1.Where to start ?
You must first define your project and look for the place that can accommodate the chosen activities. At the same time, you have to establish your business plan in order to be ready when the premises are found.
2.Should I get help?
Opening a leisure park may seem simple, but it’s not. It’s a real business with several employees, welcoming hundreds of children or teenagers and their parents every week end. A covered park must be perfectly organized, secure, it must meet precise standards. Getting help from a professional in that sector to complete your folder avoids mistakes and saves many weeks of work.
3.In which city can I open ?
The geographical location does not matter much: a park in a city by the sea or in the mountains will work just as well as in a city located in a plain.
Above all, it is necessary to have a very professional business plan. A large agglomeration can accommodate several parks. If there are already several, it will be necessary to study if there is room for a new competing park, and consider how you can stand out from your competitors.
4.What is the catchment area?
Regular guests come from an area of 20 km around the park. This is the main catchment area. Other less regular customers (for birthdays for example) can come from further away, up to 50 km.
5.Are there any franchises in France ?
Yes, there are franchises in France.
Inquire before signing anything, and especially visit the franchised parks and ask questions. A careful examination of what the franchisor brings is vital before committing. Also check with the network the reality of the figures announced.
Combining with a franchise or license can, however, be an advantageous alternative if the investor has no business management experience.
6. Do I need diplomas?
No, no specific degree is required to open a park. However, a solid knowledge of how to run a business is essential.
7. How do I find the premises?
Finding the right place is often a challenge. Contact real estate agencies of course, but also notaries, bankers, insurers… all professions in relation to owners. Look for the empty premises in the area where you want to set up and ask the neighbors to know who the owners are.
8. In which area to set up?
A covered park does not necessarily need to be located in a commercial area. Of course, the advantages are undeniable, but the rates must be acceptable. The ideal location is in a leisure area, but an industrial area can be attractive as well if the location and rent are interesting.
Beware of shopping centers closed on Sundays and public holidays, those are busy days: you will lose a large part of your turnover if you are the only business to open during these days.
9. Is there a minimum operating area?
Experience shows that an area of about 1000m2 seems minimal for a children’s play area. Indeed a too limited area will not allow you to reach a sufficient turnover to ensure profitability.
But obviously everything also depends on the competition present or not in your catchment area, and the activities that you will offer. The market trend today is multi-activity parks with playground, bowling, lasergame, trampoline park, ninja course, climbing wall, game area, virtual reality…
10. What are the characteristics of the place to find?
Accessibility, surface, available height and parking are the 4 fundamental elements. The surface will determine the turnover. A ceiling height of at least 5m will allow to offer high games, with large slides, which are essential in a playground.
Offering enough parking spaces is essential. And of course, the park must be easily accessible all year round, 7 days a week, by paved and always clear roads.
11. Should I buy or rent the premises?
You can of course have your premises built. The budget will be larger, the bank more difficult to convince, the deadlines will be longer, but you will be able to realize exactly the park of your dreams.
If you do not have the necessary budget, renting a place already built is a simple and fast solution.
12. How much rent can I accept?
We advise not to exceed a rent amount representing 20% of the estimated turnover.
13. How to estimate the cost of the development work?
It is impossible to give budgets without seeing the place. Many factors must be taken into account: if the building is an establishment open to public or a storage room, if the room is bare or already equipped, if it is heated, air-conditioned, illuminated, how many emergency exits it has, where are the flows and evacuations located, how is the ground, etc …
14. How to draw the development plans of your park?
First of all, it is necessary to clearly define its concept and determine the activities that will be proposed. Then, depending on the premises found, it is necessary to implement these activities respecting a few principles: link reception and bar, separate games for the older ones and games for the little ones, leave the possibility of supervising the children by the adults … and the various regulations (disabled access, fire protection, safety of play equipment, …).
You can of course draw the layout plan alone but we advise you to get help from a professional, whether architect, manufacturer or consultant.
15. How many places do I need for adults in a children’s play area?
Statistics give on average one adult for every child. If you want to accommodate 100 children simultaneously, you will need to accommodate 100 adults.
16. Which activity works best?
Modular play is the major attraction. Very high climb, usually composed of large slides, monkey bridges, zip lines, difficult passages, it offers unique physical challenges without comparison with public playgrounds. The higher the game, the more attractive it will be. It also makes it possible to use the volume of the building, and accommodates a large number of children on a limited occupied area. Another advantage is that a modular game can be installed in a room with poles.
17. What is the average budget for a modular game?
The price of a modular game for older kids (from 4 to 12 years old) varies from 80,000 to 300,000 € (excluding taxes) in France, without decoration. It takes between 15 and 30,000 € (excluding taxes) for a modular game for toddlers (0 to 3 years). The games are modular, they adapt perfectly to the surface of your premises and the defined budget.
18. Can I offer paid activities in the park?
Yes. The additional turnover is not negligible: electronic games, interactive games, electric karts, table football, virtual reality, soft toys distributor… The activities are diverse and varied.
But be careful not to charge too many activities, the price of your entrance ticket must be justified.
19. Are there standards for the playground equipment ?
Yes, the European standard EN 1176, made official by Decree No. 94-699 of 10 August 1999, is mandatory. France is the country that applies this standard most strictly. Complying with the legislation protects children but also operators.
20. How long does it take to install a modular game?
A modular game requires between 2 and 4 weeks of editing. The duration varies depending on the size of the equipment.
21. How many birthday rooms should I provide?
It is preferable in France to offer demarcated spaces to celebrate birthdays, rather than grouped areas. Nevertheless, it is not essential to create a real room with a ceiling, a separation at mid-height may be enough.
The longer the duration of the birthday party (you will set this duration), the more rooms you will need. In general, a birthday lasts between 1 and 2 hours.
A park of 1,000 m² should have at least 5 rooms for birthdays, some parks offer 20.
22. Do I have to open the park every day?
It depends on the location of your business and your personal choices. Attendance will be low during school hours; there are often not enough children to make the park open profitable. However, if your variable costs (electricity, heating, staff…) are covered by the few customers on school days, opening is therefore possible.
23. What overall budget should be provided?
Investments range from 150,000 € to 500,000 € (excluding taxes) except for real estate, excluding electricity, heating and air conditioning and with a simple decoration.
24. What is the necessary contribution?
Today, a bank requires on average between 25 and 30% of contribution for the development budget. Your business plan will have to be very precise and perfectly mastered to convince a banker to finance you with the minimum contribution. Interest rates are still low in these first months of 2022; it is still interesting to borrow.
25. What attendance can I expect?
Park attendance varies depending on several factors:
– school days
– the catchment area
– the size of the park and its capacity
– location and available parking spaces
– the communication and advertising carried out
– the weather
A park of 1,000 m² welcomes from 30 children on low days to 400 children per day during the holidays. A park of 2,000 m² can accommodate up to 1,000 children per day on busy days.
26. What are the entrance fees generally found in France?
Rates in France range from €5 for one hour to €15 for unlimited duration for children over 4 years old. Some of the parks offer a modulation of rates according to schedules (cheaper in the morning) or days of the week (reduced rate after school).
27. When is the right time to open a park?
There is no good or bad month to open. September is the month of the lowest turnover, but it may be a good time to prowl the park with few people. On the other hand, opening during the February or October holidays (the busiest) is very risky if the staff has no experience. Always plan a time for training and adapting your staff.
28. What turnover can I expect?
The turnover of a leisure park depends on its surface, its catchment area, and of course the quality of its operation. On average:
– a park of 1,000 m² achieves between 250 and 400,000 € of turnover (excluding taxes)
– a park of 2,000 m² and more achieves between 400 and more than one million euros of turnover (excluding taxes).