View Full Version : Financing a NewHaunt

02-12-2010, 07:48 AM
What is recommended for financing a new haunt?
Is it best to start with a small business loan?.....any help with the beginning stages of a haunt would be great thanks....

02-12-2010, 08:53 AM
Banks blow right now!! Its hard to get a loan for just about anything.
I suggest you start saving and use lots of free stuff... the biggest issue you will run into is the location and the town. Find a cheap / free location that is empty during the months you need and talk with the owner. Get a deal together. Have some stuff to bring to the owner. Examples of places are green houses, flower shops, land. Donít expect to start with a huge place. Start small and make it great. If you build a quality show people will come. Think smart and frugal you will be amazed how far a couple grand can get you.

If you are set on a loan from a bank, Go in with money. Show them you are legal and professional. The best way to find out is to ask. Go in and talk with them. See what they need.

Hope this helped.

Peter T
Fables Studios

Allen H
02-12-2010, 09:29 AM
Start small and build from there. Allow your customers to tell you how much to grow. It is far easier to make a profit when you don't have a mountain of debt. It may be an extreme view but it keeps me from owing anyone.
Allen H

02-12-2010, 10:40 AM
Thank you for the time and input! I appreciate any assistance and advice I can

Twin Locusts
02-12-2010, 10:49 AM
There are so many approaches to financing and planning around a given budget that it can be mind numbing. There's also a catch 22 aspect to any small business, haunts especially, in that you have little to use as collateral and nothing to show a history of profit except for modeling after other successfull attractions. Traditional bank loans are nearly out of the question. Use what you have or can liquidate, if you're a daredevil; also leverage any cyclical credit available to you.

Once you have a small budget this is my humble opinion on how to plan with it:

If you are strapped for capital, plan your entire budget around what you can spend on marketing. Even if you primarily use social networking or other guerrilla marketing techniques that are relatively inexpensive you have to know what resources you can put towards driving attendance.

You can be as creative with marketing as you can be with props just make it go a long way.

Next, plan a non-traditional location for your haunt. A place that can pass fire inspection but uses some of an existing structure for scare space. Outdoors is a great starting option. Some risk from weather, but huge upside in terms of return on buildout investment. If you can find a basic framing carpenter and a good electrician you could haunt the same square feet with a quarter the building materials outdoors. Traditional 'rooms' can be replaced by small freestanding elements from which your scares and gags launch.

Finally, don't forget to plan for storage and upkeep of your assets after the season, including how to get your haunt from point A to B for storage. Semi-trailers are common as they are mobile storage units, whatever the case, off-season will cost you in storage and transport labor.

Also, there's no 'right' answer on entering any market. If you put all your creativity and business sense into it you'll find a way to enter, glean as much as you can from experienced haunters but make your own path and be persistent. Good Luck.

02-12-2010, 09:28 PM
Do not expect to get a loan from a bank. Seek some sponsors that have the same target customers. Example Pizza places, shoe stores, music stores, radio stations. Know your market value, do not open in a area that has a market value of 100k and expect to make a 100k. You will have some proving of yourself to do and the first year is very important. I would recomend your focus to be the customer getting a good value. Set a budget and stick to it, Advertise but be realistic. Don't over spend on live radio or to much radio. Hype will spread fast by word of mouth, if it's worth going to.

You will need a lot of signs, I really recomend flyers. Door hang the flyers, that works best. It cost alot for printing so get logos and 25 bucks or so from all your sponsors, per 500 flyers. This will help cross promotions and small business owners are always trying to promote themselves. You can get some local support, like donations of meterial and props, but most people are gonna think your crazy. Good luck it's worth getting into, it is the best thing I ever did. Your gonna learn alot fast, people will come and there hard to please. Focus on the details and throw most of your ideas on the backburner for now. Make sure you got back up plans because things are gonna get broken. Keep it safe and fun, good luck.

If you run in to any road blocks, just ask the people on this site for info and you'll be good to go.

Good luck,
Adam Durham
Scared City Haunted House
Mayem's Haunted Schoolhouse, Bono, AR

02-12-2010, 10:16 PM
Mr. Visa and Mr. Mastercard were my only investors initially. I think credit cards are your best bet if you don't have cash built up. No bank will give you a substancial loan anyway now, regardless of your business plan - unless you have some serious collateral.