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View Full Version : How many business partners do you have?



TheNightMare
11-17-2009, 03:44 PM
Or do you do this venture alone?

elowther
11-18-2009, 05:35 PM
1 partner. When I needed to make the leap from home haunt to commercial venture I formed a partnership with the owner of a farm. There is no way Haunted Overload could have grown this fast without the partnership. It was a perfect fit because they had a corn maze and people would always ask them if they were going to have a haunt. So I can do what I do best and they do what they do best. It has worked out extremely well the past 3 seasons. The New England farm is the perfect setting for my kind of haunting and theme. Plus I get mountains of corn stalks, pumpkins and hay bails at my disposal. Not to mention real turkey feet, lol! I even made the queue line a mini corn maze. People don't even realize it's a queue line when they're in the corn, it just seems like part of the attraction right away.

The corn maze is great for advertising the haunt because people start coming to the maze in August. They see the haunt being constructed and buy tickets right then. Here are a few shots of what I'm talking about. It would be interesting to hear other types of partnerships, if they turned out good or bad.

Eric

http://i92.photobucket.com/albums/l37/ericlowther/09%20night%20Artifact%20Images/DSC_2168.jpg

http://i92.photobucket.com/albums/l37/ericlowther/09%20night%20Artifact%20Images/DSC_2167.jpg

http://i92.photobucket.com/albums/l37/ericlowther/09%20night%20Artifact%20Images/DSC_2252.jpg

http://i92.photobucket.com/albums/l37/ericlowther/09%20night%20Artifact%20Images/DAN_4723.jpg

Boni
11-19-2009, 07:46 AM
I don't know about the whole partnership thing, but the lighting in your photos is so awesome. I have alwasy appreciated how cool you make the simplist of objects look with good lighting.

TheNightMare
11-19-2009, 09:47 AM
Wow ONLY 2 replies. So mostly everyone operates a haunted house by sole proprietorship?

Thanks elowther for your answer. I am doing research to see if I really need a 3rd business partner. It's not something I want, but business partner feels it would help. Awesome pics by the way

hauntman666
11-19-2009, 10:25 AM
I am opening a haunt in 2010 also and I have two other business partners with me. Two of us have been doing haunts for a while. While the other person is just more of a silent partner that will just help with the money costs, building and acting parts of it, which isn't too bad then because basically it will be only two of us running the haunt but 3 people putting the money in for it. So if your partner wants another partner you should look into possibly getting a silent partner who will just contribute in the money, but at the same time dont have to worry about them arguing with you about things that they feel should be done.

elowther
11-19-2009, 10:46 AM
Each situation is different. Sole ownership would be the ideal situation but a lot tougher nowadays I think. As long as each partner brings equal amounts of value to the table it can work. Just remember the more partners you bring in, the more the profit gets split up at the end. In my opinion just two partners instead of 3 would be best to start, especially if you are hesitant to bring on another. Also it may be hard to get more people to have the exact same goals as you do.

I have heard of haunts with as many as 4 or 5 partners as well, each doing a certain job for the business so there is really no clear cut answer. The House of Torment for example has 4 partners and it's working out great for them because they are all on the same page and each one brings unique skills to the table allowing them to kick serious ass.

The Darkness and Netherworld for example have 2 partners each.

The Headless Horseman, Bates Motel and Spooky Woods all have just a single owner as far as I know.

Good luck with your start up.

Eric

Greg Chrise
11-19-2009, 08:14 PM
You have to evaluate the value of what each brings and exactly what length of time they are willing to commit to success. If it a yeary term, you can throw the word "partner" around as much as you wold like. You can issue titles such as Vice President of this or that but, ultimately who is owner and co owners and to what percentage.

Some percentage of nothing is nothing. Each walks away with varied disillusionment or better for the experience from learning their own capabilities.

Dividing and reinvesting long term takes a special mind set and special resources. A manager, worker can work so many hours and expect they are owed 5 times what true gains have been recieved, they expect an exit strategy of this and that are mine or cash value. This can cripple any business when the worst employees quit or are fired and have to get paid off while the good people that have provided their all starve in the name of a cause.

Even with success, people become ill, injured, die, have to focus on family or job responsibilities and the long term gets all blurry. Then 15 years later you find yourself hearing people expect they will simply over night do great things with your thousands upon thousands of dollars invested and the lives of 50 people invested in your project. Them having no understanding or care for the value of your attraction or your own knowledge. You'll discover people making decisions with out consulting you that directly effect how much money you get your hands on. It really didn't matter did it? Its all fun right?

True partners should have resources that took years to accumulate value or skills that make sure your event stands well above a medeocre offering. Any bunch of people can cobble crap together and it doesn't have the flare required to bring great success just because there is a market out there.

Similarly a little self reflection is necessary to inventory your own offering to make sure it is the best it can be and put into drawings or notes that communicate these facts of value to others. Something that is an obvious hours of investment to compete with the good worker guys and notable to the guys who keep books / keep score. Or, even being the visionary, you may find you are the one easiest replaced as there are so many vendors to choose from later down the line. You just call them on the phone.

The whole endevor is either a match to the market, not enough or too much invested. Most times you never know until you do it or worst yet a competitor proves it better.

Some people work well with others, some do not. Some people need other people and their resources, some situations work out as the customers provide more than one needs and even lots of waste somehow is acceptable.

Yes, you can decide it isn't thirds, people are prospects for years until proven invaluable. You also have to determine what if someone was no longer there, who would do their part of the effort or is it really a short term need? Short term needs do not justify long term routine gains. Over time people's devotion or total lack of understanding the program becomes a burden.

Each individual can earn their percetage of ownership from groud level. Having to buy out or pay off quitters just plain sucks.

An owner will continue on even though true pay might only be $2 per hour. Someone with an employee pretending to be an owner lifestyle will be greatly dissapointed and consider it a failure really early in the game. Or their lack of output relative to pay will actually degrade your offering, it doesn't pay anything so who cares. That's all they get, they aren't paying for that or for doing things the right way.

So it is more than manager or book capabilities you seek if they are to be a partner, they must have some asset or skill and the proper mindset to make your event something always above par with even an imaginary competitor rather than there being an inter competition of who did what and who gets what and at what point. At someone else's convienience?

How convienient is that for you? It is either a game you want to tolerate so you can learn or it is not. At some point others seeking what you have over night with absolutely no track record stands out. Perhaps some will reinvest their share and others will not and you ultimately become the Bill Gates of your event capabilities. At some point no one can match or no one wants to match your investment in time or cash outlay so they have to accept term agreements or not.

If you have under assessed your own capabilities and commitments, you might be the one "bought out" or no longer required to make things happen.

Education is very expensive. Some things take 50 years experience to be able to make that 5 minute decision that was instant success for all involved.

If you are slower to evolve than the output of someone doing accounting and making phone calls or building walls and calling actors, Then all of a sudden, they have better ideas they think than you have come up with. Perhaps they found some good sounding ideas that haven't really been tested yet but, sound better than yours? Everything has to match. Someone that makes $4,000 per day can't readily understand why $4,000 worth of work might takes weeks to complete. Or worse yet why it takes years to get their single days income back.

If the demands are not right, just keep developing it yourself until someone that brings something serious to the table arrives. The first choices are not neccessarily all that is out there in your area. Some things take years to put together just the right package. Sometimes it is perfect from the beginning. If you have any doubts at all it isn't right

Are a bunch of people that really don't know going to sit around and come up with some proposal or are you just going to develop product that customers will pay to see and pay for.

So this manager knows a bunch of contractors that will one day become sponsors? Not going to happen. Everyone in construction is totally broke and will promise things they can't or won't do, can't pay for or afford at all, after hearing lots of proposed deals. Every day they order work and only hope the customer will pay for it on time. Places that rent out residences and commercial buildings will not presently accept someone in construction as a tenant because they do not know when or if they will get their money ever. An intangible asset that is total bullshit in todays market or maybe never was truely of any known value.

No contractor ever let me have a single half of a 2x4 for free. In a perfect world it could happen or should happen but it doesn't. You have to take things from the dumpster or buy things new. Sponsor that. If this guy is currently employed in construction, he will get run off. How does it look if your quality employees are going through the garbage? They must not make enough money or be good at what they do to have o be so despirate. Tell that guy to stay home. No asset value there.

He can build things. Anyone can build things. Can he build things knowing he wil be paid $2 an hour? At some point the fun wears off. It takes a certain dive and vision to keep going.

It is actually starting to bother me that homeless people appear more rested and less frazzled than I do. Far less muscle aches, sometimes cleaner and have a bit more weight on. I have a magic marker and a piece of cardboard, wanna be my partner?

If you had a haunted house all built and ready to install, how hard do you think it would be to find a partner if you needed one? No need to divide up the future. Unless something seriously matching your output truely exists and is at your disposal with a 5 minute decision.

TheNightMare
11-20-2009, 10:02 AM
You have to evaluate the value of what each brings and exactly what length of time they are willing to commit to success. If it a yeary term, you can throw the word "partner" around as much as you wold like. You can issue titles such as Vice President of this or that but, ultimately who is owner and co owners and to what percentage.

Some percentage of nothing is nothing. Each walks away with varied disillusionment or better for the experience from learning their own capabilities.

True partners should have resources that took years to accumulate value or skills that make sure your event stands well above a medeocre offering. Any bunch of people can cobble crap together and it doesn't have the flare required to bring great success just because there is a market out there.

Similarly a little self reflection is necessary to inventory your own offering to make sure it is the best it can be and put into drawings or notes that communicate these facts of value to others. Something that is an obvious hours of investment to compete with the good worker guys and notable to the guys who keep books / keep score. Or, even being the visionary, you may find you are the one easiest replaced as there are so many vendors to choose from later down the line. You just call them on the phone.


I bring all the plans, ideas and 6 years worth of research to the table.

My business partner makes things happen, (i.e land, phone calls, city officials,etc..)

My business partner will NOT do the haunt without the third person.

He is in construction and knows a lot of people who would invest. He got investors for our stores so that much is true. He can also make things happen as well. But does that warrant him being a partner?



Yes, you can decide it isn't thirds, people are prospects for years until proven invaluable. You also have to determine what if someone was no longer there, who would do their part of the effort or is it really a short term need? Short term needs do not justify long term routine gains. Over time people's devotion or total lack of understanding the program becomes a burden.

I understand but not sure if they do.


An owner will continue on even though true pay might only be $2 per hour. Someone with an employee pretending to be an owner lifestyle will be greatly dissapointed and consider it a failure really early in the game. Or their lack of output relative to pay will actually degrade your offering, it doesn't pay anything so who cares. That's all they get, they aren't paying for that or for doing things the right way.

The 3rd person just had a baby girl last year. I know about not getting paid and I'm just looking out for his baby girl. No one seems to understand that.


If you have under assessed your own capabilities and commitments, you might be the one "bought out" or no longer required to make things happen.

I have not under assessed myself. But by not saying yes, I feel my business partner will move on ahead with his new found friend of 6 years and start something. They have no ideas and no research done so they will probably seek help from guys like "Larry and The Professor".


If the demands are not right, just keep developing it yourself until someone that brings something serious to the table arrives. The first choices are not neccessarily all that is out there in your area. Some things take years to put together just the right package. Sometimes it is perfect from the beginning. If you have any doubts at all it isn't right

Agreed!


He can build things. Anyone can build things. Can he build things knowing he wil be paid $2 an hour? At some point the fun wears off. It takes a certain dive and vision to keep going.

Agreed!


If you had a haunted house all built and ready to install, how hard do you think it would be to find a partner if you needed one? No need to divide up the future. Unless something seriously matching your output truely exists and is at your disposal with a 5 minute decision.

Not sure, but it comes down to money to get one started. Plans are all set, just not executed. Always learning, always adding.

Greg Chrise
11-20-2009, 07:00 PM
Taking a few queues from Larry and the Proffessor, if you freely stream and develop your ideas and put them out there, what you have done is develop a market where one did not exist or where one was lack luster.

If you can use other people's resources to develop and proove a market and see it is safe to capitalize on it you are some kind of business genius.

Generally empowering people has it's limitations. They don't have all the skills and perhaps only some of the luck. I've been very lucky to have so many ideas stolen from me that I can set my deal up in probably 10 places if I wanted to do a little travel. Not just the local market but the entire region has benefited from me just freely whipping out plans and sketches.

This season I actually sold my attraction and hearse in very used condition to another haunt. They would not have been able or would not have wanted more if I hadn't inspired them over and over that they could do it and actually see income at the numbers I predescribed. And they proved the local market can be again more than it was supposedly back in the hay day of haunted attractions here in East Texas.

I'm going to hand them copies of a dozen proven floor plans totally for free so their success will be even greater. I guess what I'm saying is that even in what could be a competitive situation, it shouldn't really be. They are all developed resources over time. It wouldn't hurt to make a go of it and deal with what ever failures so as to learn from them.

I used to work on other name brand attractions and then had my own and thought all the underpaid work to be a great investment in some imaginary resume' that no one has asked to see yet.

Also a queue from the Haunted Attraction industy I use even in my regular business affairs if posturing. I'll tell you anything, I can be completely transparent about costs, where to get materials and how to do it. 9 times out of 10 it results in me getting the job as I have communicated what is totally involved. Then there is the performance that even exceeds those discussions and generally getting paid, as having earned it totally is a given.

I have a new helper, age 24 and he has been trained by society at large and his parents and siblings that all get pay checks that you do something and you demand your money. In bigger business you aren't on the list or even called if you expect to be paid right now or demand even the slightest deposit. The only thing that might actually profit might be a $10,000 or $12,000 job that must be done providing everything in advance and hoping to get paid by proper performance. If you can't some how do that you can get scratched off the list pretty quick. It's about performance. Expected performance and no one having to explain to you how to act or how to give customers the proper space to decide and to pay at their convienience.

You kind of train yourself to live on nothing and watch the big flow of income happen at other people's paces and don't get freaked out because you have done it a thousand times and it works. It is being proffesional.

Not getting paid seems to bother the hell out of people. Especially in times like the current economy. The haunt that bought my stuff had more than a 30% increase despite the economy or the impending global financial disaster.

I have along the line kept a few sweet ideas to myself then eventually tell someone and it is out there doing someone some good. If there are things good happening everywhere then you can make good things happen for yourself.

Now I have to build another haunt. The old timers will tell you they had to build many haunts and this is why they got where they are.

Good luck.

badlander2000
11-24-2009, 01:26 PM
Erie County, NY is in the midst of a massive eruption of haunt growth this "off-season" and will yield between 5 and 9 haunts for next season so if all goes to plan I will be involved with at least three so, I must thank you Mr. Chrise for providing such great information!