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HauntedDestinFL
08-05-2009, 10:08 AM
We did our 1st home haunt last year, and it was a great success. Being a carpenter by trade I always helped the fire dept build their haunted house for them. Now that our daughter is older we strarted home haunting and we are loving it. I'm sure with all of you, you've spent a lot of time and money putting together your haunts. What are your thoughts in charging for home haunts to off set the costs?

scarygoat
08-05-2009, 10:33 AM
We charged $2 for our home haunt to try to get back some of what we spent, but we still spent more than we got back. We talked to different people in the county like we talked to the sheriff about charging $2 and why we would do it. She said it was alright as long as we weren't looking to make a profit and we weren't (I mean com'on it's only $2) We only did it for Halloween night. We plan on charging the same amount this year and even though we hope to get more people we are still going to just do it for Halloween night because even if we got double the amount of people we would still be able to get everyone in on time and we can always stay open until everyone gets through. So basically if you are looking to charge to make back some of what you spent I would go ahead and talk to maybe the sheriff or something like we did. If you are looking to make a profit than it is probably going to be a No. We did hear of some people complaining that we were charging $2, but anyone who went through knew it was worth it. We had people dashing out the exit and out of our yard.

Jake

JamBam
08-05-2009, 11:10 AM
PLEASE!!!!

Get permits, practice safe buildout, and get insurance. If you charge, you are no longer a home haunt in the goverment's perspective. Zoning will become an issue as well.

Again, SAFETY must be a priority.

Good Luck

HauntedDestinFL
08-05-2009, 01:50 PM
Thanks for your input guys. We weren't going to charge kids 12 and under. Last year I had the fire chief come over (after I bulit theirs) and take a look. Saftey 1st. I'll have to look in to the zoning. Thanks for the sound advice

N2SPOOKINU
08-05-2009, 08:30 PM
I dont know if this is correct or not but this is what we were told back when we had a home haunt. We were told we could not charge because when you charge it became a business but you can ask for a monetary donation and your home owners insurance was suppose to cover it because they are a guest at your home. I would still get insurance but like they said check into permits. They tried to shut our home haunt (1996) down because the city said I needed electrical permits to run the power for the lighting. I got around that by switching every light over to 12 volt by using the RV bulbs from walmart. Just check first to avoid any problems you may have. Dont put alot of work into it and find out you cant open ruining your halloween.
Greg
Fearfest

badlander2000
08-06-2009, 02:25 PM
I have been taught that charging for a home haunt is a form of financial suicide and if you are shut down the news coverage will damage your local industry so, keep it free and just try to have fun.

scarygoat
08-06-2009, 02:44 PM
I figured there would be different problems with asking $2 per person, but when we talked to the sheriff she said it would be alright as long as we weren't looking to make a profit and I think it helped that we were just doing it on Halloween. I mean I'm sure technically it wasn't, but no one really told us otherwise and we talked to a few people including someone at the permit office.

Jake

badlander2000
08-06-2009, 03:04 PM
Oh Jake, you are one lucky dude. People have been screwed over completely, in other parts of the country though, I guess.

stapleton13
10-22-2009, 09:59 PM
My bro and I have been doing a home haunt for 10+ years, and after a few years I had the same thought about charging to offset the cost.

Our solution was to search for a sponsor.

We hooked up with a place called full circle. They are part of our social services. What they do is mentor teens in our community.

How it works for us is like this. We Put on the haunt for full circle, and full circle pays us 50 percent of the take for our services. The advantage is we operate under their umbrella, and there are many other pros. We are insured even during the building process. We also have support of the other public agencies, because its social services. We always have a police officer given to us while we are open.

We really don't make any money doing it, but it doesn't cost us out of pocket either.

Myron

theeverydayguy
10-23-2009, 10:35 AM
in florida by law if we charge money then we would need a fire sprinkler system,commerical insurance,tons of permits,and we would be lible(spelling) for any one that gets hurt in our haunted house so we tend to say donations plzz

shawnc
10-23-2009, 06:29 PM
I figured there would be different problems with asking $2 per person, but when we talked to the sheriff she said it would be alright as long as we weren't looking to make a profit and I think it helped that we were just doing it on Halloween. I mean I'm sure technically it wasn't, but no one really told us otherwise and we talked to a few people including someone at the permit office.

Jake

The "make a profit" thing doesn't matter; that's just semantics or splitting hairs. You are making money and that makes you a business.

If you did this long enough to pay off your props, or if you could have built them cheap enough to begin with, then you would be making a profit. You and your accountant are the only ones who would know when you are making a profit so that isn't a good standard or even a good term to use.

scarygoat
10-24-2009, 07:31 AM
Haha, we haven't paid off ANYTHING because with a new haunt comes a new design, then new props, then new everything. People around here are happy to go through it for $2. We have had many complements on it. Bottom line is we got permission, and everything is working out. So for now, we will continue what we are doing as everyone is enjoying it.

grantbrott
02-21-2010, 06:54 PM
I noticed this topic while reading through. I have done a home haunt for 5 years now and we had looked into the charging aspect to help break the financial burden. I talked with some business mentors from courses I took while going to school for business and they basically said what others are saying here is once your charging at the door or any other way your considered a business and at that point you have to have permits, insurance, fire inspection, here in California if its 1000sq ft or more you have to have a fire sprinkler system and the list goes on. The past two years now we have made a amazing gory donation box and had it at the entrance/exit area. This past year the economic hardship really showed as we only had like $20 but the previous year we took in over $100 in donations which was awesome since we do our best to use recycled materials and donated materials for all the woodwork and other aspects of buildup. So if your not up to the business side of it yet I would highly recommend setting up a really cool donation box for your haunts. You might test out having one at the entrance and exit if they are 2 different locations since some might not want to donate to something they have not been through yet, i have not tested this theory out yet but am curious to the outcome of it.

Dungeon Keeper
02-22-2010, 01:34 PM
What are the legalities of doing a $2 donation per person?
That way it is implied as voluntary, but most will pay or move on rather than raise a stink about charging, and if they do you simply let them in. Complaints about price will be few and far between, and long as you are giving them thier moneys worth or more they will leave satisfied and scared.

scarygoat
02-22-2010, 03:26 PM
What are the legalities of doing a $2 donation per person?
That way it is implied as voluntary, but most will pay or move on rather than raise a stink about charging, and if they do you simply let them in. Complaints about price will be few and far between, and long as you are giving them thier moneys worth or more they will leave satisfied and scared.

I believe that is OK to do. We are moving our haunt to the YMCA so we don't need to worry about that anymore YAY!!!

HauntedDestinFL
02-22-2010, 03:32 PM
We did end up using a donation box and did very well with it. We ended up giving the money to family who's child was very sick from cancer.

Lord of Fright
02-24-2010, 02:37 AM
I help out with Darkwing Manor here in OR. We do a suggested donation and we have two women who really suggest it!! :) Darkwing this year pulled in a great amount doing this, all was donated to a charity. Like I read in another post, do a good job and wow them then they don't mind paying, ore even paying for the people in line with them that didn't donate!

sixfootgeek
02-24-2010, 09:08 AM
We have never charged, I will tell you this however. If you befriend your local fire marshal/chief and let him/her know what your plans are you should be just fine. There is a fine line between a real business and a yard sale. The best thing you can do is local research.