In my first official duty as President of the Bowling Centers Association of Michigan, I want to thank our Board of Directors for their confidence in me and electing me to the position, and a huge thank you to Mike DuCharme as outgoing president for his tireless efforts over the past two years. Our association is strong and the members of the board are excellent and committed to helping our members to succeed.
I started in the bowling business over 40 years ago by working at the Central Michigan University bowling alley while attending school there. However, I took a short 28 year break from the business to become a banker, retiring in 2003. I opened Northern Lights Recreation in 2004, and have thoroughly enjoyed the business since. I've been involved with the BCAM from the start – first by attending numerous educational programs and conventions. I have to say that when I first opened my center, I didn't even know what I didn't know and the training I have received through the BCAM and BPAA has been priceless. I joined the BCAM board in 2007 and have learned a tremendous amount from other proprietors and managers around the state.
I hope to continue the BCAM's excellent history of providing assistance to members in three areas. First, make sure you're taking advantage of the discountsprovided through the BPAA. The money you save through programs such as the music licensing and credit card discount will more than pay for your membership. Second, the educational opportunities offered through seminars held throughout the year and at the annual convention are excellent. Our most recent initiative through the BCAM is to offer online courses to all members and their employees for free – a savings of $75 per course. Third, networkingwith other people in the industry at the annual convention and seminars provides the best opportunity to pick up new ideas for improving your business.
I would encourage all members to continually review the price you charge for all of your products and services, and make adjustments where necessary. We have all been loathe to change prices, and have competitively been unable to do so. However, the times are changing. The minimum wage increased $.75 per hour approximately one year ago, and will increase another $.35 per hour on January 1, 2016. It will continue to increase to $9.25 in 2018 and will be adjusted annually thereafter for inflation. Changes in overtime rules will go into effect next year, and it is very likely that all employers will be required to pay overtime to anyoneearning under $53,000 per year, regardless of their position.
I live in a market with labor shortages and have never been able to attract employees at minimum wage. I was in a local Wendy's restaurant a couple of weeks ago that was advertising a starting wage of $9.15 for all positions, so I would contend that we are already there with the higher minimum wage. This puts upward pressure on the wages of employees who already work for you. As the minimum wage increases, they expect increases. While the increase in wages will affect you directly, remember that the increases are being felt by EVERYONE you do business with, and you can expect price increases for everything you purchase. Unless you already make more money than you know what to do with, you will need to figure out how to operate more efficiently and, yes, you will probably have to raise some prices to stay in business. We all will.