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In many ways opening the escape room is like opening up any business. It takes a certain amount of time and effort to begin make profit. Certainly, escape room business has certain nuances, the main ones of which we will now consider.
Determine what format will be an exit game. There are 2 main options:
In the room. Initially, it requires substantial investments. On the other hand, it’s safe for visitors, is maximally protected from various force majeure. Despite initial significant investments, maintenance is usually quite inexpensive;
Playing in a city or in nature - low cost of opening, but strong dependence on weather conditions. Inability to fully ensure the players safety can lead to serious reputational losses.
Legal registration of business
Most countries do not require a license or permission to open an escape room business. However, in some states strict rules apply to any restriction a freedom of movement, where permits will still be required.
For a city exit game you need the local authorities permission, coordination of time, venue.
registration a legal entity;
registration of the right to use an premises/territory;
instructing with disclaimer, which must be signed by players before a game;
observance of fire safety, sanitary norms.
Choosing a location
For escape game in an open area, a location must match scenario. The terrain must be as safe as possible - games are not allowed in dilapidated, ownerless buildings, near high-risk facilities - railway tracks, large motorways, power lines. To ensure that players don't get lost, need's to place border signs, set up loudspeakers or give out walkie-talkies.
Find premises for escape room easier. It should be good transport accessibility, have parking nearby. Advisable to choose non-residential houses - noise may interfere with residents.
Space size depends on plans scale. For one exit game, an average of 35-40 м² (25-30 м² game zone + 10 м² at reception, administrative zone). If you expect to attract corporate segment, an area of 60 м² + is required, to comfortably accommodate large number of people.
I recommend finding a large premises where will can be open 2-3 games, even if you don't plan to open them at the same time.
Doesn't matter: repair condition (almost certainly have to redo everything), windows presence. These shortcomings may greatly reduce rent cost.
The cost of opening an escape room
Although cost is an individual indicator for each individual project, basic approximate costs can be calculated for the following items:
The cost of legal entity registration. This also includes compulsory business insurance (some countries);
The price of repair, making scenery, props, puzzles;
Furniture, office equipment, video surveillance system;
Rent during a construction period;
Marketing costs, website creation and booking systems.
There are also constant operating expenses. This is rent, taxes, wages, advertising, current minor repairs, unforeseen circumstances.
Based on operating costs, profitability is calculated, reasonable price level, which don’t scare visitors and gives good net profit.
Independent work / Professional ER designer / Franchise
All options have their advantages and disadvantages.
Independent work guarantees full creative freedom. It's free. But creation an escape room without experience is a difficult task. At any time there is a risk of occurrence of reefs. Some of them can be very expensive, up to the project complete collapse.
Buying a franchise, you may get a free scenario, advisory support, good marketing tools, advertising. But the franchise purchase is already quite expensive, and it will not bring you much closer to an escape room creation: props, equipment, construction constitutes separate cost item. Also, many franchisors refuse to work if there is no strict compliance with their requirements, which will not allow you to feel themselves a full-fledged business owner.
Designer's services are a compromise option. It's not free, but cheaper than buying a franchise. In addition, the business remains completely under your control. Competent ER designer can create an escape room of dream (considering a budget, advisability and reality of implementation), maximally protecting you from errors and unforeseen expenses.
If you need ER designer's services write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact me through website. I've been creating escape room from scratch around the world for more than 3 years now. In my work I put emphasis on a customer's wishes and possibilities. I don't neglect quality, I make sure that a project can be inexpensive in construction, but at the same time interesting to visitors, and therefore commercially successful.
With respect, Vladimir Kalugin.