Start a New Haunt
I have been working at several haunted house for the past 15 years, I have built, decorated and acted. My passion is Halloween/haunts. I have a haunt name along with a lot of ideas for rooms/ layouts. But I'm just having a hard time with the money situation, let alone getting a place to use for a haunt. Do I look for investors, do I borrow money from the bank, do I use a parking lot, trailers, commercial building. Just looking for advice. Thanks to all who can help.
I'm in the same situation..any help would be greatly appreciated!
Butcher start small and build up a little money, you happen to be in one of the worst state as far as fire codes. Maybe you could do a trailer haunt this would keep you under 1000 sf. Per building and keep you from putting in sprinklers and fire alarms. Look up the codes for your area because these are large expenses that are causing a lot of haunts to close. I know that a friend of mine got his building for free with a agreement to share profits in trade for rent. The landlord had the property sitting for a 2 years and my friend convinced him that a haunted house would drive more traffic to the strip mall. He ended up putting 4800 people through with out much advertising gave the landlord $15,000 he was thrilled an got about $35,000 to put into next years haunt. He has done more advertising and thinks he will do about 7500 customers. Keep it simple and let it grow. This is best way for most businesses and hold true for haunted houses. Good luck.
Little by little
I echo that advice. We started real small with the intent of adding a little every year until we were ready to go pro. Our first year we opened in a campground at no charge. The second year we started selling tickets at the advice of the property owner. We dumped all our proceeds back into the haunt and every year our attendance and revenue grew. This year we are opening our doors to the public with two attractions and a significant investment on our part, but we did it ourselves. No loans to pay back and the losses year after year helped on the taxes.
Our next goal is to continue growing the business in its present location for at least another three years, and use the proceeds to buy a piece of land where we can then create our dream - a multi-holiday attraction open for Halloween Christmas, Easter, and Fourth of July (I am a musician and have done pyrotechnics so 4th of July with fireworks and a Bluegrass Band would be the ultimate!).
I always recommend reading Kelly Allen's book for those wanting to make the big jump into professional haunting.
Best of luck, please let us know how things progress...
Thank you guys for some info really helped out. Think I might go for the trailer haunt to start off with. Easy to move locations and can go to some festivals too.
Did I post in this thread at some point? It has the little green check-mark, but I don't see a post.
Anyway, as for how to get started first list all the stuff that you've seen all of those other haunts do that was successful. That's not rhetorical. List them here. What's your read on that?
Also, before you talk to any money people at all, make sure you know precisely what your business model is, on paper, with all the kinks worked out of it first. Does this mean should follow conventional wisdom and advice and come up with a "business plan"? Absolutely not. Do not waste any time on a "business plan", regardless of who or which "how to make money with a haunt" book tells you to.
Borrowing from a friend whose been a pro-haunter for 30 years, maintain the stance of flexible inflexibility.
And also, always remember and use The $4 Fix.
Incidentally, you've built, decorated, and acted in haunts, but how integral were you to the design and business aspects of the haunt? How about marketing?