This is the first article of our new blog and hopefully there will be many more as we will try our best to provide good advice from our experience in the escape room business.
One of the most important questions for any person who wants to become an escape room owner is what to buy? Should you choose an escape room that already exists or to ask for custom made escape room?
There is no right or wrong answer or rule in this matter. It’s as if you are asked whether you like strawberries more or raspberries, but here are some facts that are interesting to know before making any decision.
COST & TIME
In making custom escape room with the theme that you choose you don’t know exactly how much it’s going to cost at the end. You can certainly predict according to your budget, first with design and after that by making one game after another, but there are many factors that are not easy to predict such as service of a carpenter, electrician, painter etc. Most of the things you will have to do by yourself if you choose a room that is not complicated to make, which is definitely good advice for a start. Also, if you plan to use electronics and mechanisms, you will not be able to know how it’s going to work in reality if you haven’t made it before. And all of this will take more time, and time is money, your time that you will spend in setting up your escape room, time while you are paying rent when your escape room is not working. Bottom line, it will definitely take more time to make custom made escape room than existing one, and sure you can make something great and unique but you will need to put more effort and that’s going to cost you, which is not always desirable for a start, when every dollar counts.
INFORMATION IS THE KEY
So you want to start something new but you don’t know where and how, or if it’s something good or not. Most of the times you are buying something that exists only on paper (blue print) and you will have only verbal guarantee from owners that something is good. Well, times have changed, and now you can find more information about any company or the rooms they are providing. By choosing an escape room that already exists in a different country/region/city, you will have more information about the room itself. You can check how successful that escape room is (by checking how many groups they have per day and in a month, by comments on tripadvisor and facebook etc.) how much money it costs to make original escape rooms, how much time you need to make it, how many electronics and mechanisms you need to set up and so on… You will also know if that particular escape room can be adjusted to the space you have or plan to rent.
YOU NEED TO SEE
The best thing about choosing an existing escape room is that you can actually play it (if it’s close) or ask the owners to show you some details from that room using pictures or live skype presentations, so you can see general atmosphere and design. And I know most of the owners won’t, as they want to protect it, or just don’t want to share their knowledge before selling it, but we will show you almost everything, except the games, of course. This way you will be able to see whether you like it or not, before making the final decision.
This is really important for everybody to make sure that nobody will deceive them. You can just see who are their partners, search for their email address and ask for their opinion about working with that company. These people are usually open minded and won’t hesitate to tell you if something is good or not and by their answer you will be able to see a lot.
As you can see there is no right or wrong answer to the question: “should I buy something that already exists or order a custom made escape room”, but speaking from experience and putting myself in the position of somebody starting a new business, it’s maybe better to start with something that’s already proven to be good and profitable, just in different location, than buying something completely new but not very certain.