Escape rooms are the latest trend that has taken the entertainment industry by storm. They have sprouted up in almost every major city in the world, offering a unique experience that challenges both the mind and the senses. According to ResearchAndMarkets.com, the global escape room market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 11.57% during the forecast period 2018-2022. This growth is primarily driven by the increasing popularity of escape rooms among millennials, who are always on the lookout for fresh and exciting experiences. If you are also considering starting an escape room business, then you are in the right place. In this article, we will provide you with a 10-step checklist that will help you launch your escape room business successfully.


Conduct Market And Industry Research

Before launching an Escape Room business, it’s essential to conduct thorough market and industry research. This will give you insights into the competitive landscape, customer preferences, and industry trends. Here are some steps to follow:

  • Identify your target market: Determine who your ideal customers are based on demographics, location, and psychographics. This will guide your marketing efforts and help you tailor your offerings to meet their needs.
  • Assess the competition: Scout the area for competitors and analyze their strengths and weaknesses. This will help you differentiate your business and come up with a unique selling proposition (USP).
  • Research industry trends: Stay up-to-date with the latest Escape Room industry trends to ensure you’re offering relevant experiences to your customers. Consider attending industry conferences, reading blogs and forums, and reaching out to industry leaders for insights.
  • Perform a SWOT analysis: Conduct a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis to identify potential risks and opportunities for your business.

Tips & Tricks

  • Use online tools such as Google Trends to monitor industry trends and consumer search patterns.
  • Visit different Escape Rooms as a customer to get a sense of their business model, customer experience, and offerings.
  • Engage with your potential customers on social media platforms to gather insights into their preferences and needs.

By conducting market and industry research, you’ll have a comprehensive understanding of your customers, the competition, and the industry at large. This will help you make informed decisions about your business strategy, marketing plan, and product offerings, ultimately leading to higher chances of success in the Escape Room industry.


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Design And Develop A Business Plan

Starting an escape room business requires a comprehensive business plan that covers all the crucial aspects of the entire business. From market analysis to marketing strategies, every element holds key importance in ensuring a successful venture. This guide will walk you through ten essential steps needed to start your own escape room business.

  • Conduct Market Research: The first step in starting any business is to conduct thorough market research. Understanding the industry trends, consumer demographics, and competition is vital. Identify the gaps and opportunities and incorporate them into your business plan.
  • Develop Your Business Plan: The business plan should outline your mission statement, company objectives, target market, organizational structure, financial projections, and marketing strategies.
  • Raise Capital: Starting a new business involves significant expenses. Determine the startup costs and search for sources of funding, such as investors, loans, or grants.
  • Select A Suitable Location: An ideal location for an escape room business would be in a busy area with high traffic such as malls or tourist areas. Make sure to research the zoning and permitting requirements for your area.
  • Design The Gameplay: Create an immersive story, challenging puzzles, and exciting themes to engage your customers. Engaging and thrilling gameplay can be a make or break aspect for many potential customers.
  • Set Your Pricing And Fees: Establish your pricing structure based on your target customers, competition, and overall expenses. Consider offering discounts and loyalty programs to attract customers.
  • Obtain Licenses And Permits: Depending on the location and nature of your business, you may need to obtain specific licenses and permits. Check with local authorities to ensure compliance.
  • Choose Your Team: Hire employees with skills and expertise in game design, customer service, and marketing. Ensure they share the same passion for creating great customer experiences.
  • Acquire The Required Equipment And Supplies: Purchase necessary equipment such as sound systems, lighting, furniture, and IT infrastructure. Ensure that the equipment is of high quality and that you have sufficient inventory of necessary supplies.
  • Launch Your Business And Market It: Before launching the business, make sure that you have tested the gameplay thoroughly and made adjustments if necessary. Develop a comprehensive marketing strategy, including digital marketing, social media, and events. Create buzz around your launch and offer discounts for early customers.

Tips & Tricks:

  • Invest in high-quality equipment and immersive gameplay to ensure customer satisfaction.
  • Avoid overpricing your services as it may turn potential customers away.
  • Create a welcoming environment to engage customers and encourage repeat business.



Develop A Financial Model

Developing a financial model is a key step towards starting your escape room business. It will help you estimate the projected revenue and expenses, identify funding needs and potential sources of financing. Here are the key chapters that will help you create a financial model:

  • Revenue Streams: List all the different ways that your business will generate revenue. For example, room rental fees, food and beverage sales, and merchandise sales.
  • Pricing Strategy: Determine the pricing strategy for each revenue stream. Consider factors such as location, competition, and customer demand.
  • Cost Structure: Identify all the costs associated with running your business. In addition to rent and utilities, include costs for inventory, staffing, marketing, and insurance.
  • Break-Even Analysis: Calculate the number of customers needed to cover all your expenses and break even. This will help you determine a realistic goal for your business.
  • Profit and Loss Statements: Prepare a projected profit and loss statement for the first few years of operation. This will help you track your business's financial performance.
  • Cash Flow Forecast: Estimate the cash flow of your business, which will help you identify any potential cash shortages and determine the need for financing.
  • Capital Requirements: Determine the amount of capital needed to start and run your business until it generates enough cash to sustain itself. This will help you identify potential sources of funding and develop a financing plan.

Tips & Tricks:

  • Be realistic when estimating revenue and expenses to avoid over-optimistic projections.
  • Include a contingency plan in your financial model to prepare for unexpected events that may impact your business.
  • Review and adjust your financial model regularly to ensure its accuracy and relevance.

Developing a financial model is a crucial step towards starting your escape room business. It will help you understand the financial viability of your business and develop a solid plan for success. By taking the time to create a realistic financial model, you'll be well-positioned to make informed decisions and achieve your goals.



Obtain Necessary Permits And Licenses

Opening an escape room business can be a challenging and rewarding venture. However, before you begin to build your rooms and promote your business, it is essential to obtain the necessary permits and licenses. Failing to do so can result in hefty fines and legal troubles. In this section, we will discuss the steps you need to take to obtain the necessary permits and licenses to start your own escape room business.

  • Step 1: Research local laws and regulations
  • The first step in obtaining the necessary permits and licenses is to research the laws and regulations governing escape room businesses in your locality. This information can be obtained from the local government office or chamber of commerce. It is important to note that the laws and regulations governing escape rooms vary from state to state and even from city to city.

  • Step 2: Apply for a business license
  • Once you have researched the laws and regulations, the next step is to apply for a business license. The business license is issued by the local government and allows you to operate legally within the area. To apply for the license, you will need to provide certain information about your business, such as its name, location, and the types of services offered.

  • Step 3: Obtain a building permit
  • Most local governments require escape room businesses to obtain building permits before they can begin construction or renovation of their premises. The building permit ensures that your business meets the local safety codes and regulations. The permit is usually obtained from the local building department.

  • Step 4: Obtain special permits
  • Depending on the laws and regulations in your area, you may need to obtain additional special permits to run your escape room business. These permits may include fire safety permits, zoning permits, and health permits. Be sure to research what permits you need and apply for them in a timely manner.

  • Step 5: Renew your licenses and permits
  • After obtaining your licenses and permits, you will need to renew them periodically, as required by law. Typically, business licenses are renewed annually, while building and special permits may have varying expiration dates. Make sure to keep track of the expiration dates and renew them promptly to avoid any legal problems.


Tips & Tricks

  • Make sure to research the laws and regulations governing escape room businesses in your area thoroughly.
  • Apply for permits and licenses well in advance to avoid delays in the opening of your business.
  • Keep track of the expiration dates for your licenses and permits and renew them promptly.



Secure Funding

When it comes to opening an escape room business, one of the most important steps is securing the necessary funding. Without a solid financial foundation, your business may struggle to get off the ground or to sustain itself over time. Here are some key tips on how to secure funding for your escape room business:

  • Research your options for financing. There are many different ways to secure funding for your business, from loans and grants to crowdfunding and angel investors. Take some time to research each of these options and determine which one(s) might be the best fit for your business.
  • Create a solid business plan. Your business plan should outline your goals, strategies, and financial projections for your escape room business. It should be detailed, realistic, and focused on demonstrating the potential for profitability. This can help you secure funding from investors or lenders who are looking for a strong business plan.
  • Build relationships with potential investors. Networking and relationship-building can be key to securing funding for your business. Attend industry events, connect with other entrepreneurs, and build relationships with potential investors who share your passion for escape rooms.
  • Showcase your skills and experience. If you have previous experience running a successful business or working in the entertainment industry, be sure to highlight this when pitching your escape room business to potential investors or lenders. Demonstrating your skills and experience can help you build credibility and establish trust with potential funding sources.
  • Consider alternative funding options. In addition to traditional funding sources, there may be other options for securing funding for your escape room business. For example, you could consider partnering with other businesses or organizations, or even using your own personal savings to get started.

Tips & Tricks for Securing Funding for Your Escape Room Business

  • Be persistent and proactive in your search for funding.
  • Be prepared to make a strong case for why your escape room business is a good investment.
  • Consider working with a business consultant or mentor who can help you navigate the funding process.



Find A Suitable Location

Finding the right location for your escape room business is crucial to its success. Here are some key considerations to keep in mind:

  • Accessibility: Choose a location that is easy to find and has ample parking. Consider accessibility for disabled customers as well.
  • Demographics: Look for a location that is close to your target audience. For example, if your escape room is geared towards families, consider opening in a shopping mall or near popular family attractions.
  • Competition: Make sure there are not already many similar businesses in the area. You want to differentiate yourself and offer something unique.
  • Affordability: Consider the cost of rent and overhead expenses in the area. You want to make sure your business is profitable, so choose a location that makes financial sense.

Tips & Tricks:

  • Consider renting a space with an open floor plan that will allow for customization and easy flow for customers.
  • Look for a location that has nearby restaurants and other amenities for customers to enjoy before or after their escape experience.
  • If possible, choose a location with natural lighting, as this can enhance the customer experience and create a more inviting atmosphere.

Remember, the location you choose for your business will set the tone for your entire brand. Take your time and do your research to ensure you make the best decision possible.



Design An Experience

Designing an escape room is all about creating an immersive and exciting experience for your customers. To make your escape room a success, you need to design an experience that is challenging, entertaining, and emotionally engaging. Here are ten steps to follow when starting an escape room business:

Tip #1: Start with a Strong Concept

  • Brainstorm ideas for your escape room concept
  • Consider popular themes such as horror, science fiction, and adventure
  • Do research to ensure that your concept is unique and not already being done
  • Create a story or narrative to tie your puzzles together and engage your customers

Tip #2: Design Engaging Puzzles

  • Choose a variety of puzzle types such as logic, physical, and teamwork puzzles
  • Ensure that your puzzles are challenging but not too difficult
  • Include puzzles that are visually-striking and aesthetically pleasing
  • Test your puzzles with a focus group to gauge their difficulty and engagement.

Tip #3: Create a Memorable Room Design

  • Choose a theme and color scheme that is consistent with your concept
  • Pay attention to small details such as lighting, sound effects, and props
  • Ensure that your room design is functional and safe for your customers
  • Partner with a professional set designer who can make your vision a reality

Tip #4: Set the Right Difficulty Level

  • Adjust the difficulty level of your escape room to cater to different skill levels
  • Ensure that the puzzles are challenging but solvable
  • Provide hints and guidance for those who may be struggling
  • Consider offering multiple escape rooms of varying levels of difficulty.

Tip #5: Market Your Escape Room

  • Develop a website and social media presence to attract customers
  • Use targeted advertising to reach your ideal customer demographic
  • Partner with local businesses to offer promotions and discounts to their customers
  • Develop a referral program to incentivize customers to spread the word about your escape room.

Tip #6: Hire a Dedicated and Trained Staff

  • Hire staff who are passionate about the escape room industry
  • Provide comprehensive training on your escape room concept, puzzles, and customer service
  • Develop a culture of teamwork and collaboration
  • Empower your staff to make decisions and provide excellent customer service

Tip #7: Focus on Customer Service

  • Provide a friendly and welcoming environment for your customers
  • Be responsive to customer feedback and concerns
  • Offer multiple ways for customers to contact you
  • Be transparent and upfront about your pricing and policies

Tip #8: Develop a Pricing Model

  • Determine how you will charge customers for your escape room experience
  • Consider offering package deals or discounts for larger groups or repeat customers
  • Be transparent about pricing and what is included in the experience
  • Offer different pricing tiers for different levels of difficulty.

Tip #9: Ensure Your Escape Room is Safe

  • Conduct regular safety inspections and maintenance
  • Ensure that your escape room is ADA compliant and accessible to all
  • Be prepared for emergencies and have a clear action plan for customers and staff
  • Partner with local law enforcement and emergency services to ensure customer safety.

Tip #10: Constantly Evolve and Improve

  • Monitor customer feedback and adapt your escape room experience accordingly
  • Explore new puzzles and gameplay mechanics to keep your customers engaged
  • Consider offering seasonal or holiday-themed experiences to keep things fresh
  • Experiment with new marketing and advertising strategies to reach a wider audience.



Outfit The Location

When starting an escape room business, one of the most important steps is to outfit the location properly. This is the space where all the action will take place, so it's important to create an exciting and engaging environment that will enhance the overall experience for your customers.

  • Choose the Right Location: The first step in outfitting your escape room business is to choose the right location. You want to find a space that is large enough to accommodate multiple rooms, yet small enough to create a sense of intimacy and excitement. It's also important to consider factors like foot traffic, visibility, and accessibility to ensure that your escape room business will attract a steady stream of customers.
  • Design the Space: Once you've chosen your location, it's time to design the space. This is where your creativity and imagination come into play. You want to create rooms that are engaging and exciting, with puzzles and challenges that will keep your customers on their toes. It's worth investing in quality decor and props to create an immersive environment that will transport your customers to another world.
  • Install Technology: Technology can be an important aspect of your escape room business. You may want to invest in features like sound and light systems, automated locks, and video cameras to enhance the experience for your customers. Not only will these features create a more immersive environment, but they will also make it easier for you to manage your escape room business behind the scenes.
  • Create a Control Room: A control room is a space where you and your staff can monitor the activity in the escape rooms and communicate with customers when needed. This is an important aspect of any escape room business, as it allows you to provide support and guidance to customers as needed, without disrupting the immersive experience.

Tips & Tricks:

  • Invest in quality decor and props to create an immersive environment that transports customers to another world.
  • Choose technology that enhances the experience for customers and makes it easier for you to manage the business behind the scenes.
  • Create a control room where you and your staff can monitor activity and communicate with customers without disrupting the immersive experience.



Hire Staff

As you start planning to open your escape room business, one crucial step is hiring staff for your facility. Your staff will be the face of your business in front of your customers, so it is essential to ensure that you are choosing the right people. Below are some important aspects that you need to consider while hiring staff for your escape room business:

  • Identify the roles that you need - First, determine the number of employees required for your escape room business. Analyze your business needs and identify the roles you need to hire, such as game masters, receptionists, customer service executives, or maintenance staff.
  • Conduct thorough interviews - Interview your shortlisted candidates thoroughly. It would help if you asked them about their experience, skills, and education related to the job they have applied for. Ask situational questions to understand how they handle conflicts, customers, and multitasking.
  • Consider hiring enthusiasts - Escape rooms are all about entertainment and solving puzzles. You should consider hiring staff who are enthusiastic and passionate about escape room games. Applicants with experience playing escape room games will be a great choice as they will know what players expect from the games.
  • Train your staff - Once you have hired staff for your escape room business, ensure that you provide adequate training to them. Your staff should have a deep understanding of your facility, games, game rules, and customer service policies. Also, provide ongoing training and feedback to them to maintain the quality of their work.
  • Focus on teamwork - Your employees should be a team player, considering that escape room games require a collaborative effort. During the hiring process, emphasize on their ability to work in a team and communicate with each other effectively.

Tips & Tricks:

  • Look for candidates with previous experience working in a customer-facing service industry.
  • Conduct thorough background checks for safety reasons.
  • Offer incentives such as bonuses, perks, and employee discounts to motivate and retain your employees.



Promote and Advertise

After successfully launching your escape room business, the next step is to promote and advertise your business. This is the most important aspect of the business as it will help to attract customers and generate revenue. Here are 5 chapters to help you with promoting and advertising your escape room business.

Chapter 1: Create a Strong Online Presence

  • Create a Website: Build a website that is informative, easy to navigate, and visually appealing. It should contain all relevant information about your escape room business, including location, hours of operation, prices, and any special features or themes.
  • SEO: Make sure your website is optimized for search engines by using relevant keywords, meta tags, and descriptions. This will help potential customers find your website when searching for escape rooms in your area.
  • Social Media: Establish a presence on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Create engaging content that showcases your escape rooms, promotes special events and discounts, and encourages customers to share their experiences.

Chapter 2: Partner with Other Businesses

  • Hotels and Tourist Attractions: Partner with local hotels and tourist attractions to offer their guests a discount on your escape rooms. This will help to attract a new customer base and increase your business’ visibility.
  • Corporate Events: Reach out to local businesses to offer your escape rooms as a unique team-building experience. Offer discounts for team events and build relationships with corporate clients.
  • Community Events: Attend local community events such as fairs, festivals, and fundraisers. Set up a booth and offer promotional discounts to attract new customers and increase brand awareness.

Chapter 3: Use Paid Advertising

  • Google Ads: Use Google Ads to create targeted ads and reach potential customers who are searching for escape rooms in your area.
  • Facebook Ads: Use Facebook Ads to create engaging ads that will be displayed to your target audience.
  • Event Listings: List your escape room business on event websites such as Eventbrite and Meetup. This will help potential customers find your business when looking for local events.

Chapter 4: Build Relationships with Reviewers

  • Encourage Reviews: Encourage customers to leave reviews on websites such as Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Google. Positive reviews will help to attract new customers, while negative reviews will provide valuable feedback and the opportunity to improve.
  • Respond to Reviews: Always respond to reviews, both positive and negative. This shows that you value customer feedback and are committed to providing a high-quality experience.
  • Work With Influencers: Reach out to local influencers and bloggers to promote your escape room business. Offer them a free pass to experience your escape rooms and encourage them to share their experience with their followers.

Chapter 5: Offer Special Deals and Discounts

  • Group Discounts: Offer discounts for groups of a certain size to attract corporate clients and families.
  • Special Events: Host special events such as holiday-themed escape rooms, and offer discounts to those who participate.
  • Loyalty Programs: Offer a loyalty program to encourage repeat customers. This could be a free pass after a certain number of visits or a percentage off on their next booking.

Tips & Tricks:

  • Use High-Quality Images: Use high-quality images on your website, social media, and advertisements. This will help to showcase the escape rooms and attract potential customers.
  • Create Engaging Content: Use engaging content on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to attract potential customers and keep them interested in your escape room business.
  • Collaborate with Other Escape Room Businesses: Collaborate with other escape room businesses in your area to offer packages and deals. This will help to attract a new customer base and increase your visibility.

Promoting and advertising your escape room business is essential to attracting customers and generating revenue. Use these chapters and tips to create a strong online presence, partner with other businesses, use paid advertising, build relationships with reviewers, and offer special deals and discounts.


In conclusion, opening an escape room business can be a rewarding venture if done correctly. By following the 10-step checklist, you can ensure that your business is well-prepared and set up for success. With the global escape room market expected to grow at a CAGR of 11.57%, there is undoubtedly a growing demand for these types of experiences. Conducting market and industry research, developing a business plan, obtaining necessary permits and funding, finding a suitable location, designing an experience, outfitting the location, hiring staff, and promoting and advertising your business are all essential steps to take. Remember to pay attention to the details and prioritize the customer experience to create a successful and profitable escape room business.

Excel financial model

Escape Room Financial Model
  • 5-Year Financial Projection
  • 40+ Charts & Metrics
  • DCF & Multiple Valuation
  • Free Email Support