Trying to find escape prop providers can be a daunting task if you're looking to build your room from scratch. Unless you have fastidiously planned for every single detail and are just looking for a manufacturer for your props, you will probably end up needing a prop maker to fill in some gaps in your escape room ideas.
In our experience running escape rooms and building them from the ground up, we have learnt the hard way when it comes to making and finding props. Generally, we have identified 3 things you should look out for that indicates the prop provider may not be up to task.
1. Experience in Running the Business
Try to avoid escape room props providers that do not have experience in running an escape room. They may be brilliant in designing and building props but not having experience in field testing their creations is a big no-no. A good puzzle and well made prop does not necessarily translate to suitability and functionality in the day to day operations of an escape room. A good escape prop requires extensive in the field testing to be fine tuned over time for ease of operability.
2. Trusted Supplier
Make sure you find a prop supplier that offers operations support. The reality about escape room props is that sometimes installation can be tricky, parts can break or mechanisms can fail. Providers that are willing to walk you through setup and installation and who are available to troubleshoot should any problems occur are who you ultimately want to work with. The lack of support may well result in a lot of time spent fixing or maintaining problematic props and this can be very time consuming as well as headache inducing.
3. Too Good to be True
Finally, beware of providers that offer solutions that seem too good to be true price wise. Good props require sturdy materials as they will be handled a lot and good build quality is an investment that will enable you to reap rewards down the line. A good indicator for escape prop quality is often in the price and the level of after sales support they provide. Pay attention to their quality guarantee and how willing they are to replace faulty parts as well as how responsive they seem to inquiries.
A good escape prop maker with whom to form a long term partnership is something all escape room owners should spend some time looking for. Getting this step right will make the setup and operations of your escape room a lot smoother and is well worth the initial investment of your time and effort.