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Thread: Business people?

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  1. Default  
    #21
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    Aug 2003
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    Tyler, Texas, United States
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    If you build things with some level of passion and craftmanship, people will come to you to service it.

    Like if you had a home built, people call their home builder with questions about adding on or fixing where a tree took the corner of the garage off and deal with the insurance company.

    Custom finishes, same thing, only the guy who installed it can really tell you how to maintain it or repair it.

    And so over the years I observed all the stories of haunt failings and did better than that.

    Some guy wants $2500 just for the drawing of a haunt. I can build a haunt and show it to you already built with a drawing or 5 drawings for $2500. It ran for years and the money came from the customers, it was time to redo all the fire retardant again and even with all the known expenses that were going to have to be done to maintain and upgrade it, it was a better deal than anyone else every offered.

    So if you legitimately help someone out, instead of demanding $150,000 right now in unmarked bills, who knows how much money it can earn over 20 years or more with great relationships. Then it doesn't limit to the haunt either, lots of businesses anyone get into you are offered to participate in as well. Or when one does sell you get first dibs on being the guy who will sell it. You know how to sell one, probably know who needs one right now and it's how fast can the semis get back into town. No need to run an add in a magazine for 12 years trying to sell the same haunt.

    I have seen haunts sold out of trailers at a truck yard where someone actually got $165,000 SBA loan and they sold the haunt for $10,000 just to pay storage fees not paid on the trailers. So they took the guys house and all is assets and some consultant "helped him" to that conclusion.

    I've seen a guy talk a retired guy into building a bunch of walls and buying props with his meager retirement savings, then convinced a mall to let them have a huge space and only a couple thousand people showed up, the guy drove off with the ticket money, the mall locked up the building and sold the haunt and all it's contents for $23,000 to pay for the rent. The old guy lost his money. Earlier a couple if us from all across Texas listened to this guy tell us it was going to me a million dollar location. Really? Well talking with that fake English teacher accent doesn't mean you are smarter than I am.

    Over and over another guy talks about finding a partner and somehow that partner never gets paid and everything ends up in court. Many times when it doesn't have to be some kind of fancy contract that is skewed to making sure you get paid. If you do great work it isn't a problem and you don't even need a contract.

    I have gotten into things where investors are all of a sudden told that there is some other investor that will give money for less of a return and they think the original investor should go down on their return or they will use that new guy. Nope, just wait a week. Oh that other guy backed out and so we will pay the original rate you requested. Now there are two sides to that one. The idiot by so many years in shouldn't still be seeking more and more investor money, there should have been some amount held back in profits to become independent of that situation and the second thing is the guy shouldn't have tried to hustle people that backed him every year for a decade. Eventually he didn't get any money.

    Many times on these forums I have mentioned being the bank. Just like you see some version of crime stoppers on the TV where you shouldn't give someone that walks up to your door and says they do roofing and can do yours, don't give them a deposit. SO then every legitimate contractor is also some kind of gypsy con artist that could be taking you for a ride. So you have to adopt a much higher standard. I will buy all the materials, install all this stuff and do all the things we talked about for this amount of money and if you don't like it don't pay me. Depending on how they react or the fact that the conversation has gone to that level then you can pretty much judge what you are dealing with. They either have the money or don't. And paying for everything isn't necessarily easy. Having things happen in a timely fashion can be seriously tough. Still how many people take orders based off a prototype and get a deposit versus the thing is already made, can someone sell it on consignment for me somewhere?

    And you work when others won't. We worked Thankgiving day and still everyone got somewhere for a dinner. A helper that has been with me for 4 years hit me with one of my own lines, that turkey isn't paying you $60 today. Of course it made sense because there was bad weather coming a few days later. Every day I whip out a calculator and make sure we did or didn't do enough to meet the pre estimate. I have figures in my head of what everything costs and how much every step pays and it has to match or be slightly better than that. Meanwhile so many helpers are updating their facebooks status about some band or music or sports event. Their iphone isn't paying them $60 either. You have to focus on what is paying you. It is all a big balance, something you will do makes more than expected and other things something caused a delay and cost money. If you have a string of delays you have to plan where that next big spurt of productivity is going to come from. Still not gouging any customer, just always doing exactly what you said you would do and how you were going to do it.

    Doing haunted houses has taught me lots of things. I will just all out like a crazy person tell someone exactly how to do something, how hard it is to do, how many years you have to move your hands like that to get good at it, what parts of your body you will need the chiropractor to look at after each step and then the responce is usually, well we want to pay you to do all of that. Just like you said. Some people will completely take over ownership and some want to keep you available. So you do business in a fashion that you can be as helpful as possible.

    Plus if you did what you said, the results were what were expected or better, and you did work very hard to achieve those results, that isn't the kind of person you would go without paying. It is so much easier to have made the thing and there it is. As opposed to all the extra steps of deciding and customizing that isn't necessarily going to be thought to be worth a whole lot more money. Everyone always says you should charge more or something for this or that but in the real world, it is all kind of expected behavior rather than something that is premium pay. If you can do it one way why can't you do it another similar way for the same money? All kinds of levels of being of service that no one was willing to do or even considered doing. See if you get paid and have long term income from a project when you are saying things like the contract says I don't have to do that.

    The quote for today is "just don't be retarded".


    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.
     

  2. Default mad scientist 
    #22
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    Apr 2012
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    76
    Greg you are a smart man. I am thinking how you got your off set genius is by putting your hand on the stove to know that it is hot. Most people[not all] learn by other peoples mess ups or even better your own mess ups to make you the person you are today. There is know problem with failing just as you learn from what you did wrong and you get better [I am pretty sure I read one of your threads that said pretty much that]. So I give you props but all people need to swim in the water to know how cold it really is. EXPERIENCE is what makes the best and brakes everyone else. Greg I love your posts if you REALLY read them they have mad hatter knowledge that is a must.
     

  3. Default  
    #23
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    Aug 2003
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    It used to be there were only 3 to 5 channels on TV and all night long there were you can buy real estate courses for $300 and learn to buy things for no money down, then get a title one loan and pay yourself to fix up a house and then sell it for lots more than you paid for it or rent it out. One by one all of those guys proved to be a scam, went bankrupt and fled the country.

    Haunted house guys thought they could roll into any town and in a month of TV ads have lots of customers having never been in that location before and pack up and leave with money.

    Then the formula changed when there became 300 channels of TV and radio channels were taken over by corporations and the same 30 songs got played over and over for 10 years and now no one TV ad or radio ad is going to bring any veiwers or listeners.

    So the Gypsy haunt theory became a total loss over years and years. Meanwhile a bunch of people focused more on developing the market in their areas and perhaps over many locations in a 100 mile radius. Until you have done the same thing for 15 or 20 years what really happens or what is good doesn't present itself.

    Yet, pro journalists get right out of college and have never done anything in their lives and are the writers of business advice because the articles pay $150 a shot. Real journalists and writers compile and adapt the same topics over 20 years and include a history of 100 years and then whip out a book. There might have been 2 or 3 shots a year of making $150 an article as the thing was improved or different facets were tested for importance.

    Also the regular persons experience isn't ever truely added to because no job lasts more than 5 years or 2 years or now lots of jobs they don't want anyone being around more than 90 days and want them to quit because they don't have to pay unemployment.

    At some point I saw and you have to understand I have actually confronted some people face to face with why are they being sharks or doing things with rigged contracts, some guys that thought every season or two was a ast kill set up if they could just get a partner thought they would be the only ones that could take over places that had been around for 20 years. They thought how great it would be they could just spend a few hours on it a year and the rest of the time could be spent on their other projects. When in reality the 20 year guys are not sluffing off or have an easy ride and are a success because they spend many hours every day 300 days per year making things, repairing things and figuring out some new creative way to get the word out. It isn't you call a TV station or a radio guy and it worked like magic.

    Now maybe an entirely new wave of what has to be done is upon everyone. Normally in hard times haunts did fine just like bars or other diversionary entertainment. Except now, people are really being taxed for every dollar at the grocery store, at the gas pump, with every utility bill and all these things you are supposed to have like cable and telephone and all these portable devices. It may have been the customers new haunted houses were sort of rag tag but fun and even the ones that put so much into detail come off a little cheezy. When every one actually had expendable income the thought might have been we know it kind of has limitations but we will go, what the hell it is only $20. But now it has come down to they are not paying $20 for something that is indeed a little sketchy. That $20 could buy a meal or 3 meals or has to.

    Haunts got away from making things and presenting them to just finding junk or buying fancy things and trying to fit those thing into some theme that might not have fit. Randomness and just having the mind sparked by some inventory of crap doesn't work any more and I doubt this time the recession/depression is going to lift for a very long time. Haunts are reporting 30 less customers country wide with very few exceptions. Those exceptions are in smaller markets where there may not have been a haunt before and so there is a little excitement and people are curious about what a haunt is. On the other side of the scale haunts are spending lots of money and just got hit with the reality of a possible decline. It just got more complicated of how to do so much better with so much less.

    The haunts that worked out great detail and customer entertainment only saw a 10% decline, the ones that bought lots of expensive toys you walk by saw a 30% decrease. The ones that did some changes and got ready just a month or two before opening also saw this 30% decrease. So it isn't easy anymore. Expenses are getting real for everyone. So the advice being offered really needs to be from someone that can get kind of real and has really done it.

    Even I have a little place I go once a month and blurt out the deal of the month to people that have businesses and had haunts back in the 70's and here's the deal. Hell no! they will say. Long term experience things can be thought out in about a minute and a half tops. You can't help people that already know everything and read some book, they have to be left to go through the thing on their own if they aren't open to advice.

    I have had people pop in and pretty much tell me they are tired of my diatribe. From what I can tell they didn't last very many years or more than one year and just didn't like what I had to say.


    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.
     

  4. Default  
    #24
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    Jan 2007
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    Texas
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    97
    Talk to any ONE of the giants in the industry-from Larry to Cydney Neil to Ben Armstrong to Randy Bates. If you DON'T have a business plan-a mentor-or someone who knows business-you're never going to make it in the long haul. Period.
    Kathryn DeSautell
    Lafitte's Landing, Dark Shadows Entertainment
     

  5. Default  
    #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mistress DeSade View Post
    Talk to any ONE of the giants in the industry-from Larry to Cydney Neil to Ben Armstrong to Randy Bates. If you DON'T have a business plan-a mentor-or someone who knows business-you're never going to make it in the long haul. Period.
    That is so incredibly true. That's the thing . . . if you're new, you gotta learn the craft - business and otherwise - and that comes not only from doing but also from having powerful mentors who have the Heart of a Teacher, and want you to learn and grow (Allen being a prime example). I can't even begin to think of how incredibly grateful I am that I have known so many knowledgeable and competent people in this business, especially a bunch of classic pro-haunters, and not only that but especially how many opportunities we have here in DFW, with all the world class talent we have. I know personally that I sit on the shoulders of many giants. That's also one of the great things about HauntWorld.com and other networking opportunities . . . it gives us so many opportunities to share knowledge and learn.

    C.
     

  6. Default  
    #26
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    I'm just a midget that can type lots of words.

    Over the years, all the DVDs and haunt magazine articles have all been very professional and politically correct. There is a difference in business style of whether you are managing money and cash flow and getting everyone on the same page as a business or the second style would be hands on building things that inspire others to participate.

    In the second style of operation where you lead by example and here it is right here already built instead of concepts on a clip board, the total business plan is as follows:

    Income
    minus expenses
    _____________

    equals profit

    If you are thinking of some large organization and big money to begin right off the bat, you might have to include sections in your business plan like asset allocation, exit strategy, refunding phase. The more complicated the array of responcibilities the more things that can and will go wrong or not happen in a timely fashion and kill your business. You can't dictate a market, you have to match an existing market. You can bend a market into being over a decade or so. How long can you hang unless you first observe the simple form business plan where you at least have income minus expenses equals break even. Sometimes just having exit strategies in the back of everyone's minds in a group is enough to not be productive enough to last a long time. What's the worst case scenario, you get paid early. Things get stacked more towards fail than go.

    Major mind sets and opinions are based on whether it is your money invested or other people's money. Surely this kind of sets the tone for how big of an endevor you can manage. But does it fit the existing market for sure for real demonstrated on a profit and loss statement or are you selling an intangable concept.

    No disrespect to any of the big names out there or Kathrine but not every location would even be tried if it came down to it has to work on paper first. Sometimes you just have to do it and how many show up is a real world test. In a way, all the big names had no idea what would happen in the beginning and in the early years just made it. I have talked to them and heard the real story and the real pressure of pulling off their first events. Later on they suggested to the world in educational materials that you have to have a business plan. That's a pretty sweet revelation that wasn't there in their beginnings that is somehow going to answer all the new people's problems. No one can properly come up with a business plan until the facts are in. The big names couldn't do it accutately either. That might be years down the line before you can fill in all the paragraphs and by then you don't need anyone else's money. Later a business plan discusses how to grow a business not declare you have a new product the world has never seen before.

    There is an overall big time concern of whether there should be creditors at all in any time in the life of a business. People expecting return plus some fee or percentage or if it is better to start small and grow as the market allows. Quite simply going without percentages coming off the top or all profits going away to pay a debt is just not fun anymore. At some point being in debt makes it no fun anymore. So it is a personal choice to not go out of the box with a mega park and have something that buys lunch every day. Rather than even the lunch you just had was someone else's money that hasn't been earned yet.


    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.
     

  7. Default  
    #27
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    Somehow the topic always centers around the stupidity of whether you have written your business plan and made a portfolio of your work that doesn't exist or compiled a resume or filled out some stupid assed application or stood in some stupid assed line somewhere.

    The real story is take a look at the type of organizations and what they say as well. Some of them are under SO much stress they are sick all the time and any time you say hello to them they are about to stroke out versus some of them can passionately stand in front of a room of people non stop passionately sharing what they can build with you for 10 hours and somehow hide the fact that they even use the bathroom.

    How do you want to live your life. Do you want to build things and share them with the world and profit or do you want to invest in a brief case and clip board and check things off trying to accomplish everything on your daily planner. In different situations both those styles have their place and their calling. I can find the ones on the edge of a stroke and not wish that on anyone. Find your heros and understand their real story. Not just what has been issued in a press release.


    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  
    #28
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    The economy is going to be so tight and strained for the next 10 years. How many people are making it managing other peoples money in that kind of climate? I would much rather be someone that can hands on do something and here is something I built and I will trade it for that chicken than someone that has to return a specified amount of profit to some investor by a certain date or else. The "or else" has a very high likely hood of happening.

    Despite poor economies haunts do thrive but not in robust numbers and returns. Just like bars and sports events and everything else are reporting decreases in overall income. This is going to be the new normal. Smaller and profitable is better. Self invested is better. Or with loans that are more from angel investors where no return is expected. However usually at some point any investor goes along enough of a period of time and seeks the next investor be found and pay them out. It never stops if that is what you have begun to do from day one.

    You can earn everything from nothing and build up. If you want to be a money manager, sure sell a business plan and show it to 200 people. For the most part everyone that is on these forums is more of the do it yourselfer. People that can do things. And people that know what kind of person to talk to, not a wild canvasing of 200 people and some car lot game of sales rejection. It all really comes down to do you wanna buy a ticket or not.
    Last edited by Greg Chrise; 12-04-2012 at 03:52 AM.


    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.
     

  9. Default  
    #29
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    Oct 2007
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    Virginia
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    All too often I read people being critical of Haunters that have moved away from their early years of dumpster diving and making their own props and instead now they buy props and animation etc. That confuses me, because why would scavenging people's junk and diving in a damn dumpster be something you'd want to do once you're successful? You mean to tell me that if a haunt is successful that its still better to make some crappy looking obviously home made garbage prop than to but a big animation from the Scarefactory of Gore Galore?

    A successful Haunter and business man can buy props and animation and make it work for his/her theme it doesn't mean just because you didn't make it it's not going to fit. I've even heard from one lady this year say "I'm not going to that haunt they use a bunch of commercially available props and decor I'd rather go to one that makes their own" like THAT'S a bad thing? Really? Really? I'm thinking that you'd rather go to a haunt that looks like a mom and pop junk pile then to see a haunt that has the coolest pieces the industry has to offer in their arsenal? I mean lets be honest, if there was a Haunter who could make his own stuff look as good as what our vendors are making what's the likelihood that this guy could be equally skilled at actually scaring people or running a good haunt? Slim to none. To be that skilled in one spectrum usually means you're weak in the other skills you'd need to not only be a good Haunter but also a good businessman.

    I say to utilize our skilled vendors and allow yourself the freedom to focus in marketing and running the show. You're successful now, you don't need to rely on junk and the dumpster anymore that's amateur stuff!

    DA
     

  10. Default  
    #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darkangel View Post
    All too often I read people being critical of Haunters that have moved away from their early years of dumpster diving and making their own props and instead now they buy props and animation etc. That confuses me, because why would scavenging people's junk and diving in a damn dumpster be something you'd want to do once you're successful? You mean to tell me that if a haunt is successful that its still better to make some crappy looking obviously home made garbage prop than to but a big animation from the Scarefactory of Gore Galore?

    I say to utilize our skilled vendors and allow yourself the freedom to focus in marketing and running the show. You're successful now, you don't need to rely on junk and the dumpster anymore that's amateur stuff!

    DA
    How did you approach your own show when you managed the transition from your own prop making to utilizing more vendor products. I'm sure a lot of people on here would definitely like some insight on that, especially Bobby, who wants to become a vendor. I've often wondered about that myself. What did you guys use last year? Mostly your own props or did you start using more vendor props?

    C.
     

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