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Thread: Acquiring Funds

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  1. Default Acquiring Funds 
    #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Waverly, Iowa
    Posts
    657
    Now that Halloween season is done and over, I'm now more than ever motivated to look into the possibility of getting a show up and going for the 2013 season. I've got six years of experience in running my home haunt which saw an average attendance of around 600 patrons a year, our busiest year having almost 1,000. Not a huge number (compared to other areas of the US) but quite the draw for a town of my size. (About 10,000) There are a few haunts in my area that I'd say average around 3-5K patrons a season charging $10-$13 a ticket. There's a population density of nearly 100K people within 20 minutes of my town.

    The haunts in my area are OK for what they are, but patrons in this market are unaware of the amazing things going on in this industry. Our market here is stuck in the 80's-90's style haunts with black walls, checkerboard rooms, and fire engine red paint for blood. Don't get me wrong, it works for our area... But I want to bring so much more to the table. I've spent the past two years networking with owners and operators of haunts across the US learning tons of valuable information to use towards opening my own show. I've also done some networking locally in regards to potential sponsorships later on down the road. In short, this place is a gold mine. Given the right resources, I believe I could do amazing things for the Iowa haunt industry.

    With that said, I can have all the knowledge in the world, with the best crew and the best sponsors... But it all comes back to funds. Obviously this is a huge obstacle for most haunts (If not the biggest) to deal with. However the more haunters I talk to, it sounds like it's nearly 75% luck as far as finding buildings/investors to help with their business venture. I'm just wondering if this is the norm for most? It certainly seems like it, but I know there's got to be guys out there that find different ways of getting started.

    My thinking being gather a group of core sponsors that would be the initial investors to get going our first year. Larger companies like Coke, Monster, possibly local car dealerships, that could afford to invest a chunk of change in order to get the ball rolling. They'd obviously be reimbursed with marketing/tickets/ and other promotions. I was also thinking to have different "tiers" of sponsors that would get different benefits depending on how much they invested.

    In all, I feel like it'd be my best bet to get things going financially... I'm just apprehensive that these people will actually be willing to donate much more than a couple hundred bucks.

    What are you thoughts? Is it out of line to ask for a large chunk of money out front? Is there a different way of getting financing aside from actually taking out a business loan? What are your previous experiences?
     

  2. Default  
    #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Mesquite, TX
    Posts
    2,788
    My advice is to start small. As small as you can afford. Do try to get some sponsors,but you will get a lot of No's so dont put so much energy into that that you get discouraged.
    What kills me is that haunted houses started as a fundraiser for many groups, and now people think they need raise money to do a haunted house. Start small, allow your first year to fund your second year, and your third year to fund your fourth. If you are lucky then by year five you can haunt full time making a smooth $30,000 a year for yourself as well as funding the haunt. Im not harping on you at all- you are awesome. start small, ask to haunt a floor of a parking garage, ask a land owner to make a trail in his woods splitting profits, ask a farm to let you build a haunt behind their farm stand.
    Allen H
     

  3. Default  
    #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    1,588
    Haunting full time earning 30k a year? That won't pay the rent in Virginia for the year.


    DA
     

  4. Default  
    #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Mesquite, TX
    Posts
    2,788
    Darkangel, you are right, maybe by year 10 it will sustain someone full time. That was my point.
     

  5. Default  
    #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    12
    Quote Originally Posted by Allen H View Post
    My advice is to start small. As small as you can afford. Do try to get some sponsors,but you will get a lot of No's so dont put so much energy into that that you get discouraged.
    What kills me is that haunted houses started as a fundraiser for many groups, and now people think they need raise money to do a haunted house. Start small, allow your first year to fund your second year, and your third year to fund your fourth. If you are lucky then by year five you can haunt full time making a smooth $30,000 a year for yourself as well as funding the haunt. Im not harping on you at all- you are awesome. start small, ask to haunt a floor of a parking garage, ask a land owner to make a trail in his woods splitting profits, ask a farm to let you build a haunt behind their farm stand.
    Allen H
    Great advise Allen! Thanks! I too am looking to move out of my home haunt and into something bigger. Not by next year, but within the next 2 or 3. I have a lot invested in props, lighting, etc... but my biggest obsticle will be obtaining a perminate location. Once that is done, I will keep it growing year to year, with a small start that I can afford.
     

  6. Default  
    #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Waverly, Iowa
    Posts
    657
    No worries Allen. I fully plan on starting small. But even a small haunt could cost 10K if not more. Just trying to figure out how to get there being a one man band.
     

  7. Default  
    #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Tyler, Texas, United States
    Posts
    2,614
    With no money the next level is not a permanent location and a loan, it is use your resources to make some money. So you "rent" your services to charities and corporate gatherings or rather large corporate parties. You set up in places that are already temporary in nature like fair grounds or large flea market lots. Or you get a trail outdoors with a land owner being your partner and risk destroying all of the props you have just to make the money you need.

    You make things and sell them to other haunts. You decorate bars and restaraunts for Halloween or parties at large rooms in Hotels. You find an abandoned building and figure out how you can use it to help a charity. You find a haunted charity that is lame and pump them up to the next level with your skills and props for a percentage of the door.

    Small businesses generally don't just keep getting loans over and over to stay in business. They have to make money. And so you set off with the notion that small makes money, limited money but slightly positive in cash flow. If that is too slow, you have a good job or regular business and embezzle your own money to buy materials. If you have your own company or service you can also squander helpers on payroll doing something other than what they are supposed to be doing. Being out and about you may run into that person that has a building or land and just wants to make enough to pay the taxes per year.

    You just want to keep growing and pay for the storage on the more crap you accumulate. Instead of shopping at home depot, you shop on craigslist and flea markets. You make things instead of buy things. You get sponsors to get you over the hump of having insurance on the event and paying the utility bills, feeding the actors.

    So if all of this can be done creatively with no resources, why are we spending $150,000 to have your first attraction see 800 to 4,000 people? Like what is the Return on Investment here? Get into a gig where you are the second attraction or 10th attraction somewhere and there is no rent only cash flow when the tickets are sold. Instead of a whole haunt be a side show in the midway of a larger or more established haunt.

    There are people that will "invest" or loan money with high returns expected. It does not help either party. The start up guy is back to borrowing money every year and rarely gets clear of debt and the stupid helpful investor lost all the money they grabbed at a high rate by being pushed into the next tax bracket. So why do that? Eventually the loan people stop and figure out they are losing money or the haunt guy can't pay things back and has to sell off something or just outright close. Or years down the road some official closes it for not having something and everyone is screwed money wise. That 20% or 40% you can get from a loan shark is the money you were trying to get all along so just never give it up. Or if you do pay that much out and there is nothing left at least it went to payroll or maintenance and storage or moving expenses so you can do it all again.

    When you somehow get $20,000 you don't know what to do with, then you get a permanent lease or buy a couple acres somewhere.

    Even if you just act in a haunted house, do makeup and costumes or set design you have more chances of profiting $10 a day. There is no such thing as bankruptcy for something you are going to be doing for the next 20 or 30 years. It is much better to have earned your way. Then it is all yours.


    For everything on the list that you need, there is a creative way around it where you can earn, barter, trade or use for free. You don't spend money until you make money and you spend it wisely.


    Another fabulous post from the U.S.Department of Wild Imaginings, now in spectaclar stereo, sponsored by the Adhesives and Sealants Council, suggesting ways to stick things together since the 1800s. Not fabulous in a gay way. Your results may vary. Illinois residents add 8% sales tax. These posts have been made by professional post makers, do not try this type of posting on your own without extensive training, lovely assistants and a trusty clown horn.
     

  8. Default  
    #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Tyler, Texas, United States
    Posts
    2,614
    Also don't live in a state where $30,000 is not enough to make it. Live in a state where you can live like a king on $20,000 a year. You don't have to work as hard and be all bitchy and stuff.


    Another fabulous post from the U.S.Department of Wild Imaginings, now in spectaclar stereo, sponsored by the Adhesives and Sealants Council, suggesting ways to stick things together since the 1800s. Not fabulous in a gay way. Your results may vary. Illinois residents add 8% sales tax. These posts have been made by professional post makers, do not try this type of posting on your own without extensive training, lovely assistants and a trusty clown horn.
     

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