View Full Version : Needing Serious Advice, Please!

Dr Spooktakular
10-30-2007, 09:27 AM
A situation for opening a haunt in an established scream park has been offered to me for the 2008 season. Let me throw the details out. The park is established and has been around for 8 plus years, average attendance (I'm guesstimating) is
7,000-9,000. 95% of the tickets sold are combo tickets. We will be getting $9-$10 per ticket. The owner wants 20% of the combo ticket cut, $1,200 per month for 12,000 sq feet, the land is owned by the owner not leased or rented, so it would be a permanent home for my haunt if I chose. We have to pay 50% of electricity. Is this a solid deal for us to get into? Does anyone see any flaws?

10-30-2007, 09:53 PM
Not a bad deal, but I'm primarily a set designer, and rarely have to deal with actually owning a haunt.
I will say this - buildings are hard to come by, especially one where you don't have to squeeze build-out time in Sept., or vacate it every Nov 1st.
Just make sure you get EVERYTHING in writing. How much are out-of-pocket expenses going to be on your first year? How about labor, actors, security, insurance, all that fun stuff. There's a TON of questions to ask, and some serious numbers to be crunched.
What region of the country are you in, If I may ask?

Matt Marich
10-31-2007, 07:53 AM
If you keep the event up all year it's a plus and an anvil. Look at it this way:
If I understand correctly...,
$90,000 Income from tickets per year:

$20,000 Actor Payroll
$14,400 Rent for one year
$6,000 Security Personell, we use County Deputies, But you may not need this.
$6,000 Insurance, carry your own in addition to any they may have protect yourself!
$1,500 Electricity, Your Cut
$5,000 Costumes and Make-up
$8,000 Set Dressing
$30,000 Build Budget, Materials, no Labor
$30,000 Advertising, Printing, Etc.
$15,000 Build Labor
$15,000 Fire and Safety

Total- $145,500.00 That's about $12.13 per square foot, pretty cheap don't you think?

Add 10% as a just in case safety margin, you know, unforseen events, Fire Marshall from Hell Etc. $ 14,550.00.

Grand Total- $ 160,050.00
Income- $ 90,00.00
Loss 1st year- $ -70,050.00

You need more like 17,000 paid addmissions at $ 10.00 to break even first year.
You should make a minimum of 20% profit. Thats about $ 30,000.00 add 3,000 more admissions.

Your second year, cut this budget in half to one third, but add 20%for modifications and improvements.

One Third= $ 54,000.00
Improvements= $ 10,800
Second Year Budget= $ 64,800.00

In Total Summary:

First Year Start -up $160,050.00
Your Profit for two years $ 60,000.00
Second Year Budget $ 64,800.00
Super Total, 2 Years $284,850.00

You need 29,000 paid at $ 10.00 to break even, or 14,500.00 per year. your not too far off!

Good Luck, Happy Haunting

10-31-2007, 08:08 AM
Sound great to me..... Im not a haunt owner ( thought about it once.....once )
the numbers sound like a business opportunity, take lots of aspirin....lmao....seems like all owners have headaches......

10-31-2007, 11:44 AM
50% of electricity .. for the whole park or just you??? If it's the whole park you're screwed.

Dr Spooktakular
10-31-2007, 02:46 PM
50% for a 24,000 sq ft building, electricity is only on during showtime hours, it is shut off the rest of the time.

Dr Spooktakular
10-31-2007, 02:47 PM
matt, where did you get these financial figures/numbers? we pay no one at our scaregrounds, every person is a volunteer.

10-31-2007, 03:11 PM
Oh ok. I was thinking that you were going to be part of an amusement park and paying 1/2 of their bill.

Electricity on a building that size might run you 500 - 600 per month.

Greg Chrise
10-31-2007, 09:29 PM
Just to be safe, we will say the 7,000 customers at $9. The problem with the numbers is that the combo ticket for a new attraction at an established event are usually lower than 95%. Usually more like 70% with increases per year once YOUR attraction is established as good. So this drops actual customers to 4900 potential. Unfortunately I have seen a new attraction get only 30% like the customers refused the new deal, they only came to do this and will wit until they hear about this new thing from the few that did go. It isn't an automatic go thing, it is a wait and see thing. Spend more on the outside appearance (facade decorations) and signage in early years rather than later years wondering why a certain percentage wasn't being achieved.

The dollar figure for rent is good for that size space but would imply anything going wrong would be you expected to deal with it even at $1200 per month. Maybe not a big deal but a commitment to maintain things as best you can with out expecting to deduct such improvements from the rent. Think of it more like the cost of doing business regardless of how others do business.

The 20% of the take is also perhaps a fair deal as they are providing an established and earned customer base and all the ammenities an event normally requires.

However when you add the numbers, It means you might have to jump on this opportunity now and pay the $14,400 in rent plus electric as it comes from now untill next season plus build your haunt?

A run down is more like $47,000 counting chickens before they are hatched.
$14,400 for rent.
$9450 probable 20% deduction
$1500 independent insurance and inspections
$1650 just to make numbers round for trashed props, masks and consumed benefits afforded the actors. Repairing damaged walls, even being expected to pitch in for facilities upgrades in the future.

End Balance 20,000. Which if done right could with no labor paid build perhaps a 6,000SF haunt or smaller with better props or adding to per year. The physical haunt could be brought up to a very decent show in 3 years of reinvestment.

The risk is indeed all of a sudden needing to comply with rules that were not in the past, or having terrible weather or some other event that halts or diminishes customers from attending. Risk can be offset by how stable and what the rating on the awesome scale the other events at this park would be. If they are lame and getting lamer, you will not for years be able to make up for their poor performance or even their throwing in the towel for some reason.

I think it can be done. Just not as big or elaborate initially as one would like. It would most likely and in reality just break even if you were to compare it to having a job and spending so many hours to organize, build and maintain. Still not a quit your day job scenario but more like building haunted realestate with sweat equity.

So many of these numbers I become privy to is that you have worked tremendously hard and earned yourself a $10 an hour job. For many situations this shouldn't be looked down upon but still considered a great opportunity as it still affords a "lifestyle" and something one enjoys as opposed to a billion dollars.

Actual worth isn't judged in money necessarily but how it outrageously effected peoples lives and relationships for good and you were responsible for this good. Individuals and whole communities are inspired by our events to go do THEIR thing that likewise effects everyone for good.

Money comes from longevity, return patrons increasing numbers over years and all the participating events equally being strong and staying strong. Yes if it was in the wrong place it might cost $140,000 in the hole but, in the right place you build something not measured in square footage or expenses. Understand it is okay to go years with out self compensation and just meeting expenses and reinvesting.

Have an answer for the question if this place goes to crap and I have a haunt, what do I do? Would I be able to find the resources and have the skills to go alone in another location? Then hold back on how much is actually reinvested until the customers in a way have earned or deserve your upgraded offering. This sounds cruel but, in all reality if you plunked down the 17 million dollar Disney Haunted Mansion in a town and 800 people showed up and argued about the $10, do they really deserve more? If they do infact show up in droves at the rate of 95% combo tickets and those total numbers increase 30% per year they deserve your highest efforts. One must actually have this from ticket sales, a done recorded fact, instead of a speculated set of numbers.

Jim Warfield
11-01-2007, 08:32 AM
For many years I was desperate to find a "Haunted " income from my work on my house and I was giving my best efforts to everyone.
I don't do that anymore. If they are sloppy drunks they get none of my efforts, they either get ejected or turned away to begin with.
Making a tour of the house a priority ahead of getting wasted is how it is supposed to be working as far as I am concerned.
With every satisfied, impressed customer I strengthen my business potential for the future. Drunks often don't remember enough about the house, the tour or even what town I'm in to be concerned about them in this advance public relations/business seeding proposition.
I see people in general as getting better though. Booze doesnot seem to be as high of a priority as it was afew years ago, of course I have also noticed many 50 year old life long boozers becoming fertilizer too, fertilizer if the coffin ever gets opened .

Dr Spooktakular
11-02-2007, 07:05 AM
thanks for the comments/suggestions/input thus far. more input would be great, i know there are many more haunt veterans out there who could chime in and add their 2 cents worth.