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What you should do to Open Your haunts in 2020 - Thread

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  • #32
    OK Larry!!!
    Following your info and your lead....applied today for the PPP through my bank. Being a a unique business, a haunted
    house and a Pirate Festival , I am on a first name basis with the bank manager.
    Everything was done on line. She looked through everything, requested additional info and will send it off today!!!
    IF you have that sort of re pore with your bank manager, utilize it!! I always drop off free tickets for her employees, they
    recognize and acknowledge me every time I enter the bank even though I am only really active seasonally. Now when
    I need help, those dividends are paying off as she personally handled the application and will vouch for it to her bosses!!

    Two lessons:
    first follow though when you are handed opportunities like those Larry is outlining,
    second , always build those kind of relationships with other businesses and providers, you never know when they will bear fruit...
    the only issues I am seeing is that base everything off 12 months. All my profit for the Festival was LOST because of Covid.
    But their formulas take your total profit, divide it by 12 for a monthly profit and multiply it by 2,5 for the 2 1/2 months of profit you lost....
    But that's not accurate for people like us, we have 12 months of expenses but only ONE month to make a profit. I will not be able to
    run the festival in June or July,,, so I have NO chance to make anymore profit, but expenses continue.

    So the reality is you will only get 2 1/2 months of what your yearly profit would be but no opportunity to make anymore money the other
    9 1/2 months!!! BUT something is better than nothing!!!

    Thanks Larry for posting (no you don't get a percentage...just a VERY grateful THANKS!!!)

    R&J Productions
    Las Vegas, NV


    • #33
      Check out this story about stocks of theme parks... it clearly says at the bottom that amusement parks might suffer 50% reduction in attendance. Haunted Houses should plan on 50% reduction in attendance.
      Larry Kirchner


      • #34
        image_21745.jpg this is a strict virus warning sign
        Larry Kirchner


        • #35
          And here is ONE MORE feel free to use these at your haunted house
          warning sign 1 big print.jpg
          Larry Kirchner


          • #36
            Florida's economic recovery task force is suggesting methods for Disney's reopening. This includes... Disney is going to require all employees to wear face masks, have their temperatures taken before shifts, use social distancing on lines and will begin operating at 50% capacity - date is still TBD but most likely in January they will start up.


            Last edited by Kevin Baird; 05-01-2020, 02:06 PM.


            • #37
              They are telling me I donít qualify because I donít have employees in the off season. Does this makes since or no? Thanks


              • #38
                This is going to start happening across the Halloween industry... which is why you need to get really smart about how you operate over the next 5 months.

                Rubies files for bankruptcy

                Larry Kirchner


                • #39
                  This is the real killer right here... the economy is at higher unemployment than the Great Depression. This is NOT the year to raise prices, this is not the year to spend a lot of money. You must figure out ways to cut costs. Here are some suggestions.

                  1) Don't renovate your haunted house scenes and sets. Instead figure out every possible way to create SCAREZONES where actors can reach multiple area's in your haunted house. You need to reduce dependency on labor by 40%. So if you had 100 actors last year you need to get down to 60 this year. Just a reality. Furthermore once you reduce your dependence on actors you need to KEEP IT THAT WAY FOREVER.

                  How do you reduce your labor force?

                  A) If you have one of these Screamparks just close down a haunted house, cut out part of the hayride very simple. Get meaner and leaner not longer and bigger.
                  B) A warehouse haunt very simple build scareboxes. If you're one of these 40,000 plus square foot haunts cut out 1/4 of that haunt with a bypass. Your haunt will still be massive don't worry.

                  2) If you're an indoor haunted house CUT OUT an entire section of the haunted house and build a midway.

                  A) Build 5 minutes escape rooms
                  B) Zombie Paintball
                  C) Gift Store
                  D) Horror Arcade
                  E) Photo Ops
                  F) Games
                  G) Axe Throwing (Zombie Style)

                  3) Cut out more sections of your haunted house and built a year around Axe Throwing or Escape Room facility.

                  4) Cut Marketing Costs. It is time to remove all radio from your budget, all TV, and get down to billboards and digital.

                  5) Switch ticketing companies to Why? I was talking with one haunt yesterday they said their ticketing company keeps the service fee ... we did the math they pay essentially $34,500 for ticketing if they switched to Fearticket they would MAKE PROFIT $50,000 so why would you not SWITCH?????????? FEAR TICKET SWITCH IS GOING TO MAKE THAT HAUNTED HOUSE $50,000 based on how many tickets they sell online. THIS IS A FACT!

                  IMPORTANT TO HAVE A PLAN FOR SAFETY use warning signs, and make a final call around August what you might do.

                  Here are some suggestions

                  Buy facemasks for every single one of your guests require to wear while in line or going thru haunt

                  Washing Stations

                  Spray every guests hands prior to entry

                  Putting up warning signs everywhere including on your website and ticketing page


                  Larry Kirchner


                  • #40
                    Info I got from my bank on PPP LOAN UPDATES
                    Congratulations on successfully obtaining Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding under the CARES Act. We fully understand the importance of these funds to you and your business, and weíre committed to helping your business navigate the uncertain economic environment.

                    Since the inception of the PPP, the U.S. Treasury and the Small Business Administration (SBA) have continually modified the Program guidelines. We recommend that you continue to watch for updates regarding the PPP and its guidelines throughout the loan process, including how you may use the proceeds and which expenses may be paid using the proceeds. You can find this information at the SBA website or at the U.S Treasury site.

                    Please know that how you spend PPP funds will affect your eligibility for forgiveness as outlined by the SBA, and there are important things you need to consider regarding this spending. Under the CARES Act that authorized the PPP funding, all or some portion of the loan principal and accrued interest can be forgiven if you use the loan proceeds for eligible payroll and non-payroll expenses that fully meet the forgiveness requirements issued by the SBA.

                    If you do not completely follow the requirements, the amount of your loan that is forgiven may be reduced. The actual amount of the forgiveness will depend, in part, on your use of all of the loan proceeds for forgivable purposes and whether you maintain employee and compensation levels during the required periods, according to the CARES Act and SBA rules.

                    At this time, the SBA has not provided final guidelines for the forgiveness provisions of PPP loans. You may want to seek advice from an attorney, accountant or other professional advisor regarding your particular situation. Also, please carefully read the CARES Act, including Section 1106, the various SBA documents, as well as Interim Final Rules and FAQs that can be found on the SBA and U.S. Treasury websites at the links above. Since these rules have not been finalized, please continue to look for updates at the SBA website.
                    Larry Kirchner


                    • #41
                      They are telling me I donít qualify because I donít have employees in the off season. Does this makes since or no? Thanks

                      WHOMEVER TOLD YOU THAT IS A MORON! You just need the payroll records from last year, and apply for the loan. I did and many did.

                      Larry Kirchner


                      • #42
                        Escape Room Warning

                        escape warningsmall 2.jpg
                        Larry Kirchner


                        • #43

                          1) Post Warning Signs everywhere including your website. Visit Fright Forum we're posting FREE warning signs for you to use. Your warning signs should warn people against entering if they're sick, suggesting everyone wear masks, and wash their hands.

                          2) Put washing stations at the entrance - Taking Touch less Temperature of every staff member and guest - Spray everyone's hands as they enter - Purchase affordable masks for every possible customer and require them to wear them while in the attraction

                          3) Reduce Spending: Every haunt needs to remove sections of their haunts to reduce staffing, while adding midway attractions which make money. Haunts need to add more scareboxes / scarezones so actors can stay busy hitting multiple sides of the attraction from one area. REDUCE STAFF! Haunts can reduce staff if you're a screampark but removing a haunt or big warehouse haunts can bypass an area. I also would not launch early marketing programs I would start marketing no more than 10 days before opening date to save money.

                          4) Marketing: Don't throw a wide net, focus on marketing to the CORE audience. Cut out all TV, and almost all radio and focus on Google, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Mass Email and maybe Youtube with a few billboards. All haunts should seek better deals from marketing companies or skip them.

                          5) Public Relations: This is the year to SKIP ALL PR efforts. Why? The media could be your worst enemy this year asking specific questions about safety. I would avoid the media in 2020, keep a very low profile, open your haunt, do your best, and make it thru.

                          6) Reduce operating Days: This is not the year to open in early September or stay open deep into November. This October has 5 weekends so maybe you skip September, maybe instead of opening every night in October just open weekends. Do what you need to do to cut costs, and focus on the meat and potatoes. If you open later you'll save labor costs and marketing costs. We've already decided one of our haunts (LEMP) will only open TEN DAYS just Friday and Saturdays in October. We have cut some days from Darkness and some from Creepyworld.

                          7) Add Revenue Generating Upgrades: instead of building new scenes, create new revenue generating attractions like zombie paintball arena, 5 minute escape rooms, gift stores, photo ops, horror arcade, pumpkin smashing, anything that is FUN that generates additional revenue. You can do this simply but removing the last 2000 square feet of your haunt. This is smart move on your part!

                          8) BUY How to Get Rich DVD: I know another shameless plug but I made this DVD prior to the shutdown. I might have titled the DVD wrong, because its not about how to start a haunt and get RICH it's for haunted house owners who currently own a haunt. The DVD shows you how to reduce staff, how to open a gift store, how to build scareboxes, how to market your haunt more effectively, how to create 5 minute escape rooms and so much more. You can get this DVD at with that being said this DVD will help you RIGHT NOW! It is by far the best DVD I've ever made, sadly we didn't get to promote the DVD at Trasnworld. All the same snag this DVD it will help your business.
                          Larry Kirchner


                          • #44
                            I wanted to mention on this Get Rich DVD we made... I made this DVD BEFORE the Virus shutdown not after. The funny thing is if you watch it you'll swear I made it AFTER!

                            Why am I saying that? I'm saying that because when you watch it you'll think I made it to help haunts transition to a new way of doing business because of a possible decrease in attendance. I probably shouldn't have named it 'How to Rich' because some people think its aimed at people who haven't yet opened a haunted house. But no its aimed at people WHO currently own haunted houses. The DVD goes into great detail about HOW to make more money off current attendance or in other words without growing attendance.

                            This DVD goes into our retail store we explain what to sell. We travel into our escape rooms, 5 minute escape rooms, into scareboxes and show how you can reduce labor. This DVD is about DECREASING COSTS while RAISING REVENUE!

                            This is the best DVD we've made so far.

                            I don't care if people buy the dvd or not... I'm telling you because this DVD will help your business during this crisis.

                            You can get this at

                            how to dvd 2020.jpg
                            Larry Kirchner


                            • #45
                              Thanks so much for sharing all this information. Right now I think everyone is concerned. I did get your video from Patti and I agree best one yet. Tell Patti thanks for sending it so fast.