A corn maze is a large labyrinth made entirely from corn stalks. Customers pay an entrance fee for the challenge of making their way through. Corn mazes take place in the fall after the harvest but before the plants go dormant for the winter. Corn mazes are often depicted as scary, but many maze operators will design their corn maze for people of all ages.
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Learn how to start your own Corn Maze Business and whether it is the right fit for you.
Start a corn maze business by following these 10 steps:
- Plan your Corn Maze Business
- Form your Corn Maze Business into a Legal Entity
- Register your Corn Maze Business for Taxes
- Open a Business Bank Account & Credit Card
- Set up Accounting for your Corn Maze Business
- Get the Necessary Permits & Licenses for your Corn Maze Business
- Get Corn Maze Business Insurance
- Define your Corn Maze Business Brand
- Create your Corn Maze Business Website
- Set up your Business Phone System
There is more to starting a business than just registering it with the state. We have put together this simple guide to starting your corn maze business. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.
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STEP 1: Plan your business
A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. It will help you map out the specifics of your business and discover some unknowns. A few important topics to consider are:
- What are the startup and ongoing costs?
- Who is your target market?
- How much can you charge customers?
- What will you name your business?
Luckily we have done a lot of this research for you.
What are the costs involved in opening a corn maze business?
Owners should account for the following expenses:
- Crop planting/maintenance
- Employee salaries
- Registration fees/permits
- Office supplies
- Commercial insurance
The exact costs for an owner will depend on where they live and how far they want their marketing campaign to reach. Some sources put starting a corn maze from scratch at around $3,000 to $4,000.
What are the ongoing expenses for a corn maze business?
Owners will need to budget for insurance, staff salaries, and maze maintenance. This includes repairing or replacing equipment, yearly registration fees, and planting new seeds.
Who is the target market?
The target market can be anyone looking for something fun and different to try. Families may want to come with their children, or teenagers may come with a group of friends.
How does a corn maze business make money?
A corn maze business will charge people to enter the maze based on operation costs, or they may charge a flat fee for private parties. Owners may also sell food and drinks to customers to supplement their income.
How much can you charge customers?
The average cost for tickets is typically around $7 to $10 for adults (13 and up) and $5 to $7 for kids. Children under two are free.
How much profit can a corn maze business make?
Profits for a corn business will depend on how you structure your pricing. However, a private party that charges $15 a head can easily generate 50% profit margins or more. Because the maze has already been constructed, the party may just need a few employees and concessions to operate.
How can you make your business more profitable?
Consider selling related crops to your customers in addition to prepared concessions. For example, you can set up a pumpkin patch on the property or a display of various fall squashes. These extras make the maze that much more versatile. People can take their kids and then pick up a few local specialties to make dinner the next day.
What will you name your business?
Choosing the right name is important and challenging. If you don’t already have a name in mind, visit our How to Name a Business guide or get help brainstorming a name with our Corn Maze Business Name Generator
When registering a business name, we recommend researching your business name by checking:
- Your state's business records
- Federal and state trademark records
- Social media platforms
- Web domain availability.
It's very important to secure your domain name before someone else does.
STEP 2: Form a legal entity
Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC or corporation protects you from being held personally liable if your corn maze business is sued.
Form Your LLC
Read our Guide to Form Your Own LLC
Recommended: You will need to elect a registered agent for your LLC. LLC formation packages usually include a free year of registered agent services. You can choose to hire a registered agent or act as your own.
STEP 3: Register for taxes
You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.
In order to register for taxes you will need to apply for an EIN. It's really easy and free!
You can acquire your EIN for free through the IRS website, via fax, or by mail. If you would like to learn more about EINs and how they can benefit your LLC, read our article, What is an EIN?.
Small Business Taxes
Depending on which business structure you choose, you might have different options for how your business will be taxed. For example, some LLCs could benefit from being taxed as an S corporation (S corp).
You can learn more about small business taxes in these guides:
- LLC Taxes
- Sole Proprietorship vs LLC
- LLC vs Corporation
- LLC vs S Corp
- How to Start an S Corp
- S Corp vs C Corp
There are specific state taxes that might apply to your business. Learn more about state sales tax and franchise taxes in our state sales tax guides.
STEP 4: Open a business bank account & credit card
Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection.
When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your business is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.
Additionally, learning how to build business credit can help you get credit cards and other financing in your business's name (instead of yours), better interest rates, higher lines of credit, and more.
Open a business bank account
Besides being a requirement when applying for business loans, opening a business bank account:
- Separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
- Makes accounting and tax filing easier.
Recommended: Read our Best Banks for Small Business review to find the best national bank or credit union.
Open net 30 accounts
Net 30 accounts are used to establish and build business credit as well as increase business cash flow. With a net 30 account, businesses buy goods and repay the full balance within a 30-day term.
NetMany net 30 credit vendors report to the major business credit bureaus (Dun & Bradstreet, Experian Business, and Equifax Business Credit). This is how businesses build business credit so they can qualify for credit cards and other lines of credit.
Recommended: Read our best net 30 vendors, guide and start building business credit.
Get a business credit card
Getting a business credit card helps you:
- Separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
- Build your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise money later on.
Recommended: Apply for an easy approval business credit card from Divvy and build your business credit quickly.
STEP 5: Set up business accounting
Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.
Make LLC accounting easy with our LLC Expenses Cheat Sheet.
STEP 6: Obtain necessary permits and licenses
Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.
STEP 7: Get business insurance
Just as with licenses and permits, your business needs insurance in order to operate safely and lawfully. Business Insurance protects your company’s financial wellbeing in the event of a covered loss.
There are several types of insurance policies created for different types of businesses with different risks. If you’re unsure of the types of risks that your business may face, begin with General Liability Insurance. This is the most common coverage that small businesses need, so it’s a great place to start for your business.
Learn more about General Liability Insurance.
Another notable insurance policy that many businesses need is Workers’ Compensation Insurance. If your business will have employees, it’s a good chance that your state will require you to carry Workers' Compensation Coverage.
STEP 8: Define your brand
Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.
If you aren't feeling confident about designing your small business logo, then check out our Design Guides for Beginners, we'll give you helpful tips and advice for creating the best unique logo for your business.
If you already have a logo, you can also add it to a QR code with our Free QR Code Generator. Choose from 13 QR code types to create a code for your business cards and publications, or to help spread awareness for your new website.
How to promote & market a corn maze business
Because corn mazes are community-centric events, try to post flyers around local hang-outs (e.g., coffee shops, fitness centers, etc.). Build a website where people can find your information if they’re searching for fun fall events. The website doesn’t have to be elaborate, but it should include the most pertinent details about the maze. You can also consider running radio ads, but depending on the price of the ads, you may get enough word-of-mouth without additional advertising.
How to keep customers coming back
Highlight how your corn maze is different from others in the area. Make sure your flyers or online advertising give an accurate portrayal of the maze, so people have a good idea of what to expect. Most people will likely only go through it once, but you can retain long-term customers by creating spectacular designs that change every year.
Still unsure about what kind of business you want to start? Check out the latest Small Business Trends to help inspire you.
STEP 9: Create your business website
After defining your brand and creating your logo the next step is to create a website for your business.
While creating a website is an essential step, some may fear that it’s out of their reach because they don’t have any website-building experience. While this may have been a reasonable fear back in 2015, web technology has seen huge advancements in the past few years that makes the lives of small business owners much simpler.
Here are the main reasons why you shouldn’t delay building your website:
- All legitimate businesses have websites - full stop. The size or industry of your business does not matter when it comes to getting your business online.
- Social media accounts like Facebook pages or LinkedIn business profiles are not a replacement for a business website that you own.
- Website builder tools like the GoDaddy Website Builder have made creating a basic website extremely simple. You don’t need to hire a web developer or designer to create a website that you can be proud of.
Using our website building guides, the process will be simple and painless and shouldn’t take you any longer than 2-3 hours to complete.
STEP 10: Set up your business phone system
Getting a phone set up for your business is one of the best ways to help keep your personal life and business life separate and private. That’s not the only benefit; it also helps you make your business more automated, gives your business legitimacy, and makes it easier for potential customers to find and contact you.
There are many services available to entrepreneurs who want to set up a business phone system. We’ve reviewed the top companies and rated them based on price, features, and ease of use. Check out our review of the Best Business Phone Systems 2022 to find the best phone service for your small business.
Recommended Business Phone Service: Phone.com
Phone.com is our top choice for small business phone numbers because of all the features it offers for small businesses and it's fair pricing.
Start a Corn Maze Business in your State
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
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Is this Business Right For You?
People with a passion for novelty entertainment. Owners should want to delight people with exciting twists and turns in the maze, giving customers a real challenge they'll want to tell their friends and family about.
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What happens during a typical day at a corn maze business?
Owners will spend their time constructing and maintaining the maze, working with customers, and managing staff. They should also budget time for negotiating an insurance policy and marketing their business.
What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful corn maze business?
Ideally, you’ll have some experience working on a farm, but it’s not required. Much of what you need can be found online, so you really just need a can-do attitude to make it happen. If you already own a large piece of land, you can designate a space to plant the corn for the maze. If not, you'll need to rent land, construct the maze, and then plant seeds.
What is the growth potential for a corn maze business?
Owners have an opportunity to get the majority of the community involved, especially if their maze is satisfying enough to spark plenty of word-of-mouth advertisements. However, corn mazes are limited by distance in that people will only travel so far to attend. Owners should assess the demographics and population of their community before determining if they should move forward.
Take the Next Step
Find a business mentor
One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.
Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.
Learn from other business owners
Want to learn more about starting a business from entrepreneurs themselves? Visit Startup Savant’s startup founder series to gain entrepreneurial insights, lessons, and advice from founders themselves.
Resources to Help Women in Business
There are many resources out there specifically for women entrepreneurs. We’ve gathered necessary and useful information to help you succeed both professionally and personally:
If you’re a woman looking for some guidance in entrepreneurship, check out this great new series Women in Business created by the women of our partner Startup Savant.
What are some insider tips for jump starting a corn maze business?
The corn maze should be thick enough that people are genuinely unsure of where to go next. If people can clearly see the exits, it encourages people to take shortcuts to the end, which can ultimately destroy the crops. You can use other designs for inspiration for your maze, but add your own personal spin to make it special. Consider paying homage to your community. For example, you may want to make the center of the maze the shape of the first letter of the town or the symbol of a local sports team.
When it comes to the type of corn you’ll use, you want a crop that can hold up to drought. If your maize maze withers halfway through, your sales will plummet. Seeds like Oaxacan Green Dent or Hopi Blue hold up well against drought. Plant corn in both directions to encourage resistance during windstorms. If they’re planted perpendicularly, they’re more likely to remain standing and less likely to pave the way for impatient maze solvers.
Try to make the maze as versatile as possible. For example, making the maze family-friendly during daylight hours before transitioning to a haunted attraction, complete with fake chainsaws and terrifying jump-scares. Kids can attend during the day while teenagers can return at night for the thrill of a lifetime. You can also rent out the maze for private parties. For example, a child's birthday celebration or a retirement party. You can even market the maze as a professional event. Employees of an organization can team-build by working together to solve the puzzle.
Finally, your maze should be as safe as possible. Your insurance should cover any potential accidents or injuries people may have in the maze, but you should also be regularly monitoring the maze for hazards. From rocks to holes, there are plenty of ways for people to accidentally harm themselves. Some people may even panic because they begin to feel trapped. Your employees should know the maze by heart in case they need to quickly evacuate someone.
How and when to build a team
You’ll need employees who can take tickets and help manage the maze. Employees will need to be friendly, calm under pressure, and able to memorize the many twists and turns of the maze. They should feel comfortable working with people of all age groups.