Getting Your First Customers
The first thing you’ll need is customers. The easiest ones to get will be any in your immediate circle that are already betting. Chances are, they are playing with someone else.
You’re going to have to show them a viable alternative in to have them start playing with you. It would be a good approach to offer them something they are not getting from their current guy. Be sure not to give away the farm here. Some harmless but effective ones may be giving him an account with a 2-week settle-up date rather than the usual one. Another could be offering a small percentage back off of any paid losses. Be careful not to offer a discount on “paper” losses. Tie any discounts to an actual cash settlement. This will save you plenty over time and incentivize getting paid. I would suggest not letting them know that you will be the one keeping the bets. At this point, there may not be much consumer confidence.
Another way to grab a customer is to wait to hear him moan and groan about how he lost a game by a point or a half point. At that point say something like “Oh, my guy had 3 on that game and I actually won the bet.”. That should get your foot in the door.
Getting To 10+ Customers
After you’ve gotten 2-3 guys playing with you, you will start to feel a little rush. You’ve finally gone from thinking about being a bookie to actually being one. The goal now is to get together a good core of guys so that you can start to pay a few bills. Chances are that you got into this for the money. You’ll find that having the first few guys can be gratifying but it’s not the cash cow you envisioned. Getting a second tier of customers is critical. Always keep your eyes and ears open for potential new guys. Watch the games yourself at a sports bar rather than at home. Have guys at your place on Saturday or Sunday to watch the games. Run a yearly football pool. The key is to interact as much as you can with guys that like to bet games. It doesn’t matter at all that they may be playing elsewhere. Remember, most guys are open to having another bookie as an option. If you are a regular at a sports bar or club, get to know the bartenders well. They can be invaluable when it comes to providing new customers. They sit and talk with these guys all week long. The same guys over and over. A good idea here would be to kick him back a percentage of any paid losses from his guys. You want to keep this guy happy and to put a few bucks in his pocket. He will look to get you more customers if you can keep him happy. It’s critical to have other generate business for you. This will be how we go from 2-3 people to 20+. Breaking through that ten customer threshold puts you in a position to earn.
Be Organized And User-Friendly
To know how to be a bookie, you’re going to have to get streamlined. In the older days, customers would call into you to make their plays between set times. Using a Pay Per Head site like Bookiebuddy.com can save yourself a ton of time and headaches. No matter how few customers you have, getting onto a site like this is critical. You want your current players to say good things about your operation. Having a site that offers lines and betting 24hrs a day will do that. Remember, we are always thinking about adding new people, having a good user experience will do that.
A Few Last Tidbits
Always stay in touch with your guys. Don’t forget about them after they’ve been playing a while. Settle with them as agreed. Pay them early when they win. Pay them with 100’s and not 20’s.
Some guys will view getting paid with small bills as weakness. Keep your betting limits reasonable. You don’t want guys getting in over their head. If this happens, they may feel unable to pay and this can lead to stress on both ends. Open communication can get you both through these tough spots. Do not make any bad deals just to add a few names to your customer list. A smart guy once told me a long time ago that once you give something away, you can never take it back. Don’t be in a rush to be some sort of Super Book. If you start to give too much away, you will begin to attract unwanted customers.
One last thing, don’t be concerned about saying “no” to someone new or shutting off a current customer. If you have thoughts or reservations about a guy, cut him loose. Let him be someone else’s headache. Think quality over quantity. You can often avert disaster with this approach.
Good luck with your new venture. I hope I have provided some insight on how to be a bookie.