All three events at the same time right out of the box or build up over time. 3 kinds of events with entirely different electrical requirements.
A ren fair is back in the middle ages and so everything can be powered by something other than plugging in to something.
A haunted house is generally at night and so there is all the lighting and prop requirements.
Christmas is really pushing it on the expense levels as there needs to be a transformer every 150 feet or so.
Actually running power to the property can only be estimated by the local utility people. If it is undeveloped property you most likely have to pay for everything. From the last civilized place to your property.
As a start up guy I tend to think a bit smaller, like there is a renfair then there is a haunt in years to follow and then a decade later there is enough money to sustain a christmas conversion of the property, not all three from the beginning. There is no limit to spending money but having a break even point is realative to what it is you are trying to recover.
A haunt might be able to start on one haunted house and build up to many. Renfairs have a level of expectations of 20 somethings going on which is either fully developed by the promoter or mostly independent vendors. Even multiple haunts can actually be different vendors, though having well developed ones that have problems finding locations is just depending on what is happening from time to time.
Just like how some housing development springs up and is complete in 6 months or a year, or more a rural reality and development relative to how popular it really is.
I just had a can of beans from the dollar store that somehow cost $1.75.
Starting with the least impactful thing is also how you don't alarm the local officials. You start out with one haunted outhouse that is run by a welder/generator with nice parking rather than Wham the olympics are going to be in your county, deal with it. Infastructure has time to adapt to power needs, traffic patterns, actual travel training for customers. Sometimes this happens right off the bat, most times it takes 3 years to really develop the market by actually doing it.
In any of these styles of events, they are totally different customer types, different tastes and marketing isn't going to be one kind of investment either. You have sort of committed staff to be year round for that rather than seasonal projects. You might as well add bicycle/atv events, concerts with 10,000 people standing in a field that have each paid $75 to $100 and throw in some paintball games. All completely different types of customers, requiring special targeting.
Time to feed the dogs, here goes another $1.75, also from the dollar store.
1. Name of Haunt and Location
Trail of Terror Waxahachie TX (an upcharge attraction
2. Typical cost for gas in a season
to drive there? about $2,200 (1hr from my house) I dont use generators so if that is what you meant $0
3. Cost of Electric
$400 (Im pretty actor oriented)
4. How many actors do you have hired for your show?
5. How many sq feet (or acres if outdoor) is your haunt?
6. Typical amount of patrons that come through your doors (or gate, cave, etc) each season
I work hard to do under 10,000 patrons. For my show more would be hard to manage and the experience would diminish. My price point is they way to slow the flow.
7. Cost of upkeep, and repairs that you will budget each year.
Okay, Allen has graciously filled out the survey. So breaking his numbers down end up offering other considerations and questions that are missing from the survey become apparent.
1. Allens Attraction is an upcharge to a longer established attraction that sees 60,000 plus customers per year and has somewhere between 7 and 10 attractions depending on what you want to define them as. So he already has use for his customers expenses like porta potties or permanent bathroom facilities, insurance requirements, advertising costs. There is no disclosure of ticket price, what percentage is held by the main event to cover and profit from such expenses.
4. So each actor might cost $500 a year or he is really nice and gives everyone $1000 a year. Some attractions have a line up of 45 to 75 actors and pay $50,000 per year and the actors feel improperly compensated. Still in attractions that range from 3,000 SF to multiple attractions and 11,000 SF or trails that are 18 acres. As far as income goes Allen may once paying the larger attraction their fee might make no more than any other actor. There is no room to pay for a million dollar mortgage.
5. The attraction can be one 5,000 SF piece of 56 acres or it can be one 5,000 SF attraction on one acre. Or it can be totally wrong and be one 20,000 SF attraction that sees 800 people per year.
6. This tries to limit number of guests reminds me that somewhere between 7500 and 10,000 customers, you start adding number of attractions to handle larger amounts of guests. For example 7500 might require one haunt. 10,000 demands you have two haunts but you don't reach the next thresold until you are at 7500 time two or 15,000 customers is still two haunts. You can go to 3 at that time but it might be throwing away the expenses of an entire cast of actors and lessen the money making effiency of the previous two haunts.
Further in the real world you can see 10,000 per haunt but it might be all of October you see 2,000 people and that last Saturday night 8,000 people line up. So you must purposely give customers incentive to come other nights than the last Saturday to spread it out.
7. Cost of off season up keep even on property that requires nothing is moved, still has expenses for stripping down the haunt of props and storing them. There are routine restocking of items that are somewhat perishable like cheaper masks, make up, fog juice, batteries, replacement of safety gear, first aid supplies, drinks, table settings and cleaning supplies. Then you get into walls that have been destroyed or just plain rotted with age, replacing costumes per year that were taken as souveniers. Replacing all the fog machines, tools and electronic gizmos that decided to die in storage for a year.
The questions have been answered and there is no reflection of how many hours per year are devoted above and beyond these dollar figures and by how many people that consider it a wonderful life style.
Even if your entrepenuer partner is willing to put 3 million into something or 4 million, there still would seem to be some end gain like the value of the property some day, or the fact that it would produce a profit that was at say 4% to 12% per year of what was invested. Anything less and the overall bigger picture efficiency and costs is called into question. Now buying 30 Subway sandwich stores doesn't sound like any fun but in a glimmer it better be some serious fun and quite the accomplishment in the end. In other words, at least carry the weight of its costs and liabilities.
Each attraction can easily be awarded a cost of $25,000 per year to $50,000 per year even with what would be considered free rent. Alas the rent still isn't really free, it still has a value that must be compensated for. Whether that is thought of as some partners share or return on investment is just a matter of words. Every flush of a toilet, every hour the electric is on in a big building, whether there is a heating and ventilation system running, fire extinqishers, plumbing calls, people driving over pipes and phone lines in the ground cost money to repair of not designed properly. Removal of rubbish and trash during construction and tear downs.
Then you get into other fees like banking charges, accounting fees, on line ticket percentages, pre paid legal services, un expected vehicle repairs or rental vehicles while that is being repaired or compensation for you spending the evening under a circus truck putting in a clutch. Possible medical expense because you fell off the ladder and ripped off your face or got so tired you put a screw through you hand. Bail money to make sure your trusted carnie staff is actually on property.
Other stupid expenses where you decided to give yourself a title that cost $1500 in attorney fees.
The list of possible fees and expenses and imaginary budgets can go on and on. Bottom line is if you spend it, it is no longer part of your own salary. It wasn't disclosed in Allens list so I imagine he is the attorney, accountant, medical care provider and the only title he gave himself is he character he decided to play that night.
Anyone can spend money. Can you make and keep money? What does failure look like? Is there an exit strategy? Do you even need one.
Wants VS. Wills
There is a vast amount of knowlege and information all over this forum and others alike. This is proving to be an interesting thread...
The trick, or treat here (pun intended) is, does someone have the drive and desire to take their wants and turm them into the will to dig through all the posts to find the answers they are looking for? Just my thoughts...
Good catch Greg!
I answered every question that was asked and very little information was actually given- usable applicable information was almost nil.
On a bigger financial picture, I would want to know the population of the counties you are targeting. Perhaps actual attendence of the haunts in Utah for real. The park Allen is at flatlined at 60,000 customers a decade ago no matter how much has been spent on marketing or what style of marketing is available. So at that point it became just a machine to manage to some extent. A known financial budget that really didn't define itself until operating for 20 years.
So at more than a million dollars income per year, the families that own and operate the park in a whole 2 minutes can tell you it isn't that they are making money, it is about the crews that support them are able to be supported further through the year. At some point you are done adding haunts or remodeling 200 SF out of 56 acres, it is about the people that are doing things being able to make it. The ren fair and the haunts are needed to keep the place alive.
Even if you had a trillion to dump on a new facility, it takes time to build this character. And you would for your investment have a place to go, not necessarily a return on investment. A life style, a way of life, trillions to make sure you had you $30 a day to eat. Nothing wrong with that. That is the way the world works. When you begin to think it is some kind of lucrative investment, is when you have lied to someone or not understood what you are getting in to.
The park Allen is in advertises to 8 million plus people in Dallas, FortWorth, San Antonio and Austin. Ends up with 60,000 people per year willing to get off the couch and travel to them. So if you have much less actual population you end attendance is going to be far less. You can build out 30 acres of buildings and to only 10,000 people it is going to seem like a ghost town tour.
Isn't that part of Utah where they hide Airwolf? Or is it where the Osmonds have each produced 30 children?
The larger a facility or park build out is, it is no longer 2 years or 3 years to turn a profit, it becomes 20 or 30 years that it sucked up money every year. SO if the source of funding is interrupted the toy location fails. You basic inquiry is about having a financial handle on things. It is more a definition of what is this place being used for and when. In the other thread you mentioned the culture of internet marketing. Well, that could go down the tubes too. So I would suggest really having a handle on the population base and doing a marketing study of what is really happening in tat particular area. Once in there is no way out other than just quitting. There has to be a realistic cash flow as this site being a seperate entity.
Most really large amusement parks were not just bought and paid for, it was some guy 100 years ago built one ride and people came. Then another family joined in devoting their life to it and 50 years later it became a corporation that has different plans on how to keep it sustainable. Many locations to balance out the ones that are not really making it financially, ever more and more financing that has to be drasticly down sized occasionally or some places hyped up.
Like 100 years of just having a place to get a hot dog. It wasn't build an 800 SF imaginery gold mine for kids at $3 a pop and start a corporation first. That makes me throw up. It's like everyone has to listen to the Jessi Jackson speech that you ARE someone! You really become someone by doing. So how you manage the phiosophy of ongoing expense is more like a things to do list, not a business plan. You can't fill out a business plan until you actually have developed and understood a market maybe 20 years later and you are at the point of obsorbing other people's money that has to be traded. When one person wants their money, they can't have it until someone else puts the money in. In other words, the basic investment is totally spent and only a figure on a piece of paper of how much it cost so far.
What is the asset value of used plywood and styrofoam or intrinsic value of 2 year latex? Nothing. In fact it might cost $30,000 to $50,000 remove all the crap you built to be able to sell the property later or that is how much the property has been devalued. You can build a $350,000 Swimming pool behind a mobile home with infinity edge, ponds, grottos and outdoor kitchens and it is going to cost $1000 a month in electric to constantly run the pumps and keep the chemicals right. Since it is behind a mobile home it is worth $2500. If it is part of a 2 million dollar home, maybe you can sell it.
With seasonal businesses smaller is better. As a side business it is better. If you are a long term entrepenuer you have all kinds of things register, like how many summer only attractions go bankrupt and get taken over by larger companies or how many ski resorts just can't make it anymore. How many businesses after 25 years people say thankyou good night we love you! Yet inside that time frame there was a certain cash flow. Or a cash flow requirement. So how enjoyable the business is comes down the the real hard cold facts of what market does it really have. What are the life styles of the people enjoying these things. Are they rich or just feeding themselves. Now to the ones feeding themselves that is great but that also defined the market. Products and services are bought all the time by everyone and it doesn't compensate for the facilities it takes to make something. People pay for labor and materials and only want to pay for that, they could care less if there are trucks and warehouses needed to provide.
So you have to match real resources to real incomes. Then translate over years of build up. It is more like a flow chart. This doesn't happen until this happens. Or who gives a crap we are doing it anyhow because it is a tax deduction.
Coming in and it is all a party is more likely to be a short term endevor than Allens I only want a percentage of a larger stable demonstrated market. And then not everyone can be Allen or understand he has 45 different ways to make money that total up to something or will someday. I'm the same way. I'm networked to about 18 different things. Each one is only a small amount of the whole. Depending on one seasonal thing to be the be all that ends all doesn't really happen. Unless you have already put in the 20 years. The money comes from the customers.
I'm just putting this out there. To some, what you have mentioned would be an opportunity to charge lots of money one time and help you set up, whether it became sustainable or not.
Got yourself a novel here Greg haha, wow. Give me a little bit to read up all this stuff and then I'll respond to it.
So to respond to your posts here it is:
We are going to be building up the entire attraction at once, we want to be sure that we have everything in place and the first major hurtle is the haunt, then christmas, and then we will see how the summer goes. In our first year we want to be sure that we don't overdo-it and make ourselves sick from all of the work that is involved.
I am planning on contacting the local utility guys and working with them once we have a location solidified and can begin the next step in the process.
Now with the way that we have this haunt designed is that with each of the various themes that we are doing there are a few different haunts within it. They all have a cohesive theme that flows, yes there are various ways that we can scare the living daylights out of people.
Now coming out the door we are not expecting to be the biggest and best name out there. That takes time and I very much understand that. Working at the haunted forest it took years for us to get more recognition and people paying attention to us, and I know that it is something it still is working on and they have been in business for over 20 years.
We have a vast amount of demographics that we can hit and of course the main people we want to reach is those that are in the young adult age, college students, and the like. Being in Utah there is a lot of young families and a younger generation and that is who we are reaching.
Allen, thanks a bunch for sharing that info with me, I really appreciate it.
There are a lot of things to factor in to how many actors that we need. We are not going to be using animatronics or avoiding them as much as possible because we feel that a lot that are used here are seen as a cheap gag that may not be as realistic as an actual person climbing on the walls. Of course that can be debated on if this is true or not.
I understand completely that these questions do not give you the entire picture. Each business is going to be unique and is going to be different in ways that they spend money, how much is invested in it, and the business practices that they have. There are literally millions of factors that go into it, and I am not expecting to get the entire story. Just some small pieces of information that helps us with some numbers that are going to be very rough estimates and not exact at all.
There are a lot of things that need to be addressed for cost and expenses and this isn't just a venture involving me, and my investor/boss. We have others on staff that are working towards getting all of these little bits and pieces looked at and decided on. Of course the exit strategy will be in place, you need that from day one whenever you start a business.
Now in the populations of these two counties we have around 500k that are in Utah county, and 1.5 million that are in Salt Lake County. A lot of what is in Utah county is college age kids. UVU which is one of the universities had around 40k freshmen enroll for courses. Now this of course includes high school students who are getting college credit while in high school, and online course takers, but still that is a rather enticing number for the amount of people we can reach. And that is just 1 of a few major universities we have here in these two counties.
Halloween is a big season here. We saw very huge numbers of people coming to the various haunts in the state, and yes there are those that only last a year or two and never come back again, but there is a rather large market.
Location is everything. Hence why I am spending the majority of my time looking, researching, and ultimately we'll have to decide on where we want to put this thing. All of these things that you are addressing have been going through my mind for the past little while when i was brought on to this project and it doesn't stop spinning around and around.
This is a fun project, but it is also a very hard and difficult project. The bottom line is if we can make it profitable. This is a business and everyone that is on the team understands that. We need to be profitable and make it sustainable for the long term as we are investing so much and putting so much into it.
I appreciate you addressing all of this and the insight and thoughts that you have.