Owning a campground is like an investment, as it can be very profitable but only if done properly. It does take a lot of hard work, and plenty of money to start with to purchase a campground and everything else you’ll need to start your business.
In this article, I’m going to cover certain factors like location, income, costs, as well as the pros and cons of owning a campsite.
Buying a Campground
Whether to buy a preexisting campground or to buy land and build on it can influence your profitability, depending on your situation. If you plan on buying land and working from there, it’s unsurprising that this will cost more to begin with, and you need to have plenty of money in reserve.
To get started, you can decide on location first and then search for available land or campgrounds for sale. Your deciding factor may either be cost or convenience.
If you’re looking for land, then you’re going to need enough to fit at least 10 campsites, which is the equivalent of five to eight acres in order to get 30-50 campers per season for long-term as well as temporary camper sites. As an example, five acres can cost upwards of $25,000.00 in Michigan.
At the end of the day, it’s completely up to you if you’d like to build a campground from the ground up or not. Neither option is better than the other, so long as you can afford it.
Location plays a big role in profitability. If you own a campground close to where it snows you can expect less profit during winter. It does help if you utilize the situation and advertise winter sports like skiing.
Let’s take Florida as an example. There’s nearly year-round sunshine and many of its residents are retired, but there is the risk of flooding and high winds caused by hurricanes which could even potentially destroy your campground.
It’s also a personal choice about where you want to work and live. Seasonal changes and weather are the two biggest things to consider related to location, as well as nearby attractions like hiking trails and canoeing. Accessibility is also important, as it’s better if RVs can reach your campground.
According to statistics, owner income is usually about 10-25% of returns on their investment.
There are lots of costs to take into consideration, such as the startup cost, insurance rates, the cost of internet, and so on.
Costs to Consider
Buying an established campground can cost anywhere between $100,000 to $2 million, and startup costs for the business can be around $10,000 to $50,000.
Insurance can cost $450 to $1,500 per year for $1 million in general liability coverage. If renovations are needed, those can also cost anywhere between $10,000 to $50,000.
You’ll need strong, high speed internet to cover all your customers, which costs $250 to $500 a month, plus around $3,000 for installation.
Owning a campground is profitable and rewarding. Plus, you get to be your own boss, and who doesn’t want that kind of freedom? You are able to fit your schedule to your own personal needs.
Being a cash business certainly helps and it is an investment. The first few years of hard work and good management will be more than worth it.
Even though summers are busy, you can take winters off to wind down and recharge. I think that working for 6 months and then having the rest of the year to yourself is great. Many campgrounds even have an owner’s home on site, so you get the added bonus of cost-free living.
The first con worth mentioning is that owning an RV park isn’t a life suited for everyone. It takes a lot of hard work, even more so in the first couple of years. You can also forget about time off during the summer, even on holidays such as Labor Day. In turn, you’ll most likely have to miss a bunch of family events like birthdays and weddings. The fact is that a lot of these events take place on weekends, which is when you’re busiest.
Moreover, you need to have a good attitude every single day of the job, to provide great customer service. RV park ownership can be exhausting, but it’s worth it to ensure your customers will return next year.
Lastly, you need to get used to the fact that your income is sometimes dependent on factors that are out of your control, such as the economy and the weather.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many acres do you need for a campground?
A good rule of thumb is that a campground should fit at least 10 campsites, which is the equivalent of five to eight acres in order to get 30-50 campers per season for long-term as well as temporary camper sites. As an example, five acres can cost upwards of $25,000.00 in Michigan.
Is owning an RV campground profitable?
Owning an RV campground can be profitable, although maybe not at first. It takes a little while to get your business off the ground and to build a reputation, but as soon as you’ve done that, you’ll begin to see that it truly is an investment.
How do I start a campground business?
You will need to have a certain amount of money already saved up in order to buy land and build a campground or to buy a preexisting one. Then, consider the ongoing expenses, like garbage disposal, utilities, licenses and permits, cleaning supplies, payroll, and plenty more. Make sure to come up with a good name for your campground, one that’s easy to search for and remember.
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