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Thread: how did you start your haunt??

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  1. Default how did you start your haunt?? 
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    well, I have been trying so hard to get money for my haunt going and i can't find a way. Look all i am asking is this how did you guys get your money to build your haunt.

    I have worked hard to find my ways and no luck were i am at.. The bank will not let me have the money because they think it will not work in there eyes. I have look in to getting a grant and so far no luck because of how many people put appts for small business grants. I have been trying so hard to get my going.

    I don't know what to do here... so please help me...

    I am not trying to over run another haunt.. I just have the passion for this. Just seening the big names in this industry, I would love to see my dreams come true for me.

    I thank you and i hope that you can give me some hope...

    Haunted Ghost

  2. Default Money for haunt? 
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    I feel your pain! A friend of mine and I have several storage buildings full of props and animations, and I have been just trying to get a loan (in addition to the cash I am putting in) to pay for the rent, actors, insurance, advertising, etc. I went to my bank with a 40 page business plan, and blew them away with the presentation. When I left the second meeting with them, I was under the impression that they were going to fund my entire haunt. Then--- the phone call came. Due to a "lack of liquidity" of the items in the haunt, the SBA wouldn't back the bank, so the bank wouldn't underwrite the loan.

    The bank had no doubt that I would succeed, because I was so prepared. However, if for some reason I did default on the loan, they said that the people who would be trying to sell the assets didn't know enough about the stuff to be able to get any money out of it. They actually said to try back after the first of the year, because the SBA funds were overtaxed, as you said.

    I wasn't planning on opening until 2010 anyway, but it is frustrating. I have found the perfect location, but they will only lease in 1 year blocks, and I need to get the funds secured before I can sign the lease.

    I do well in my day job, but not wel enough to take on a monthly lease payment that large. My wife and I are both searching for ways to fund the haunt, and if we come up with anything, I will pass it along to you.
    Good luck,

  3. Default  
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    this also meens some thing else too...

    I do have a budget and every thing in line for building the haunt.

    it's the money that's killing me right now. I have tryed almost every thing i can think of at this time.

    The place for it is nice and all but mite be to big. I am trying to get 25-35 aces. there is another haunt here and i asked them how did they do it and they told me to buzz off. I just feel like this is my last resort and asking other haunters how you guys did it. I got tim's book and nothing told me about how to get money..

    i just need help here. my budget is goi9ng to be $70,000-85,000.

    that in all from building the sets to buying the litttle scerws to buying the paint to paying the actors,etc....

    would any one help me find my money??lol..

    it's become so hard for me. I have put it on paper to start right now..

    I know some of you pro haunters will be like hang in there kid and some will be like well i can't tell him that, because my fellow haunter will know how i did it..

    i don't want to keep buying books on how to build a haunt. I know that every well how to do.

    I have been in the haunted industry for over 9 years and that's mosty as an actor. but now i feel it's my turn to give it a try and see if this is what i want to do for the rest of my life. And that time has come for me. I need to brake out and see what is it like to be the boss. I want to know how it feels to be a owner.

    I gave my ideas to the guys i work at for past 9 years and no one gave me one pat on the back for the idea...

    I am 24 and soon i 'll be 25 next year and now some of my high school friends have kids and i don't, Because i have a dream. Familys are cool to have and know that your a dad or a mom is cool too. hell my dad and mom are cool. But they worked hard for it. I have been there to and seen how hard it is to live.

    I have had a hard life and now i would like this one shot at my dream. I don't care if people like it or not. I just want to be a owner of a haunted house. I have sit there over the years seen the TV show and seen other haunts. they have smiles from eear to ear. I want to be like that. I have spent hours and hours watching Halloween movies and TV show. my love for this thing grows every day and seen it become some thing I would love to be a part of.

    so now you just see how much i love this little thing called halloween.

    I can dream can I?

    thank you...


  4. Default  
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    I really liked your last post. It's not often that sincere emotion appears on message boards.

    Have you tried looking for sponsors, yet? I'm not sure how difficult it is to get a sponsor (considering I haven't tried), but it seems like the 2nd best way to go to get money.
    ~Jon-Kyle Bailey
    Campbellsville, KY

  5. Default  
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Mt. Vernon, TX
    Maybe you could take your ideas, business, plan and experience and convince one or multiple private investors to partner with you. Is there a building/location near you that's been vacant a while? Maybe a property owner would be willing to listen if they thought they could get a return on something that's not been generating any money. Lease/rent can be a huge part of your budget and if you partnered with someone who already had that you'd be one step closer.

    How about working with a charity for a few years and get your name out there. This is what I'm doing.

    I'm hoping I can use the knowledge, experience, real world data, networking, and name recognition to move towards my first suggestion. Not sure if it'll work or not, but hey I'm having fun, helping others and learning more and more in the process.

    Good luck to you.

  6. Default two part budget 
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Huntington, IN
    Try to look at your budget in two parts. The first would include all items and areas that need to be paid before you open. The second part would include the rest of the budget. Many advertising venues like newspaper and radio will not give new businesses credit, but they will be open to billing on a weekly basis. ThHat way you can split that part of the budget between the two main parts and reduce the cash up front you will need.

    Be very conservative on your expectations so you do not spend yourself out of existance. Errorring on the plus side can be very exciting, versus the other way.

    Good luck.
    Brett Molitor (aka ~ JamBam) Member of HAA

    Haunted Hotel-13th Floor (est by Huntington Jaycees in 1968 8) )
    Longest running Haunted House in the WORLD!!

    Hysterium Haunted Asylum (old Haunted Cave), Fort Wayne Indiana

    Hysterium Escapes - 4 rooms with 3 themes








  7. Default Haunt Start-up.... 
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Atlanta, GA

    First, let me state that I've currently in situations similar to yours and Dewayne's. So I feel for you, I really do. It does become a labor of love once you do get open. I do however, think you are being overly ambitious. 25-35 Acres? That's pretty massive for a first year haunt. That's more like a Screampark. Most people don't start out that large, right out of the gate. If they do they usually have a lot of money backing it. Liquid assests and money are something everyone seems to be lacking at present. Heck, my backer had to finally pull out due to the bad economy.

    I think you need to be realisitc and stick with something a little more manageable. Scale back you plans and try a smaller approach. I would think a 7,000 sq ft haunt would be more approachable and easier to do. Dependant on that success try and grow your business by 20% or so. Set managable goals that are obtainable and be determined. Just don't set the bar so high that you will fail right out of the gate. You'll get there eventually. Remember most of the the more successful haunts around had to start somewhere. Rome was not built in a day.


  8. Default  
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    I think you're thinking too big, a common problem among new business owners. Scale it down to something you can actually do and do it. Build on it from there. We would all like to open a huge haunt our first year but few, if any, can.

    Does anyone know anyone who has ever done it any other way than what I just described?

  9. Default  
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Warsaw, IN
    75,000 is a huge budget. Too huge for year one.

    The haunts that draw 10,000 people or more have established themselves over time. I can't see you recouping 75,000 very quickly.

    Find 10 friends to help you build it out of anything you can find at garage sales, auctions, good will, and then build it your self.

    For actors, have your friends recruit 4 or 5 people each to help out for free.

    You year one goal is to pay for your props and advertising, and establish your name so people will come back next year.

    If you can find a charity that is willing to fund your project with the expectation of doubling their money, then great, that is how I did it. The youth club put up the money, and they get back double what they put in. Everything else I use to fund next year's haunt. One day, I hope to draw some cash out of it, but that is year 5 or 6.

  10. Default  
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Richmond, VA
    Try working at a local haunted attraction without just being an actor - do all the behind the scenes stuff like marketing, payroll, operations... try to become more of a partner than just another employee.

    OR... look to start a charity haunt first. A "sponsor" is not going to drop $50,000 for you to build a haunt. You'd need to find an investor... and the best way to get a large investment is to do it all for a specific charity. After a few years of that, you can take your experience, all the props and supplies you've built up, and go professional.

    Good luck!

    - Ryan

    Blood Lake Haunted House & Haunts of Richmond Ghost Tours
    www.bloodlakeva.com www.hauntsofrichmond.com
    Located in Richmond, VA

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