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How Much Starting Capital Did You Have When Building Your Haunt?

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  • How Much Starting Capital Did You Have When Building Your Haunt?

    I'm just wondering how much starting capital everyone needed to start your haunts. How long did it take you to get your money back? Did you have investors, or did you start your haunt on your own dime? I'm just really interested to see how other people have done it, and how I'm interested to see how far they were able to stretch a dollar.
    58
    $1 - $25,000
    24.14%
    14
    $25,001 - $50,000
    13.79%
    8
    $50,001 - $75,000
    5.17%
    3
    $75,001 - $100,000
    15.52%
    9
    $100,001 - $200,000
    20.69%
    12
    $200,000 - $300,000
    12.07%
    7
    $300,000 - $500,000
    5.17%
    3
    More Than $500,000
    3.45%
    2
    Tanner Phillips
    Mastermind
    The Darkest Hour
    http://darkesthourhaunt.com

  • #2
    Matters

    It matters what type of haunt and budget you have. There's haunts out ther that spend a 100k on marketing easy. There's a haunt here that has almost zero marketing budget its on there property and only have volunteers for actors but have been open for over twenty years.
    Almost any 15 to 20k square foot building in a decent sized city will run you about 60 to 100k a year if the building isnt ran down and you need a sprinker system in it as well. Different things work for different people and budgets. I feel you should own your building or property to really be successful because it could take a couple of years to make real profit and I have seen property and buildings sold out from underneath people just when things started looking good. Landlords are greedy and will hire rent to if they see you doing good after lease or agreement is over and a new one needs to be reached. Hope this helps you because this comes from personal experience.

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    • #3
      I'm attempt to create a business plan for an SBA for warehouse property and then fund the event though alternative means.

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      • #4
        Had zero dollars and a credit card with a $10,000.00 limit. Reinvested the "profits" each year. Those for the good old days!
        www.TerrorOfTallahassee.com

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        • #5
          Borrowed money from relatives and used some money we had from selling a few things. its worked out paid everyone back. I'd say around 125,000.00 to start our haunt.

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          • #6
            $400.00, lol
            Like a midget at a urinal, you gotta be on your toes

            http://www.wellstownshiphauntedhouse.com

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            • #7
              Thrift stores and free pallets!!

              I had the owners of a pumpkin patch help get our haunt started. It was actually on the pumpkin patch's property so we already had the perfect spot. They allowed me to use their cornfield, woods, and a 4,000 sq ft barn. Having no rent and an initial investment of about $6,000, I was able to buy a couple nice props such as a claustrophobia jr, 2 air blasters, and a set of ankle ticklers. The first year we were only open in the barn the next two years we opened up about 1/2 mile outdoor haunt where they ended in the barn which was all done in 3D. We bought a lot of discounted plywood, paneling, and a got lot of free pallets for our maze in the barn. We did a lot of dollar store shopping and thrift store shopping as well. We have been able to pay our helpers a little bit plus pay back half of our initial investment. It is growing and I feel we may be able to be in the black next year thanks to a good turnout last year and word of mouth! For whatever it is worth...hope this helps!

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              • #8
                You wouldn't happen to be talking about the Butcher Barn, are you? If so I know who you are.


                On this venture we're starting out with a few old props left over from various haunted yard events etc, about a $1,000 to buy a few 48' van trailers, free pallets, yardsale doors at $5 each, free wood from tearing down a old barn, donated cloth, sheets, clothing, paint etc. $110 5 gallon pales of paint at charity pricing of $25 each, donated power drills, donated screws etc.

                We'll be at a total investment of way less than $10,000. Most likely around the $6k. This number fluxuates, but it's pretty steady. All we are looking / hoping for is to get about 750 lbs of can goods / etc and some of our investment back, just to reinvest it to make it bigger.

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                • #9
                  Not us

                  Originally posted by Hacksaw View Post
                  You wouldn't happen to be talking about the Butcher Barn, are you? If so I know who you are.


                  On this venture we're starting out with a few old props left over from various haunted yard events etc, about a $1,000 to buy a few 48' van trailers, free pallets, yardsale doors at $5 each, free wood from tearing down a old barn, donated cloth, sheets, clothing, paint etc. $110 5 gallon pales of paint at charity pricing of $25 each, donated power drills, donated screws etc.

                  We'll be at a total investment of way less than $10,000. Most likely around the $6k. This number fluxuates, but it's pretty steady. All we are looking / hoping for is to get about 750 lbs of can goods / etc and some of our investment back, just to reinvest it to make it bigger.
                  We go by Nightstalkers Haunted Attraction and Eye Fright 3D.

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                  • #10
                    I can not see how anyone who said up to 25,000 has any type of quality haunt or a professional one.

                    Our advertising costs more then twice that.

                    I would say 25000 would get a start on a home haunt...but not a top notch one....


                    stew

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                    • #11
                      Stew you have to start somewhere and if you don't do it smart you are out of business. If you look a few post above you will see $400 from Sean at Wells Township Haunted House and they are low budget charity haunt that can rival a lot of pro haunts. Yes to go big time you need lots of cash and when you think you have enough you are only half way there. I won't say exact numbers but I was in the upper level of the scale for start up money and spent $40,000 on advertising. The real thing is, did I make my money back my first year? No not even close but I am looking at year three to start making any money that I may be able to put in my pockets. You know me and you know that I have been buying stuff for 7 or 8 years so that I could come out of the gate with a bang, but I some times wish that I had just started smaller years ago and built the haunt from a smaller investment.
                      Phatman

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                      • #12
                        Good point Austin,

                        I started with walmart props in my yard and not a pot to piss in. lol

                        Stew

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                        • #13
                          Figures don't lie....

                          ..but liars know how to figure. What was my start up investment? Good question. I already had the farm land. I signed my name to a land contract to buy neighboring farm of my dads while going to Michigan State. Really; I took inventory of what I had. I had pretty good location as Interstate 96 sliced off the back of our farm in 1960's and cut off some 20 acres and a work ethic handed down through the 6 generations farming in this township. It was time to make that "enemy" highway into a friend and put my billboards on it. Home made painted things at first that had the "classic old time farm look". I had all the equipment needed to plant a corn field as it was my occupation...a dumb dirt farmer. I started out as a corn maze only with no haunting. Then another corn maze operator we put out of business 15 miles away in the middle of no where down a severely rutted dirt road wanted to know if we wanted to form a partnership and they haunt part of field. I had the location, parking lot customers etc. they supplied haunting man power and "old school" scares and decent make up etc. Had to part ways with them when they tried to change agreement for following year in mid Aug. Found this cool website called Scare Factory and called them.

                          Now here is where story gets unbelievable; but true. A guy named Dave answered the phone. (Ok everyone...stop saying "Bullshit!") Told him I had a large farm truck and wondered if I could come down next week and pick up a Slayer on the Pediment, a Tombstone Reaper, and a couple mossy skelrectors. Went down the next week and picked them all up. (stop screaming BULLSHIT!...honest it was that simple....Ok yes in 2012 or 2013 I wrote an order with them and never got my props and never got through when calling probably 50 times later in summer. ) Guessing $15,000 went to Scare Factory that first year many years ago. News crews came out to see Slayer and never looked back. Keep adding and changing stuff every year.

                          My biggest assets to start up were location, being a workaholic, and being known from get go as the best corn maze around. The haunt started out meager but very soon realized I had to ramp up the haunt to match our corn mazes reputation.

                          Wicked Farmer

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                          • #14
                            Your are just a dumb dirt farmer Mark I know that for sure considering you my friend (only people that will be my friends have to be dumb), but you do work hard and that is the secret to most business, hard work pays off. So I guess moral of this story is no mater how much money you have it still comes down to hard work to be successful.
                            Phatman

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                            • #15
                              <<I can not see how anyone who said up to 25,000 has any type of quality haunt or a professional one. Our advertising costs more then twice that.
                              I would say 25000 would get a start on a home haunt...but not a top notch one....>>

                              You're not taking into account custom made props, years of growth, and reinvesting profits. Anyone who does their own work, has a generous lease agreement (like splitting the profits in lieu of rent), volunteer labor help, and re-invests the profits for 5, 10, or 15+ years can grow a LOT. In fact, the best business advice for any business is to stay in business. If you're turning a profit and growing, year after year, you're clearly doing something right and more than likely are going to succeed as your experience and company assets expand.
                              www.TerrorOfTallahassee.com

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