A user on here shawng built by far the best trailer haunts I've ever seen. From electrical to use of space, it was so well executed. I highly suggest contacting him and seeing if would be willing to give you some pointers.
Ok guys. I'm designing and proposing a Trailer Haunt idea to get my foot back in the door. I lost 90% of my stuff in 2012's b/s year.
Last few years and times I'd been at the fair, people were spending way more money on the funhouses, rides and food than tshirts. So with my broken hand and what is called "production tshirt airbrushing" I probably would be better off NOT rebuilding my tshirt stand.
So I'm very intrigued about trailer haunts. There was a funhouse with mirrors that took 3 min's for my wife and daughter to go through. I think it was 3 tickets and there was a short line the night we went and it was a slow night.
My thinking was, if I could only purchase 2 trailer's and get them detailed and outfitted by this season, wouldn't this be a good opp. to run these at the fairs to at least get SOME revenue in to finish purchasing trailers and stuff. If this were to be plausible, what would a 2 trailer haunt be worth charging for if I can keep them 3-5 minutes?
Any ideas on this subject? Eventually, for 2014 I'd like to have 5-6 trailers outfitted with a courtyard in the middle to have a decent length show going so I can charge $10, be a bargain and pay for itself and maybe a hotrod at some point :P
Let me know any and all ideas please. My mind is still jacked from the experience and I'm just trying to get back on track.
WHERE YOU AT TRANSWORLD EARLY THIS MONTH, IF SO DID YOU SEE OUR TRAILER HAUNT $25000.00 PLUG AND PLAY READY, THERE ARE A FEW VIDEOS ON YOUTUBE WITH IT. WE CAN CUSTOM DESIGN TO WHATEVER THEME YOU CAN THINK OF, OR WE CAN COME UP WITH SOMETHING.
my name is kevin and you can message me on here if your serious about it.
Is it $25k for one 48' trailer? That's super expensive what all comes in it props and animation and cgi effects? You'd need at least 4 for a legitimate attraction that's $100k WOW.
Do you guys offer services where you cone to locations and build out people's trailers instead of buying new ones from you guys? I also hear that there are no scare zones in the trailer at the show so there was no place for actors to hide and scare from?
It certainly is an interesting idea and one that we've been exploring for a while. As an FYI, I've got about 15 years experience in the entertainment end of fairs and have taken a show (not a haunt) to about every event in the US at some point or another so I've got a fairly good handle on how it operates. Not 'pooh-poohing' the idea at all, because it could be a good opportunity, but there are some things to consider depending on how deeply you want to get involved. Totally doable, just keep these things in mind as you develop your plan:
RATES: The most interesting thing (obstacle?) about this industry is there is essentially not an industry standard. Every single event you encounter will present you with a different business model. For vendors particularly, it's an extremely competitive environment and of course... depressingly, it's all about the money. Real estate is premium. Once you get accepted, some events will charge based on linear feet of your space, some will charge on total square feet of your space, some will charge a percentage of your gate, and then most will come up with some bizarre concoction of all of those formulas. Just be prepared with a calculator. **See below
TRANSPORTATION: If you're just considering doing a couple of local fairs in October, then this next part probably doesn't apply, but be sure to account for transportation costs of the trailers. If you don't have access to tractors, most companies will move trailers in the $2.50 per mile range (or less) and there are several good resources for that. But if you're just talking local and have a buddy with a truck, you could certainly strike a better deal.
INSURANCE: So far most events are still sticking with the standard $1M liability, but some events are pushing up to $2M and in some cases $5M. Ugh. But that hasn't been so widespread yet.
POWER: This is a real consideration. Attempt to keep your power needs to a minimum! Can't stress this enough. Our show required 100 amps and that was a huge struggle almost everywhere we went from quality of the power, to distance of cable needed to reach the source. Not to mention actual amps available and their reliability. A good strong quite genny would be great if you could pull it off. Not a deal breaker, just be very specific in your pre-show discussions.
LOCAL REGS: This one will make you crazy(er). Every county of course is different. I'd suggest going the extra mile on safety, then have overwhelming comprehensive safety documents for the attraction that you can
'wow' inspectors with. Too much is worth it... rather than a 'no' opening or incredibly expensive last minute runs to Home Depot. Keep in mind, that while some safety regs are seemingly more relaxed as a temporary installation, some (SOME) inspectors can be a little tougher on the fair industry as they can hold a bias that the 'gypsy' nature of the industry creates a greater risk. Lots of documentation, and a friendly and professional attitude will do wonders.
LODGING: If you're local, then no worries. Just be sure to figure in housing costs for your folks and per diem, etc. if you are going out of town. If you have access to RV's most fairs have a lot for just such a thing at a reasonable rate. Motel 6 can be your friend for your crew... but book early, cheaper hotels fill rapidly in advance of fairs.
**RATES REVISITED: It's possible that some fairs could be a little more malleable with their rates if they can be convinced that your attraction will bring in revenue that they wouldn't have gotten had you not been there. As opposed to performing dog shows, barber shop quartets and defunct family circus acts, I think it's entirely reasonable to think that you could convince a fair that haunted attractions are capable of drawing it's own crowd who might just come out to specifically to see your well marketed House of Horrors. With your pro experience, I'm sure that you could demonstrate that you have the ability to fire up your own well-oiled marketing machine. They'd like that. Just be prepared to work WITH their marketing department.
LASTLY: A great resource, really a must, is IAFE, the International Association of Fairs and Exhibitions. This is a well organized association that virtually every reputable fair, vendor and entertainment belongs to. They publish a book that among other things, details every event in the country (and beyond) including contact information, grounds size, demographics, attendance (attendance is a number you really wanna look at!) and other useful tidbits.
Hope this has been helpful. Holler at me anytime in a PM if there's anything I might be able to add. As I mentioned, we've been looking at this option for a while, but being involved in other things, haven't taken the plunge with a haunt. So we're looking forward to a 'guinnea pig.' Ha! Best of luck!!!
Otherwise, I think there are a number of remedies to your dilemma, but sometimes discovery the answers oneself is the best way.
Thanks for the responses.
Michael, yes I want to hit a few fairs, but only to make a little bit of money to help purchase the other trailers and building $$. I have an investor that has a small amount invested in my last haunt, but big enough he's not going to want me to pay him back with my current job lol. He WANTS a business to come out of this. Even if it just pays the bills and my wages. Even I will be very happy with that. Just as long as I can keep it open to build it up.
I don't want to make a lot of money. Just be comfortable and I know new businesses will always take 'building up' to get there. This is why I'm considering the fairs and MAYBE a carnival or two in a town or so away. But yes, ONLY small time, local, VERY LOCAL events. Nothing huge. All this is about, is to get my haunt built up to a $12 sizeable haunt with value.
I also plan to power the whole event with 12v, with an A/C unit outside of the trailer and a generator w/ backup running as the power plant / charger. I have a friend who can sell me Gen's at wholesale, so if I wear one out, I can pick one up relatively cheap.
Right now, I'm just working on design of the first trailer and the facade. I'm not sure if I want to go cheap and PAINT the trailers, or actually build a facade so when they're setup you have to really look to see the trailers in it. "trailer skirts", wall extensions to hide the gaps of the trailers on the side and everything. Costs more but will be a lot more appealing to the customer.
It's quite possible that I spouted out far more irrelevant information than you were looking for. I've been known to do that. Great luck on the haunt! (I like your 12v plan, very low amp friendly!)
You may want to reach out to Jim Upchurch he own 11th hour Haunted House in Chicago. It's a trailer haunt and he was the instructor for the trailer haunt class at TW. I took the class and he really knows his stuff about this subject.
All the things Micheal Inks said, really isn't an over statement. Most fairs have set the bar a little high and you have to be a member in good standing in the national group and pay your member ship fee. It is not only to list where you will be attending but a way for them to track vendors. Where all the shows are and when may seem totally useless but you still have to have the link to that association.
Having your own generators sounds like the thing but if you go to an established fair, they will insist you hook up to their power generators with long expensive cords. They will site the standards of how their show is run. The fuel is only in one or two places and the noise is kept remote.
Further, just to get into one or two shows to do a trial, they will insist you pay up front for your space and utilities $500 or several thousand dollars, especially if you are taking cash instead of their ticket system where they handle the splitting of money.
So starting out you will want to avoid the more established festivals and carnivals that will require putting up several thousand in advance hoping you get customers. I have popped into any fair or festival that has the old style haunted house or dark ride and watched for hours the actual flow of attendance. You are in competition with all sorts of things with their own barkers and just sitting there with even a $250,000 rig they are only seeing 2 to 3 people every 20 minutes that actually do the haunt. You can take the established attendance for any such show and you might actually attract 1/2%. Not impressive for all the hoops you need to jump through.
I have sat with dudes that owned carnival set ups and they didn't turn toward a gain until they had 8 games spread through the festival. It has been a long time but pulling that off was drive all your stuff in, get it all inspected every time and pay the boss $10,000 for the privelage of setting up. Pay for the crew to stay somewhere and be open the whole 12 hours the show is open to the public so this means several shifts of very reliable people to get your front money back.
So also as Micheal suggested you want to make the haunt some kind of additional thing that at least in concept is going to make people want to come. So the subtlety of this is if you aren't getting the feed back that this would be a great thing, you are into a festival that is a little too developed and wants to manage you with your money.
You will have to explore things like where the bands are, successful DJs and hook up with local resorts and even large churches. Rather than festivals, work the large flea markets and trade days.
Build insulated walls for the generators to control the noise from other vendors. Any place you can't use generators is a tip off to something that is too well established and you might as well be fighting a union.
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