Escape Room Construction. November!

Hi there! Here's my November update on the construction of our third (actually it is our fifth ERs location, but we moved and closed some of them during these years) escape rooms location. To stay informed, feel free to read my previous posts.

Starting with the positives:
Hiring a full-time artist at $20/hr and a construction worker at $27/hr was a great decision. They've made significant progress on two adventures these months (Oct+Nov). Without them, opening this location by next February would have been impossible. We've completed building our pirate ship structure, and the next step is adding decorations.

Yesterday, we successfully connected and launched our Time Quest game. Surprisingly, we managed it on our first call with their support team, despite the game's apparent complexity. All Indestroom games have been connected and launched for testing purposes since September.

Now, the challenges:
Permits are a headache. We applied for expedited permits on October 3rd, with a review deadline of November 17th. On the 17th, we received requests from the planning department to ensure ADA compliance. This requires our architect to take specific measurements (and charge us a hefty fee for her out-of-office work). After this, we expect a three-week wait for the second review. We're hoping the City doesn't require unnecessary additions like tap water fountains to meet ADA standards, but it's possible.

Regarding artists, I chose to support local talent by hiring three different artists for our "Alice in Wonderland" adventure. They requested a high budget per room, which I approved to support them and create something unique. I gave them complete creative freedom based on my references.

Fortunately, I only paid a third of the budget as a deposit. One artist is working diligently and justifying the expense, another is doing satisfactory work, but the third has barely contributed in two months. I plan to decide on his continuation after our meeting tomorrow. If unsatisfactory, I might transfer his responsibilities to my full-time, highly talented artist.

Our landlord initially tried to increase our rent by 150% after the "free construction time." I was prepared to pay the full rent during the extra construction months, but not an inflated rate. Thankfully, they reconsidered after hearing my arguments. It's a reminder to thoroughly read contracts, no matter how lengthy.

We're also dealing with a non-functioning heater and a water leak in the pirate ship. The leak is ironic but needs attention, especially since our office is slightly below street level and may have poorly insulated windows. Just another challenge to address in Seattle.

Moving forward, my aim is to reach the ALPHA test phase by year's end. We'll see how that goes.

Additionally, over the past few months, I've provided 5-6 consulting sessions and location tours for aspiring escape room owners and enthusiasts. If you're seeking insights from someone who has successfully operated a multi-location escape room business, feel free to reach out for consultations!