3 Must Ask Questions to Yourself Before Starting an Escape Room Business
At Breakout, we receive a lot of inquiries from interested parties about our franchising opportunities. However, the majority of these inquiries never get past the ideas stage to materialise into new establishments. While this may happen for various reasons, most of the time, people underestimate the level of work and commitment required to run a successful escape room business. To help you figure out whether a partnership with us is right for you, here are 3 simple questions to ask yourself.
1. Are you 100% committed to the business?
Opening a successful escape room franchise takes hard work and dedication. For our model to be a viable and potentially lucrative business opportunity for you, it takes a bit more than just enthusiasm and interest. Even if you will have access to our expertise and advice, you will still have to build your business from the ground up. You will be responsible for finding the right location, coming up with a budget and business plan, researching the viability of the escape room business in your area, finding the right partners, contractors and staff, PR and marketing, financing, the list goes on and on.
So while it is important to have a good dose of enthusiasm and passion, they are not in and of themselves sufficient to ensure a successful business.
Some questions you might want to ask yourself in order to gauge your level of commitment include:
Do I have the experience I need to run a successful business?
How much time can I devote to this business?
Do I have the necessary support network to help me run my first business?
How confident am I that my business plan is viable
Am I willing and able to shoulder financial setbacks?
How much of the operations and set up of the business do I have to do myself and what can I outsource?
Where is the startup capital going to come from?
Asking yourself these tough questions right at the start will not only help you have a clear idea of your abilities and resources, they should also help your see areas that you are lacking in and where you need help. If you find yourself avoiding the practical realities of starting a business, it may mean that you have the enthusiasm towards the idea but not the dedication and attention to detail required to see the idea through.
Ultimately, interest alone is not nearly enough. Are you willing to put in the time to learn how to operate a successful business and are you ready to deal with the setbacks? Only you can answer this question honestly for yourself.
2. Are you able to fund your business?
The second and perhaps most important question to ask yourself is whether you are able to afford opening an escape room. Do you have the ability to shoulder the costs involved? Depending on where you plan to open your franchise, operational costs will vary quite a bit. However, generally speaking, you will need to set aside sufficient funds not just for start-up costs but also all costs associated with day to day operations for the first 6 months. This includes not just the operational costs like rent, staff salary, loan repayments, bills etc. but also incidentals such as maintenance and unforeseen costs.
Having a healthy and safe buffer ensures that your business has a higher chance of success and this will help you ride out the offsets and hiccups that can and often do occur in the early stages while the business is still getting off the ground.
Roughly speaking, the costs that new franchises have to shoulder include construction and labour costs, incidentals crucial to operations such as CCTV, tech such as audio visual systems, back end operations systems, and general office costs, and these can very quickly add up. As well, maintenance and insurance also need to be budgeted in, as do costs that are outsourced such as legal, accounting, advertising etc.
It therefore goes without saying that you will need a comprehensive budget. The more comprehensive your budget and plan, the more prepared you will be and no budget can be detailed enough. In addition to that, if you do not have startup capital, a business plan will be required to secure investment from lenders. For that, you will need to assess the viability of the business in the area that you would like the franchise to operate and come up with a viable plan. Just because our model has been tried and tested in many parts of the world does not mean it will be successful in your location.
Taking the time to write a plan will help you figure out how much money you need and how much revenue your business could potentially generate in your area and this will help you set realistic expectations and give you benchmarks to work towards.
3. Do you have the skills needed to run an Escape Room in the long run?
Take it from us, running an escape room requires a diverse set of skills and is an extremely hands-on job. Escape room owners need to be actively involved in both fronts of house and back end activities. In our experience, owners who take an interest in customer service while being actively involved in ensuring the rooms are up to date perform the best. Certain quality standards need to be met and maintained for your escape room to continue getting good reviews.
If you are going the franchise route, an escape room owner should also have a willingness to communicate and cooperate with the parent company and keep up to date with new concepts or updates as suggested.
As well, it goes without saying that escape room operators need to know every single aspect of the game rooms in detail, from the solutions of every puzzle to the technical specifications of those puzzles. Having an interest in puzzles and the ability to understand how they work is probably something you should enjoy if you’re even thinking of opening an escape room.
Finally, you should have a keen eye for detail. This is both applicable to the construction of the rooms, where well-designed rooms that convey the story well will give you the wow factor that sets you apart from your competitor, as well as in the day to day operations where one has to make sure that the escape room functions smoothly.
Being eagle-eyed about a clue being broken or misplaced is something that you will have to learn to love if you are to be a good escape room operator. Being exacting about the build quality and aesthetics is also a plus, since well-executed rooms will last longer, and this could potentially reap positive returns down the line.
So these are 3 questions to seriously ask yourself before taking the plunge and opening an escape room. If you are someone with commitment and passion, are able to adequately fund your enterprise, and if you enjoy being involved in all aspects of running your own escape room business, you may just well fit the part. For those looking for a franchise opportunity, Breakout Escape Games may well be something to look into. We have a proven model and a strong support network that will make your job much simpler. So do get in touch with us if you’re interested in an escape room partnership and would like to find out more. We will be happy to answer your questions and inquiries.