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hauntedghost
08-04-2009, 02:41 AM
well, I have been trying so hard to get money for my haunt going and i can't find a way. Look all i am asking is this how did you guys get your money to build your haunt.


I have worked hard to find my ways and no luck were i am at.. The bank will not let me have the money because they think it will not work in there eyes. I have look in to getting a grant and so far no luck because of how many people put appts for small business grants. I have been trying so hard to get my going.

I don't know what to do here... so please help me...

I am not trying to over run another haunt.. I just have the passion for this. Just seening the big names in this industry, I would love to see my dreams come true for me.

I thank you and i hope that you can give me some hope...

Haunted Ghost

danglin
08-04-2009, 04:28 AM
I feel your pain! A friend of mine and I have several storage buildings full of props and animations, and I have been just trying to get a loan (in addition to the cash I am putting in) to pay for the rent, actors, insurance, advertising, etc. I went to my bank with a 40 page business plan, and blew them away with the presentation. When I left the second meeting with them, I was under the impression that they were going to fund my entire haunt. Then--- the phone call came. Due to a "lack of liquidity" of the items in the haunt, the SBA wouldn't back the bank, so the bank wouldn't underwrite the loan.

The bank had no doubt that I would succeed, because I was so prepared. However, if for some reason I did default on the loan, they said that the people who would be trying to sell the assets didn't know enough about the stuff to be able to get any money out of it. They actually said to try back after the first of the year, because the SBA funds were overtaxed, as you said.

I wasn't planning on opening until 2010 anyway, but it is frustrating. I have found the perfect location, but they will only lease in 1 year blocks, and I need to get the funds secured before I can sign the lease.

I do well in my day job, but not wel enough to take on a monthly lease payment that large. My wife and I are both searching for ways to fund the haunt, and if we come up with anything, I will pass it along to you.
Good luck,
Dewayne

hauntedghost
08-04-2009, 04:56 AM
this also meens some thing else too...



I do have a budget and every thing in line for building the haunt.

it's the money that's killing me right now. I have tryed almost every thing i can think of at this time.


The place for it is nice and all but mite be to big. I am trying to get 25-35 aces. there is another haunt here and i asked them how did they do it and they told me to buzz off. I just feel like this is my last resort and asking other haunters how you guys did it. I got tim's book and nothing told me about how to get money..

i just need help here. my budget is goi9ng to be $70,000-85,000.

that in all from building the sets to buying the litttle scerws to buying the paint to paying the actors,etc....

would any one help me find my money??lol..

it's become so hard for me. I have put it on paper to start right now..

I know some of you pro haunters will be like hang in there kid and some will be like well i can't tell him that, because my fellow haunter will know how i did it..

i don't want to keep buying books on how to build a haunt. I know that every well how to do.

I have been in the haunted industry for over 9 years and that's mosty as an actor. but now i feel it's my turn to give it a try and see if this is what i want to do for the rest of my life. And that time has come for me. I need to brake out and see what is it like to be the boss. I want to know how it feels to be a owner.

I gave my ideas to the guys i work at for past 9 years and no one gave me one pat on the back for the idea...

I am 24 and soon i 'll be 25 next year and now some of my high school friends have kids and i don't, Because i have a dream. Familys are cool to have and know that your a dad or a mom is cool too. hell my dad and mom are cool. But they worked hard for it. I have been there to and seen how hard it is to live.

I have had a hard life and now i would like this one shot at my dream. I don't care if people like it or not. I just want to be a owner of a haunted house. I have sit there over the years seen the TV show and seen other haunts. they have smiles from eear to ear. I want to be like that. I have spent hours and hours watching Halloween movies and TV show. my love for this thing grows every day and seen it become some thing I would love to be a part of.

so now you just see how much i love this little thing called halloween.

I can dream can I?


thank you...

HG

tchaunt
08-04-2009, 08:17 AM
I really liked your last post. It's not often that sincere emotion appears on message boards.

Have you tried looking for sponsors, yet? I'm not sure how difficult it is to get a sponsor (considering I haven't tried), but it seems like the 2nd best way to go to get money.

evilmanor
08-04-2009, 08:34 AM
Maybe you could take your ideas, business, plan and experience and convince one or multiple private investors to partner with you. Is there a building/location near you that's been vacant a while? Maybe a property owner would be willing to listen if they thought they could get a return on something that's not been generating any money. Lease/rent can be a huge part of your budget and if you partnered with someone who already had that you'd be one step closer.

How about working with a charity for a few years and get your name out there. This is what I'm doing.

I'm hoping I can use the knowledge, experience, real world data, networking, and name recognition to move towards my first suggestion. Not sure if it'll work or not, but hey I'm having fun, helping others and learning more and more in the process.

Good luck to you.

JamBam
08-04-2009, 09:11 AM
Try to look at your budget in two parts. The first would include all items and areas that need to be paid before you open. The second part would include the rest of the budget. Many advertising venues like newspaper and radio will not give new businesses credit, but they will be open to billing on a weekly basis. ThHat way you can split that part of the budget between the two main parts and reduce the cash up front you will need.

Be very conservative on your expectations so you do not spend yourself out of existance. Errorring on the plus side can be very exciting, versus the other way.

Good luck.

Gahaunter
08-04-2009, 09:23 AM
HG,

First, let me state that I've currently in situations similar to yours and Dewayne's. So I feel for you, I really do. It does become a labor of love once you do get open. I do however, think you are being overly ambitious. 25-35 Acres? That's pretty massive for a first year haunt. That's more like a Screampark. Most people don't start out that large, right out of the gate. If they do they usually have a lot of money backing it. Liquid assests and money are something everyone seems to be lacking at present. Heck, my backer had to finally pull out due to the bad economy.

I think you need to be realisitc and stick with something a little more manageable. Scale back you plans and try a smaller approach. I would think a 7,000 sq ft haunt would be more approachable and easier to do. Dependant on that success try and grow your business by 20% or so. Set managable goals that are obtainable and be determined. Just don't set the bar so high that you will fail right out of the gate. You'll get there eventually. Remember most of the the more successful haunts around had to start somewhere. Rome was not built in a day.

Gahaunter

shawnc
08-04-2009, 10:12 AM
I think you're thinking too big, a common problem among new business owners. Scale it down to something you can actually do and do it. Build on it from there. We would all like to open a huge haunt our first year but few, if any, can.

Does anyone know anyone who has ever done it any other way than what I just described?

Boni
08-04-2009, 10:53 AM
75,000 is a huge budget. Too huge for year one.

The haunts that draw 10,000 people or more have established themselves over time. I can't see you recouping 75,000 very quickly.

Find 10 friends to help you build it out of anything you can find at garage sales, auctions, good will, and then build it your self.


For actors, have your friends recruit 4 or 5 people each to help out for free.

You year one goal is to pay for your props and advertising, and establish your name so people will come back next year.

If you can find a charity that is willing to fund your project with the expectation of doubling their money, then great, that is how I did it. The youth club put up the money, and they get back double what they put in. Everything else I use to fund next year's haunt. One day, I hope to draw some cash out of it, but that is year 5 or 6.

Haunts of Richmond
08-04-2009, 01:37 PM
Try working at a local haunted attraction without just being an actor - do all the behind the scenes stuff like marketing, payroll, operations... try to become more of a partner than just another employee.

OR... look to start a charity haunt first. A "sponsor" is not going to drop $50,000 for you to build a haunt. You'd need to find an investor... and the best way to get a large investment is to do it all for a specific charity. After a few years of that, you can take your experience, all the props and supplies you've built up, and go professional.

Good luck!


- Ryan

Jim Warfield
08-05-2009, 12:02 AM
And finally finding two private backers who together loaned me less than $7,000, a girl just out of high school wanted me to advise her how she and her friends could get.. "Oh, maybe something like $800,000.oo handed to them because they had a movie they wanted to make!"
The real world of financial things can be a bitch but floating around in pure sugary sweet fantasyland doesn't get anything done either!
I read on here several years ago the Small Business Administration will not loan $ to Haunts because they are a seasonal business and they only want to hand out a few million $ to people who will employ ALOT of people, full time.
Loan officers in banks don't know much often times and are unwilling to risk their job to "learn" what they should not have loaned money towards.
Besides the advice all ready given here all that I would say is look for a person who bucked the system and the nay-sayers and did something totally "crazy", but it worked, made them alot of money, they will have the money to loan you and have the mindset to see it as a real possibility of working.
This is what happened for me.

hauntedghost
08-05-2009, 04:55 AM
I thank you guys for helping me in this little weird world of ours..



I know that i am not going to get the money I WANTED but I just need some money to get me going. I have talked to some investors before and with todays economy some sayed no.. I asked them why? and they said time are hard right now... I said to myself...dam....

now with the space i really need to start, I can look in other spaces but the one i look for was the best one and it's the best place in my town right now. It's more like 19 aces than i thought.. sorry..

I have keep in mind about how all the little things work to the big thing in life too. When i was in 9th grade. I took a class and knew i wanted to do this for the rest of my school life and that was Drama class. Then 10th grade came and I got in to tech thater. Now that was the best time of my life!! That same year i got to start my first job and it was working at a haunted house!!! From then on I did learn every thing from props to sets to making that dam home made blood... you all know what i am talking about..anyways, so I have learned the in's and out's of a haunt and learned what goes on in it. So far right now i am the trainer for new actors at this place. I have had fun over the years and it's been good to me.

Now, I see that some people has had it better than others and some others has had it ok. But some of you guys started back in the late 80's and early 90's. That's went jobs were doing ok and you can start a haunt for less then $5,000. now if i was at my age now and go back then that would be cool. But the sad part is that I am trying to open one in a bad time.. But is it all ways a bad time in the US??? I have tried to talk to some people about this little idea and showed them the papers. Give them the hole speech talk how cool it is to run with it. As a 24 year old kid live in Idaho has it's ups and downs too. Like netherworld and sceam house and others to name a few. All them are on the east side and i am in the north west. So you don't hear as much haunted house up here... I have done my homework and seen some other haunts. Been doing the behide the scenes thing when i first started there when i was 16 years old.

I don't know how to get the money in my hands right now. Even if it's just a small. I'll take it and i can do a lot with it. I can fine a way to make it. Build it and even find a way to use duck tape as a part of my tools!!!!!! I love duck tape.. sorry..

any ways I hope you can see what i know and this will be my labor of love.

HG

shawnc
08-05-2009, 01:29 PM
You're gonna have to start small. Too many haunters (and business owners in general) take the "all or nothing approach."

Whittle your costs down to nothing. Forget that huge piece of land that you can't afford. You might as well be looking at an empty WalMart in a high-traffic location if you can't afford it. Find something that the owner will be willing to donate for a few weeks. Go in with a charity so you can use their name. That also makes it easier to get free advertising.

Forget buying animatronics and expensive costumes at TransWorld. Not going to happen anytime soon. Like others have said: trash dumpsters, yard sales, thrift stores.

Get a part-time job in addition to your regular job, and put the extra money towards the haunt. Leverage your money. Maybe you can take the few bucks you have and put it into something that will bring you greater returns: selling refurbished computers, refinished furniture, learning to fix small dents in cars, something that people value that you can do cheap.

Find others who are just as passionate as you to help. Maybe one of them might have a relative willing to put up some money, or with enough of you chipping in small amounts you can make it work.

Getting a couple of big investors or sponsors would be great. But as Jim said, it's probably not going to happen. Something I learned a long time ago is that wealthy people got that way by being careful with their money. Everyone thinks a rich guy is the one to hit up for a loan or investment. Not true. He's too smart to give you his money for a crazy idea like a haunted house.

The other thing about starting small is that it's easier to make back your investment. You very well may not even gross your $70,000 investment the first year, much less net it. Then what do you tell your investor on November 1st?

zachary
08-05-2009, 03:35 PM
hammer, nails, and a negative checkbook!

hauntedghost
08-05-2009, 05:38 PM
You're gonna have to start small. Too many haunters (and business owners in general) take the "all or nothing approach."

Whittle your costs down to nothing. Forget that huge piece of land that you can't afford. You might as well be looking at an empty WalMart in a high-traffic location if you can't afford it. Find something that the owner will be willing to donate for a few weeks. Go in with a charity so you can use their name. That also makes it easier to get free advertising.

Forget buying animatronics and expensive costumes at TransWorld. Not going to happen anytime soon. Like others have said: trash dumpsters, yard sales, thrift stores.

Get a part-time job in addition to your regular job, and put the extra money towards the haunt. Leverage your money. Maybe you can take the few bucks you have and put it into something that will bring you greater returns: selling refurbished computers, refinished furniture, learning to fix small dents in cars, something that people value that you can do cheap.

Find others who are just as passionate as you to help. Maybe one of them might have a relative willing to put up some money, or with enough of you chipping in small amounts you can make it work.

Getting a couple of big investors or sponsors would be great. But as Jim said, it's probably not going to happen. Something I learned a long time ago is that wealthy people got that way by being careful with their money. Everyone thinks a rich guy is the one to hit up for a loan or investment. Not true. He's too smart to give you his money for a crazy idea like a haunted house.

The other thing about starting small is that it's easier to make back your investment. You very well may not even gross your $70,000 investment the first year, much less net it. Then what do you tell your investor on November 1st?



I think what i am going to do first here is to some of my firends to see if they want to do this..

I'll go with that for right now. all I can get back at this time is a NO...
oh, the one good thing is that if i do get this place i have been looking at will be an old junk yard. the other place i have look at its about 45,000 ft. that's also parking lot too. I don't know i have to put the places on hold intell i know that i can get them in my hands first.

HG

Darkblood
08-05-2009, 06:12 PM
Okay, I'll lay it all out for you from our perspective.
We started small. We had years and years of acting experience for the local Lions Club haunt.
We bought their stuff for cheap when they gave it up and stored it.
Well, 2 years ago we were able to find a Fire Dept. that let us use their pavilion (1500 sq. ft. about). We dealt with the weather and 'roof' blowing off in places and reattaching it. But it worked. We were able to get volunteers and insurance and all that and spend less than 2,000 dollars! I know...shocking.
But we had an okay turnout that actually made more than we spent and we put that aside for last year. We found a building that the owner worked off a percent of the door and here we are in year 3. Going to be our best year yet...since last year we did over 400 percent the first year for more money per person. Since our location is just under 5,000 sq. ft.
Still no animatronics or expensive props...although we did buy Claustrophobia for this year!
There you have it!

Kirk

lerandell
08-05-2009, 07:02 PM
I started as a garage haunter 9 years ago. Little by little I built up my props, more volunteers and experience doing all the other stuff required to run a haunt. I am still learning and by no means any kind of expert. After a few years in the garage we moved into a "barn" with a field next door for parking.
You can find others in your area to help by posting in the news paper. Try calling your local news paper to see if they have a "community focus" type section. Its like a "whats going on this month" list that is free. Usually they list bingo games and volunteer fire department fund raiser and the likes.

tell them to post something like:
new local haunt is looking for others who love Halloween and Haunted Houses and is hosting a hot dog cook out for those who would like to come see what its all about and help out.

Also if you do get to start small, build your wall panels in modular sections so that you can move from one building to the next very easily. lease on a building year round will kill your profits. you could even do the tent in the parking lot gig. Leonard Pickles Mayhem Manor is a great example.

sorry, I'm rambing... what were we talking about?

phrase
08-12-2009, 06:14 PM
The beginning.

My haunt started in 1987. I was 12 and too old to trick or treat so I made a small scene in my parents yard. Every year I added something new until 2003. My sister helped recruit a few people and along with my friends we experimented. We did not charge admission, but asked for donations. This was what we called the experiment. In only a three days we had over 100 guests. It was not huge, but it was enough.

The business.

After the experiment and 5,000.00 out of pocket expenses, the haunt became a business. Our main attraction is a 2,800 square foot maze. It is the beginning of the trail (built on my folks' farm) and is made of 2x4s and pallets. Creativity is more important than money. We get free mulch from the company that does tree trimming in the area. My actors all work for the love of the season, and Mom cooks dinner for everyone. Last year as I was working late into the night, my girlfriend walked over to me and asked,

"Do you ever wonder if anyone that visits realizes it's just you, a few pieces of scrap wood, some friends, and a dream?"

The truth is, it is the dream. That is what keeps us going, all of us. It is just the dream.

DoctorCosmonaut
08-12-2009, 10:07 PM
What are people's average operating costs (including insurance, advertising, actors, etc)?

shawnc
08-13-2009, 12:52 AM
We get free mulch from the company that does tree trimming in the area.


Someone has to ask: What do you do with the mulch?

phrase
08-16-2009, 02:52 PM
We have a trail haunt that begins with our large maze, winds through a large woodlot of several acres and ends with another maze. The trail is about 1/3 of a mile and tends to shift from year to year. Every year we need mulch for the new trail.