View Full Version : Could someone PLEASE help me out here?!

dr. loomis
01-02-2008, 12:49 AM
I am trying to decide which is the best route to go as far as contracting a company to build my haunt or to just do it myself. I actually read Kelly Allen's book, which was a HUGE help in many areas, but I'm still stuck on this one. Any advice? Thanks!

Jim Warfield
01-02-2008, 01:10 AM
To build or buy depends greatly upon YOU and your talents (or lack of?) and/or on the size of your financial resources, "Bigger IS Better!"
Have you ever really built or figured out any/many things? Some people haven't.
For some people this sort of talent or ability comes as easilly as exhaling.
A third consideration would be tool ownership along with a location to do the construction (and a place to keep those tools!)
By the time you buy materials, possibly rent a truck to haul them home , buy tools and screws and other hardware AND find the time and energy to do the gruntwork of lifting, lifting again, turning it over, painting, lifting three more times(I'm talking about the same couple of 4 by 8 sheets and 2by4's here) you will find out just how much effort really is required to accomplish this task. It is alot like building a small house, walls making rooms, planning, trying to work efficiently with time and space , trying not to cause yourself more work by getting in your own way with the mess, the tools, the materials.
It is quite a thinking process.

01-02-2008, 09:18 AM
AMEN Jim! VERY well put!

Jim Warfield
01-02-2008, 10:03 AM
It's all "Thinking". I decided early-on that I didn't like the feeling in my arms after painting alot of stuff I had to reach for so I paint all six sides of every board I buy before I do anything else to it. The work is waist high on sawhorses or something and I can paint all day with very little discomfort.
When whatever I am building is complete I only have a few little edges to paint to seal everything up from the weather.
When I was building a full-sized metal monkey riding an antique big-wheeled bicycle while he was blowing a 7 foot long metal trumpet (For an outdoor sign for an antique store) I had to hang the work to work on it, rotate it several times and lift it as it got heavier and heavier, then make a temporary truckable hanger for it as it was transported to it's final location..yet looking at it hanging there about 35 feet above the sidewalk it doesn't even whisper at how tricky this critter turned out to be to make.
I was then educated when I had to build a second one.
I can be very difficult to estimate how much time something as odd as alot of haunted house stuff is going to take to get built.

01-02-2008, 11:06 AM
How big is it going to be and when does it have to be ready. Since you are considering hiring someone I would asuume that it isn't a home haunt. That almost necesarily means bigger, and having it ready, when, sometime in September?

Building it yourself is great, because you can save a lot of money and have a real sense of accomplishment. The downside is that it takes a lot of time and skill. Do you have both? If you will be doing this after work and on weekends, will that be enough time to finish in the next eight months?

Having things done the way you want can be a double-edged sword. Yes, you can try to build something the way you have it pictured in your mind. But do you have the actual skills to build it like that?

The other thing to consider is that someone with the proper tools and knowledge can complete a particular project much quicker than you. Building a 4X8 panel with a hammer and a jigsaw might take you an hour or two (they will go together faster as you learn the little tricks). But someone with lots of equipment who already knows those tricks can probably turn out a dozen in the same time. The same can be said for electrical work, and probably even more so.

So really I guess it all depends on what you have in mind for your final result. Are you capable of doing it? A final consideration is: are you considering hiring a general contractor, a couple of carpenters, or one of the companies that specializes in building haunted attractions?

Raycliff Manor
01-02-2008, 01:15 PM
Dr. L, Glad you found my book helpful! I will tell you this, if I had it to do over, I would find a good used haunt and buy it. I would make sure there was a comprehensive list of all items included. If you go this route, make sure it is built to meet or easily modified to meet your area safety and fire codes, and get a detailed contract that includes the delivery date if the attraction is going to be delivered to you. Include a penalty fee/discount amount for each day it is late. Be sure the contract specifies in detail whether there is any assistance with loading , off-loading, setup, etc. as is applicable, and make sure the attraction includes a detailed blueprint/schematic, especially if you will have no assistance with assembling the attraction. Have the contract specify, again in detail, the number of individuals who eill assist with or perform the initial installation and the number of hours each one will provide. Also specify that completion of setup is to be included, even if it exceeds the minimum number of hours guaranteed. Again, specify the installation completion date and penalties per day for late completion. Ask for a picture inventory along with a printed list inventory of items. Be sure to check to see if emergency exits, fire extinguishers, compressors, switches, sensors, etc. are included. This will help you to determine the amount of additional invenstement that will be required by you to possess a completed attraction. If you go the route of purchasing, do not "borrow" from your Marketing and Advertising budget for the purchase. ; ) I hope this helps. Best of luck to you with the opening of your attraction. With Halloween falling on a Friday this year, this could be a great time to get started!


Raycliff Manor
01-02-2008, 03:33 PM
I just saw this post Dr. L:

http://hauntworld.com/haunted_house_forums/showthread.php?t=3517 It might be something you want to look into...