View Full Version : Haunted House Business Plan

10-26-2009, 11:12 AM
Hey everyone I am currently working on starting a haunt in NE Wisconsin and I am in the stage of writing up the business plan for it. I was wondering if any of you have advice on writing the business plan or are willing to share your own business plans. I am also looking for numbers such as expense to run a haunted house, number of people put through each season, etc. I am pretty much looking for any information that would be useful in writing a sucessful business plan for a haunted house. Thank you everyone....

10-26-2009, 02:42 PM
Invest $25 in the “So You Want to be a Haunt Entrepreneur” book by Kelly Allen.


It's a must-read for anyone looking to get into pro haunting.

The Forsaken Crypt
10-26-2009, 02:53 PM
Yeah I second that, I'm far from even considering opening but that book is an amazing source for info of the buisiness end of Haunted attractions

10-26-2009, 03:00 PM
Im also going in with David/ preblepug and we already do have that book just looking at what numbers some people have and other advice. I do agree that the book is very helpful though just checking for any other advice.

10-26-2009, 07:15 PM
I ran a photo booth and mask vendor booth this year at our haunt. I am looking to expand next year and it seems to be growing at a stomach turning rate for me. I just finished paying for the book. Thanks for the link BTW. Might as well start getting educated.

Oh I went ahead and picked up the combo. Can anyone provide any reviews on the Fright Team Management book? I had to manage a couple actors this year and I'm not sure I used them to their fullest.

10-27-2009, 04:40 AM
Stacker Steve~

I do have the "Freight Team Managment" book frm Kelly allen.

Its as well as the "Haunt Entrepreneur".

Read them both cover to cover, and they compliment themsevles VEREY well.

The CD that comes with the Managment book helps out ALOT especially fopr those that are just starting out and need that extra"ommph" to get things rolling

The same with the Entreprenure book.

Both definatley excellent reads, and as already mentioned a DEFINATE must have if your really liooking to see the "nut and bolts" of what it takes to be a Haunted Attreaction Owner.

I also plan on getting his DVD when its available.

Happy Haunting.

10-27-2009, 06:07 AM
I think you'll have a hard time getting numbers, and an even harder time making those numbers apply to your haunt. Asking nationally (or world wide) probably is going to get you some pretty screwy data even if you do get a lot of numbers. Some things to consider.

How big is your market? (What is the population? What are the demographics of the population? How big an area do you expect to draw from?)

How much do you expect to spend in advertising? Are you just going to put up roadside signs? Do you have a 6 figure advertising and marketing budget? Or are you somewhere in between?

What kind of space do you have? What's the square footage? Is it indoor space? Outdoor space? Are you leasing? Do you own it?

Are you going to pay actors or look for volunteers? (Volunteers really only work if you are a charity haunt.)

As you can see, just throwing out numbers may not help much.
Just in my area some haunts do a couple hundred people, while bigger ones are measured in 10's of thousands. Some have advertising budgets of $10 to put up signs on poster board saying "haunted house" and others do full TV and radio adds in addition to fancy websites. Most around here don't have to rent a location for a year, but I think that's an exception to the rule, especially starting up (and one haunt didn't open for the year due to renting trouble.) Some haunts pay actors, and some have volunteers. And this is all in a single market. Trying to compare that to other markets would be even more difficult.

10-27-2009, 11:42 AM
Hey Pug when your down readin my "So You Want to be a Haunt Entrepreneur" I let you borrow years ago can I have it back?


10-27-2009, 07:16 PM
Thanks for the added info. Not like I have money to throw around and no one addressed the Haunters book. It shipped today and I look forward to growing next year a little more and hope there is something in the book to apply to my situation.

Raycliff Manor
10-28-2009, 08:30 AM
This thread was just brought to my attention. Thanks so much for the positive feedback! I've been doing my best to ship all orders no later than the day after the order is placed. Orders always ship USPS Priority Mail and a tracking number is sent to the buyer. Most orders are received within 4 to 5 days. Thanks for the kind words and the ongoing support! It makes me happy to know that others are able to benefit from the insights and advice I've had others share with me, from my business experience and from the mistakes I've made and the lessons I've learned.;) I hope each of you is able to successfully pursue your haunt dreams as I have!


10-28-2009, 10:56 AM
Preblepug, I think you need to ask yourself exactly why you need a business plan. If it's simply for the sake of running a better business and giving yourself some direction then go for it. But if it's only because you think you need one to get financing, your time might be better spend on something else. I'm not an expert on this, so maybe someone else can give their personal take on this, but I've always been under the impression that a haunt is considered a high risk venture and getting a loan is next to near impossible. So many people think the key to getting a loan is just a knock-out business plan, but a business plan alone is usually not enough. And in this economy, I would think you'd have a very very slim chance of getting one for a new haunt. I am assuming that you don't have a ton of experience running a pro haunt, and that's based on your questions. You don't see Larry asking everyone how to do their numbers for the business plan.

I have written a business plan though, for a nightclub not a haunted house, but the principles are still the same. One piece of advice is to cover everything. Leave no stone unturned. Show those that are reading this thing that you've truly thought of everything, not just guessed at some numbers. Expenses can be figured out if you do some research. Income is going to be the hard one to figure out since you don't have much to base it on. Best way to do this is to figure out how you want your haunt to be, based on how much money you think you'll have to work with. Then do some research and see what others charge. Attendance numbers will be hard to guess, maybe someone can offer advice on that. When I did the business plan for this nightclub I knew how many people I could reasonable expect depending on various conditions because of my experience in the industry. If you lack similar experience in this industry then you might not be ready to start a pro haunt, not unless you personally have the cash to do it.

I can send you the business plan that I was working on if you're interested, just PM me. But it's only going to be a template and it's not even for this industry, so you've still got a lot of work to do. There's also plenty of books available on the topic, and some websites will give you the basic overview of what should go into a business plan.

If you can offer some more detailed information about who you are, your experience, and what exactly you're trying to do some people here might be able to help you more.

Kelly, I'll add myself to the list of people who absolutely love your book. It is by far a "must read" for someone looking to start a haunt, and I found it very informative.

10-29-2009, 12:57 PM
I guess I look at business plans differently. I don't think I'd touch running a haunt without one with as much detail in it as I can get. I want to try and get the best estimates I can before spending hard earned money investing my own money in it much less someone else's.

10-29-2009, 01:13 PM
I actually agree with you in that regard, my main point was that I have a hunch the OP is trying to get financing, since it seems inevitable that people think the key to a bank loan is a kickass business plan. And there are a lot of other things that go into a business plan that might not be quite so necessary if you're not showing it to other people. But the P&L statements, absolutely I agree with you. That alone could tell you if your plan is even feasible. I think realistically most people running any business have put together something like this, even if it's not written up as a formal business plan. I just can't imagine starting a business at all without first checking the numbers. Actually, correction, I can't imagine a starting a SUCCESSFUL business without that. haha.

10-29-2009, 02:31 PM
We do have a business plan and it is not to get a bank loan we already have the finances it is just to try and follow as a business and i agree with many haunts should not go without one, let alone many businesses because it is a good guideline to try and follow to try to work up to your goals I agree with haunted memphis though that it is good to get as many numbers and estimates of something first

10-29-2009, 02:44 PM
Also we both have been doing haunted houses for 6 yrs with doing managing/ building/ and makeup. We have gone to many haunts, talked with many owners around our area even were just trying to figure out basically how large everyones haunt is compared to how many people you put through, the cost if you are paying actors or volunteering basically any other cost besides the simple how much do props cost weve been to conventions talked with many people know how much props, makeup all that stuff is