TOP ENTERTAINMENT BUSINESS IDEAS

Entertainment businesses

If you’re hoping to break into the world of entertainment, there are a number of viable business ideas to suit a range of experiences and interests -- from nightlife to specialty sports (and everything in between).

We've put together a list of our favorite entertainment business ideas and evaluated each based on startup costs, required skill level, and earning potential to help you find the perfect business idea for you.

ENTERTAINMENT BUSINESS IDEAS

ARCADE

Startup Costs

Skill Level

Earning Potential

If you have a passion for arcade games and enjoy a loud, busy, and fast-paced work environment an arcade business may be a great venture for you. While no formal education is required, you’ll need strong people skills and a good business sense. The mechanical skills to repair and maintain games can help you cut down on overhead costs.

Startup costs are steep since you’ll need a large space and a good variety of arcade games before you open. The cost can range anywhere from $250,000 to $1 million. Despite this, your earning potential is also high depending on your business model. Each game has the potential to bring in $10k per year. With the right location, target audience, and games, this industry is sustainable and has good growth potential.

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ARCHERY RANGE

Startup Costs

Skill Level

Earning Potential

Archery has been gaining in popularity in recent years, especially among families. If you have experience with the sport or just enjoy the outdoors, you may consider opening an archery range. Specialized training and experience are not necessary, but knowledge of the sport will provide a strong advantage.

Startup costs can vary considerably depending on your location and set up. The land will be your largest cost, followed by insurance and equipment, so if you already have a suitable property this will lower your costs a great deal. With the right location and some good marketing, this business offers a relatively high earning potential. Most businesses can make between $20-50k in their first year and they have the potential to reach six-figures.

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AXE-THROWING PARTY BUSINESS

Startup Costs

Skill Level

Earning Potential

An axe-throwing business is a fun, flexible, and unique venture for the creative entrepreneur. Themed parties and niche activities have been growing in popularity, and axe throwing is a perfect fit for this demand. Business owners may choose to open a brick and mortar location or create a traveling business that attends parties, festivals, and other events. You’ll need a solid business sense and at least a rudimentary knowledge of the industry.

Startup costs are typically high (over $50k) and ongoing insurance premiums can also be pricey. However, with creative marketing and quality services, your business has the potential to expand locally, regionally, or even nationally. With the right business strategy, there is the opportunity to make well over $100k per year.

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BATTING CAGE BUSINESS

Startup Costs

Skill Level

Earning Potential

Batting cages provide timeless family fun as well as affordable extra help for both children and adults looking to practice their batting skills. For those with a passion for baseball or softball, this business can be extremely rewarding. Basic business sense will help you succeed, but a love of the sport is the most essential ingredient.

Startup costs will depend largely on your location, size, and facility, but they require a minimum of $100k. You may choose an indoor or outdoor facility, or one that combines the two. The size should reflect the population of your area and projected demand. If you strike the right balance, you have the potential to make respectable profits ($70k by your third year) and even expand to additional locations.

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BUS TOUR BUSINESS

Startup Costs

Skill Level

Earning Potential

Starting a bus tour business is a great choice for entrepreneurs who want to educate their local community and tourists about points of interest or historical spots around town. You will need to be knowledgeable about the cities or communities where you operate, be good with people, and know a bit about running a business. You will also need the appropriate license to operate your bus or van.

Startup costs are moderate (around $30-60k), depending on the type of bus your purchase, but there is the potential for six-figure profits in your first year. Earning potential will vary depending on several factors, including location, the number of buses in your fleet, and the popularity of your tours. There is solid growth potential in this industry, especially if you choose your location wisely.

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CHALLENGE COURSE

Startup Costs

Skill Level

Earning Potential

Opening a challenge course is a great idea if you are looking for a new business opportunity and you love the outdoors. There are a wide variety of courses you can offer and each will require you to have a different skill set. These courses can appeal to a wide range of individuals and groups looking for anything from military to psychology to corporate training. You can even open your facility up to summer camps.

Your startup costs will be high since you will need a large piece of land and a good deal of specialized equipment. These courses are quite popular and business owners stand to make a sizeable profit depending on the courses they offer, the quality of service, and the location. Smaller businesses can easily reach six-figures, while larger operations can achieve seven-figure profits annually.

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DINNER THEATRE

Startup Costs

Skill Level

Earning Potential

Dinner theater businesses are best for those entrepreneurs who have a wide range of interests and talents, including theater, restaurant management, business, and marketing. You will need to be comfortable with a non-standard schedule that requires working most nights and weekends.

Startup costs are very high ($500k minimum), but so is the potential for profits depending on your food and beverage sales. As diners seek out more interesting and creative ways to spend their nights out, the right business model and pull can ensure a great deal of success in this industry.

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DUCKPIN BOWLING ALLEY

Startup Costs

Skill Level

Earning Potential

Starting a duckpin bowling alley business is a great choice for people who have a love for bowling and enjoy this unique version of the sport. These business owners will also need to have the mechanical skills to perform maintenance on the alley and pinsetters.

Startup costs for duckpin bowling alley businesses are quite high (around $45k per lane) when you consider the cost of your location and the work and equipment needed to design and build a fully functional bowling alley. Once established, though, with the right location, marketing, and services your business has the potential for great success. As your popularity grows, you can consider expanding to multiple locations.

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GAME TRUCK BUSINESS

Startup Costs

Skill Level

Earning Potential

If you’re a gamer with an entrepreneurial spirit, starting your own game truck can be a great way to make a living while sharing your passion with others. You will most likely be booked for parties and events, and you will need to be prepared to work long hours on the weekends to turn a solid profit. Game truck business owners need to provide partygoers with multiple gaming systems and be knowledgeable about each system and game that they offered. In addition, owners should be able to troubleshoot any issues with the systems, be able to haul the gaming trailer, and enjoy working with groups of all ages.

Startup costs are high ($50,000 to $75,000 for the game theater plus the equipment to haul it), but so is the earning potential. If you don’t have a truck loan payment and average about 40 parties per month, your annual profit could be over $100k. Growth will typically be slow, but adding additional trucks over time can increase your profits.

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GHOST TOUR BUSINESS

Startup Costs

Skill Level

Earning Potential

If you are a gifted storyteller with an understanding of local, regional, or even worldwide ghost stories, then starting a ghost tour business may be right for you. These businesses are most successful in cities and towns that have rich histories in the dark and mysterious. A strong passion for the subject of your tours will be your most valuable asset in this business.

Startup costs are usually under $3k since you’ll primarily be paying to market your new business. Depending on the location and popularity of your tour, there is the potential to earn over $100k as your business becomes more established. There is also decent growth potential, with the possibility of adding additional tours or expanding into nearby - or even remote - cities and towns with their own unique stories.

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GO KART BUSINESS

Startup Costs

Skill Level

Earning Potential

Starting a go kart business is a great idea for entrepreneurs who have a passion for automobiles and enjoy working with people. This line of work is quite flexible, though the busiest hours of operation are in the evenings and on the weekends. Business owners will need an understanding of facility maintenance and auto mechanics, and the ability to maintain high safety standards.

Startup costs for this business are around $300k, but go kart businesses can make between $500-700k per year. Growth potential will depend largely on your business model and if you are a solo operation or part of a larger entertainment complex.

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HAUNTED ATTRACTION

Startup Costs

Skill Level

Earning Potential

Owning a haunted attraction is great for people who enjoy all things haunted, can design a frightening, yet safe attraction, and can effectively convey their vision and requirements to their workers. Haunted attraction business owners need to be well-rounded individuals with a diverse skill set.

Startup costs can be anywhere from $10-100k depending on the size of the attraction, and even the smallest attractions bring in a minimum of $50k per year. Although haunted attractions are most popular around Halloween, these businesses can actually be profitable year-round with the right business model. Depending on your success, there is the potential to grow into other areas or other types of haunted attractions.

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HELICOPTER TOUR BUSINESS

Startup Costs

Skill Level

Earning Potential

Starting a helicopter tour business is perfect for people who already have their helicopter pilot’s license and are looking for a new business venture. The technical skill level required is high, and you should also have a good mind for business and strong people skills.

Startup costs for helicopter tour businesses are quite high (a minimum of $150k), as you will need to purchase and maintain at least one helicopter and carry a good deal of insurance. However, depending on your business model, it is possible to make a good profit. There is slow growth potential in this field, but in the right location, there may be an opportunity to add additional staff and/or tours to expand your business.

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HOOKAH LOUNGE

Startup Costs

Skill Level

Earning Potential

Hookah lounges have increased in popularity over the last several years. If you are an entrepreneur who enjoys shisha, you may consider opening a hookah lounge. Simple skills are required to start this business. Owners should be knowledgeable about hookah, how shisha is smoked, and how hookah bars are run. You will also need to understand and abide by all relevant tobacco laws.

Startup costs are around $40k and average profits are around $150k. There isn’t a large growth potential for this business, though with the right marketing and quality service you establish yourself as the go-to place for anyone who wishes to relax and enjoy shisha.

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INDOOR TRAMPOLINE PARK

Startup Costs

Skill Level

Earning Potential

Indoor trampoline park businesses can be great options for entrepreneurs who love adventure and working with people. This type of business targets families who have active children and who have a bit of disposable income to take their children to these kinds of parks. These businesses work best in cities where there aren’t any trampoline parks already, as one park typically serves an entire area.

Business owners should have good customer services skills, be excellent communicators, and understand a bit about running a business. Startup costs are very high, typically in the low seven-figures, but business owners across the country quite profit margins of 25-39%.

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INFLATABLE BOUNCE HOUSE BUSINESS

Startup Costs

Skill Level

Earning Potential

Starting an inflatable bounce house business is a great idea for people who are ok with working on the weekends, who are physically capable of setting up and transporting the inflatables, and who enjoy working with children. There is a good deal of competition in this industry, so a strong business sense and marketing experience can help set you apart.

Startup costs are around $3k minimum, depending on how many houses you wish to purchase, and the earning potential will be around $188/week per bounce house. You can increase your profits if you purchase additional units and hire staff to maximize the number of parties you can book in one weekend. There is potential for growth, as inflatables have become very popular additions to children’s parties and events.

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KARAOKE BAR

Startup Costs

Skill Level

Earning Potential

A karaoke bar is an excellent business idea for entrepreneurs who enjoy working with people and have a good knowledge of music. Helpful skills for this line of work include bartending skills, music knowledge, and general business skills. You should also be comfortable working late nights and weekends.

Startup costs are usually well over $150k but can be reduced by purchasing a fully functional bar. With the right business model, you can recover these costs quickly and earn $5-10k in profits per month. Most karaoke bars serve alcohol, which will likely be the largest source of profits. Offering attractive deals and specials can help draw a good crowd and maximize your earnings.

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LASER TAG BUSINESS

Startup Costs

Skill Level

Earning Potential

Laser tag businesses are quite popular with entrepreneurs who love working with people, enjoy high-energy work, and want to start a business in a field they are passionate about. You’ll need to be adept at working and communicating with a wide variety of people, especially teenagers. Additionally, a strong business mind and willingness to learn will contribute to your success.  

Startup costs are around $115-250k for this business since it requires a fairly large facility and specialized equipment. However, the potential for six-figure earnings within the first few years is also strong. Once you’ve made a name for yourself, there is good potential to expand to additional locations.

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MOBILE BARTENDING SERVICE

Startup Costs

Skill Level

Earning Potential

Mobile bartending services are great business ventures for people who are knowledgeable about the bar and restaurant industry and who are seeking evening and weekend work. Successful mobile bartending service owners have a good mind for business, know how to bartend, and possess excellent people skills.

You can start your business for a few thousand dollars and your earning potential can exceed $75k after the first few years. Furthermore, the opportunity for growth in this industry is high.

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MOBILE DJ BUSINESS

Startup Costs

Skill Level

Earning Potential

Much like mobile bartending businesses, mobile DJ businesses typically have high growth potential and are great for entrepreneurs who already have some knowledge and experience in the field. This line of business is also sustainable, as DJs are always in demand for a wide variety of events. Business owners should have a great knowledge of music and the ability to read the room and select music appropriate for the mood and event.

Startup costs are over 20K and you can achieve six-figure profits. If you wish to increase your profits even more, you may consider adding additional DJs so you can book multiple events each day.

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PAINTBALL FIELD

Startup Costs

Skill Level

Earning Potential

Entrepreneurs who love outdoor sports and promoting teamwork may consider opening a paintball field. You should be knowledgeable about paintball and able to build interesting courses and service the equipment. In addition, owners will need to maintain strict safety policies and be aware of their liability as a business owner.

Startup costs can be moderate-to-high depending on the area and cost of renting land, but they tend to be around $50k. Your earning potential will be low at first but can reach $20-30k once you build up a solid client base. This type of business attracts a wide variety of customers and carries decent growth potential should you wish to open additional locations or courses.

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PARTY BUS BUSINESS

Startup Costs

Skill Level

Earning Potential

A party bus business can be a great idea for entrepreneurs who understand event management, enjoy working with people in a party atmosphere, and are comfortable working late nights and weekends. You will need to have a good mind for business and an understanding of event planning to be successful in this line of work.

Depending on the type of bus you purchase and how you equip it, your initial startup costs can be high. That being said, you stand to make consistent money once your business is up and running. There is decent growth potential for this line of work as long as you have a solid business model and offer great service to your clients.

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RAGE ROOM

Startup Costs

Skill Level

Earning Potential

Rage rooms are a relatively new phenomenon and are great business ideas for entrepreneurs who have the skills necessary to create an interesting experience for their customers. These business owners need to know how to market their services and have the ability to obtain breakable items at a low cost.

Startup costs are less than $5k and your earning potential will depend on your business model, successful marketing, and location. If you are successful in your initial venture, there is a good opportunity to open additional rooms or a second location.

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SKYDIVING BUSINESS

Startup Costs

Skill Level

Earning Potential

Entrepreneurs interested in starting a skydiving business should be knowledgeable and passionate about the sport and have the basic business and marketing skills needed to run and promote this business.

Startup costs for skydiving businesses are typically over $150k unless you already own a plane, and business owners need to be able to sell their business plan to a local airport, investors, and the community. Your business stands to make a decent profit, though the margins are highly variable depending on your business model and the number of customers. There is solid growth potential for this kind of business, as you will inevitably bring in repeat customers and word of mouth will be a free source of marketing.

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SNORKELING BUSINESS

Startup Costs

Skill Level

Earning Potential

If you live near the water and have a passion for working with people and participating in water sports, you may consider opening your own snorkeling business. General business acumen and snorkeling knowledge and experience are useful.

Startup costs vary greatly depending on location and your business model, but you have the potential to earn quite a bit in this booming industry. There is great growth potential for your business, especially if you set up in the right location and become a must-see tourist attraction.

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ROLLER SKATING RINK

Startup Costs

Skill Level

Earning Potential

Roller skating rinks are very popular activities for families and groups of friends. If you are thinking of opening a family-friendly entertainment business, a roller skating rink can be a great choice. Roller skating rink owners should be good with people and able to create a safe atmosphere for skaters of all ages and abilities. In addition, it’s always helpful to have basic business and marketing knowledge as well.

Startup costs are around $35k and you have the potential to bring in over $200k in profits after a few years. There is a decent potential for growth if you expand your operation and offer additional activities and services to your guests.

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WATERPARK

Startup Costs

Skill Level

Earning Potential

A waterpark can be a great business venture for entrepreneurs who excel in a fast-paced environment and have experience owning or managing a small business. Previous customer service experience is also a great advantage. Those looking for additional resources may consider joining the World Waterpark Association.

Startup costs for waterparks are around $690k at a minimum, but these parks can yield very high returns as well. There is sizeable growth potential, depending on location and your desire to expand.

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WHIRLYBALL ARENA

Startup Costs

Skill Level

Earning Potential

Entrepreneurs who have a vested interest in building a sense of community and who love to work with people would be well-suited to start a whirlyball arena. Business owners should have a commitment to the game and great interpersonal skills.

Whirlyball arenas have high initial startup costs, but they have the potential to bring sizeable profits as well. This type of family-friendly activity is becoming more and more popular and business owners will most likely have the opportunity to expand their franchise once they make a name for themselves.

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WHITEWATER RAFTING BUSINESS

Startup Costs

Skill Level

Earning Potential

A whitewater rafting business is a great venture of an entrepreneur with a love of the great outdoors. This line of work is very specialized and ideal for who with a love of this adventurous activity. Business owners should have formal training and a good deal of experience in whitewater rafting.

Startup costs are between $10-50k and will often depend on your location and ability to source well-priced supplies. The return on your investment, however, can be quite sizeable depending on your location and the costs to purchase and maintain your supplies and equipment. Some areas may already be saturated with many whitewater rafting companies, but there are always lesser-known areas to set up your business and attract customers.

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WINE TOUR BUSINESS

Startup Costs

Skill Level

Earning Potential

If you are passionate about wine and vineyards and enjoy working with and educating the public, then opening a wine tour business may be perfect for you. Good wine tour business owners will need a thorough knowledge of the wine-making process and the history of the region and vineyards they are visiting.

Startup costs and earning potential for your wine tour business will vary greatly depending on your business model and if you partner directly with any vineyards. But, no matter how you run your business, there is plenty of room for growth, especially in vineyard-rich areas.

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