When it comes to opening an escape room there are 14 basic steps which you should follow:
- Create a business plan
Make sure you don’t skip this step because it’s the most important one. Every business needs a plan so you should have on paper both budget and operating plan for at least 1 year. Also, don’t expect your investment to return in a few months. It will take up to 1 year until that happens. Don’t get me wrong, you will make money and stay on the market but reinvesting to grow your business is the right thing to do.
- Apply a SWOT analysis on it
When you perform a SWOT analysis on your plan you will see where your business needs improvement and what to expect in near future. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats. Here are a few questions you should ask on each aspect of the analysis:
What personal or business skills do you have that will help you succeed in this business?
What parts of escape room planning do you enjoy doing most?
What kind of support can you expect from your friends, family or partners?
When it comes to this business in which areas do you need someone to help you?
What parts of escape room planning you don’t like doing?
How popular is the idea of an escape room in your city?
What makes you escape room different than other escape rooms in your city?
How can you implement the new technology in your escape room?
How many competitors are you dealing with in your area?
What makes other escape rooms in your city successful?
- Adapt it to your country laws
Like any other business you will need to fill some papers before starting it and pay some taxes. Make sure you’re all right with all documents before starting your business. Even if it takes time, work on other steps of your business plan meanwhile.
- Create your brand – start with website and social media accounts
It’s better to be online first and then make the step in the real world. Create a great website with a cool web design, user friendly and mobile-optimized which you can promote it online.
- Choose an escape room theme – or more
The theme it’s the story you want to tell people. Either you can purchase it or create your own. If it’s the first time opening your escape room I suggest you buy a design which has been already tested.
- Develop a scenario and write it down
Developing the scenario, it’s the following step after choosing the theme. Make sure you have a good one because that’s the core of your escape room business. You can either write it yourself, buy one or ask a professional person to write it according your preferences.
- Make it professional
When it comes to decorating the room and start building the scenario it’s better to keep in mind that you need to create an unique experience for your customers if you want your escape room to look cool and be successful. You can do it yourself, if you know you are skilled in this direction otherwise there is a big chance to spend more money than you planned.
- Rent a location to start your business
Rent a place which is situated in the city centre or in an area where the traffic is high. Also, when you rent the place consider the parking place for your customers and it’s accessibility for public. Take into consideration also expanding your business, soon.
Make sure all electric installation it’s well functioning, assure restroom facilities, heat and air conditioning, fire alarms, internet, etc.
- Start working on your escape room game
It is time to build your game room, buy all the necessary decorations and puzzles and put it all together. Keep in mind that this can take more than 1 month.
- Test and improve your room
Once all the steps above are done, start the testing part. You want your escape room to function perfectly when you open the public access, right? Usually the most problematic part which experiences break-downs it’s the engineering part. Ask your friends to play your game and make changes according to their feedback.
- Invest in marketing
Don’t be cheap when it comes to business promoting. Promote your brand, logo, slogan and other materials both online and offline. Engage with your audience using social media and keep it updated for the opening event.
- Hire the right people for your business
Another key component of your business success is your staff. They are the one that communicate with your customers, train them and offer a motivating salary.
If you have more than one room, there always should be a person who resets each room and provides the hints for the next group.
- Open your escape room to the public
Make sure you are involved in every aspect of your business and everything goes according the plan. Once you will see your escape room built and tested you can open the access to public and enjoy the enthusiasm and happiness of your customers.
14. Good luck!
Do you want to start an Escape Room Business?
Take a look at how this industry is performing by downloading the 2018 Escape Room Business Income Report.
About the Author
Escape room designer, Artist and Entrepreneur
Costin is an artist, but also a very dedicated entrepreneur and for the past 10 years he run several successful business in the entertainment industry, and worked with hundreds of international clients.
After creating a successful escape room business, in the past 3 years he started sharing what he learned, become an escape room designer and so far helped more than 20 other entrepreneur in starting their own escape room business all over the world.