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hfproductions2010
03-01-2011, 09:37 AM
So I've read some of your ideas about compensation for volunteers and I'm interested to know if everyone is compensated the same? For instance this is our second year for haunting and in addition to our actors, we are expanding to have a make-up and costume team along with security and safety. So if you offer employee incentives, does everyone work towards the same incentives or how does that work?
I appreciate any input you guys can provide, this site has been extremely helpful!

I'm looking forward to meeting everyone @ Transworld & Insane Shane!

Thanks for all of your help!

Stephanie

Allen H
03-02-2011, 12:23 AM
For me everyone makes the same, with extra being given for years of service.

Soul Reaper
03-02-2011, 12:54 AM
I agree with Allen that seems to work best. But some times goals for actors to work towards makes some work harder to improve.

wickedfarmer
03-05-2011, 09:20 AM
Everyone gets same...but a nice bonus for showing up every night you are scheduled. So when a friend calls them a few hours before show time and wants to go to the bar....they know going to the bar one night is going to cost them their bonus. They are told up front at beginning of season...if grandma dies and you miss a few nights you get your bonus...when you bring me her obituary. has worked great last 4 years.

krazedklownkilla
03-05-2011, 01:01 PM
I have used the ...If you show up every night and do a good job then you will get extra after the season is over.

Uptown Haunts
04-16-2011, 04:53 PM
If you pay some staff/crew and utilize volunteers for other positions, I'd suggest a few bonuses for each based on their job performance, attendance, recommending other good staffers, etc. Volunteers are not paid but it would be nice to give them an end of season gift of some sort. It could be haunt merchandise or maybe and American Express $25 or $50 gift card. Something to show that you appreciate their efforts. If utilizing a number of volunteers from a non-profit organization, I would strongly recommend making a donation to their group based on the number/hours of volunteers they provide. As for the paid staff, offer incentives as mentioned above.

Steve....

RJ Productions
04-17-2011, 12:29 AM
Also ALWAYS watch how you refer to things. For example you should NOT use "pay" and "volunteer" in the same sentence or even context.
If you PAY someone, they are not a volunteer, they are an employee. We have had volunteers show up, everything is explained to them,
then a couple hours in you have one idiot saying, "so do we get paid every Friday or do we wait till Monday?" Then you have to ask AGAIN..
so what part of VOLUNTEER do you not comprehend??? Only once did I get a call from the labor board about a volunteer complaining about
not getting paid (he lasted 2 hours) I stated that we were a volunteer cast and asked if this individual had ANY paperwork that shows he was hired?
He never gave his social security number to us or signed any other normal "hired" paperwork. He never did ANYTHING associated with being
hired by a company. Once everything was explained the labor board person even stated that some people just do not comprehend ANYTHING!!

ALWAYS watch what you say and how you say it or it can come back and bite you later!

Darkmaster
05-01-2011, 09:31 PM
Also ALWAYS watch how you refer to things. For example you should NOT use "pay" and "volunteer" in the same sentence or even context.
If you PAY someone, they are not a volunteer, they are an employee. We have had volunteers show up, everything is explained to them,
then a couple hours in you have one idiot saying, "so do we get paid every Friday or do we wait till Monday?" Then you have to ask AGAIN..
so what part of VOLUNTEER do you not comprehend??? Only once did I get a call from the labor board about a volunteer complaining about
not getting paid (he lasted 2 hours) I stated that we were a volunteer cast and asked if this individual had ANY paperwork that shows he was hired?
He never gave his social security number to us or signed any other normal "hired" paperwork. He never did ANYTHING associated with being
hired by a company. Once everything was explained the labor board person even stated that some people just do not comprehend ANYTHING!!

ALWAYS watch what you say and how you say it or it can come back and bite you later!

I have to totally agree here. A volunteer is exactly that. We use only volunteers, and that makes it hard to get people to help.

Our haunt donates to charity, so it's hard to pay workers and pay the bills, when we're not that big yet.

spookjj
05-02-2011, 11:55 AM
I'm a bit ignorant on this subject yet, but, when you do pay and hire for part time work... do you have to pay minimum wage per hour? Then can you pay at end of season or does it have to be bi monthly or weekly... moreover, what are the laws you must abide by regarding part time employees with payment to your hires then?

Greg Chrise
05-03-2011, 12:14 AM
One of the ways to not insult the crap out of people willing to help you and give their all is to pay well above minimum wage. Especially for a seasonal part time affair. If it is nothing better than a McJob, why be involved at all. If you do call it minimum wage you will die by the rules of all the taxes and entitlements devised by your states labor relations board because you sort of started out with a sucky relation with your associates.

A haunt can easily make $4,000 a night and the poor dude gets $12 after taxes for working at near heart attack levels? What's my motivation man.

But yes people will do this for free and show up just because there is pizza that night and they wondered where they were going to eat or what otherwise. Fun and pizza versus getting paid some poverty level wage and you need to do what you are told? Which on has the manager reamed on a fence post?

But yes I have to Agree with RJ, you have to seperate in your brain two terms that do not go together. Volunteers might get some gifts and a free meal. Pay is hiring and firing and being responcible for peoples financial welfare and tax liability. I can only suggest seperating the hemispheres of your brain with some long thing like a knitting needle or something.

Jim Warfield
05-03-2011, 09:21 AM
I overheard "Grandpa & Grandma telling how they have all this wonderfull volunteer help , they were taking in $140,000 an October and they "Pay" their help with a "Free" hot dog at the end of the night. (I feel they were really paying them with a giant sausage!) (Non-greased!)
This was a walk-in-the woods type haunt and everyone knows how expensive trees can be!
Maybe in past lives I was always the one getting the weinie? I could never do this to anyone working for me.

HauntedPaws
05-03-2011, 10:06 AM
I overheard "Grandpa & Grandma telling how they have all this wonderfull volunteer help , they were taking in $140,000 an October and they "Pay" their help with a "Free" hot dog at the end of the night. (I feel they were really paying them with a giant sausage!) (Non-greased!)
This was a walk-in-the woods type haunt and everyone knows how expensive trees can be!
Maybe in past lives I was always the one getting the weinie? I could never do this to anyone working for me.

Some people don't care about being compensated for having fun at other people's expense.

Jim Warfield
05-03-2011, 07:41 PM
Are you meaning by this the evil thrill of inflicting sheer fright upon another? Yes, this can be very addictive (I know SO WELL)
Unfortunately I have found very few people who are driven this way as I was when in the JCs and have been for 25 years here in Ravens Grin Inn.
Sorry. I would Still Pay them.
Maybe it strikes a deep personal feeling of the forgone "Shaft-Itiss" I experienced for many years in a work situation?
"Do unto others....."
Do the right thing by others and sleep will never ellude you at the end of a long day.

RJ Productions
05-03-2011, 08:15 PM
I have stated this in the past, it's all about attitude and how you treat your actors. We are an actor based house. The actor gets

the scare, they are the focus.



Some people can not grasp how you can be making money and using volunteers.

The best way to explain is that this is just like a local community theater group.



We have the producer (us) who puts up all the capital, finds the location, buys all the props and costumes, pays for all the utilities,

pays for all the promotion and publicity, simply takes all the risk. IF it makes back it's investment there is a chance of a profit, if not

it is the producer that suffers the financial hit. Like the local theater group we provide the place for the actors to ply their craft.

Without the haunted house, the haunt actor has no where to go, no where to "play". If you hang out at the mall to jump out and

scare people the best you expect is to be escorted off property or you may need a right home from the police station after booking!!



So as opposed to a normal business model, we are closer to a local theater model, after all we do provide a live theatrical performance!

We provide the venue and outlet but do all we can to make them feel a part of the production. Our actors feel they belong to the production.

It becomes a huge pride thing. You see our actors wearing their haunt shirts and hoodies year round, people will ask "so you're part of the

Asylum or Hotel Fear? our actors proudly exclaim, "Yes I am!!"



It becomes a clique, a family. Our actors get together on a regular basis sometimes just to do social things. We took them all over to see the

Bodies Exhibit. A week or so they all got together on their own and did a bonfire at the lake. When you create this type of comradery you

don't have "employees" you have cast members. We tried paid actors twice and both times people came up and asked what was wrong,

they felt the level of the acting wasn't as intense!!



I don't do volunteers because it's cheaper, I probably spend as much. But I create long term team members, not one time employees!



There is no right or wrong way, just options and this is the option we chose.



Good luck,



Rich

dr0zombie
05-04-2011, 08:51 PM
So I have not opened yet. (Year one, lets hope all goes well.) But as far as volunteers versus paid actors you also need to consider the laws of your state. The state I am in has very specific regulation for a haunted house. The rules become much more involved when you pay someone. They are also explicit in law that any compensation is payment. In my case I plan to pay the actors with an expectation that an employee is a full time person there every night. Itís a job. I will provide for volunteers, but it would be to allow friends and people I might not pay who want to work. One Ďadvantageí I can say I have is that you must have a background check to be an employee. So if you didnít have a background check, you donít get paid. Now by the first of November I might realize I am totally wrongÖ.