View Full Version : Location Questions - Help!

05-23-2008, 10:14 PM
OK, I've heard the mantra that good locations are very hard to come by, and our unsuccessful efforts to secure a site for our first year "for profit" haunt thus far have rang true to that rule.

We have called on just about every vacant commercial warehouse and retail center in our area and have yet to find anyone willing to consider leasing their space to us for a "fall seasonal attraction" (code word for Haunted House). Most of these buildings have been vacant for years, but these agents and managers just won't consider a temporary lease, much less a lease to a haunted house. We have proposals to send them for consideration, but we just seem to get shot down before we even have a chance to get that far.

So that leads me here to ask for some practical advice and help in hopes to leverage the wisdom and experience of the Hauntworld pro community - how did you do it? What's your secret to landing a great location for your attraction? In this vain, I have some specific questions. If these questions are too intrusive, please forgive my ignorance, as I am new to this pro side of the fence.

How have you successfully approached a leasing agent/manager/building owner to acquire their space? For profit haunt, not charity, although we plan to host some charitable drives.

Are you paying full market rent for your space - $10,000- $30,000 or more per month of occupancy, or are you able to secure below market rates, and how?

Anyone secure space on a barter basis, ie low or free rent in exchange for free publicity and driving traffic to their site for the property owner's vacant building - or other similar strategy?

Is there anything you recommend to stay away from in your approach or any type of property or owner you suggest to stay away from for lack of willingness to lease space?

Any particular types of properties or owners you've found success with?

I know it's late, but we're still trying. Our backs are against the wall on this. If we can't secure a location asap, we're done for a start-up this year. Please share any insights of wisdom you have to offer that we could implement into our strategy. It would be much appreciated! Thanks!

Mephisto the Great
05-24-2008, 12:36 AM
This is one of the main reasons why I switched to an outdoor haunt. It is FAR easier to find outdoor space on the cheap than indoor. I managed to rent a four-story, 100-year old mansion in the late 90s for $2K a month, and that was the BEST deal in town. Nobody else would touch us.

Think smaller. You may not like that advice, but you may have better luck 3-5 years from now if you've successfully run the event. OR putting that money into a large party tent and building under that (even with a sprinkler system) would be cheaper. In my experience nobody with a large space will accept an unproven seasonal event in a business that doesn't always have the best reputation. Trust me, I've tried, but my personal success came by going a completely different route. Haunted forests proved far more lucrative and creatively fulfilling...and a heck of a lot cheaper.

Look to places like Pirates of Emerson or the (now defunct) Rocky Point Haunted House as examples of this. Start small, build a reputation and eventually you'll be able to reach the size you want.

Good luck!


Jim Warfield
05-27-2008, 07:01 PM
A haunter rented a nice building, took off a season, went back to rent it again, another business was in there, no go.
A year after this the owner approached the haunter willing to rent to him very cheap, all the haunter had to do was figure out how to get rid of the several thousands of gallons of rancid horse blood stored therein.
The EPA was watching.
The haunter walked away.
He later found out a close relative of the owner simply allowed it all to go down the sewer drain!
Sewer plants can often trace where certain things originate and the fines would have been substantial.
Look and think first, if something seems to good to be true, it probably is.

05-28-2008, 09:13 AM
Do a property tax search on buildings you are interested in and find out who the owner is. Contact the owner directly and ask, agents don't get as much money for a temp lease. That isn't to say you still won't have problems talking to the owner direct but an agents job is to get someone in there long term. Sometimes the city will tell you how to get ahold of the owner as well.

05-28-2008, 09:15 AM
The important thing is to not give up. If it takes 1000 calls to find your building isn't it worth it in the end? Also expand your search to beyond your local locations, I think some people drive pretty far to their buildings.

Jim Warfield
05-28-2008, 11:35 PM
You find yourself getting real discouraged, go to bed, wake up, it's new morning! Time to give it one more try for just one more day, until you wake up again tomorrow!
Things are not really that bad you know, someday you won't be waking up! What then?
I asked So MANY people for financial help to get my house, ending up looking foolish and discouraged, "One more day, one more day!"
I have now had this house 20 years, paid back my two backers a long time ago.