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evilmanor
01-30-2012, 05:04 PM
Sorry so long....

I began haunting 5 years ago doing a home haunt. After 2 years of praise and compliments we approached a charity about becoming a 3rd party fund raiser. For the next two years we successfully raised money for charity as well as covered off season expenses and was able to re-invest back into the haunt. The 3rd year this past season there were no funds available for additions and were unable to come up with a suitable location.

Having to sit out last season really sucked, but what it helped me realise is that we had not made any attempt to become self sustaining. If we can't become self sustaining we're not going to be very successful. Over time if we're not very successful we're probably not going to be around very long.

I've recently read through Kelly Allen's "So You Want to Be A Haunt Entrepreneur", and used much of the info available to put together my business plan. Recommended reading if you haven't already read it.

Over the past five years I've managed to aquire over $30,000 in assets for our pretty much turn-key haunt. My problem is I have no location and I don't have the money to put up for a building or rent.

My sister spoke to a friend of hers who owns a real estate company that currently has a vacant building that would be a great size and location for the haunt. He is aware of my financial situation, but is still interested in talking to me about my haunt.

Now here's where I need your help.

I'm basically going to be a first year haunt (new location, neighboring town to previous years) so it's going to be next to impossible to guarantee any success. I can show him my business plan, numbers from previous years, an itemized list of assests, estimated expenses, photos, newspaper clippings, our website, etc...

If after talking to him, he's interested in allowing me use his building as a permanent location what should I be willing to give in return? A percentage of the profits if ther are any? A permanent partnership? A joint venture?

Thanks for taking the time to read all of this and thanks in advance for your thoughts!

HauntedPaws
01-30-2012, 09:50 PM
Should be willing to cover his operating expenses which are mostly taxes and utilities.

Bradenton Haunted Trail
01-31-2012, 06:04 AM
There is a lot of varaibles here what was your attendance, how much is rent for a location like that, do you have money for insurance, utiilities, advertisement. permits, is there a sprinkler system? What you need to think of is what is your haunt worth and what is his building worth (Lease wise). It sounds like you have a lot of talking to do. Get all the info you can have a business plan to show him the numbers and be ready be resonable just do not give up more than 49% and have him sign a non-compete. So he does not go well now that I see it done, I can do this on my own. And boot you to the curb next year.

Shawn
Twisted Woods

evilmanor
01-31-2012, 07:21 AM
There is a lot of varaibles here what was your attendance, how much is rent for a location like that, do you have money for insurance, utiilities, advertisement. permits, is there a sprinkler system? What you need to think of is what is your haunt worth and what is his building worth (Lease wise). It sounds like you have a lot of talking to do. Get all the info you can have a business plan to show him the numbers and be ready be resonable just do not give up more than 49% and have him sign a non-compete. So he does not go well now that I see it done, I can do this on my own. And boot you to the curb next year.

Shawn
Twisted Woods

Compared to most here, our numbers probably don't look like much, but we are in a very rural area. The closest haunt is about an hour a way. During our 2 years as a fund raiser we averaged 237 customers a night. We're open Fri & Sat every weekend in October and are looking to add the last weekend in September as well.

We've had very little to spend on advertising. I honestly believe our $5/$6 ticket price didn't help much either. Most haunts around here are at least $10 and I think many may have not taken us seriously with the low ticket price and being associated with a charity. The price was determined by the charity as they wanted to ensure the price wasn't to high for a family of four. Trust me I tried and tried to convince them to raise it.

The building in quest is an old super market probably about 18,000 sq. ft. originally. The previous tenant moved out and then the building went up for sale. My sisters friend bought the building and divided it up as his current tenant, Family Dollar, did not want the entire space. I'm hoping to move into the remaining 6,000 sq. ft. of the building. I've heard that he wants $2,000/month for the building, but he did offer it to a mutual friend for $500 a month.

I should be able to cover insurance, utilities and permits. Advertising I'm going to have to come up with a solution (ie. fund raiser, sponsors, etc...).

Unless he just wants to be a great guy and let me use his building I'm going to need the location for at least 3 years. I doubt he'd be the type to put in a haunt, but he is known for using his money to make money. Thanks for the tip on a non-compete.

Oh and yes there is a sprinkler system.

HauntedPaws
01-31-2012, 09:05 AM
In a nice way... I don't think alot of kids give a $hit about any haunt's cause they want a good time cuz most are now to jaded by the internet, smartphones, and special effects to even think on their own anymore.

Do $10 with a $3 coupon or $10 with a coupon for something on-site. If you're to cheap you can be dismissed as not worth the drive for $5. Having a coupon solves the family of 4 issues and makes you more money too.

evilmanor
01-31-2012, 11:52 AM
In a nice way... I don't think alot of kids give a $hit about any haunt's cause they want a good time cuz most are now to jaded by the internet, smartphones, and special effects to even think on their own anymore.

Do $10 with a $3 coupon or $10 with a coupon for something on-site. If you're to cheap you can be dismissed as not worth the drive for $5. Having a coupon solves the family of 4 issues and makes you more money too.

Thanks HauntedPaws, that's the argumnet I was trying to make to them as well. To cheap being not worth the effort.

HauntMan03
02-02-2012, 07:59 PM
"I honestly believe our $5/$6 ticket price didn't help much either."

This being said how big was your haunt? Because It don't matter how much you have in your attraction its how big the attraction is. Did you set the price or did the location set the price. As a pro haunt owner myself yes we want to get as much money as we can to offset our cost for the year. I've been to many haunts that are over priced due to size. Far as the 6,000 sq ft building is concerned you shouldn't have no problems selling your tickets at $10-15 range. As the partnership thing goes in my personal opinion I steer clear of partnerships. (NOT MEANING TO OFFEND ANYONE IN A PARTNERSHIP GUYS AND GALS). If anything goes south its like marriage easy to get into, but hard to get out. I had a friend that wanted to go half with me and my Lawyer as well as my haunt consultant, that I am good friends with told me to stay away from that. I agree with Shawn on the non-compete. Sounds like lots of thinking to do my friend. Hope you get to fulfill your dream in owning a haunt. If all else fails do a home haunt. Lot less head aches and paperwork involved there.

Mike W. Hargrove
Nightmare Haunt Productions, LLC.
Plantation of Darkness Haunted Attraction

evilmanor
02-03-2012, 07:18 AM
"I honestly believe our $5/$6 ticket price didn't help much either."

This being said how big was your haunt? Because It don't matter how much you have in your attraction its how big the attraction is. Did you set the price or did the location set the price. As a pro haunt owner myself yes we want to get as much money as we can to offset our cost for the year. I've been to many haunts that are over priced due to size. Far as the 6,000 sq ft building is concerned you shouldn't have no problems selling your tickets at $10-15 range. As the partnership thing goes in my personal opinion I steer clear of partnerships. (NOT MEANING TO OFFEND ANYONE IN A PARTNERSHIP GUYS AND GALS). If anything goes south its like marriage easy to get into, but hard to get out. I had a friend that wanted to go half with me and my Lawyer as well as my haunt consultant, that I am good friends with told me to stay away from that. I agree with Shawn on the non-compete. Sounds like lots of thinking to do my friend. Hope you get to fulfill your dream in owning a haunt. If all else fails do a home haunt. Lot less head aches and paperwork involved there.

Mike W. Hargrove
Nightmare Haunt Productions, LLC.
Plantation of Darkness Haunted Attraction

HauntMan03 we were just under 5000 sq. ft our first year and about 6,500 sq. ft the second year.

Both years were successful in bringing in just over 12% of our population. There were many repeat customers at the $5 (1st year) and $6 ticket (2nd year) prices. Both years we increased the ticket price Halloween weekend to $8 hoping we wouldn't get over run. Even though Halloween weekend numbers were down a little from the previous weekend the majority of our sales were from the last 2 weekends of October. There were even many repeats Halloween weekend from that night as well as previous nights. I think that's a pretty good indication that we put on a good show.

HauntedPaws
02-03-2012, 10:43 AM
Charge more, spend some cash on ADVERTIZING, and offer coupons for the first few weeks. Even think of offering a t-shirt for $20 which is a coupon in itself. "Anyone wearing our merchandise gets $5 off" or yu can make it 50% but now you are getting a cult following and FREE advertising.

HauntMan03
02-03-2012, 06:29 PM
HauntMan03 we were just under 5000 sq. ft our first year and about 6,500 sq. ft the second year.

Both years were successful in bringing in just over 12% of our population. There were many repeat customers at the $5 (1st year) and $6 ticket (2nd year) prices. Both years we increased the ticket price Halloween weekend to $8 hoping we wouldn't get over run. Even though Halloween weekend numbers were down a little from the previous weekend the majority of our sales were from the last 2 weekends of October. There were even many repeats Halloween weekend from that night as well as previous nights. I think that's a pretty good indication that we put on a good show.


Yes sounds like people enjoyed your show. So for the last three years you have increased your ticket prices. I say when you land your location find a happy medium price that your place will allow. How about a $12 ticket the first two weekends with a $2 off price. This year I think I am going to do the first 20 folks in line the first night get a free t-shirt and the rest of the nights anyone wearing our attire get a $2.00 off ticket price. They buy our shirts (Making Money there) and getting free walking ad's. Hope all works out for you bud!

Mike W. Hargrove
Nightmare Haunt Productions, LLC.
Plantation of Darkness Haunted Attraction

evilmanor
02-04-2012, 07:16 AM
Yes sounds like people enjoyed your show. So for the last three years you have increased your ticket prices. I say when you land your location find a happy medium price that your place will allow. How about a $12 ticket the first two weekends with a $2 off price. This year I think I am going to do the first 20 folks in line the first night get a free t-shirt and the rest of the nights anyone wearing our attire get a $2.00 off ticket price. They buy our shirts (Making Money there) and getting free walking ad's. Hope all works out for you bud!

Mike W. Hargrove
Nightmare Haunt Productions, LLC.
Plantation of Darkness Haunted Attraction

That's pretty much my intentions HauntMan03. I like the free T-shirt idea as well as it being a wearable coupon...Thanks!