How To Start A Haunted House Part 1

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So you have a great idea that will scare the life right out of your victims. Rather it be clowns, zombies or monsters whatever your idea is will take a lot of work to bring to life. In this series we will cover the steps that will have to be completed and the hurdles you will have to overcome to get your haunt off the ground successfully. We will start off with some basic planning then go into business plans, layouts, licensing, fire and building codes, insurance, safety and many other topics.

To start off I am sure you have this image of some sort of haunt that will scare your victims and make you a fortune and your ready to run with it now. Well I am going to tell you to take a step back and do a little planning and layout. This idea probably consists of much more than you are thinking about right now and if you do not plan for it all it can come back and bite ya in the butt. So here is what I want you to do to start with, grab a pad of paper and a pen. Now below I will make a list of some of the basic things that need to be considered and dealt with prior to opening. With each of these topics think and write down anything you can think of that is related to a specific area and what it will cost and how much time you will need to implement it.

Building layout
Haunt Construction
Safety
Actors
Prop Construction
Building & Fire Code
Marketing & Advertising
Payroll
Security
Parking & Traffic

As you can see I have listed some of the larger broader categories here. I will dig into each and several others even further as this series continues each week. Each one of these categories covers a lot of smaller items, take actors for example. Will your actors be volunteers or paid, will they provide their own costumes or will you, who will do their makeup, where will they take their breaks, how will you work rotation to give each a break throughout the night, if paying them how will you run and record payroll. So now that one topic has grown into a giant category with a new list just as big as the initial set of categories. There is a lot of work involved in running and starting a successful haunted house.

If this is something that grew out of a hobby and you have no business experience or management experience then you want to consider hiring some people to help you and this brings in the next issue of financing a business which will be covered after I dive into the business plan and the importance of doing one. For now take that list and just keep writing, put everything that crosses your mind that may be a concern and then put everything you do not think you have to worry about because this is a business and it all makes a difference in the end.

In next weeks article in the series How To Start A Haunted House Part 2 I will go into the business plan and this will cover several weeks because in doing the business plan you will have to work through all the items mentioned so far and in detail. If you work through this with me and do one and refine it as we go then you will have an awesome tool that will be a road map, finance tool and guide for the journey you are embarking on.

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