How to Start a Haunted House Business Part 4

Welcome to week 4 in the How to Start A Haunted House Business where we show you how to make a haunted house business. In the previous How to Start a Haunted House Business Part 3 we talked about your business description and covered very lightly some of the features of a business. Now we dive into the products and services section of the business plan and a wealth of options, actually the options are basically limited by your creativity.

If your just joining us were simply walking through the business plan template but along the way many topics related to a haunted house are being covered. This next section in the template is a couple super short questions for you to answer. If you need the template it can be accessed at SCORE in the Template Gallery. The few questions listed will lead to all kinds of discussions and ideas for your haunted house.

Describe in depth your products or services.
What factors will give you competitive advantages or disadvantages? Examples include level of quality or unique or proprietary features.
What are the pricing, fee, or leasing structures of your products or services?

If your following along and completing this as we work through it I would like you to finish this paragraph and stop reading. Take a moment to answer these questions and write them down on some scrap paper real quick, just write down your general thoughts on each.

Now I just plan to flood you with options outside of just the haunted maze/house idea that most people think about when they say hey lets make a haunted house. First off this really only applies to a business location due to legal issues but I will throw some things in that we did at the start of our home haunting days. So first off you got ticket sales thats your general and main form of sales, on the home haunt side unless you have business licenses and such you can not charge but a donation box is a great idea. Now prior to entrance to the main haunt what about side entertainment, we did a setup and had a “Hit a Pirate with a Tomato” where we had a pirate in the stocks and people could purchase tomatos, lettuce chunks and well anything else that can be tossed and not mutilate our prisoner. A cheaper version could just be water ballons, but test them out to get the right amount of water and size so they do not hurt on impact to much. Safety is the number 1 priority. Consession sales, with a legitimate business you could sell popcorn, chips, soda, water, tshirts, hats, and any other idea of trinkets and gifts. At our home haunts we sold bottled water we picked up at Costco. There are many companies out there that do tshirt designs and printing. If you have a different exit than the entrance of the haunt you could setup a scene and have a photo opportunity with a creature of the haunt.

I hope that got you thinking about products and services. Now we move on to the off season topic. If you have a year round facility and are looking to supplement the seasonal income there are many options and the larger the free space outside the haunt the more options you have. If you take your haunt down after Halloween then you have a big empty space. What about allowing corporations to rent out the space for meetings/parties especially if the haunt is still up you could do a run through with some volunteers. What about miniature golf, paintball or airsoft and the list goes on and on.

Pricing, its always a question and a worry. What if I charge too much or not enough. it is a common question every business answers at one point or another. How do I price my haunted house business. There are a couple methods but it all comes down to how many people you got on payroll, the cost of leasing, insurance and utilities. A good start would be to find out what your monthly overhead is (rent, utilities, etc.) things that stay the same basically month to month. Then add in what you will be paid with any other payroll expenses. Then you calculate your variable expenses and add them in. Now work this out for the year and you have your break even income for the year and then it can be broke down to monthly, weekly and daily. This is very simplified and not totally accurate since some expenses might not come but during the Halloween season or some other specific date like tax time but it is a good start and it will be covered more later but with this you can figure our what a daily income would need to be and use that as a base for hosting a corporate party or private birthday party.

That brings us to the end of this section. Take the information provided and expand on it and brainstorm some of your own creative ideas. In the next section we will break into the marketing plan for your haunted house business. Marketing will make or break your business so you do not want to miss How to Start a Haunted House Business Part 5 next week. This section will probably be broke up into several posts due to the size and importance of this section.