Business ideas
8 min read

How to Start a Profitable Ice Skating Rink Business [11 Steps]

Learn how to start an ice skating rink business with our 11+ step guide. From finding a location to marketing, we cover it all. Start your dream business today! #iceskatingrink #startabusiness #entrepreneur

By Nick Cotter
Updated Feb 02, 2024

image of a ice skating rink business
This page may feature products from our affiliate partners, which could influence the products we discuss due to potential compensation. Despite this, our evaluations are impartial, based solely on our independent analysis. The content here is intended for informational purposes and should not be seen as legal advice. For professional guidance, consulting with a legal expert is recommended.
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1. Perform market analysis.

Starting an ice skating rink business requires a thorough understanding of the market landscape. A comprehensive market analysis will help you identify potential customers, competition, and demand in your target area. Here’s how to get started:

  • Analyze the current market demand for ice skating rinks in your targeted location by reviewing demographic data and local recreation trends.
  • Examine direct and indirect competitors, noting their strengths, weaknesses, and the services they offer, to understand where you can carve out a unique niche.
  • Conduct surveys or focus groups to gather insights on what potential customers are looking for in an ice skating rink experience.
  • Assess the economic climate and feasibility, including potential revenue streams such as public skating sessions, lessons, parties, and seasonal events.
  • Identify potential partnerships with local schools, sports teams, and community organizations to gauge interest and support for a new rink.
  • Study the regulatory environment to understand zoning laws, building codes, and any specific regulations related to operating an ice skating rink.
image of a ice skating rink business

Are ice skating rink businesses profitable?

Yes, ice skating rinks can be very profitable. Properly managed rinks can generate revenue from skating sessions, concessions, skate rentals, and pro shop sales. Additionally, rinks may offer a variety of services such as birthday parties and skating lessons which can help to increase profits.

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2. Draft a ice skating rink business plan.

Creating a business plan is a crucial step in launching your ice skating rink venture. It serves as a roadmap, detailing your business objectives, strategies, and how you plan to achieve success. Consider the following key components when drafting your business plan:

  • Executive Summary: Provide a succinct overview of your business, including the mission statement, proposed services, and target market.
  • Market Analysis: Research the industry, local demographics, and competition to justify the rink's potential success.
  • Marketing Strategies: Describe how you'll attract and retain customers, such as through advertising, promotions, and community engagement.
  • Operations Plan: Outline the day-to-day running of the rink, including hours of operation, staffing, and facility management.
  • Financial Projections: Present detailed financial forecasts, including startup costs, operating expenses, revenue streams, and break-even analysis.
  • Risk Assessment: Identify potential risks and the strategies to mitigate them.
  • Appendices: Include any additional documents that support your business plan, such as resumes of key personnel, legal documents, or technical specifications.

How does a ice skating rink business make money?

An ice skating rink business makes money primarily by charging admission fees, renting out skates and other equipment, and selling snacks and beverages. It is important to identify a target audience that the business can focus on to maximize profits. For example, an ice skating rink business may decide to target children and teens by offering discounted rates for after school programs and ice hockey leagues. Additionally, the business may offer family packages or birthday party packages in order to increase its customer base. Finally, marketing efforts such as advertising campaigns or promotions can help draw in more clients to the skating rink.

3. Develop a ice skating rink brand.

Developing a brand for your ice skating rink is crucial to set it apart in the market and create a memorable experience for your customers. A strong brand will resonate with your target audience and help to establish a loyal customer base. Consider the following steps to craft an impactful brand identity for your ice skating rink:

  • Define Your Brand Personality: Choose attributes that reflect the essence of your rink, such as family-friendly, upscale, or youth-oriented. Your brand's personality should inform all your branding decisions, from visual design to communication style.
  • Create a Memorable Name and Logo: The name and logo are often the first elements of your brand that people will encounter. They should be unique, easy to remember, and convey the spirit of your rink. Invest in professional design services to ensure high-quality results.
  • Establish a Color Scheme and Design Elements: Select colors and design motifs that reflect your brand's personality and are visually appealing. These will be used across all marketing materials, from your website to in-rink signage.
  • Develop a Consistent Voice: Your brand's voice should be consistent in all communication channels, whether it's social media, advertising, or in-person interactions. It should align with your brand personality and resonate with your target audience.
  • Build a Brand Story: A compelling narrative about your rink's origins, mission, and values can engage and connect with customers on an emotional level. Share this story through your marketing channels to build brand affinity.
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How to come up with a name for your ice skating rink business?

Coming up with an effective name for an ice skating rink business can be a difficult task. The most important factor to consider is staying away from generic words like “Ice” or “Skate”, as they can limit the business' identity. If possible, something catchy and appealing, as well as related to your skating rink's unique theme or atmosphere, is best. Additionally, it’s important to consider how the business will look on marketing materials such as logos and signs. Finally, use your intuition and imagination to come up with a few names that could work for your business—then trust the one that resonates with you the most!

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4. Formalize your business registration.

When embarking on the exciting journey of starting an ice skating rink, Step 4 is a critical milestone where you make your business official. This involves a series of legal steps to ensure your business is properly documented and recognized by the relevant authorities. Here are the key points to guide you through formalizing your business registration:

  • Choose a business structure (e.g., sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, or corporation) and a unique business name that complies with state guidelines.
  • Register your business name with the state government, ensuring it's not already in use and adheres to any naming regulations.
  • Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS for tax purposes, especially if you plan to hire employees.
  • Apply for the necessary business licenses and permits, which can vary by location but often include a general business license, a sales tax permit, and specific permits related to operating an ice skating facility.
  • Check local zoning laws to ensure that your chosen location is zoned for an ice skating rink and that you comply with any related restrictions or requirements.
  • Consider consulting with a business attorney to ensure all legal requirements are met and to provide assistance with contracts and other legal documents.

Resources to help get you started:

Explore valuable resources crafted specifically for ice skating rink entrepreneurs aiming to grasp market trends, operational best practices, and strategic business expansion advice:

  • International Ice Skating Institute (ISI): Offers industry insights, management resources, and networking opportunities.
  • U.S. Ice Rink Association: Provides educational programs, industry data, and operational standards for rink professionals.
  • Rink Management Services Corporation Newsletter: Delivers the latest news, tips, and best practices in ice rink operation and management.
  • Ice Skating Industry News Digest: A comprehensive roundup of the latest market trends, regulatory changes, and growth opportunities. Contact for subscription.
  • Sports Facilities Advisory Reports: Offers reports and market studies focusing on the financial and operational aspects of sports and recreational facilities, including ice skating rinks.

5. Acquire necessary licenses and permits for ice skating rink.

Starting an ice skating rink requires adherence to various regulations, which often include obtaining specific licenses and permits. These are essential for legal operation, safety compliance, and ensuring the well-being of your patrons. Below is a checklist to guide you through the process of securing the necessary documentation:

  • General Business License: Check with your city or county clerk's office for requirements on obtaining a general business license to legally operate your rink.
  • Building Permits: If constructing a new rink or renovating an existing space, ensure you apply for building permits to meet local zoning and construction codes.
  • Health and Safety Permits: Contact your local health department to obtain any required permits for public safety, especially if you plan to have a snack bar or restaurant on the premises.
  • Fire Department Permit: Your rink will need to pass a fire safety inspection, and you may need a permit from the fire department, particularly if you'll be hosting large groups of people.
  • Environmental Permits: Depending on your location, you may need to comply with environmental regulations, particularly for refrigeration and waste management.
  • Specialty Permits: Some areas may require additional permits for signs, music, or other specific aspects of your business operation.

What licenses and permits are needed to run a ice skating rink business?

In order to run an ice skating rink business, it is important to have the proper licenses and permits. Depending on the location and size of the ice skating rink, the licenses and permits needed may vary. Generally, a business license or permit will be required as well as a sales tax permit or resale license. Depending on the local laws, some form of zoning or health certificate may also be needed. Additionally, depending on the area, a liquor license may be necessary in order to serve alcohol.

6. Open a business bank account and secure funding as needed.

Starting an ice skating rink business requires careful financial planning. Opening a business bank account is crucial for handling finances professionally and separately from personal accounts. Additionally, securing the necessary funding can propel your business forward, enabling you to cover startup costs and maintain operations.

  • Research banks that offer business accounts with benefits such as low fees, online banking, and good customer service. Choose one that aligns with your business needs.
  • Prepare the necessary documents to open a business bank account, typically including your business registration, EIN (Employer Identification Number), and personal identification.
  • Consider different funding sources such as small business loans, investors, crowdfunding, or personal savings to meet the financial demands of starting an ice skating rink.
  • Develop a solid business plan to present to potential lenders or investors, highlighting the profitability and sustainability of your ice skating rink business.
  • Explore grants and special programs that may be available for recreational facilities or small businesses in your area.

7. Set pricing for ice skating rink services.

Setting the right pricing strategy for your ice skating rink services is crucial to attract customers while ensuring profitability. Consider your costs, market demand, and competitor pricing to establish a fair and competitive rate. Here are some key points to guide you through the process:

  • Calculate your operational costs, including maintenance, staffing, utilities, and equipment, to determine the minimum price needed to break even.
  • Research local competitors' pricing to understand the market rate and to position your services attractively without undervaluing them.
  • Consider tiered pricing for different customer segments, such as discounts for children, students, seniors, or group bookings.
  • Offer package deals that include skate rentals, lessons, or food to provide added value and encourage longer stays.
  • Implement dynamic pricing during peak times, special events, or holidays to maximize revenue when demand is high.
  • Ensure transparency in your pricing to build trust with customers; avoid hidden fees that could deter repeat business.
  • Regularly review and adjust pricing based on operating costs, customer feedback, and market trends to remain competitive and profitable.

What does it cost to start a ice skating rink business?

Initiating a ice skating rink business can involve substantial financial commitment, the scale of which is significantly influenced by factors such as geographical location, market dynamics, and operational expenses, among others. Nonetheless, our extensive research and hands-on experience have revealed an estimated starting cost of approximately $1260000 for launching such an business. Please note, not all of these costs may be necessary to start up your ice skating rink business.

8. Acquire ice skating rink equipment and supplies.

Opening an ice skating rink requires careful selection of equipment and supplies to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for your customers. From the ice resurfacing machine to rental skates, every item plays a crucial role in the operation of your rink. Below is a list of essential equipment and supplies to consider for your ice skating rink:

  • Ice resurfacing machine (Zamboni) for maintaining a smooth ice surface
  • Ice edger to keep the edges of the ice rink smooth and safe
  • Refrigeration system to create and maintain the ice
  • Rental skates in various sizes for children and adults
  • Skate sharpeners to keep rental and customer skates sharp and safe
  • Sound system for music and announcements
  • Seating around the rink for spectators and skaters to rest
  • Lighting equipment for proper illumination
  • First aid supplies for any accidents or injuries
  • Snack bar equipment if you plan to offer refreshments
  • Cleaning and maintenance supplies for the rink and facility
  • POS system and ticketing software for admissions and rentals
  • Lockers for personal belongings storage

List of software, tools and supplies needed to start a ice skating rink business:

  • Ice Manufacturer: $15,000 - $30,000
  • Skate Sharpener: $3,500
  • Ice Rink Resurfacer: $25,000 - $50,000
  • Rink Boards and Padding: $10,000 - 15,000
  • Skates in Various Sizes: $10,000 – 15,000
  • Ice Rink Fittings (lights, hoses and pipes): $5,000-$9,500
  • Ice Resurfacing Machine: $6500 - 10500
  • Sound System/Music Set Up and Speakers: $3,500 - 5,500
  • Snow Making Machines (for special events): $7000-$15,000
  • Safety Equipment (helmets, guards and other protective gear):$1,200 – 2.400


9. Obtain business insurance for ice skating rink, if required.

Securing the right business insurance is a crucial step in protecting your ice skating rink against potential liabilities and risks. It's important to understand the various types of coverage available and ensure that your policy addresses the unique needs of your operation. Consider the following guidance when obtaining business insurance:

  • Consult with an insurance agent who specializes in policies for recreational facilities to get tailored advice for your rink.
  • Consider a general liability insurance policy to cover injuries or accidents that may occur on your premises.
  • Look into property insurance to protect your building, ice-making equipment, and other assets from damage or loss.
  • Evaluate the need for workers' compensation insurance to cover employees in case of work-related injuries or illnesses.
  • Assess the benefits of business interruption insurance to safeguard against lost income during unexpected closures.
  • Don't overlook professional liability insurance if you plan to offer lessons or coaching at your rink.
  • Make sure to comply with local, state, and federal insurance requirements for businesses in your area.
  • Regularly review and update your insurance policies to reflect changes in your business or operating environment.

10. Begin marketing your ice skating rink services.

Marketing your ice skating rink is key to attracting patrons and creating a buzz in the community. A strategic marketing plan will help you reach potential customers and build a loyal customer base. Here are several effective strategies to market your ice skating rink services:

  • Develop a strong online presence by creating a user-friendly website that showcases your rink's features, public skate times, classes, and events.
  • Utilize social media platforms to engage with the community, share exciting news, offer promotions, and create event pages to drive attendance.
  • Partner with local schools, clubs, and organizations to offer group discounts or fundraising opportunities that promote your rink while supporting the community.
  • Invest in local advertising through newspapers, radio, and community bulletin boards to reach a wider audience.
  • Host special events, themed skate nights, and competitions to attract different groups of people and keep your rink top-of-mind.
  • Offer learn-to-skate programs and hockey leagues to encourage repeat visits and build a community around your rink.
  • Implement a referral program to reward customers who bring new skaters to your rink, encouraging word-of-mouth marketing.
  • Engage in email marketing campaigns to keep your subscribers informed about upcoming events, special offers, and rink news.
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What licenses and permits are needed to run a ice skating rink business?

  • Ice Manufacturer: $15,000 - $30,000
  • Skate Sharpener: $3,500
  • Ice Rink Resurfacer: $25,000 - $50,000
  • Rink Boards and Padding: $10,000 - 15,000
  • Skates in Various Sizes: $10,000 – 15,000
  • Ice Rink Fittings (lights, hoses and pipes): $5,000-$9,500
  • Ice Resurfacing Machine: $6500 - 10500
  • Sound System/Music Set Up and Speakers: $3,500 - 5,500
  • Snow Making Machines (for special events): $7000-$15,000
  • Safety Equipment (helmets, guards and other protective gear):$1,200 – 2.400


11. Expand your ice skating rink business.

Expanding your ice skating rink business requires strategic planning and a focus on increasing your customer base while improving services. As you consider growth opportunities, it's important to evaluate market demand, financial health, and competitive landscape. Here are some key steps to guide your expansion:

  • Analyze Market Trends: Research current trends in the ice skating industry and identify new markets or demographics you can target.
  • Enhance Customer Experience: Invest in customer service training, facility upgrades, and new amenities to attract and retain patrons.
  • Diversify Offerings: Consider adding new services such as skate lessons, themed events, or partnerships with local schools and organizations.
  • Upgrade Facilities: If demand is high, explore the feasibility of enlarging your rink or adding new locations.
  • Implement Technology: Use online booking systems, virtual queues, and social media marketing to reach wider audiences and streamline operations.
  • Build Partnerships: Collaborate with local businesses for cross-promotions or sponsorships to increase visibility.
  • Secure Financing: For major expansions, consider loans, investors, or crowdfunding to finance the growth without overextending your resources.
  • Evaluate Performance: Regularly review your business performance and customer feedback to understand the impact of your expansion and make necessary adjustments.