View Full Version : Haunted House Rental?

08-08-2008, 05:16 AM
Have any of you ever attempted our considered Renting out your Attractions for private parties?
For those of you that have been following our up and down path this year with Investors and projects falling apart due to their Investors, you all know that I am now on plan G for trying to salvage this season.
We own the property for our attraction, We have a Attraction in mid construction as we speak within one of our Buildings, BUT chances of us actually getting to open this season are still pretty crappy.
Which brought me to plan G, the concept of RENTING out the Haunt for Private Halloween parties the month of October.
I would like to do a large Charity event the last week of October for the Local fire dept, thus building our relationship with them for the 2009 season.

Jim Warfield
08-08-2008, 08:52 AM
If you can hook-up with a wealthy person who wants to impress their friends with a mega-party then the money will flow. Measurable money.
I have a friend who worked building incredible one-use props for such a Halloween party. The shame of it was those props could have been multiple-year-used props for the rest of us.

08-08-2008, 01:18 PM
Jim we have had a client the past 4 years that drops 10,000 for his annual halloween Party, tried to utilize him as a investor and he was all gung ho until he lost his mind!

Jim Warfield
08-08-2008, 01:38 PM
..or his relatives took his power of attorney?
Where there is a dollar there will be someone who wants it...GIVEN to them!

08-08-2008, 03:30 PM

condemned 12
08-08-2008, 07:49 PM
sorry to hear you might not get your haunt up this year.hope you get some parties from it and bounce back strong next year.good luck.

Kevin Dells
08-09-2008, 07:41 AM

We just talked about our off season options as well last night. Trying to come up with unique ways to keep revenues coming in beyond October.

At the haunt i worked at in Illinois. We held several kids birthday partys, set up scavenger hunts, did make up seminars, and stuff like that.

The first party we did was my daughters, from that party we had two sets of parents reserve their kids partys.

The thing they liked most was price, a party at a laser tag for their kid and 5 freinds was about 150 bucks. With our partys we said up to 25 for the same price, but they supplied the cake and we supplied the monsters add ons were additional.

I know this is not the type of partys you were looking for, but this is what we did so i thought i would put it out there.

We have had MANY people want to throw partys at the haunt im at now including a guy graduating Duke with a medical degree.

We also have a huge movie screen in our midway that were considering throwing a off season saturday nights movie in for the general public. We think this could become a big event.

Jim Warfield
08-09-2008, 09:33 AM
My first and best patrons of my haunt were always medical people, from Doctors to Nurses to Chiropractors to Morticians (and Dentists).
One time a man noticed I had use some real false teeth in a critter I made.
"I can get you all the false teeth you will ever need."
"Are you a Dentist?"
"No, I'm a mortician!"

Think about it......

Looking for financial backing? Ask your Doctor.
(Or Mortcian?)

08-09-2008, 01:56 PM
First, I'm very sorry that your main investor has "wigged" out on you this year.

And I'm also sorry that I'm not offering any money, but I am offering advice. As an investor, I do have some questions. I know that for a long time before I was accepted as a member to this forum, I was watching it regularly, and I know of at least one other investor that is also watching this forum regularly and at least for the time being has given up on trying to be accepted for membership.

I suspect other investors are watching the forum regularly as well. And I think there are lots of potential investors all around us. It just all depends on what you have to offer them, how badly you really want their investment money, and how reliable you are in returning that investment money with interest or with a payoff of some sort. And I also think it's very important to return that money with the payoff (interest or whatever it is) when you say you will.

Don't make promises you cannot keep or your investors will never return, just like that thread where it was being discussed that the company had promised 4 masks by X date and somebody responded that they're always promising things by a date they can't possibly meet, well that's not OK with investors. Tell the truth up front and then meet the deadline, or lose potential future investors. That's just the way it works in the money world. We want to know we can count on the people we're trusting our money to.

So if you're really trying to gain investors, why not put some info out there to everyone watching, like for example:

How much money are you needing? What interest rate (or payoff) are you willing to give to someone who invests $X? How will that amount be compounded and when exactly will it be paid back and how? Do you have references from prior investors? Do any of the conditions change based on the amount invested? These are the types of things investors are looking for. Sorry, but it's different for charity haunts. Investors are looking for a return on their money. People giving to charity haunts are not.

I know that I can count on being paid my full investment plus full interest very shortly after halloween and I'm not worried about losing my investment because I've done this for enough years with these guys to know they will pay me the full amount with interest on the day that they say.

All I'm saying is that instead of hoping that it's going to happen, you have to let people know exactly what you're willing to do for them and then be reliable and follow through with that so that they learn that they can trust you. Then they may very well be willing to invest again next year and they will likely spread the word to others, possibly bringing in other potential future investors.

The best predictor of future success is prior success, seriously.

Greg Chrise
08-09-2008, 03:51 PM
Most of us are no longer in the position to GIVE to charity. Even here in what is being expained as a stable town, every fire department, food bank, school supply drive is getting absolutely no man power, no free supplies or offerings. Every day a news report to this effect is there. Even the goodwill coplains that they can't sell you cheap clothing if they don't get any for free. All the poor people that have previously survived off the fat of the land might have to "get a job". A real shame.

So I would advise on holding off on entering into a charity situation. They are mind set to TAKE and will expect you to provide everything. You would need financing even to play this game if you don't already have all the resources. You would be buying future support, even working 3 times more than expected to pull off an event.

So this guy isn't having a house party this year? Well, others ARE. All you have to do is go to a search engine and type in Detroit, Halloween Party ans whala your gears should start turning on who is who and who see that might need a facitlity that could be the equal to perhap 5 of those $10,000 parties. Think like that previous party man and suggest that each of 5 seperate parties all dealt with seperately like they are the only one that is important, will prosper in their gathering with just the right facilties that in the past have had to be chncy and temporary.

Start booking for Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Each at $10,000 a night in cash or credit of services for following years such as radio spots (with contract) and so on. Not just medical but, veterenarians or chiropractors and so forth are not effected in an economic down turn. The radio station might have the ultimate promotion idea for something they were trying to pull off anyhow and now this facility just happened to come about.

Let's see, I would first call up madmanmike, then somehow hook up with the 35,000 people that show up for block party and somehow connect the dots. Sure, the fire hall can get a donation if they provide traffic flow and counter help. They should bring a truck and allowed to solicit donations with a table outside.

You don't need money you need people with resources. One of those bars could be running a promotion to spend a night in a haunted house? A pajama party.

What you are ultimately doing is financing yourself as well as training as many people as possible to "yeah, I know where that is, we were there last year!"

Think of it being the Haunted Costume party at $75 a pop angle to keep out the riff raff. Only 3 free drink tickets or a cash bar, a catered deal with some barbeque shack fully advertisig themselves.

Each evening starts out like the first part of House on Haunted Hill with the right sponsorship. With approaching many if one falls out, so what you still make money and just get a breather. Who ever is left and is offering the most real cash gets the best nights.

Greg Chrise
08-09-2008, 04:02 PM
In a way, we kind of do this on the charity end already. We sell a night at a discount for groups that can bring 350 people a pop. So over and above regular traffic from the streets and lame advertsing we guarentee so much money being made per hour. But, your way would be better as you aren't earning 80 percent for the charity.

Competition wise we were getting to realize one group didn't pay enough to own Saturday night and in the future would be having to deal with the weekend before Halloween or come up with more.

08-11-2008, 06:23 AM
Kevin, The Birthday parties are a definite plan for year round activities once we get everything off the ground and moving forward. Remember this will be a year round event with 14 attractions within the five years with BDAY, WEDDING, SPECIAL EVENT Parties as well as 3D Blacklight PuttPutt , Blacklight Lazer tag to keep Revenue coming in around the calendar year.

Fearseeker, Our Investment proposal was solid ,Our Key Investor was a VERY SASTISFIED client of ours for years, He is also a SHREWD BusinessMan That In all honesty figured that if he held out , he would be able to weasle a Partnership out of the deal due to desperation. I explained that I do not need another partner I need a Investor. I wont go into huge details about our proposal, but will share the percentages and feel free to tell me if I was on the low end or High end in your opinion. I will use for example $50,000 Based on a 3 year investment plan, first year payback of 50% = $25,000 second year payback 50% =$25,000 Third Year Payoff 100% percent plus 50% =$75,000, So for a $50,000 investment, our investor stood to gain a $75,000.00 return on top of his investment, That's $2083.00 a month interest on his loan. the initial investment would be paid in full by second season, Thus taking some of the risk out of it.
Your comment about not making promises you cannot keep is not only to investors but to sponsors as well, in life you are only as good as your word, In business its even more true.
I could Promise My investors a complete return on their investment first year, BUT there are so many variables in the equation that I would NEVER even consider it.
As for looking for Investors online, I can only compare that to online dating, I have a hard enough time dealing with people I can look eye to eye in person.

Not a lot of people understand the Haunt Industry and potential earnings of it, Its hard to approach Joe Normal and say how about investing into this project, The biggest sting about our client was his statement that he knew I would be highly successful. Again in my opinion he tried strong-arming his way into a partnership.


Everyone thank you for your INPUT!

Greg Chrise
08-11-2008, 08:53 AM
Some of this might be internal pressures on yourself of what your vision is and you just have to rake it back a little.

Way before Halloween, I was doing themed party decor in Hotel banquet rooms. It was one active lady that knew my art capabities requesting crap but, at the time I needed money so, I would do a bunch of signage, posters, even paintings of what ever the highschool maskot or symbol was. Usually it wasn't a lot maybe six pieces and who ever was having the event would do all the silly crepe paper balloons and weird frilly table cloths.

Even the first Halloween parties they only got what we could make spare time over about a 6 week period and it would have to do. From the customers/party attending people's perspective, it worked as obviously more time had been put into things than any other party they had been too and it was considered a success. The first parties got notice of groups that saw 3000 people show at their parties and it continued. Even if I broke even on some of the displays I was piece by piece building rooms for the haunted house. A lot of it ended up being crap.

The only bad part about such parties (and there is nothing stopping you from working other locations) is that at the end some think the decor is theirs to take. This depends on wether it is paid for yet. The first one I csught myself in hotel rooms getting cash for taken paintings. The second one there was a pre paid fee that covered everything as being just plain expendable like a party favor.

In your own location I don't think this would be thought of as the rule but some pilphering may occur. Nothing was taken at the Haloween parties.

I know right where you are. We had to either buy our old shop or move. I went to everyone that I had made money for. They could have just written me a check for the full amount but, instead "what did the bank say" Or they didn't think our place was worth that amount.

A billionare guy I knew gave me the run around that he needed the opinion of his real estate man and ultimately everyone seemed to have some nasty place no one would rent I could have that wasn't really a shop. Finally one dude did have a shop and was a former boss I had really helped out. It didn't turn out like I wanted and we lots some aspects of our business by changing locations.

I think if you can keep the property, any income is good and expecting to pay $25,000 out might have been possible but, it would hurt. It's just me. I like everything self earned. Already paid for. Anyone can spend money but only a few can make money. What ultimately happened was all those people were knocked off my list of who I should spend time talking to and the time that freed up alone gave enough of a breather to get a lot of things done for the better.

You can yank your scope down a little too. Sometimes it is easier to get 4 jobs at $2500 that that one $10,000 job. It is all the same and the $10,000 job feels like it drags on forever and the $2500 jobs feel like progress because they are over.

If that makes any sense. In short your topic is making me remember things that are indeed opportunities.

08-11-2008, 01:07 PM
Hey Rob,
Getting back to the extra income scenario, after last season we came up with a plan to open our house for private bookings at least once a month. We host interactive events by using either murder mystery plots or paranormal plots. We bring in groups of up to 14 for an evening that starts with a slide show presentation of the events that lead up to a heinous crime or haunting. The participants are put into the role of either a cold case investigator or a paranormal investigator, depending on which story they choose. Once they are given the fully detailed back story, they are turned loose in the haunt to explore and collect clues to solve the mystery. The evening of entertainment lasts about 2 1/2 hours and we charge $29.00 a head. So far we have had no problem in filling out a group, and we even have a waiting list.

Another idea would be to hook up with any independent film makers in your area. We just finished a six week leasing of our haunt for a movie project. We charged them for the six weeks rental, plus we were involved with rigging all of the FX for them. Since the director and producer are affiliated with Time-Warner, we also managed to make a deal having them shoot television commercials for us and giving us select airing time through the month of September for absolutely zip through the local Time-Warner TV station. And of course it sure won't hurt having our haunt featured in a horror movie.

08-11-2008, 02:45 PM
Heya Ralph,GREAT suggestions as well, with 14 buildings we are soooooo open to ideas!