for that time frame.  You could put a big portion of the rent on the back end of the lease, as opposed to paying it the first year.


Find an Old Nightclub Space
If you are working with a shoe string budget I would advise searching for an old nightclub space that closed down as opposed to building a new nightclub. You can accomplish this by going out in the City you wish to open the nightclub and finding out which clubs are vacant or on the verge of closing.  You can also look at ads on Craig’s List, Loop Net, and other nightclub for lease sites.  I would definitely suggest leasing a built out nightclub space as opposed to buying a business. The built out space, could be a nightclub who lost their lease or failed to make it at that location.

Create an Illusion
Since the majority of the build out has been done, it’s now time to put the finishing touches on the space.  Use smoke and mirrors to make your nightclub look great.  A fresh coat of paint could go a long way.  Pictures, a local artist creating a mirage on a wall, black lights, gadgets that create visuals and different types of fabric can all help to enhance the space at a reasonable price. You can also take a trip to the Salvation Army and pick up furniture that can be refurbished.  Your goal is to make your nightclub look like you spent a lot of money on it, but you really didn’t. Create an illusion!

Do it yourself or take on Partners
If you are an experienced Operator or Marketer you could potentially be the sole investor and operating partner for your nightclub. If you have some money to invest but are not familiar with the nightlife business, search for an experienced General Manager and Marketing Director. Come up with a strategic payment plan.  Make them owners of the business. Give them points and hand them the keys. Keep your expenses low and give them an opportunity to own a nightclub. They will take the good and the bad with you.

Market on a Dime
Considering you’re on a budget, booking expensive Celebrities, Reality Stars or DJ’s may be out of reach. It’s time to get creative and create theme parties.  Fun concepts that cost little or no money to put on will keep your nightclub fresh. Theme parties and concepts such as Mardi Gras, Beach Party, Wet T-Shirt Contest, White Party, Black Out Party and Movie premier parties could work wonders. Have your staff market on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Use independent promotional groups to takeover certain nights at your venue.  The promoters would of course work on a percentage basis.  This will keep your marketing costs down and your promoters will have to produce if they want to make money.




Re: Opening A Nightclub On A Dime
by: garciap
July 24, 2013

The writer's perspective is that of a promoter and is very bad advice for new owners. The last thing an owner wants to be is dependent upon promoters and being underfunded at the outset, unless they want to end up on Bar Rescue that is.

Yes, being frugal is wise, however the one step not mentioned here that is CRITICAL for a prospective owner is having a solid BUSINESS plan. Running a nightlife establishment is not glorious, it's work. If you plan to get into the business because you want to live the lifestyle, stop right now. You get into the business because you have strong, well-planned-out ideas, and solid resources to execute that plan.

Yes, you can ask for help. No, you should not run a business based on personality.

Of course there is some grain of truth in this article, don't spend more than you can afford. But until you know what you can afford and how you're going to overcome your shortfalls, cool your jets and plan harder. There is no excuse for poor planning, and it will always cost you more to fix a problem than to prepare for it in advance.

With all due respect to promoters, a bar needs to OWN their audience, not rent it. Otherwise once they stop paying the rent, they own nothing. Keep that very much in mind whenever you borrow the skills of any promoter.

Re: Opening A Nightclub On A Dime
by: Nightclub26
August 2, 2013

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