Thanks for the input guys. Especially you Greg. You've helped me out a ton last season with getting my feet wet.
I was thinking, even to start with 1 or 2 trailers for a few small events etc, that should be a HUGE blessing. The main thing is, not having to pay rent for a full year!! I was going to have to pay $24,000 just in rent for this coming year... Take that off and what do I have? Much less need to hit higher numbers for my first few years while I build up.
I have spoken with a few people and I have a bunch of different areas I can set up. Even my 5th and 6th choices are REALLY GOOD places! Mainly very HIGH traffic areas... at least for around here lol.
Also, the carnival things around here don't seem to be too terribly restrictive, at least as long as I cooperate, let them choose my 'spot' etc. They'll probably, most likely want me to go to their ticket system but I don't care. Making money is making money to me for the first settings. I'm just trying to get the ball rolling. THEN I can purchase a few more trailers and continue building.
Any other input? Any other advantages you guys can see? I'm serious, if I can clear 2,000 ppl a season I'd be ecstatic and really, we WOULD'VE HIT THAT # in 2012, had it not been for the crazy ex to fail at the rest of .... ok. If we had completed even 50% of the marketing it would've been easily done.
One of the aspects not covered is heat. If you are planning to utilize these during the summer fair season you basically have a steel box oven sitting in the sun all day. On top of that you now put 98 degree heaters (every person entering) through that will continue to maintain that heat level. I run my haunts in Vegas. I have holes and vents cut into every trailer, fans at every actor spot and it's still hot...in October!! During the late fall when working on the trailers it will be 100 outside and 130 inside!!
Second, almost everywhere you will go will probably require a sprinkler system. Can you hook up to a hydrant everywhere you want to set up?
Third, most locations will have no idea how to inspect the trailer show. Your inspection process might take longer that the actual fair. Since there is no standard you would have to submit plans to each jurisdiction, probably weeks in advance. Then they would want time to inspect before you even open the doors. Most locations for a fair will not allow you the time to set up and wait for fire inspections. You have one maybe two days prior max.
Transporatation was mentioned and is a legitimate concern. Do you have one truck making multiple trips or multiple trucks making one trip? Distance between fairs? Do you travel from one to another or return to a base location between shows? Licensed, insured drivers will be $100-$150 and hour plus mileage.
Comments made here are not to "rain on your parade", merely point out real issues from someone who actually owns and operates a trailer haunt.
Smart thing you are doing is to ask questions FIRST, before you spend money!! Good luck
Thanks for teh response. I thought I made it clear, I'm not traveling with the fair. I only have 2 locations I want to go to. My town, and the town 20 min's from me. I plan on speaking to the FM's in the next week or so and see what they think. The main thing is, I want to be able to just set up a few times, at the fair if possible and have a couple of starter shows. Then next year I plan to add on. I'd like to have 4 trailers to start with in 2014.
I will probably have one truck do all four. I have 2 friends with CDL's, one with a company truck, one with his own rig and I also have inlaws that can help with transportation.
My main goal is for it to be portable. When I get the name slowly built up, and marketing money saved, I can start advertising to be at a certain place for the season. I have 3 locations that are out of city limits and on farms etc (possibly 5 now that I think about it) that I can setup with much less aggravation from the legalities. NOT to be ANY LESS SAFE! None at all, but to keep tight wad jackarses from keeping me from running. You know, the people who just DO NOT want a haunt in their area. But honestly, in this area, haunts have been very welcomed from what I have learned so far. In Paragould here, I was praised by the local FD BECAUSE I approached them! They said and I quote "Well we've had many haunts here, but you're the only one to have approached us. We've never even been to the others, like the one at the nursing home or the one at xxx street. So you've already got our respect for trying to do things right. We like that. "
Eventually, hopefully in just 2 seasons, if all goes well, I'll just set up at a farm or other location that has parking, pay rent and be out of the 'hairs' so to speak. Here in Arkansas, during October (when I mainly want to setup) it's usually COLD! Everyone in lines are always wearing jackets etc. I've always gone to haunts here and being a hot natured person, I, most of the time are either cold, or wearing a jacket! And I hardly wear a jacket. I wear t shirts when it's snowing outside. Irrelavent I just realized but o well lol.
You did make me think about the fairs though for sure! So thank you for helping me realize that the fair runs DURING THE DAY as well!
Since I'm making this a long post, anyone care to throw some ideas out that could be great themes for a trailer haunt? How about a theme, that I can 'EASILY' paint / build a facade to cover the trailers with? Actually building a facade to 'hide' the trailers would be very expensive and time consuming, not only to build, but for setup as well. I have thought of the idea as a partial carnival setup and utilize the trailers as part of the looks. However, I don't know about others, but there are SO MANY people who just WILL NOT go to a haunt (around here anyways) if they know it has clowns or the like. I am sure it wouldn't affect sales too much tho, huh?
Sorry so long. just killing time before I have to go BACK into work. (split shift thrown at me, very unfair since I 'again' can't see my child due to work :( )
Thanks again guys,
dead house designs
Seriously check out our site and give us a call Dave already has many different lay outs drawn up and ready to build and with a facade drawn up for all of them .....you won't be let sown to the amount of detail we put into our sets .....we can cater to anyone's theme
And as far as local school fairs go you can use the trailers as a donation to the fair ....ala....they make all the addmission and you have your name all over it for advertising purposes and hand out flyers to let them know where you will be during October.....win win tax write off and publicity.....
That's my thoughts
Trailer hotness is a real issue, please donate to the cure trailer hotness foundation......
So maybe, you get reefers, refrigerator trailer(s) and do so some kind of freezer theme, like roswell aliens on ice side show or it could be a mobile butcher shop. I'm thinking the alien museum would fly, could be any season and an oddity, not necessarily haunted house.
The inside of the trailers can evolve too. In the first showings it doesn't even have multiple walls, it has platforms and creatures you have made out of any crap with little cards describing the 26 supposed alien species. Maps of the galaxy and videos of UFOs or pictures and news clippings.
The year two it becomes alien autopsy haunted house like the old Silo X shows, Just with two trailers you can have a big central courtyard with big things like a junk helocopter or military vehicles that are donated, rented for just one show? Plus this intresting concept is how we have gotten lots of charity groups with no money off the ground, borrowing props, donated props, on loan from other shows for honorable mention.
Props can evolve too. Year one they are paper mache over great foam, year two the same props get a coat of latex and air brushed, year three they get mold casts and one creature becomes 15 creatures made.
The trailers can evolve, you can rent cargo containers and only have the walls and props come in with a smaller trailer and set up like a moving haunt. Unload everything and have the rental company come get the containers. Or this same concept can be in conjunction with your one owned trailer that kind of expands into any space in a day or so with enough help.
A few days ago I though what are we talking about, renting little Uhaul trailers and spooking them out then show is over the trailers have to be back in the morning with only 5 miles on the hubs charged. Win Win! But in my silliness, yes some pretty nice trailers can be leased for short term and things set inside and taken to the location and make money, take it back to nowheresville disassemble and return the leased trailer within the lease time.
The real deal with trailers is if you own them, there are inspections, liscensing, possible tickets on the road and spot inspections, tires that cost hundreds of dollars each. Brakes that are supposed to work, outside skin that is supposed to be in a certain condition. So with all this crap in mind, we never moved out trailers and used pick ups and smaller trailers of all different sizes with lots of vehicles at a time moving the whole 3,000 SF and props in a single day. Set up in 2 days of the wall system, a week detailing. So lots of work but, very small actual expense.
So like cargo trailers have no wheels are dropped on the ground, could be used like pods and moved loaded partially. So you can calculate actual cost versus potential income and stay under all the time.
Moving a trailer with walls already installed is actually not as stable as you would imagine, the trailer body sways around and loads and unloads on the floor and jiggles pretty substantially and shakes your wall system apart and from the walls, so you have to kind of engineer things for these movements and stresses and build thing more substantial than normal or get into steel frames. So you think you saved money but you have to invest so much more to make it really turn key. It is like an earth quake inside a trailer. I would imagine opening the doors and seeing heads on the floor and animatronics jammed. What was an outstretched arm is now sagging. All the hours retouching things versus just moving in with smaller trucks that don't bounce anywhere as much as they are more comfort/passenger oriented.
To the extent that there is a series of crappy not as road worthy trailers somewhere as storage, and move things from there to any space, leased super nice trailers with giant billboard vinyl coverings that speak of professionalism that are actually rented for a week. Or container trailers that rent for $150 per month. Or dare I say, mobile homes you can get for free and get up to some standard for use. Then sell those you got for free to someone that wants one on a deer lease and move up to trailers.
These are just I don't have a lot of money start up ideas. You sort of get into a mess once you consider a wall system layout to be permanent. Aluminum floors and fiberglass walls and transluscent roof fiberglass is what is out there, the older ones with wood floors and steel sides usually are cheap but need a total Smithsonian Institute rebuild. So Aluminum floors and nice walls off problems mounting things and making this stay undamaged during a move.
The other issue is off season storage expense of trailers in a location or with pads where it doesn't sink into the ground. Then you have to call in a semi wrecker winch truck to get the landing gear up out of the dirt. The landing gear can sink through asphalt and then someone has to pay for that. In what was supposed to be a simple trip you have problems with tires, wheel bearings or brakes locking up because of moisture and rust in the brake drums because they sat a fw months. No moving problems that have to get very expensive on site repairs. You have to be a trailer wrangler and loader to have seen all this crap. Murphys Law happens. Just random vandalism and several hundred dollar tires. All suprises you don't need.
Where ever the storage lot is, the thing just grows from side show to museum to haunted house. Temporary locations with lots of sweat equity set up earns money and every time out, adds another trailer to the storage area empire and no efforts or money is spent to make them fully road worthy just yet. In other words cheap trailers that have been retired. I have gotten them for 2500 for one or 1100 for one delivered. Some times there are deals where 3 for 3,000 or less when a freight company is retiring a fleet. It becomes a timing thing of when the purchase is right as opposed to have to have them now, how much are they scenario.
Not to mention, once you have something like that, a few semi trailers, there springs up truck loads of people who want to buy them as a side business, you don't fall in love with them right away if you can sell and trade to nicer units or much better prop ideas.
And again Greg. Thank you.
Yes, plenty to think about. I have thought of a lot of that. I really don't think it'll be THAT big of a deal for us. Especially since we're only using the trailer idea to get back in the game. Eventually I'd like to make enough to put down on a perm building and sell the trailers to outfit the new haunt. Or, let someone run the trailers as a side from our main haunt, or something. PLenty of things to do with them.
The main area I'm wanting to keep them in is my town. IF i take them out, it'll only be a 20 min drive. But I understand 20 min's on a bad brake or tire can mean disaster.
I have a few places I may be able to set up, that'd be a great location, and possibly even perm! But, I'd have to fort a marketing bill too at tha point to get the people there. BUT, again, I wouldn't have a $1,000-2,000 / month rent bill to pay either. These can be used for the simple fact some great locations... JUST DON'T HAVE A BUILDING! I didn't think about that till recently.
Evolution: Yes, absolutely, I'm a po' man so all my shiz will have to evolve. Sure, I may get a small loan to make a few purchases from Frightprops or Poisonprops etc. , maybe another order from GoreGalore... but yes, most of my stuff will have to be hand made, which is ok, I love to do it. I thought of themes like you, from Aliens, to even a Traveling Meat vendor etc. Don't want to do the 'hillbilly' thing but, it'd really fit though. Plus, Horror in the Hollow in Piggott Arkansas (1 hour away) has that theme done, and done well.
OK, so has any of you heard of the "Terror Trucks?"
I found this guy that has these trucks and apparently they're what, 38'? or so. Anyways they seem to be doing well for him. I was curious as to if anyone here knew who it was or knew anything about them.
What is your take on it? THey look very cool to me!
What I see here is a $35,000 truck and a $12,000 trailer with $4,000 in wrap graphix, a $4,000 web site, every social media stream know to man and this thing being successful on tour, mainly in California locations.
I have learned the hard way that things that seem hot and trending that young people should be all excited about do not translate to the same levels of particpation outside of California. So what the real plan will be is for this guy to hit as many shows as he can for a year or two and then end up on Shark Tank seeking $350,000 to grow his franchise business so other people can send him money.
You can rent it for 3 hours for $1500! Any where! Any time of year! That is $500 per hour. So how much can you charge for 30 feet of scares in our part of the country? $5? so you have to get 100 people per hour to go through this. When the reality might be 60 people to 120 people per day. Sounds like he got all the money times 3 for real economics in non California locations.
So what is the alternative to this? A $600 school bus with the words "free candy" spray painted on the side might be more economically feasable.
Real numbers for a one day or weekend event when broken down by attendance and percentage of who gives a crap come down to like 500 people per event per year. So at $5 you are talking $2500 per outing. Or the reality is it might be some festivals do every 6 months because the true value of the attendance is half per event and that is how they harvest the market. Some even do their festivals every 3 months because only 100 people actually purchasing things and supporting vendors happens. In reality.
You really have to watch who is the overall sponsor of things. Generally a city has a festival and they seem to have lots of parks they want money awarded to so they have to show a regular schedule of things going on. They want money in the form of government funding and awarding of tax funds, not making money by attendance or real exchange of goods at what ever the event is. And although there is a great community feel to many of these things and a tremendous social feel and experience, actual money making might be as little as $75 for all the crap you went through to comply with, be approved by and participated in this philithropic atmosphere. You can't afford to be a philanthropist or a franchisee or in any form foot all the bills for the community at large to give the world some kind of feel. When it gets right down to it.
Oh, but you are going to these things and giving shit away to get your name out there. It doesn't work like that, you are getting taken. So it is going to be kind of hard to have your name out there and build a 4 or 5 trailer attraction on $150 per year. Actually it can be done. All things the industrial world doesn't want to pay to disguard of properly can be gathered up and made into things. BUt don't plan on any of this as your total means of financing or paying off previous business partner debts.
So maybe the terror truck guy has spent all the money, has all the props and all the gizmos and it is totally worth the experience and the rig is the most up to date it can be. Does it actually profit? Nothing wrong with doing and testing out an idea but not if you can't afford to not eat from your $150,000 worth of rig and business planning. SO there is a bigger picture, like he can build one for you! He can sell you the old one! He can do so many things but it isn't an instant cash deal and there are probably many that have become involved in the venture whether it makes money or not they gain something. Like the graphix wrap guy gets referal business to have your graphix done on you business truck business, the trailer company has their name on their and someone wants a trailer like that really bad. Maybe all of this was done as things provided by sponsors to test out this idea we are kind of seeing as a trend right now.
We are seeing it where every once in a while and article comes out about a unique business venture. It hits the magazines and internet and you can do it too, here is the guys information! He can make anything mobile you want from a haunted house to a hot dog truck, so the real motivation isn't necessarily getting lots of ticket money, it is cheaply getting out there and having 15 minute conversations with other people that might want something built for lots of money. They have a deal with a trailer company and a deal with a graphix guy and he has the experience so yes, he can make what ever you want happen for the right amount of money.
To imagine actual numbers of people want to do this and pay some amount of money out of thousands in attendance is a tremendous gamble. You want to hit two shows and build a $150,000 mobile attraction when in reality it might take 5 years of putting in your dues never missing a performance at any event to build up customer expectations and attendance numbers even at a transcient show. It is going to have to crazier than cool graphix wrapped on a "custom" expensive trailer and a truck that gets 4 miles per gallon.
Even if you hit 12 events per year and saw religiously 500 people per event, you will develop only one retarded fan that wants to know where you will be next. Mind you he doesn't have $5 but wants to talk to you for 300 hours a year about it. Quite frankly this is even what haunted houses become, mobile or permanent locations, a life size presentation of skills and services you offer off season or to help others or perhaps the entire haunt is on display to sell.
A guy who is set up to do costumes and masks builds a haunt and might just make expenses but got hundreds of leads to who needs to buy masks and costumes and his latest actor training seminars. A scenic design guy shows off his sets and you can have one done at your haunt or buy this room here or he can do a facade for you. A welder will show off his props he engineered and built and he can make things for you too!
But the blind only see a line of people with money in their hand at $10 or $20 a pop and how much could that be? What could it buy? Not much actually, it is a money pit, a giant portfolio of what can you do, what products do you know where to buy or are effectively a dealer for.
So the terror truck guy even if only 6 high school kids come through all day long for $3 is really striking up conversations with old dudes about what kind of trailer is that, how much can that tuck pull and who does these grafix and how much does all this shit cost. Can you help me hok up a generator like that on my RV? Sure! If you have $800 I'll be there Wednesday! Or I'll hook you up with my trailer guy or I'll hook you up with this grafix company, they do great work.
Sorry that is the reality. Even the big boys have the most elaborate most animatronic and CGI effects laden haunt and they can build one for you in China! Here is how we did this becomes the conversation piece to what you could do for half a billion dollars for an amusement park or a historic location and employ this crew of people or for a fee I will procure and deliver all the props from several vendors!
So what is it you do besides get ticket money and change tires on trailers in the highway with cars coming by at 85 mph in the rain. What kind of service is this the lost leader for, or do you employ a bunch of people that can do things and this is their handy work right here!?! Who do you know, who sponsored your endevor that you are promoting, not who do you owe money to that may someday expect a pay back. Where are the win win situations in your bigger plan while you live on $20 a day.