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View Full Version : What would you do?.....



TheNightMare
02-13-2007, 04:46 PM
Heres a scenario for you all. I would like to know what you all would do if you came accross something like this.

You know a landlord and he is willing to give you 20,000SF of space in the cellar of his building for FREE for a whole year or until the haunt opened, whichever came first. Ceiling height 10 feet. Parking lot for 1000 cars, easily accesable from 2 different highways,

The problem is you don't like the location.

And since all businesses require the right location to succeed, what would you do???

It's all about Location, Location, Location and NOT about a FREE place to be for a while.

-----

Me, I would like a permaent location to set-up and NOT a place you will have to tear down and move from. I want everything to be Impressive and with the thought of moving everything you worked so hard for in a building you knew you were going to leave doesnt appeal to me. What do you all think?

Would it be a good decision or a bad decision??

ClusterOne
02-13-2007, 04:59 PM
Why don't you like the location? Just in a bad spot, or next door to waste disposal site? :lol:

SSP
02-13-2007, 05:03 PM
It would depend. If by bad location you mean in a poor traffic area, there would be even degrees of that to take into account. We talkin suburbs, or boonies?

If the location is free, you could take that money and put it into marketting to cover for the poor location itself, but if this thing is deep in the backwoods of hell, there's no saving it.

Greg Chrise
02-13-2007, 05:25 PM
The only reason I don't like it is that it might not truely be secure because of how big it is, too many ways to enter, too many ways to break in unseen from the street. I don't know the exact location but, a good place to sleep and pee in the entry ways.

If it is infact completely enclosed and secure. I would do what you do, have a party once a month at least for money. Spend 3 weekends cleaning up from the last party, adding more to what will become the haunt and using the secret ways of the internet to invite party goers for $10 a piece or what ever. An exclusive party gathering by invite only not a city authorized or governed event. Bring your own so there is no liability. A place for weird people to meet and network.

Then opening it as a haunt is the big pay off from continual word of mouth and networking that will have so many people show up they will want to be throwing you out or getting a piece of the ticket price or paying rent or more likely throwing you out.

But, you wouldn't fill up all 20,000 SF, as it might be indoor parking for VIP guests or hearse and car show events.

There is always maybe a catch to free and I don't know what this is yet. The trick is to do your thing with out being obnoxious or messy or destructive. Or right up front putting money in the pocket of the Land Lord as it goes down even though he said free.

TheNightMare
02-13-2007, 05:28 PM
Lets see the traffic area is fine. The street it is on is very busy and located in the city.

I guess my concerns would be ceiling height, not having total control of what I would like to get done b/c I do NOT own the building. Face of haunt would be in the back of building and NOT in front plain view. Im sure the landlord would let me do something in front to show everyone where its located. The place is dirty and would take a lot of time to clean it up. It smells. lol

I would like people to drive somewhere and turn a corner and be like "Oh my God" there it is". I want to be different and innovative with my design. I dont know maybe I want a circle instead of a square or rectangle for a building shape. There are probably more, but you get the gyst. Maybe Im toooo picky, Who knows really?

I also read something or heard that you shouldn't set-up a haunt in your home town. Is there any merit to that?

MMManiac
02-13-2007, 05:34 PM
My haunt is 25 minutes from anywhere (middle of the country) and there is nothing to point out where the haunt is from the road until you get out of your car and walk around a house and then u see the barn. It's a barn which use to be used and it smells of high heaven, yet like they say in field of dreams, "If you build it, they will come" Take the free space, market the heck out of it and see what happens...


Sean

Greg Chrise
02-13-2007, 05:56 PM
I'm thinking no facade, invite and referal, limited number of guest events with some kind of entertainment. Like not a loud band, an unplugged band or people read spooky poetry (it would suck) in a large haunted expresso gathering like the lofts in 1956 New York. Atists all get together and help you build things to express their dark vision. I'm just brain storming here, something that makes it an all year event that lets people know where it is when the time comes.

I'm thinking no facade. I'm thinking like Blade Movies where you see the symbol on the building and only Vampires can see it Because they have the special Infared Glasses (Vampire Vision) Something that makes it an elite activity. Something that makes it unusual.

Later if it really is to be a haunt it is real easy to make big monsters that are rolled out onto the side walks that point the way. I'm talking parade float big. Big pointing fingers.

I don't know about the home town thing. This advice may come from just how much opposing opinion you might get. You should be doing something else with your life. If you go to another town you really don't care because a creep has to make a living. On the other side of the coin you don't get as many patrons from all the people you know and shouldn't expect it. So using like Myspace gets people coming in from 30 miles away to join the festivities, locals expect it for free because they know you. If it is a business and you are trying to hussle people you have known it doesn't work. You are at that point the Kirby Vacuum cleaner man.

I have this insurance guy that keeps asking me when I would be available to meet with him, he will only be in my town between the hours of 2 and 4. Why would this guy not be able to sell insurance in a town of 4.5 million where he is coming from? How special am I? I'm supposed to feel obligated because he drove 2 hours? But if I knew him and he came to my house I would likely say that's great, let me know how that works for ya.

I have done enough sales to not be too excited to commit to anything. I don't care if Paul Harvey once mentioned his company. I really don't want insurance from somewhere else. So far all he has showed me is a price per month and a picture of Paul Harvey. He has failed to mention what sending him $182 a month provides me with. That might be important to know.

Maybe that's a bit off track.

I have wandered around and mainly because of driving a hearse been able to turn conversations around. So you are from 30 miles from here, what brings you here? Better movie theaters, restaurants, people and places. What do you do for fun in you own town? We tour Walmart and go bowling. Wow, you must be the cool people.

So by creating an unusual destination even with gas being $2.09 it becomes something special. Yep if the locals want to come in they either have to work there or pay.

TheNightMare
02-13-2007, 05:58 PM
Yea, would have to make sure the space is secure, thats like priority number 1 and I just thought about this but I dont think the sprinkler system would work, since its so old and probably hasnt had water run through it for a VERY long time. Now I know thats a costly expense.

I like the idea of an exclsive party for haunters - we'll see / my partys always been for family and business associates.

Greg Chrise
02-13-2007, 06:20 PM
The sprinkler system and permits come into play when you are open to the general public with some level of occupancy. If you are going to jam lots of people in there it is a risk and the system needs to be made to work. If it is small gatherings of limited occupancy, a private gathering then you are building the capital to maintain the building or bring it up to code. Perhaps another secret desire of the land lord or a benefit he would enjoy very much. If it was up to code he would be renting it out right now for big bucks?

The system is there, it shouldn't be that much to make it work. It isn't like you are building it from scratch and having to have it installed by a certified contractor, you are just trying to service it.

But, again, I have been accused over and over of being MR. UNSAFE for suggesting you don't need a sprinkler system if you are under the rules.

Think smaller parties with bigger ticket prices like it is a fundraiser for the facilities and sure to be a great time. Some of the best parties I ever went to were for someone to pay their rent. Even though they had good jobs they needed rent money? Were they on drugs or something? I don't know but I have never found that cheese dip recipe. And there seemed to be a party every month at about 5 different people's houses with a pay as you come in the door thing happening and bring your own.

Then one day everything lines up. The facilities are secure, built proffesional, you have a big line of potential customers that know where the place is at and it's ON.

Greg Chrise
02-13-2007, 06:35 PM
And I will just nip this in the bud right now, any one that wants to get on my butt about how fire safety is so important, just go sit in any, ANY restaurant. Look for sprinkler heads and read the fire marshal's occupancy permit that is on the wall. Then fear for your lives and stay in your houses.

The other thing would be that not all 20,000 SF would need to be operational, just what you are going to actually be using. Usually it is a type of fitting on the outside of the building needs to upgraded or the new type of control box has not been installed. Usually the heads and everything else just needs flushed out and certified.

Greg Chrise
02-13-2007, 06:41 PM
Just start calling people for estimates and we will see just how free it is. I'm guessing $800 to $1200 will make it work. A new 20,000 SF system would cost $50,000.

Jim Warfield
02-13-2007, 08:35 PM
I think the whole "Don't Try This In Your Hometown" thing comes from the thinking of one man (who shall remain unnamed)
I also believe this actually implies that the ones with the BIG DREAM of having a fabulously successfull haunted house also directly translates as having 3,000 paying customers /per/hour or more and the little small-town dreamer will not be seeing this ever come true in Hickville, USA because the sheer numbers just are not there, they are someplace else, obviously.
If this is as far as your dream takes you, this thinking will be right, no denying it, but this dream belongs in someone else's dreamscape, someone wishing to be like the old Beagle Boys after Uncle Duck's fortune. This is all about "fortune", having the haunt is no more or less important than buying a tool , end of story.
I could not have done anything without the support of a few people from my hometown, they knew me, had seen my work ethic for 15 years, this took the place of the impossible task of influencing some Banker, which seems to never happen for most wanna-be haunters , now does it?
The fact that one of the two men backing my dream was a retired Banker, might make it all the more impressive?
No, I had not been financially successfull , but I was honest and worked long and dilligently no matter how sweaty my armpits became or whether it was summer or winter, day or night, they respected that and finaced that.

Kevin Dells
02-13-2007, 09:12 PM
I think the whole "Don't Try This In Your Hometown" thing comes from the thinking of one man (who shall remain unnamed)
I also believe this actually implies that the ones with the BIG DREAM of having a fabulously successfull haunted house also directly translates as having 3,000 paying customers /per/hour or more and the little small-town dreamer will not be seeing this ever come true in Hickville, USA because the sheer numbers just are not there, they are someplace else, obviously.
If this is as far as your dream takes you, this thinking will be right, no denying it, but this dream belongs in someone else's dreamscape, someone wishing to be like the old Beagle Boys after Uncle Duck's fortune. This is all about "fortune", having the haunt is no more or less important than buying a tool , end of story.
I could not have done anything without the support of a few people from my hometown, they knew me, had seen my work ethic for 15 years, this took the place of the impossible task of influencing some Banker, which seems to never happen for most wanna-be haunters , now does it?
The fact that one of the two men backing my dream was a retired Banker, might make it all the more impressive?
No, I had not been financially successfull , but I was honest and worked long and dilligently no matter how sweaty my armpits became or whether it was summer or winter, day or night, they respected that and finaced that.

Bravo! Well said Jim,love the story even with the sweaty armpits.

xxxdirk
02-13-2007, 09:45 PM
Nightmare wrote "It smells. lol" Hey, my friends at Dreamreapers have a side business selling smells for haunts. That is one less expense you would have,. :P

spookologist
02-13-2007, 10:14 PM
Is this your 1st haunt? If it is, wow, what a great opportunity.

First of all, you'll have 8 months to get everything ready. Thats enough time to put together a pretty good show. Design your haunt with the intentions that you would be moving after the first season. Look at the head start you'll have. You can build a pretty good reputation and take that with you when you finally find your own permanent location.

Second, Whats in it for the landlord? Free is a good thing if its a good location. Spend your time putting together the best show you can and spend what would be your rent money for advertising.

Like Greg said, do the repairs on the sprinkler system and make sure everything is to code. Safety is the key when putting a lot of people through your haunt.

I was fortunate enough to have a friend let us use their land for 8 years. We eventually outgrew that location and had to move on to something else. It took me over 3 years analyzing 64 properties before we found our current location. Which is leased. I'd love to buy my own land but nothing is available in my area that could handle the amount of traffic and parking we generate. Not to mention enough land to handle the 27 scenes that we have. If it is available it's way more than I want to spend for a seasonal event. The land right across the street from us is about the same acreage we have and they are asking $800,000 for it and most of it is wetlands. But thats CT.

I think if the location is good it's a blessing. Your passion will allow you to create a good show. Run with it.

Good Luck!!

Wayne

Jim Warfield
02-14-2007, 12:20 AM
"Wetlands!" How many years would customers pay to see only "The Creature From The Wet Lagoon?"
See the Creature roam and pillage!
See the Creature tap dance!
See the Creature recite lesson plans!
See the Creature demonstrate which pimple cream works best for him!
See the Creature explain his sea food diet.
See the Creature sell you a time-share piece of wetlands.
See the Creature eat a live chicken off the hood of your car!
("Is he really doing that , Daddy?")
See the Creature eat the Geico Gecko!!!!! YES!

TheGallows
02-14-2007, 01:40 PM
There are several things that I would recommend before getting into this location.

1. If it is in the basement, does it have enough emergency exits to meet code. The zoning in most cities will have strict guidelines to how many people can be in a building with your use and they will need so many exits per the size of your building. In our City, a 20,000 sf building needs 6 to 7 exits. Crazy but better to be safe then sorry.

2. If it is an older building will it meet a seismic test. When you go from a building that was a manufacturer or office or storage or something in that area they tend to not have as strict of guidelines but when you cram 300 to 600 people at time in a large area then the City wants to make sure that the building will not fall down in case of seismic activity. At least that is how it is here.

Make sure that the location would work and meet all the codes before you sink money into it. Even if it is something that you try to use under the eyes of the law until the season of the haunt, don't spend money and precious time to fix something up that won't work.

As for your location....Don't under estimate the desire that people have to get scared. Most haunted attractions are not an impulse buy type of business. They are a business that people plan to attend hours before or days before. Very few visitors will come by without some type of planning. Its not Mcdonalds that will satisfy their palettes. Look at Disneyworld. Did Walt build that place in a convient location in Florida? Nope! He built it where he new he had plenty of cheap land. But the people came and the cities where built around him.

Remember you drive the customers desire not your frontage.

Ryan

Jim Warfield
02-14-2007, 05:31 PM
That frontage can entertain and stimulate those waiting customers. Building anticipation and expectations. Afterall these two things are vital to the whole haunted entertainment process.

TheGallows
02-15-2007, 02:13 PM
Having a great business frontage and look is vital.... What I meant as frontage was perfect walmart style frontage from main roads that can be seen by thousands. Many popular resorts and theme parks are not seen from major roads and not seen as a impulse area. Very little people drive by disneyland and say "Hey I got an idea, let's go to that theme park over there, right now. Cuz they's got a funny lookin mouse to take pictures wit."

Great frontage is great to get the word out but not vital in this type business. The proper front of the actual building or entrance is ideal. You have to create a great look to improve the clients exectations. But if you were down an alley with creepy trees and rusted gates then it could improve your business (As long as people knew you were there)

Summary: You don't have to be on a major road to be successful in this type business, just have to be easy to find. People plan ahead to visit. Does anyone agree with me or am I just nuts?

Ryan

Nightgore
02-15-2007, 02:16 PM
You don't even want to know how many times I think...

"Man, oh how I could fill that old Wal-Mart with a GREAT haunt!"

I know of 4 EMPTY Wal-Mart buildings (vacant for years) that NO ONE will use. Why? Because the newer built Wal-Mart may shut them down! But a haunt in this type of building!.... LARRY!!! (screaming for the phone) LOL!

-Tyler

Jim Warfield
02-15-2007, 02:50 PM
It takes about three years for enough people to find your place to actually have a customer count you can bank.
Impress them, they will return bringing others , shaft them by over-pricing what you have for a show and they might return one more time to give you a second chance, but beyound that...? No.
In many ways I have the absolutely poorset location for a haunted house , in some ways I have the absolutely best location. (Because it is a haunted house!)
Getting free national publicity in magazines and tv shows helps people find you even if by other's standards your location is very poor.
Since I am open year-round I do have some impulse customers.
then I usually have the impulse to take their money, give them a tour.

TheGallows
02-16-2007, 12:37 PM
Nightgore-

I have actually looked at leasing old walmart locations and great that they may be, they are truly pricy for my cup of tea. The average walmart in my city is 75,000 s.f. and at 12.00 to 17.00 per ft a year. Then even if we average it at 15.00 per foot then that is $1,125,000.00 per year in rent!!! I don't know about you but that is insane! I know that I couldn't make money doing it but if it was at 1.00 per foot then I could justify it.

Anyway, we are on the same wave length brother! We just need to be millionaires with millions to spare on hobbies.

Ryan

TheNightMare
02-16-2007, 05:45 PM
I will comment on some things said and ask questions if they come. But, I wanted to say Thank You for all your kind words and inspiration. It sure does make me think about the building I don't like. haha