How Much Does it Cost to Start an Escape Room Business?
Escape rooms are an increasingly popular type of entertainment for people worldwide. Escape rooms are like games you find on the computer or board/card games. They usually involve multiple players trying to escape from a themed room by solving puzzles and riddles, all within a specific timeframe (usually 60 minutes).
They essentially allow groups of friends, families, business teams, etc., to work together on various tasks that require skills like teamwork, communication, observation, creativity, and critical thinking. And now you know what an escape room is!
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Costs Involved in Opening an Escape Room Business
This article will discuss how much it costs to start an escape room business. Several factors can influence your target startup costs, such as (but not limited to) the size of your physical space, complexity, location, and more. You’ll find detailed information on each factor below.
How Much Does It Cost to Start an Escape Room?
One of the most important things you need to know before starting an escape room business is how much it will cost you to get everything set up and ready for play!
As mentioned above, multiple factors affect startup costs, so it isn’t easy to give one single estimate for everyone. However, many people have successfully opened their own escape game companies with less than $10k in investment capital.
The major expenses of opening an escape room business include leasing/renting a suitable location, buying necessary furniture and equipment (e.g., puzzles & riddles, locks), designing and decorating your facility, etc. You will also need to purchase an operating licence if required by local authorities and pay for permits and insurance.
Escape Room Design: $7k – $14k -$20k: As you may expect, the design of your escape room can have a significant impact on your total startup costs! Some people design their rooms from scratch, while others buy pre-made designs from other companies that distribute them online or as physical products.
If you’re on a tight budget, then it has more sense to start with an existing design, as it will take a lot of time and effort to create your own from scratch.
That being said, if you’re creative and have a knack for puzzles, then you can save yourself some money by designing your rooms.
To properly engineer an escape room that’s challenging yet not too difficult, it’s recommended that you work with a professional who has extensive experience in the industry (the knowledge necessary to make a good escape room is ever-changing).
If you choose this option, be aware that your costs will increase significantly since you’ll need help from professionals to fine-tune the complex aspects of your room, but it will be worth it!
Puzzle Design: $2k – $10k+: When it comes to puzzle design, there is a vast range of options for you to choose from. Some people prefer the “hunt and seek” style of puzzles, whereas others like “logic-based” or “mental maths” challenges (e.g., puzzles involving mathematical equations but no actual numbers).
Nothing stops you from designing your unique puzzle challenges that will make your escape room one-of-a-kind. However, it’s recommended that you use existing designs in the early stages since creating them requires extensive industry expertise.
As mentioned previously, there are many different types of puzzles, and each designer has their unique style when it comes to creating games. The process can be broken down into three steps which are discussed below.
Franchise Costs for an Escape Room
If you want to open a franchise, it’s usually about 10% more expensive than opening an independent business (e.g., if the total startup cost is $10k, the franchise will be around $11k). This is because franchises have proven concepts already popular with the public, so they’re not as risky as unique escape games you create yourself!
Of course, starting your own escape room company from scratch does give you much more freedom in terms of location and design, but it also increases your risks since success isn’t guaranteed.
How Much Profit Can An Escape Room Make?
The answer to this question depends on many different factors, e.g., average ticket price, local competition, employee wages, etc. However, it’s safe to say that the average escape room business makes around $50k per year in revenue.
This is much lower than what you would make working an office job, but the great thing about opening your own business is that you have much more freedom!
Plus, there are other benefits like building your professional network and challenging yourself every day while having fun at work (the last point can’t be emphasized enough; if you’re not having fun, then why bother?).
Things That Can Influence Your Escape Room Startup Cost
Many people wonder how much it costs to open an escape room, but they fail to factor in some of the variables that can make a big difference when it comes to your final price tag! In this section, we’ll go through some of these potential variables and explain how they will affect your startup cost.
Complexity: The complexity of your design plays a role in determining how costly your escape room business will be for two main reasons:
- You need more materials for players to solve particular challenges that raise your supplier/materials costs.
- You may have to increase your labour costs by splitting your room into many different puzzles to allow for multiple groups to run simultaneously.
Expensive materials: If you have a particularly complex design, you’ll likely have to use more expensive materials to create the proper challenges for players.
For example, if your puzzle designs require a four-digit lock with letters instead of numbers, you’ll need four separate keys rather than just one simple key that only opens the lock with numbers. These additional costs can add up quickly since escape rooms usually have between 5 and 10 different puzzles/challenges in them!
Splitting a room into multiple parts: Many escape room designers try to put as much content as they can into each room since this will allow them to charge more money, but it also means that the puzzles have to be split up into many different sections.
If your design requires five locks on one door, you’ll have to create five different challenges for players to open the door. These additional complexities are usually fine if you have a larger budget since they require more labour, but they can become expensive if you don’t plan accordingly.
Location: If you’re opening an escape room business, location is significant because it determines how likely you succeed! You need customers close by, which means that if your city/town is too small, there may not be enough foot traffic passing by your storefront each day for new players to stumble upon your escape room service.
This means that you’ll have fewer customers, which will cause your business to stagnate and eventually fail.
It’s also vital for people to find out about your escape room by word of mouth (friends telling their friends, etc.) since this is the best way to secure paying customers. However, if very few players check out new escape rooms, it may be hard for them to recommend yours over the competition due to a lack of knowledge/familiarity with your brand.
The internet can help bridge this gap, but only if potential players do online research before booking an escape room, which doesn’t always happen! It all comes down to how many people know other escape room businesses in your area.
People tend to flock towards the most popular escape rooms, which means that if you aren’t one of them, you’ll struggle to make a profit or even remain open for a long time!
This is why location is important. It becomes exponentially more challenging to succeed as an escape room business owner if you don’t have many people passing by your storefront daily. In other words, the competition will be far too stiff, or your customer base will be too small for your escape room service to flourish!