If you build things with some level of passion and craftmanship, people will come to you to service it.
Like if you had a home built, people call their home builder with questions about adding on or fixing where a tree took the corner of the garage off and deal with the insurance company.
Custom finishes, same thing, only the guy who installed it can really tell you how to maintain it or repair it.
And so over the years I observed all the stories of haunt failings and did better than that.
Some guy wants $2500 just for the drawing of a haunt. I can build a haunt and show it to you already built with a drawing or 5 drawings for $2500. It ran for years and the money came from the customers, it was time to redo all the fire retardant again and even with all the known expenses that were going to have to be done to maintain and upgrade it, it was a better deal than anyone else every offered.
So if you legitimately help someone out, instead of demanding $150,000 right now in unmarked bills, who knows how much money it can earn over 20 years or more with great relationships. Then it doesn't limit to the haunt either, lots of businesses anyone get into you are offered to participate in as well. Or when one does sell you get first dibs on being the guy who will sell it. You know how to sell one, probably know who needs one right now and it's how fast can the semis get back into town. No need to run an add in a magazine for 12 years trying to sell the same haunt.
I have seen haunts sold out of trailers at a truck yard where someone actually got $165,000 SBA loan and they sold the haunt for $10,000 just to pay storage fees not paid on the trailers. So they took the guys house and all is assets and some consultant "helped him" to that conclusion.
I've seen a guy talk a retired guy into building a bunch of walls and buying props with his meager retirement savings, then convinced a mall to let them have a huge space and only a couple thousand people showed up, the guy drove off with the ticket money, the mall locked up the building and sold the haunt and all it's contents for $23,000 to pay for the rent. The old guy lost his money. Earlier a couple if us from all across Texas listened to this guy tell us it was going to me a million dollar location. Really? Well talking with that fake English teacher accent doesn't mean you are smarter than I am.
Over and over another guy talks about finding a partner and somehow that partner never gets paid and everything ends up in court. Many times when it doesn't have to be some kind of fancy contract that is skewed to making sure you get paid. If you do great work it isn't a problem and you don't even need a contract.
I have gotten into things where investors are all of a sudden told that there is some other investor that will give money for less of a return and they think the original investor should go down on their return or they will use that new guy. Nope, just wait a week. Oh that other guy backed out and so we will pay the original rate you requested. Now there are two sides to that one. The idiot by so many years in shouldn't still be seeking more and more investor money, there should have been some amount held back in profits to become independent of that situation and the second thing is the guy shouldn't have tried to hustle people that backed him every year for a decade. Eventually he didn't get any money.
Many times on these forums I have mentioned being the bank. Just like you see some version of crime stoppers on the TV where you shouldn't give someone that walks up to your door and says they do roofing and can do yours, don't give them a deposit. SO then every legitimate contractor is also some kind of gypsy con artist that could be taking you for a ride. So you have to adopt a much higher standard. I will buy all the materials, install all this stuff and do all the things we talked about for this amount of money and if you don't like it don't pay me. Depending on how they react or the fact that the conversation has gone to that level then you can pretty much judge what you are dealing with. They either have the money or don't. And paying for everything isn't necessarily easy. Having things happen in a timely fashion can be seriously tough. Still how many people take orders based off a prototype and get a deposit versus the thing is already made, can someone sell it on consignment for me somewhere?
And you work when others won't. We worked Thankgiving day and still everyone got somewhere for a dinner. A helper that has been with me for 4 years hit me with one of my own lines, that turkey isn't paying you $60 today. Of course it made sense because there was bad weather coming a few days later. Every day I whip out a calculator and make sure we did or didn't do enough to meet the pre estimate. I have figures in my head of what everything costs and how much every step pays and it has to match or be slightly better than that. Meanwhile so many helpers are updating their facebooks status about some band or music or sports event. Their iphone isn't paying them $60 either. You have to focus on what is paying you. It is all a big balance, something you will do makes more than expected and other things something caused a delay and cost money. If you have a string of delays you have to plan where that next big spurt of productivity is going to come from. Still not gouging any customer, just always doing exactly what you said you would do and how you were going to do it.
Doing haunted houses has taught me lots of things. I will just all out like a crazy person tell someone exactly how to do something, how hard it is to do, how many years you have to move your hands like that to get good at it, what parts of your body you will need the chiropractor to look at after each step and then the responce is usually, well we want to pay you to do all of that. Just like you said. Some people will completely take over ownership and some want to keep you available. So you do business in a fashion that you can be as helpful as possible.
Plus if you did what you said, the results were what were expected or better, and you did work very hard to achieve those results, that isn't the kind of person you would go without paying. It is so much easier to have made the thing and there it is. As opposed to all the extra steps of deciding and customizing that isn't necessarily going to be thought to be worth a whole lot more money. Everyone always says you should charge more or something for this or that but in the real world, it is all kind of expected behavior rather than something that is premium pay. If you can do it one way why can't you do it another similar way for the same money? All kinds of levels of being of service that no one was willing to do or even considered doing. See if you get paid and have long term income from a project when you are saying things like the contract says I don't have to do that.
The quote for today is "just don't be retarded".
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