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How Much Does It Cost to Open an Escape Room?

Start an Escape Room Business

The cost of opening an escape room varies between $15,000 and $50,000 as it depends on many factors, including the rental value, a business license and insurance, salary of the manager and other employees, the cost of equipment, and the cost of the games.

An escape room can almost be referred to a live video game where people go to solve puzzles or do other stuff in a bid to break themselves out of a stressful situation. Entrepreneurs set up these rooms to help people get challenged, as well as to enable them blow off steam.

Today the escape-room landscape is mostly dominated by smaller businesses, each operating one or a handful of rooms in a single city or region. Many of these small businesses are owned by enthusiasts who saw the trend taking off and decided to strike out on their own.

Costs Involved in Opening an Escape Room Business

Depending on the location, the cost of rent, the games and the complexity of the room design, opening an escape room business can cost anywhere between $7,000 and $30,000. A business license and insurance are among your opening costs.

Props and furnishings are another. Some escape game rooms provide elaborate costumes and set designs that include laser lights, while others keep their sets relatively simple.

You will also need to spend money on walls, props, puzzles, etc. when you first build your room (and any additional rooms you build).

The costs will vary based on how much of the construction you can do yourself. In addition to those one-time costs, you should also be prepared to spend money repairing your rooms.

Whether it is from player misuse, or just wear and tear, you will need to replace props along the way. Website maintenance with educational information about escape room gaming and promotional advertising are also necessary expenses, especially since this type of business is so new and many people are still unaware of how escape room games work.

Your advertising may include something like Facebook ads, print ads, or perhaps hiring a costly advertising agency to promote your business.

Most games cost $25 to $30 per person for a one-hour game, and typically allow 10 to 12 players at a time. For owners, the chief costs are payroll and rent, plus the one-time expense of building the room out. Some rooms comprise little more than a table with pens and paper. Others involve elaborate sets and technical wizardry

How Much Does It Cost to Start an Escape Room?

The price varies between $15,000 and $50,000 as it depends on many factors, including the rental value, a business license and insurance, salary of the manager and other employees, the cost of equipment, and the cost of the games.

On average, the initial investment in equipment is about $3,400, other expenses are calculated individually for a certain room.

Franchise Cost for an Escape Room

Buying a franchise is a great way to minimize risks and develop your business in a more stable and consistent way. The cost of one VR escape room for one player is $25, and the maximum number of game sessions per month is 300. All figures are approximate.

  • The cost of equipment is about $3400.
  • Game manager salary is $3500.
  • The rental value is $2 per sq.ft.
  • Royalties are calculated based on the number of VR escape rooms.
  • Providing that the monthly gross income is $3750 from one zone, royalties make $750 (20%).

How Much Profit Can An Escape Room Business Make?

The escape room business can be extremely lucrative. For example, Escape Expert opened in Dallas in February, 2015 and is now earning approximately $70,000 per month.

Similarly, the owner of Puzzle Break, another successful escape room business, started in 2013 with only $7000, and had a projected yearly income of approximately $600,000 less than two years later. SCRAP says revenues grew by 800% in its first year in the U.S. — a staggering figure even in light of today’s fast growth.

Factors That Influence the Cost of Opening an Escape Room

  1. The of Location the Escape Room

If you choose to rent or lease a facility for your escape room in the city center, then you should be ready to spend more than someone who chooses to rent or lease a property off the city center.

The bottom line is that the choice you settle for will determine the amount you will spend on rent or lease, on promoting the business, on licenses and permits, on utilities, and on acquiring your equipment and other supplies.

  1. The Size and Layout of the Escape Room

As expected, the larger an escape room business, the higher the cost required to start the business, and the smaller an escape room, the lower the cost required to start the business.

For example, a larger escape room space will generally require more equipment, furnishings, and utilities, which can increase the initial investment.

Note that you will need 300-500 square feet for a single traditional room experience or 150-200 square feet per room for an autonomous experience. The average escape room size is 500 square feet.

  1. The Cost of Furnishing and Equipping the Escape Room

The truth is that the amount you are expected to spend in this regard will depend on the style and theme of your escape room.

No matter the style or theme you settle for, to set up an escape room, you will need essential equipment such as puzzles, locks, clues, and a timer. Furnishings may include thematic decorations, lighting, and sound effects.

A control room with monitoring equipment and a walkthrough area for participants must also be included in your budget.

In addition to that, you will also need to budget for comfortable seating for debriefing, themed props, and safety features because they are needed when it comes to creating an immersive and engaging escape room experience.

  1. The Cost of Renovations and Construction

No matter the facility you acquire for your escape room, you are expected to budget part of your startup capital for renovations.

The only reason why you may not spend on renovations and construction is when you purchase an already existing escape room business.

Note that renovations can range from minor cosmetic changes to major overhauls, depending on the condition of the space.

Apart from that, it is important to note that operators of escape rooms usually change the rooms every 12-24 months allowing participants to continue to enjoy escape.

  1. The Cost for Obtaining the Required Permits and Licenses

Opening an escape room may require obtaining various permits and licenses, such as business licenses, zoning permits, building permits, a fire department permit, a health department permit, a special amusement license, a sign permit, environmental permits, a music performance license, and alcohol licenses (if applicable).

Without obtaining these permits and licenses, you may not be allowed to operate your escape room. The cost of obtaining these permits and licenses can vary significantly depending on the local regulations and requirements and they can also impact the overall cost of opening your escape room.

  1. The Cost of Marketing and Branding the Escape Room

No one starts a business without making provisions for marketing and branding the business. If you don’t invest in marketing and branding your business, then you may struggle to generate income for the business.

As expected, promoting the escape room and creating a recognizable brand may require investment in marketing materials, signage, website development, and advertising campaigns. These costs can be significant, and they can influence the overall cost of opening an escape room business.

  1. The Cost of Insurance and Legal Fees

You cannot legally open an escape room in the United States of America or in most countries of the world if you don’t have the required insurance policy coverage for such business. Insurance covers such as:

Property insurance, general liability insurance, business interruption insurance, workers’ compensation insurance, commercial umbrella insurance, equipment breakdown insurance or property insurance, and cyber liability insurance are needed.

Note that the cost of insurance can vary depending on factors such as location, size, and coverage options. You should also make provision for legal fees because you will need them during the setup process.

  1. Miscellaneous Expenses

Miscellaneous expenses, also known as miscellaneous costs or miscellaneous expenditures, refer to various small or unclassified expenses that do not fit into specific categories or have a dedicated budget line.

These expenses are typically incidental or miscellaneous and do not fall under major expense categories like rent, utilities, salaries, or inventory.

So as expected, if you want to open an escape room, then you should budget for miscellaneous expenses, such as signage, security systems, utilities, permits and licenses renewal, maintenance and repairs, insurance premiums, staff training, ongoing theme updates or room redesigns and unexpected operational costs et al.

  • Complexity

Rooms can range from very simple paper, lock, and safe games, to complex sensor-driven games. The more complex your rooms, the more it would cost you to build. What you choose and how you construct it will indeed have a big impact on your cost.

Keep in mind that the industry is moving towards more beautiful, technologically driven games. If you build a cheap room in a competitive market, you will likely be blown out by your competition.