In looking at all that is involved with the establishment, operation, and maintenance of a haunt, it can be overwelming to say the least. Researching and thinking about how a traditional company is formed, I feel that there is potential for a paradigm shift in the above said. A traditional haunt busines has a set number of owners/partners (i.e., one, two, five, etc.) taking on all the responsibilities of a haunt (e.g., finding funding, creating a design, casting, etc.) and hiring managers or employees to do the work with them. While this works for some, and no offense to them, I believe that a co-op of sorts would present a better opportunity for the success of not just a haunt itself, but strengthing the industry as a whole.
By having members who are allowed to buy into the company, they would be more enthusiastic and willing to work harder toward the success of the haunt. I'm not talking about investors who ponny up the venture capital and sit back, but those people who actually are the ones that show up day and night to plan, build, market, operate, and tear down. These people are the ones who are the life blood of any haunted attraction. Without your people, paid and volunteer both, all you have is scary empty warehouse. As all of you are aware and as most of you have had to tell non-industry patrons, a haunt does not just happen in a couple of weeks. It takes months of prep. With a co-op, the responsibilities can be divided amongst the "Board Members" if you will, freeing up a members valuable time to spent with a job, loved ones, personal enjoyment; and by allowing the member to buy-in to the company they not only provide venture and working capital that does not have to borrowed from a financial institution. By doing so, if additional financing is required, an institution will be more likely to loan the haunt money because the risk of repayment is lower. Each members gets one vote in all things business, regardless of how many shares they have. The Board Members can decide to bring in new members as they feel fit to. If the haunt doesn't pan out, then the members are only out their initial buy-in instead of their house or vehicle.
These are just my thoughts on how I want to begin my journey into the oh-so exciting time in my life as a haunt owner and my passion for all things halloween. I'm interested in what those of you who have been around the block a couple of times, those that just moved into the neighborhood, and those like me are house hunting.