Do you want to start a haunted house and need to write a plan? If YES, here is a sample haunted house business plan template & feasibility report. A haunted house or attraction is any space designed to entice customers by providing a scary or thrilling experience. Research has it that Americans spend about $7 billion on Halloween, and $300 million on haunted houses. These scary houses may be located in makeshift, temporary houses, corn mazes, or even old prisons or asylums.
Workers, or preferably actors, will dress up in costumes and pop out at customers to give them a fright. Props such as fake chainsaws or straight jackets are often used alongside fog machines and soundtracks of creepy noises. In this business, young people (teenagers) with a taste for adrenaline are the best customers. Haunted houses generally charge a flat fee to participate in one or more houses.
These costs need to cover and exceed the cost of the space, employee salaries, and props. Tickets are typically anywhere from $15 to $40, but they can go even higher than that. People may spend as much as $100 or more on a custom experience. Meanwhile, this business is ideal for someone who is a jack-of-all-trades type.
Haunted house owners are expected to be extremely thorough when it comes to making decisions. There are many things that can go wrong when opening a haunted house, so it comes down to how well you’ve planned for the catastrophes. It will also take a certain amount of people skills and a real interest in the science of horror.
A Sample Haunted House Business Plan Template
Table of Content
- 2. Executive Summary
- 5. Job Roles and Responsibilities
- 6. SWOT Analysis
- 7. MARKET ANALYSIS
- 13. Startup Expenditure (Budget)
1. Industry Overview
According to reports, there are over 4,000 HALLOWEEN attractions charging admission fees to their events. With over 300 amusement facilities producing some sort of Halloween or Haunted House event such as an amusement park or family fun centre.
A Halloween Attraction could be a pumpkin patch, corn maze, hayride to a haunted house. The typical haunted attraction averages around 8,000 paid guests, although this figure depends on the market and the size of the attraction.
About 80 percent of the professional attractions in America attendance attract less than 10,000 paid guests or more than 7,500 paid guests. Less than 10 percent of haunted attractions have attendance figures over 35,000 paid guests. Less than 5 percent of all haunted attractions gross between 40,000 to 100,000 guests.
About 15 percent of all attractions in America average between 12,000 and 20,000 paid guests. A major amusement park such as Universal Studios and or Knott’s Scary Farm can gross $250 million by themselves. On a busy night, the major haunted attraction can attract over 10,000 guests while a mega amusement park like Universal might do over 40,000.
Back in the early 90’s, the average ticket price for a haunted house ranged between $4 and $6.00 dollars. By the mid 90’s to late 90’s the average ticket price had soared to around $10 to $13.00, most of the attractions choosing $13.00 because of its themed number. Today some haunted houses charge as much as $25.00 while some reach up to $50.00 with add on attractions.
Most haunted house today cost around $20.00 per person. Major amusement park haunts charge as much as $100.00 for entry into their events. Over 50 percent of haunted attractions in America charge less than $15.00 per person, while only 20 percent charge more than $20.00 per ticket.
Reports also have it that haunted and Halloween attraction industry generates over ONE BILLION dollars in ticket sales. This figure would include most major theme parks that operate a haunted event. The industry of haunting supports hundreds of other businesses across America from vendors that supply haunted house effects, props, costumes, masks, animations and more.
Additionally, haunted houses spend tens of millions of dollars on building supplies, advertisement, insurance and much more. We believe the haunted house industry solely drives the popularity of Halloween and Halloween retail through the spending of more than 250 million dollars on advertisement.
Halloween retail spends nearly zero dollars on marketing instead rely on locations and signs. The haunted house industry much like other industries has their own tradeshows, experts, consultants, suppliers, magazines, associations, education seminars, gatherings and events.
Haunted attraction owners spend annually over 250 million dollars with specific haunted house vendors for supplies like fog machines, to scary animatronic monsters, lighting equipment or masks and costumes to assist them in scaring America.
The biggest growth for the vendors to the haunted industry is now overseas, where haunted houses are opening at a record pace. People just love to be scared it’s not just an American thing anymore. The Haunted House Industry is an American product that is now being exported worldwide.
2. Executive Summary
Horror House® is a Victorian haunt still in the beginning stages of development in Rochester City, Minnesota. It is pending approval by the City Council of Rochester and the National Register of Historic Places. We’ve been able to conduct an extensive market research.
We’ve located a Victorian themed haunted attraction and a price has been negotiated for its purchase. We have also teamed up with a writer in the region who will be developing the Haunt “story line” and also write the text content for the web site and print ad. We have also located a web designer who will be designing and developing the Horror House® Victorian Haunt web site.
At Horror House®, we intend to offer one of the best, haunted attraction experiences in the Olmstead region, especially in Rochester City. Our plan is to incorporate innovation, technology, and realism, providing visitors a great bargain that they will want to experience again and again.
Our attractions will all possess fire rated walls, all the paint on them will also have fire additive added as well. We will also locate emergency exit doors every 50’ of walking distance to ensure easy exit for customers. Battery back up light in case of power loss, as well as emergency back up exit signs will be located above every door.
Our planned unit will also have 4.10lb.abc fire extinguishers for safety. We hope to establish a Haunted Victorian Mansion attraction situated on at least 2000 square feet of rooms and mazes that suits perfectly for our 40’x80’ tent, metal construction warehouse, etc. We will make sure our building meets local and state fire and safety inspection codes.
3. Our Products and Services
Horror House® will operate a Victorian haunt House and sell a wide range of Halloween costumes in the city of Rochester.
In order to maintain a unique attraction and remain competitive in providing the best service to customers at the best possible price, we will hold a commitment to maintain state-of-the-art props and set design to maintain public interest and repeat business. We will also offer consultancy services that will address these specialized areas:
- Research new haunt technologies, products and services
- Expansion of haunted attraction to provide a greater haunt experience without increasing costs or overhead.
- Investigate other methods of entertainment
4. Our Mission and Vision Statement
- Our vision at Horror House® is to become a destination of choice for people searching for a scary place to enjoy or recharge.
- At Horror House®, our mission is to provide customers with an exciting and amusing haunted house experience while concurrently offering a diverse selection of Halloween costumes and related items.
Our Business Structure
Our business structure at Horror House® will be solid and designed to cater for our clients as well as all our working members. All our members will be asked to maintain complete discretion and confidentiality regarding the contents, procedures, and operation of the haunt.
They will also be privy to the secrets of the illusions and special effects inside the haunted attractions. We want to emphasize that our first priority for the team members is their safety.
We also want them to have as much fun as possible. They will be asked to sign a document stating they have read and fully understand all information regarding the secrecy of the haunt. Before opening the haunt, we will also conduct safety training.
5. Job Roles and Responsibilities
- House Manager – Horror House® Director of Operations
The House Manager will be in charge of all aspects of the attraction set up, maintenance, build requirements, and tear down. The House Manager will oversee the installation and tear down crew and will be in charge of design and construction of all walls, sets, props, sound, lighting, etc.
And ensure that all areas of the attraction are designed and built to adhere to fire and safety codes. The House Manager will be on-site before, during, and after all shows. The House Manager will also be in charge of overseeing all pre-show and post-show equipment inspections, preparation, and initiations.
The House Manager will also double check that all of the equipment has been turned off at closing. He or she will be on two-way-radio and should be contacted to address any equipment malfunction. If the House Manager must leave the premises (even for a brief period), he/she shall delegate responsibilities to another adult volunteer.
The House Manager shall have overall responsibilities for the safe operation of the House and for the implementation of the Emergency Action Plan.
- Box Office Manager
This person will oversee all ticket sales and distribution. Also, the Box Office Manager shall be provided with a two-way radio. In the event of a fire or other emergency requiring outside assistance, the House Manager or Security Staff will notify (in person or by Radio) the Box Office Manager, and/or other appropriate emergency personnel, who will then call for such Assistance.
Actors will perform their roles as indicated in the assigned character descriptions. All staff/volunteers shall take responsibility for their own safety and for the safety of those in their immediate vicinity. Observations of unsafe conditions shall be immediately brought to the attention of the House Manager.
Staff/volunteers shall familiarise themselves with the layout of all the attractions and grounds, exits and emergency corridors, and the path to primary and alternate exits from the particular location in which they are working. This can be seen on several layouts posted in various points around the makeup area and retail store room.
- Safety/Security Staff
Safety/Security Staff shall conduct frequent safety inspections of the public and non-public areas of the facility. Unsafe conditions (fire hazards, electrical hazards, tripping hazards, etc.) shall be corrected ASAP, if possible, or reported to the House Manager. Safety/Security staff members will each be equipped with two-way radios.
At least one uniformed law enforcement officer will also serve as a Safety/Security Staff member. He/she will also be equipped with a two-way radio and will call for any outside Assistance, or notify the Box Office Manager to do the same.
6. SWOT Analysis
We spent a considerable amount of time in researching and locating a professional haunted attraction. We have researched the demographics of the Rochester and surrounding areas to determine the marketability of our service.
We have and continue to conduct a considerable amount of research in the haunted attraction industry, both nationally and locally, and have determined that there is definitely a market for an excellent haunted attraction in the Olmstead area. Below is the summary of our well analysed SWOT Analysis at Horror House®.
Our strength at Horror House® lies in our plans to regularly maintain and ensure the upkeep of our haunt. This alone will attract clients due to the uniqueness of our haunt. Another strength we possess in this industry is the marketing plan we plan to implement. This marketing plan is all encompassing and will reach all crannies of Olmstead County.
Our weakness in this industry is getting well experienced actors and volunteers who understand the haunt industry. We will also be faced with the problem of getting our target audience to know about our services.
These days, the haunted house industry is frequently featured on national television, radio and newspaper like Fox News, USA TODAY, The Today Show, Good Morning America, MTV and more. In fact, some haunted houses have been the set for a few major motion pictures. This has further increased the attractiveness of haunt attraction and also presents a unique market and opportunity for us.
According to our SWOT analysis, the threat we at Horror House® will be facing is the needed capital and sponsorship to start our haunted house business. Also this business is a seasonal business but we plan to supplement business income by adding other side businesses as we grow.
7. MARKET ANALYSIS
- Market Trend
The haunt attraction industry has its mainstay characters from zombies and werewolves to witches and vampires, and the best haunted houses have their own haunt-borne characters to manufacture fear, these trends are recognized for those elements that bring frightful traction to the experience.
According to experts, De-mystifying what it takes to heighten fear is second nature for America Haunts’ members, given their decades in the business offering high-calibre fear attractions.
Kansas City member Edge of Hell opened in 1975, and despite being the oldest commercial haunted house in the nation, it continues to be recognized for its adaptations to petrify visitors. Current industry trends incorporate the mystic, the innately frightful, and raise the undead from cemeteries from another century. The coast-to-coast trends include:
These magical, mythical and fiery creatures come to life with technology that makes realistic fire breathing, and roaring sounds – appearing from the depths of dark. Reports have it that dragons will definitely have a big presence this year and do their job to create fear. They are spell-binding and attack from above while breathing fire that can burn anyone alive.
- Killer Bees & the Creepy Crawly
Killer bees, spiders and creepy insects exploit our phobias. Inside haunts, the scare is amplified when these creatures touch visitors. The old days of haunted attractions which scary sets visitors view from behind glass are gone. These days all senses are activated. It’s 4D. See, feel, hear and smell inside the haunts. Horror is big because horror is smarter.
Guests may hear buzzing sounds and suddenly feel the sensation of killer bees swarming over their faces, igniting the phobia of getting stung in a swarm of bees – then discover they are underneath giant hives with killer bee animatronics creating buzzworthy fear.
- Graveyards and Resurrecting dead people
Scary and realistic graveyards within the haunt attractions create a perfect scene for screams. Just like Michael Jackson did in Thriller, it is human nature to run from death. Graveyards create an uneasiness that something is lurking behind the tombs. The smell of death leaches from the coffin and penetrates the nostrils of clients.
8. Our Target Market
Although this plan identifies the Horror House® customer as a typical 20year-old, we know that younger people are the primary consumers of haunt activities. There will be an aggressive plan to target young adults between 16 to 25 years-old that are able to drive themselves to the facility.
Rochester has an abundance of high schools, colleges and well graded universities that cater to young students in the area. It is our belief that these young adults and students would also become typical patrons of our haunt.
The median age in the city was 35 years. 24.8 percent of residents were under the age of 18; 8.3 percent were between the ages of 18 and 24; 29.4 percent were from 25 to 44; 24.8 percent were from 45 to 64; and 12.7 percent were 65 years of age or older.
The distinctive competitive advantages Horror House® brings to this market are innovation in design and realism and a commitment to offer the “most Frightening” experience in haunted attractions. We will always strive to have our guests leave wanting more; to have had a mind-blowing experience that is unique to Horror House® and one that will have customers talking about it until the next season arrives.
Our philosophy at Horror House® is to price not just according to our costs, but also according to what the market will pay, while leaving the guests feeling like they have received a bargain.
By pricing to the market, we will achieve higher sales and also increase our buying power. The buying power will allow us to qualify for better product discounts and result in a greater return on haunt improvement investments. Horror House® will be located directly adjacent to the Rochester Art Centre.
This will offer high visibility to tourists. We plan to strike a deal with the Chamber of Commerce/Art Centre and request use of their parking lot after hours. The Chamber of Commerce can charge for this Parking thereby generating additional revenue for them.
Also, to control the market competition, we will monitor the markets and adjust pricing accordingly if necessary. By keeping overhead low, we will be able to funnel profits back into operations, thus avoiding high debt ratios or lost sales opportunities.
Consideration will also be given to attending trade shows around the country. Through our leadership, we will be able to reduce overhead as a percentage of sales, thereby increasing the amount of profit to be retained in the business. Due of our strategic location and unique Customer Service policy, more people will attend our haunt, thus increasing the size of the market and our market share.
What we propose to use are just good solid business sense, economies of scale, and the use of efficient financial techniques. This will allow us the following options: increase service, increase advertising, reduce prices, increase profits, increase investment in applied design, innovation, and technology used.
This plan will give us tremendous flexibility to use any of these options or a mix of them to efficiently attack our target markets and meet our long-term goals. This combination of experience, sophistication, capitalization, and innovation will assist Horror House® as it strives to reach its sales, profit and return objectives.
9. SALES AND MARKETING STRATEGY
- Sources of Income
Just like it is stated in the Executive Summary, Horror House® will generate revenue by offering one of the best, haunted attraction experiences in the Olmstead region, especially in Rochester City. Our other source of revenue will typically come during the months of September and October when we will revamp our store operations to focus on the sale of Halloween costumes, related cosmetics, and related costume products.
Horror House® will also sell pre-packaged Halloween candy, plastic pumpkins, lighting, and other items related to the season. The retail portion of our business will be located within the Horror House® facility.
10. Sales Forecast
We project that we will be able to generate sufficient capital from the operation to meet our initial needs after the initial infusion of $60,000. However, our projections are based upon present real market conditions and data. Should sales not meet projections, adjustments will be made in ordering and long-term commitments decreased or postponed.
We expect a first year season run to produce an estimated 10,000 visitors.
- Cost of Operation
With the exception of electrical costs, the initial investment of $3,000,000 should cover the cost to purchase the haunted attraction and the entire first year operating costs.
- Risks & Variables
We have also considered seasonal trends and have forecasted accordingly. We believe the forecasts are conservative. Should we determine that the haunted attraction season can be lengthened, we will consider doing so.
- Cost Control
Our books will initially be maintained manually. We plan at a future point to use a computerized accounting package to monitor our financial performance. This information will be compiled at the end of each season for preparation of financial statements.
Each season these statements will be reviewed against our proforma statements and appropriate action taken to adjust costs or our budget. If we find that we are continually over budget, our first step will be re-evaluating our ticketing price and then recheck our costs to make certain that we are obtaining the best possible prices from our vendors.
- Marketing Strategy and Sales Strategy
At Horror House® we understand the importance and effects of good marketing. A good marketing plan will propel us to the forefront where our prospective clients can notice us. We also understand that although marketing will bring actors and staff in, what will keep them coming back and telling all their friends will be the passion and if possible, experienced actors and trained staff!
Keeping our haunt profitable comes down to how well we market and advertise. Below is a breakdown of what amount of our budget we hope to invest into our marketing and advertising campaign:
- 25 percent towards radio
- 30 percent towards television
- 15 percent towards cable
- 10 percent towards internet
- 5 percent towards billboards
- 15 percent towards fliers, signs, and coupons
11. Publicity and Advertising Strategy
We at Horror House® plan to offer additional activities and recommendations. The key elements of our publicity strategy implementation include:
- Website advertising
- Awareness of and relationships with educational institutions that will be offered
- Social media advertising.
12. Our Pricing Strategy
Before we established the price for admission into Horror House®, we determined what our investment and overhead costs were going to be. We then determined what the market price was for the nearest haunted attraction. It was determined that for all but the lowest sales projections, this service would return a profit at our determined price.
To verify this price, we posted a message on Hauntworld.com, a web site dedicated to professionals throughout the nation who run successfully haunted attractions. We first questioned members about the typical admission fees they charge for their attractions and asked other related questions, such as the length of their attractions, the market, demographics, etc.
We found that 80 percent of those polled felt that the price we are planning to charge for admission to Horror House® is “fair market value”. We have determined that the market price will be set at $20.00 per person (with a coupon).
- Payment Options
We at Horror House® plan to bring payment options that will make payments easy for our customers. We have partnered with a renowned bank in the country and we hope to make use of that relationship. Our bank account numbers will be made available on our website and promotional materials so that it will be easier for clients to make payments when necessary.
- Payment via POS machine
- Payment via online bank transfer
- Payment via mobile money
- Payment with cash
13. Startup Expenditure (Budget)
At Horror House®, we seek to offer the balance of fear and excitement people seek by providing options for activities to suit both individuals and groups. We at Horror House® believe that our company will become profitable in its second year and quite profitable in its third. We have analysed the market and have decided on how we plan to spend our startup fund.
- The Total Fee for Registering the Business in the united states – $750.
- Legal expenses for obtaining licenses and permits – $4,000
- Marketing promotion budget- $500,000
- Cost for hiring Business Consultant – $20,000
- Insurance (general liability, workers’ compensation and property casualty) coverage at a total premium – $250,000
- Cost for purchasing our Victorian haunt house- $1,100,000.
- Cost for facility remodelling- $70,000.
- Other start-up expenses including stationery – $1000
- Phone and utility deposits – $3,500
- Operational cost for the first 3 months (salaries of staff, fuelling, maintenance, payments of bills et al) – $250, 000
- The cost for Start-up inventory – $15,000
- Cost for store equipment (cash register, security, ventilation, signage) – $27,000
- The cost for the purchase of props and equipment: $270,000.
- The cost of Launching an official website: $600
- The cost for our grand opening party: $50,000
- Miscellaneous: $10,000
From our detailed analysis above, we will need an estimated $3,000,000 to start Horror House® successfully.
Generating Funding/Start up capital for Horror House®
The idea of Horror House® was conceived and will be managed by Ephraim Liam. He will be personally in charge of operations and marketing. He will also sell additional services to customers. He will also fund this business while also acquiring a huge chunk of the startup capital from the bank as a business loan that will be serviced in three years. These are the areas we intend generating our startup capital;
- Generate part of the startup capital from personal savings
- Generate part of the startup capital from friends and other extended family members
- Generate funding from getting a business loan from our bank
Note: We have been able to raise $2,000,000 from the personal savings and family soft loans. We are at the final stages of acquiring a substantial $1,000,000 from our bank, and we believe that aside from our services that will generate fund, we will be attracting investors in no time.
14. Sustainability and Expansion Strategy
At Horror House®, we plan to build trap doors and secret passageways into the haunt so the actors can disappear and reappear at will and be in front of the patrons whenever they want. The trick is to have the actors work as a team to scare customers.
We will also release cannons, animatronics, fog machines, water misters and drop devices with pressure pads and sensors. We will also make obstacle for the patrons to bend down, squeeze through or even kneel down in order to create a claustrophobic or panic mood.
We plan to have at least three WOW special effects Illusions inside; for example: a vortex, Optical illusion spirit or monster, (i.e. Pepper’s Ghost), etc. We also plan to keep our actors fresh and from getting bored by rotating them every few hours, also giving time for bathroom, snack, and water breaks.
Our actors will have great makeup and/or masks, wear dark robes and shoes. Actors outside would be entertaining the patrons in line and in the parking lot. They will also have the best makeup and costumes, and have experience in acting in order to work the crowd.
The Victorian haunted attraction we will be purchasing, and naming House Horror, is similar in size and characteristics to a haunted attraction featured at the Universal Studio for 4 years now. This attraction in Florida has averaged approx. 20,000 customers per season.
We will be adding to our attraction thousands of dollars worth of props and haunt décor we have acquired over the past number of years and that we have utilized for a home haunt and Halloween themed parties. We will also be investing numerous hours into updating and revising the sets and props in this attraction.
This gives us a tremendous price advantage, as we are able to gain entry into this industry with fair market investment. We intend to market Horror House® through all the normal channels available. These include an advertising campaign targeting the end user in various publications and on radio and through television.
After having successfully completed this entry phase into this market in the Rochester, we will then expand our market by expanding advertising and media to cover a wider demographically area, expand sponsorships to a wider demographical area and distribute discount coupons through sponsor locations. To continue our growth, we will use the following methods to expand our markets:
- Customer contact – find out their needs – market surveys and questionnaires
- Customer referrals
- Sales of souvenir t-shirts, buttons, bumper stickers, etc.
- Adding complementary Product/Services and promotional giveaways
- Trade shows
- Research & Development
- Investment in new design and technology for haunt
- Business Name Availability Check: Completed
- Business Incorporation: Completed
- Opening of Corporate Bank Accounts: Completed
- Opening Online Payment Platforms: Completed
- Application and Obtaining Tax Payer’s ID: In Progress
- Application for business license and permit: Completed
- Purchase of Insurance for the Business: Completed
- Conducting feasibility studies: Completed
- Leasing, renovating and equipping our facility: Completed
- Generating part of the startup capital from the founder: Completed
- Applications for Loan from our Bankers: In Progress
- Writing of Business Plan: Completed
- Drafting of Employee’s Handbook: Completed
- Drafting of Contract Documents: In Progress
- Design of The Company’s Logo: Completed
- Printing of Promotional Materials: Completed
- Recruitment of employees: In Progress
- Purchase of the needed software applications, furniture, office equipment, electronic appliances and facility facelift: In progress
- Creating Official Website for the Company: In Progress
- Creating Awareness for the business (Business PR): In Progress
- Health and Safety and Fire Safety Arrangement: In Progress
- Establishing business relationship with banks, financial lending institutions, vendors and key players in the industry: In Progress