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How to set up an escape room

How to set up an escape room

The business idea of opening an escape room from scratch: find out how to start and how much it costs, together with all the possible benefits and risks


  1. Introduction

  2. Starting an escape room from scratch

  3. Preparing an escape room business plan

  4. Escape room: initial expenses

  5. Risks and benefits of opening an escape room

  6. Conclusions

#1 Introduction

The entertainment business, despite all the current difficulties, is still in high demand. It is popular among both entrepreneurs and clients. The latest events: the pandemic, restrictions, and switching to the online way of life, have taught people to spend on entertaining themselves. That is why modern customers are eager to pay for amusement arcades and other games. There are many game clubs, but there is still a gap in the entertainment niche, so not everyone can get what he wants.

However, it is pretty good for you as it is a handy chance to start a prosperous business. Then get a loyal audience without any special efforts.

Ok, fine, but there are so many cinemas, cafes and even bowling, it seems the demand is fully covered. Well, there are, but clients always ask for more, so why not offer them an opportunity to spend a lovely time at a VR club or an escape room, for example.

Various escape rooms are popular among youth. The average age of the clients is 15-40 years. Let's see whether there is a chance for you to start the business. Today, we'll speak about all the advantages and disadvantages of opening an escape room and the time you'll need to create a successful business. Plus, of course, we couldn't omit all the possible expenses. Let's dive into the fascinating world of escape rooms. It'll be helpful!

Statistics show that escape rooms help to develop better memory, they make you energized and increase the level of dopamine.

Sure! They are very innovative. Escape rooms use visual and sound effects, 3D and 4D, interactive puzzles, etc.

We recommend connecting EasyWeek software. It is a user-friendly, affordable solution that stores data in the cloud. It is very convenient as you can use the software via the Internet. No need to install any additional equipment.

#2 Starting an escape room from scratch

Any business idea has to start with a business plan. So we recommend you spend some time thinking and planning all the expenses, possible risky moments, aims, and primary goals.

A good business plan is your roadmap to success.

Let's see whether it is possible to minimize the risks concerning starting your own business.

The modern economy is volatile, so opening any business can be risky. Plus, nowadays, this type of entertainment is so popular that competitors create another issue. Starting an escape room yourself is a good idea, but only when you fully understand what you are doing. For beginners, who barely even know how the escape room niche works, it'd be much better to get a franchise.

A franchise is the right start to a prosperous escape room business for beginners.

The critical notions of any franchise:

  • support from the management company,

  • famous name,

  • help with all the business processes,

  • and it costs money.

The main plus is that your business will develop under a well-known name, so it will help you to skip a few stages of suffering from spending thousands on marketing campaigns, promotions, and ads.

Let's imagine the situation when an escape room is opening and has no name and reputation. Will it attract many people? Of course, it is possible, but pretty expensive, mainly because you'll have to print all the handout materials, order ads on radio and TV, etc.

And, what about the escape room under a popular franchise name? Is it any different? Yes, indeed! Your new business will automatically receive the attention of fans of the mentioned popular franchise. Because many people have already read or heard about you and, naturally, you won't need so many efforts to succeed.

Escape room features

An escape room is a place to which you come for emotions. But the disadvantage is that a person can enjoy the entertainment just once. There is no fun in coming back to feel and see just the same stuff. But, if a client likes the game, he'll come back to try something similar. So, prepare a few variants of escape games. It is simple but quite important.

When thinking about possible escape games, don't forget to analyze the nearest competitors. You can even visit their escape rooms to check what they offer and how many people come to them. If you've noticed a considerable client flow for some particular game, it'll be wise to create something similar and attract your competitors' audiences.

The escape room business can be extra profitable! Some examples are when entrepreneurs who started with $7000 of initial investment get more than $70 000 per month. Of course, it is rather exceptional, but anyway, it is possible!

In general, to open an escape room, you'll need $5000-35 000 and patience because the ROI of escape rooms is kind of slow. You have to wait for 1-2 years. However, it barely stops those who know how profitable the escape niche can be.

#3 Preparing an escape room business plan

A business plan is not just a paper. It is your map with all the risks and possible benefits. Writing down a good one is almost as important as finding funding for your business.

Here is a list of items you better remember when planning your escape room:

  • Location

    Selecting a place that is far from the city center is a risky and even a bad idea. A customer flow will be low even with the best ads and strategies. And the reason is prosaic – no one will bother to drive or, even worse, use public transport, to rich an escape room. The best option is starting an escape room in the places where your target audience lives, works, or just those that offer similar services. It will double your chances to 'catch' your loyal clients and build a successful business.

  • Equipment

    The games you will offer determine the equipment you have to purchase. You will also have to decorate or renovate the premises, according to the style you need. Choosing a room with good ventilation is necessary, and the location must meet fire safety requirements. It would be best if you took the equipment of an escape room very responsibly to exclude the likelihood of injuries and other accidents. Never buy anything from unknown suppliers because they don't give any guarantees. In case an accident takes place, you will stay all alone with financial and moral problems.

  • Escape room games

    The concept of a quest should be unpredictable, arouse interest so that visitors recommend it to their friends, increasing the demand for your services. Before working with clients, you should test all the equipment well. It is essential to check whether all the special effects work as they have to and whether they are safe and help create the proper storyline. If you have some extra money for costumes, it would be desirable to order special ones for visitors. This way, they will be even more involved in the fantasy world.

  • Escape room staff

    To organize the work of an escape room in the most efficient way, you have to hire a few presenters, who will lead the game, manage it and entertain guests. Then you create a script, and the staff learns their roles, and everything works smoothly. There are several ways of finding the right people for the escape room: social networks or special agencies. A good escape room employee is an actor or animator. The staff has to be pretty creative and have good acting skills.

  • Marketing

    The most effective ways of promoting an escape room are social networks or targeted ads. To involve your target audience, think about entertaining content that will attract their attention. You can, for example, interview guests, shoot video from the escape room, come up with promotions. Then an SEO-optimized website will also help when dealing with clients. Make the site which contains detailed information about all the escape games, staff, prices, and location. The good idea is to hand out leaflets with this data. The main principle is that the flyers must be given near the escape room or not far from it.

  • CRM with online appointment feature

    Effective business requires modern technologies. We have already written material about choosing a good solution for escape rooms. Online appointment is also an important detail when selecting an online appointment scheduling software. It will allow you to attract clients and minimize the efforts while working with appointments.

  • Documentation: licenses and permits

    An escape room business is a good niche for young businesspeople as it does not require special licenses or permits. However, to start working, you have to decide and register a legal form of business organization. For escape rooms, the optimal solution will be LLC or sole proprietorship.

The government doesn't strictly control escape room business, but you have to hold it by yourself. Unfortunately, this niche is pretty dangerous because of a significant number of accidents.

There are a few ways of minimizing the risks of any accidents and damages in escape rooms:

  • Give detailed instructions. Yes, it may simplify the game as the visitors will know what and when will happen, but it is the best way to avoid unexpected and unwanted situations.

  • Create a paper where guests will agree to stay fully responsible for all the possible accidents. It will remove the responsibility from you in case something happens. Talk to a lawyer about all trifles.

#4 Escape room: initial expenses

The niche is popular, but there are many competitors. To stand out and get your loyal audience, you have to create a wow client experience. There is no other way to attract attention nowadays.

First of all, you better understand what the current market offers. There is no sense to copy. Just grab some inspiration. The minimum investment for an average American city will be about $5000-7000.

Let's see what the initial escape room investment include:

  • Rent

  • Renovation

  • Utilities

  • Staff salaries

  • Purchasing equipment

  • Creating escape games

  • Getting special effects

  • Registration of LCC or sole proprietorship

  • Ads

To open an escape room with a franchise, it is required at least $10 000.

An owner of an escape room has thought out everything well, as a business requires a crucial initial investment. If you are low on budget, don't rush to take loans to open the business. Firstly, analyze all the advantages and disadvantages. Credit is a risky choice, especially considering the current crisis. A franchise will be a much better solution for beginners.

The ROI of escape rooms is 1-2 years. It depends on the customer flow and initial investments. Usually, one game costs $20-35 per person.

#5 Risks and benefits of opening an escape room

The decision of opening an escape room from scratch is a risky solution. Instead, purchasing a ready-made franchise is the best idea for beginners.

Plus, the niche is entirely dependent on the season. The most profitable period is December – April, because of holidays and feasts. On the other hand, summer isn't a fruitful time mostly because people enjoy nature outside.

Then accidents. They can damage any business's reputation. When planning an escape room, make sure you thought out well the premises and games. If something happens, it'll be hard to renew good fame. So try to minimize the risks.

During winter-spring, the revenue of escape rooms can reach $50 000 - 60 000. Some companies even make more than $70 000 per month.

Don't overestimate yourself, but remember that following some standard rules will significantly help open an escape room.

#6 Conclusions

Never be afraid to start a new page of your life. Opening an escape room business can help you to prosper and find your place. Of course, the niche is complicated, but it is still possible to survive and succeed. Just use the simple life hacks we've mentioned today. And sure, stay tuned with the best software!

EasyWeek team will be pleased to grow together and help you with any issues concerning business optimization.

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