The Hidden Cost is a term I personally use to refer to the cost of business upgrades that are crucial in making the business profitable. It is hidden because the upgrades are not presented to you until you have purchased the business property; and yet, it is required to keep you from losing money to your business, so it should be included in the cost of the property.
Let us look at the Bunker for example. When you are purchasing a Bunker on Maze Bank Foreclosures, you will be given five customizations: Bunker Style, Personal Quarters, Shooting Range, Gun Locker, and golf caddies for transportation inside the Bunker. None of these customizations will affect the productivity of your Bunker.
After you have bought the Bunker, you can access the property and use the laptop inside to manage your Gunrunning business. From the laptop, you can buy another three upgrades that are not presented on the Maze Bank Foreclosures webpage.
Here, the first two upgrades, Equipment and Staff, are the key players in making your Bunker productive and profitable. Each of them increases the speed of production and the price of goods manufactured in your Bunker. However, you are not aware of them until you have purchased the Bunker.
What are the prices of those upgrades? Because I have purchased them, I cannot make a screenshot that shows the prices, but if you trust my words, the Equipment upgrade costs $1,155,000, and the Staff upgrade requires $598,500. Thus, the combined hidden cost of a Bunker is $1,753,500.
Hidden costs are also seen on MC Business factories. I was able to obtain a screenshot showing upgrade prices for a Cash Factory, and Equipment and Staff upgrades together cost $1,153,000. For Meth Lab and Coke Lockup, the hidden cost is $1,431,000 and $1,325,000 respectively.
Now, the fact that those upgrades are hidden from you is shown, but are they really necessary so that you should include their costs in your budgets for business properties, especially when the upgrades are even more expensive than the properties themselves? Unfortunately, the answer is “yes”.
To show that the upgrades are required to make your business profitable, I resupplied my Cash Factory, which was not upgraded, and let it manufacture product. A full bar of Supplies requires $75,000.
Then, I waited until the whole bar of Supplies had been converted to product. Without any upgrades, my stock was only worth $52,500, so I not only failed to get anything back but lost $22,500 to the factory!
This is of course the most extreme case, but the other businesses are not working well without the upgrades either. For the Bunker, you can only break even. I do not have data for Meth Lab or Coke Lockup, but given that the price of an MC Business’s product increases by 40% when both of the upgrades are purchased, I doubt if those Businesses can perform way better than break-even without any upgrades.
Certainly, if you steal Supplies instead, your businesses become profitable. However, this is not recommended because stealing Supplies requires too much time. You have to do multiple steal missions to refill your factory’s supply level from empty to full. With the same amount of time spent on those missions, you can earn more than $75,000, the price for a bar of Supplies, by selling a Top class vehicle in Import/Export.
We will get to profits and efficiency of stealing Supplies later when it comes to the articles discussing Gunrunning and MC Businesses. But for now, the essential idea you should have is that you might need to pay more than the business property itself to ensure your business is profitable. Please consider the hidden cost as a part of the price you pay for any of the business properties mentioned in this article.