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Thread: Need suggestions, please

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  1. Default  
    #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    7
    Dude, not only do I know where uniontown is, I have lived here all my life! Small country! You were right about the boarded up windows and million dollar property, nothings changed! Except they want 2 million now! What I have noticed is that people in the area go nuts for local haunts (which are very few for the demographic) It's very easy to have to wait in line for 2-3hours just for a crappy haunt. West Virginia university is just a short 25 minutes south (if you drive slow)
    and believe it or not there is not one single haunt in that town! Actually there are about 5 colleges within 5-25 minutes from my location. Lots of promise! The only down side is that there have been alot of haunts that were terrible in years past and I think they may have made alot of people bitter. (overcharged for a crappy haunt) That would be my biggest fear (bad word of mouth)! I have to tell you, the biggest problem I have at this point is finding somebody that's on the same page as me, I realize that I can't do this myself. Now, I don't mind a challenge but it seems overwhelming once you look at all the aspects of a haunt no matter what size it is! It just seems like if it is not their idea, they don't think it will work! Too much negativity in this town! I have a very close friend (that I have known forever and can trust) that has alot more experience than me with the business side of things, but I just can't seem to persuade him to help me out. If he could handle the business side and just let me do my thing I think it could work out great. I have a million ideas, just need a little help! Thanks again for everything!
     

  2. Default  
    #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Tyler, Texas, United States
    Posts
    2,614
    Marketing and help combined.....

    To me a haunted house is no different than that one square foot graphic. Only the tools are different. Way back when even Leonardo Davinci did line drawings on walls, boards, what ever the Medici family could afford while craftsmen did the underpaintings and glazes. If they hadn't produced 4,000 articles a year those hundreds would not be have survived to be in the museums for people to see to day. No one would have known Lenny's name.

    There lies the opportunity. For every crafman, supporter, helper even if it is two hundred people per year add to the whole in building the thing but, also take away the knowledge that this thing will indeed be an event one day. The word of mouth begins years before opening.

    The haunt can be made of rooms also used as the back drop for say your airbrush business. In order for people to bring their sheetmetal to me, they had to enter a garage, go over a bridge in a dirt room in the dark with strobes, go through a submarine door, past some coffins, skeletons, manequins and werewolves before even getting to the weird little paint room and office. So, it became sort of an attraction just to come see this weird place and things to get your airbrush work done or discuss what could be done. Walls and props become a display for halloween parties, for photo shoots of motorcycles with or with out babes, they are the display to go to an event and have a booth even out doors. I also would let some people set up at a ren fair for their own business and of course the conversation became about the weird dude that let them use all this decor. All totally free advertising, word of mouth and talk of the region for both business.

    Back in the day I would always have one really nifty car to attract attention and this actually decor thing brought in a far greater amount of "fans" So, my goal wasn't actually to have a haunt, it was to set up a scenic design inventory and sell scenes. Eventually, I had enough stuff and found a bunch of people who had been haunting for years without anything good and combined them, some people at a resort that had lost their location and wala the place happened with also the word of mouth from 3 established groups.

    I traveled quite a distance from my location helping other haunts until this deal just came to me after finally visiting the haunt event 2 miles from my shop. I had one thing in mind the whole time and it still holds really true as this economy right now is like 1986 all over again. Everything must be paid for so even if you only see a small number of customers it is still a tremendous success. Sure there is an investment but, devoted over time rather than just running out and buying something lame for $75,000 and hoping to get that money back some day.

    Someone on this board was/is really helpful and creative.

    If you have something to paint on, you will find quite a few people a year that would like to test out their painting skills. Some one will want to prove to them selves they can do carpentry and yet someone else even for college credit would like to prove to the proffessor and themselves that they can take a design drawing and build a theatrical scene that alas becomes haunt detail. In all of these scenerios you simply sponsor the space and the materials to make a happening that others would want to check in on.

    The bitch of the thing isn't what the haunt costs, it is how much it costs to store it untill it is open. So, you just keep rotating these creations in your shop and even the motorcycle and auto people will come buy just to see the next creation one by one, month by month and ultimately give $10 or more to see the combined completed event.

    The business end is by no means difficult if there is really the thing done to completion of descent quality to have a business about. If the customers don't go through that watching you grow from black plastic to detailed walls, there is no prior judgement to over come.

    The main thing I went after that the whole thing wasn't built secretly. When the first totally free TV spot hit because it was something different, we had the parking lot full. Prior to actually having a haunt I was a little stubborn and would not sell individual items or get into decorating for a Doctor's Halloween party. Mostly because the day business of decorative concrete and the two side ventures of airbrushing and the haunt build up kind of kept me busy. But, if it was really worth the advertising or possible sponsorship I should have done it. It might have been some work but, the game was to cross every demographic and have them informed.

    Not just the Myspace set, but even the older people with money having way too many get togethers, The RV crowd from the lake on the state line, the car show dudes raising money for charity and so on. If you use this weird stuff to help the community, they will help you.

    In short, I did a lot of stuff for no reason at all, showing off my ideas, my skills and went to the trouble to let others borrow the stuff on occasion to widen exposure to crowds I certainly wasn't going to be socializing with. Kind of a diversity.

    It's a lot of work. I haven't been able to do what my one vision has been. People seeing big weird things as they go by on the highway. My new shop is on a highway back lot with the front all fenced in like a compound. You can see trailers and fork trucks but, I wish I had the 24 foot tall facades being built where the public could see and ask what the hell is that. Then the facades would move to the location when it is time.

    The other thing that happens, if you have a serious inventory that looks professional, then the land lords get the general concept that you aren't just going in their building and spraying gaffiti all over and leaving piles of human waste and black plastic for them to clean up after. You have things you don't want miss treated and by default are probably not going to mistreat their property as well as really have the tools (theoretically) to pay the rent.

    Things that are a big limitation go completely away when you actually have the haunt. Then it is at opportunity level and who wants in level.

    Just some ideas


    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.
     

  3. Default  
    #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    7
    Greg, sounds like a cool setup you started with. I never thought of doing that in that sort of way. Here's always been my problem, I've always been good at making money for others, but not myself. I guess i'll figure it out on my own. I have noticed by talking to a few warehouse/building owners that they don't seem too interested with a haunt at their location. The first thing they usually say is "what if someone gets hurt and sues me?". If I hear this one more time I'm going to scream! Then, they do get the attitude that all your going to do is destroy the place, (of course the floors are already cracked and broke from parking heavy machinery on them and the walls are already sprayed ten different colors because someone had a hack body shop in part of it!) These people really piss me off, I think what it comes down to is that they don't want anybody trying to get ahead or make any type of money. If you remember the area it still hasn't changed. What I have been looking for is either an old farmhouse or a vacant warehouse that could use some TLC. It seems like the best thing in my area would be to have total control of what goes on! As soon as someone sees you making a dollar I guarantee they'll raise the rent twofold or shut it down altogether. Bastards! What are some of the benefits to renting a warehouse?
    If someone would be kind enough to do it! Thanks Again!!!
     

  4. Default "Come On Down!" 
    #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Ravens Grin Inn, 411 carroll st.mount carroll ill.
    Posts
    12,840
    To warehouse whorehouse! We're Dealing!
    (Maybe the owner would find this more suitable? Profitable?)
    I know a retired car dealer who looked all over Japan for the "House Of A 1,000 Whores!"
    Couldn't find it, left Japan, then someone in Thailand gave him the address, too late!
    "Working my way back to Huue Babe!"
    Then you could secretly run it as a haunted house when nobody was looking.
    You might even be providing employment opportunitys for former Pennsyvannians wanting to move back from Texas!
    "Why did the drive take you so long?"
    "I was stopped at least twice in every state , the Police thought a part of my car was dragging underneath the body, it was my drive shaft!"

    (Not the car's!)
     

  5. Default  
    #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Tyler, Texas, United States
    Posts
    2,614
    Sure, my last shop was low rent and they sold it out from under me. This one the guy was someone I worked for 20 years earlier and he said I could make it into my own little world, that I would add stabilty to all his rental problems as there had been problems with tenants. Me stable? Okay if you think so?

    Under the guize of being conservative, we remodeled parts of it first from crack house decor and this impressed him and then a year later the haunt part came in. So many had tried to rent this shop and couldn't make it. I can just tell they painted this, someone else tried to fix that as they were living the dream, then later they were out when the reality of how much the rent is became apparent.

    I guess to some degree I can go find some kind of work that will pay the rent.

    I have lost track of time and been here at this compound for 3.5 years. All of our work is out there somewhere. At one point we were trying to get better employees and not scare them off so we hid all the dead bodies.

    I just got what they (the landlords) thought would shock me, we have enjoyed renting to you and due to the higher cost of utilities, insurance, taxes, maintenance and so many other factors we are forced to raise your rent $25 per month. That could have been some ridiculously high number, for half a sentence my heart was racing. Crap $25, that's no big deal, all I have to due is quit subscribing to haunt magazines!

    They let me bring a semi trailer in to store the haunt and I got rid of the storage places that normally had large boats on trailers parked in them. This made me save more money to pay them and give me more reasons to not move. Now storage is free! I really wish the very first thing I had bought was a big trailer. Over the years I had spent although to some a minor fee It added up to nearly $10,000 down the tubes over time.

    The rent on this place seems to be the exact figure over the years invested into hi quality dentistry performed on the landlord's many children. Yet I was very lucky to find this place, it could have been twice what I'm paying or need to be two places.

    There are many ways to handle this location thing. One is from a position of strength: I have $25,000 to spend, If you don't want me actually improving your facilities, some one else certainly will.

    Another is to have an experimetal business like we have decided to do full paint jobs on cars but months later that just didn't work out, we still have a lease and now it is going to be a haunted house! Thanks for bearing with us Mister land lord. You said it could be our own little world as long as we paid the rent and here's that lease you made me sign. Sure, the start up business did infact pay the rent for months at a break even pace but, ultimately reserved that space for the season.

    My very first "big art space" was in Pa and I saw what could be a place to build large welded sculpture. I thought a mechanic shop would pay the bills and unfortunately the garage was a success and I never made a thing.

    A haunted house seems to be a tough sell because a land lord had no idea what crazy stuff happens. Will they be burning pentigrams in my concrete and having 400 sheep in here for months at a time? Some other business is more understandable like a display company. We build walls for these event things. Oh, we have decided to have 8,000 friends over to see out display capabilities.

    As oppossed to we aren't sure how this will work will you go with me on this? Yes, as land owner I can see you losing all you worldly gains right now, nice to meet you for the first time.

    Just because they have reached the status level of land lord doesn't mean they aren't still retarded. The first one I took to haunted houses and paid his way in for years. After he sold my property I told him to come up and see what I had been building for years (by cell phone from the hearse in front) and made him pay the $10 to get in!

    Of course I'm lucky there are some pretty decent attractions in East Texas to go to and say what do you think? Yep, looks like it will pay the rent, perhaps more than I would expect even some loser warehouse firm to pay on the current market and my taxes are due so sign here. You can also feed on their greed and have the second and even the third place lined up for when the rent does jack up.

    Thankyou mister land lord, but just as you have raised the rent, our capicities have increased beyond your facilities, thanks, so long. Remember, haunts are built to be mobile so move the crap!

    Having boo coo amounts of insurance superseeds liability for the land lord. We will be insured!

    I think so many walk in and mid sentence have to blow their nose and don't have the answers or the financial responcibility to answer their questions the right way.

    Unfortunately you have to do more than walk up and ask if they will rent to you. They have to understand what a haunted house is. I find anyone over (how old are you JiM?) say the age of 60 have no clue and generally this is the I want to be an industrial slum lord age and I'll be rich off the backs of others.

    The wall system means we will not be modifying anything in the building and infact I don't like that color green and we will paint that whole wall just to make it feel more professional even though it will be behind the scenes we want it to be pleasant for training actors and such.

    Overall I don't think it is a cold sell, it is knowing or getting to know someone who has something you need. Knowing someone for 20 years that has had a rental problem, taking the land lord on a many year discovery adventure. It wasn't Hi, you don't know me but I want to do some scary stuff. I'm a grown man and I like to put on make up and latex, some other special clothes and run around after children with power tools. No, I don't like church or fishing just all that psychotic stuff I mentioned and I'm not sure if I can pay the rent exactly on time as I do all of this. I don't have any money so I'll be needing you to upgrade your facilities with another $10,000 worth of stuff and for that, I was thinking maybe $500 a month and I only need it for 3 months.

    $10,000 worth of amenities for $1500. How cool would that be? vs. I know you will only be collecting $3,000 in rent but when we leave you will inherit $10,000 worth of upgrades if we decide to rent only short term. For that kind of investment we obviously would like to have it all year long, even have a 5 year lease! Cause we are kind of serious, nothing about that crazy stuff like making our girlfriends sleep in coffins.


    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.
     

  6. Default  
    #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Ravens Grin Inn, 411 carroll st.mount carroll ill.
    Posts
    12,840
    ..and just what does a girl hear that she will be finding inside the coffin?

    ..a "stiff!" (or a bone!) Preserved meat?

    The oldest guy she will ever date?

    A man of few words?

    A reading lamp with a burnt out bulb?
     

  7. Default  
    #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Tyler, Texas, United States
    Posts
    2,614
    I built an elaborate toe pincher that someone 6 ft 2 inches could get in, We added 5 inches of foam and styrofoam inside the sides and lid where apolstery would be set. Lots of room for a 5'6" woman.

    Getting inside was super relaxing, mostly because of the blocking out of all noise we never regularly get away from, highway noise, air conditioners and refrigerators running all the time. Plus cushy and temperature regulated by opening or closing the lid with little spacers and your own body heat even in the winter.

    Your own personal space. If they do die, they are ready to go. Just don't let them have an inside latch...You might need them for something.

    Apparently it is a place to avoid anything that might pop up.

    Don't let them sneek girly fragrances and potpori in there, it is like huffing motor oil in a contained space. Then all you have is a nice dog.


    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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