View Full Version : I have no idea how to get started?
04-20-2008, 02:08 PM
Me and my friend are just plain evil we voleteer at the local hayraid every year and work as a team and has literally made at least 50 teenagers pee themselves I love doing this. But anyway we was wondering for a basic haunted house how much start up cost run we have several costumes already and there is a local factory that has been offered for a fair price. SO what are the basic start up cost????? and is there any books or websites that give details on how to get started because im kinda lost with permits and all that
04-20-2008, 04:42 PM
Regardless of the cost, you should open a laundromat down the street first.
04-20-2008, 04:49 PM
Well, as far as start up cost, it can vary a lot based on many factors. Do this to get a basic starting cost. Go to an office supply store and get some graph paper. On the graph paper draw out your haunt making sure to leave 4' for the width of each hall and also leaving a 4' emergency path. Having done that, you will find out how many 4x8' wall pannels you will need. Each 4x8' pannel is going to cost you about $35 after painting and fireproofing. Therefore the cost for wood alone for say 500 pannels is going to be about $18,000. Then do not forget camo netting for the ceiling and all the other eye candy for it..... Then advertising etc.......
04-20-2008, 07:18 PM
"So you want to be a haunt entrepreneur" by Kelly Allen would be a good book to start with.
In terms of start up cost, there are many debates as to whether you want to start big or build your way up from the bottom.
This year I am opening my first haunt and I went the charity route so that I could get some experience under my belt without having my life savings on the line.
Remember there are at least 4 elements to haunting:
Haunted houses are a business first and foremost.
04-20-2008, 10:15 PM
If you "Love" scaring people...don't do your own "House", you will never probably have that fun again.
Think of it like this:You and your friend are football players now, if or when you have your own house then you will be the team owners in the skybox, not getting to play anymore, but hopefully you won't notice this because you will be too busy fighting over and counting all the money.
Keeping the team together, trading players, handling their disputes, keeping the stadium open will require 99% of your time and energy.
This could change if you are so successful that you can hire a manager to do the team and stadium stuff allowing you to do whatever you want to do for your personal fun, and then you will have come full-circle.
Staying at the beginning of that circle is much easier if that is where your true fun and haunting pleasure lies.
Just last night a first time visitor asked me at the tour's conclusion:"When do you work on this place?"
"Everyday, and I'm not done yet."
This customer was impressed with all that I have gotten done here in 20 years and it dawned on him that I was being truthful and I have done 98% of everything that has been done here.
My best fun happens throughout the rest of the year, not "in season"and I get to take all the time allowed by the customer to entertain them to the fullest.
My talented wife runs the house in October allowing me to at least do a room or two which can be a lot of fun.
04-21-2008, 11:10 AM
"If you "Love" scaring people...don't do your own "House", you will never probably have that fun again."
That's probably the best advice anyone has ever given in regards to opening a haunt! Some people want to do it for the money, while others want to do it for the fun. I wonder how many of those are disappointed when all is said and done? Probably a very large percentage.
There should be a sticky titled: "So you want to open a haunt." And Jim's advice shuld be included in the opening.
04-21-2008, 05:18 PM
shawn is right, its one of those things where you dont realize what you have until its gone (in this case the freedom of just plain, for lack of a better term, scaring people) I ran a very successful haunt for 8 years and I closed up shop 2 years ago in order to pursue what I was really interested in, design and theming...I was so busy worrying about who to hire and who to fire, paying taxes, advertising, etc etc, that I didnt have time to focus on what I really enjoyed and I got burned out all the time. Im not telling you not to open your own haunt, all Im saying is know what youre gettin into before you make the jump. Good luck with your endeavors!
04-21-2008, 05:54 PM
Okay, now that we've scared them enough (we like to scare people too! Did you pee yourselves?) now we shoud probably answer their questions, because if they really want to do it, they are still gonna do it.
How much to spend? Answer: As LITTLE as possible!
If you can get a charity to help out and give them a cut (10-25%) on the condition they supply the volunteers. Then you can use that charity to go around and beg for materials for you to use. "Can you donate some of your busted dry wall for our fund raising haunted house?" etc. etc. I get my PVC and other basic construction supplies (usually damaged, but fine for a haunt) that way. You want to pay out as little as possible, but you won't make near as much as you THINK you are going to make. In fact, most people lose money their first year or three.
See if you can use your charities to get free publicity, in the school newspaper, internet e-letter, or local paper. Advertising can cost a bundle. A special interest piece is free and more effective.
Ask around here for other money making tips. Don't be talked out of it, but take the warnings seriously. It always looks a lot easier than it is and it almost cost more and makes less than it appears. That being said, there's a lot of upside.
Oh, and don't forget the insurance. The A-holes will try to sue you and the property owners for anything they can. Haunted houses are favorite targets. Thank you personal injury lawyers (may you rott in hell).
It will be an interesting experience, we'll promise you that, and you'll be less inclined to buy into all the election spin about how businesses are ripping everyone off and what we really need is more government regulations... You'll soon discover the regulations (especially fire) are much scarier than anything your haunt can devise!
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