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Parkview
post Dec 24 2011, 11:16 AM
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Hello all,

A previous post suggested a topic on this site for input from RV park owners only, and a moderator suggested to me that we try it. So here goes.

To get the ball rolling: I retired from the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1998, and our family decided to build an RV Park on property that had been in our family since 1900. We began construction immediately and opened 3 years later on March 1, 2001 Since we had been RVers for about 25 years, we thought that would be no problem. We learned very fast that we didn't know near as much as we thought we did about building, owning and/or operating an RV Park. However, since we opened, we have learned a great deal, and it has been a great experience, although not always totally smooth sailing.

We have met thousands of new friends and few people that we wish we had never met. 98% or more of our visitors are absolute delights to deal with. In my opinion, our challenge as owners is not to allow our experience with the other 2% affect how we deal with the 98%. It is very easy as an owner to sit down and draw up 4 pages of rules because of the problems we have had with the 2%ers, but I try to consider how every rule or policy might impact the other 98%, who would cause no problems even if we had NO RULES..

That is my start to this topic. We encourage input from other park owners, operators or employees on any subject regarding owning or operating a park. We also welcome input from those of you that are not owners or operators if you have pertinent discussion or questions to add. This topic is not meant to closed to any discussions around operating a park; my comments above are just to start the discussions.

Thanks and Merry Christmas to all,

Doug
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John Blue
post Dec 24 2011, 07:18 PM
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Good start Doug. I hope this will turn out to be helpful to everyone. We all need to understand owners side in running a park. Now owners will have a place to post information.
Merry Christmas to all as well.


--------------------
John
Brandon, Fl.
FMCA F-248693
Foretravel MH
Honda CRV tow
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Chuckl
post Dec 26 2011, 07:30 AM
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the moderators may consider making this a sticky
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Texasrvers
post Dec 26 2011, 11:31 AM
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Good suggestion. It is up to the webmaster. We'll let him know.
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campergal
post Dec 26 2011, 11:59 AM
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Hi there

Hope this takes off! My husband and I purchased a 45 acre campground with 127 sites on it in 2002. Since then we have added approximately 80 more sites. We are about 50/50 for overnight vs seasonal camping. We are in Nova Scotia so have a relatively short season - 3 months of busy busy and we are open 6 months.

We thoroughly enjoy 99% of everything to do with the campground. It's a pleasure to wake up each morning knowing I get to do what I do for a living. We have never regretted it.

We consider ourselves a "campground" vs an "RV Park" and that is probably our biggest challenge. We try to keep up on everything that is needed for the newer larger RVs coming each year but it is difficult sometimes.

I look forward to taking part in this discussion as it progresses! smile.gif

Trish
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RanMan
post Dec 27 2011, 10:46 AM
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For the past 6 1/2 years I have owned and operated a 63 site RV park in the Southeast US. Similar to Parkview, I had a lot to learn when I acquired a closed RV Park from a bank foreclosure sale. When I survived the first two years, I thought I could finally see daylight at the end of the tunnel. Then I had to survive the Great Recession also. But we did make it through and I'm happy to say that 2011 has been our second best year so far. I would like to introduce a couple of topics for discussion.
(1) As a park owner, what do you feel is the biggest obstacle facing you at this point?
For me, I believe it is the difficulty in finding the capital to take a park with a so-so cash flow to the next level. I would like to construct a storm shelter and Rec Hall to accomodate RV Rally groups. I know this would increase revenue, but not exactly sure how much.
(2) What organizations do you feel are most beneficial to belong to? ARVC, Good Sam, FMCA etc.
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Don-in-GA
post Jan 1 2012, 11:41 PM
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I agree we need a place to share ideas, successes and failures. I hope we have lots of input here after the holidays.

I am a RV Park owner/operator in GA. I do not have a shower house, restrooms or laundry. To be honest I only loose a couple of customers a year so I have been reluctant to make the investment. However I realize to be a legitimate park, I need these amenities. I would like to hear other park owners designs and suggestions. I have not had much success in building plans on the net. When my wife and I travel in our Class A, I take pictures to assist in some ideas.

Thanks in advance for any comments.
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dalsgal
post Jan 2 2012, 08:13 AM
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Don, our campground has a small metal building that has a mens bathroom and women's bathroom. The room has toilet, sink, shower a bench and a decent amount of room to be able to call it handicapped accessible. This type of building might work for you also. It wouldn't be that expensive to build but would be good for your customer base. There is a narrow room in between that holds the water heater and cleaning supplies. This type of bathhouse works well for families with kids so they can be together and have privacy.
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Don-in-GA
post Jan 3 2012, 07:48 AM
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QUOTE(dalsgal @ Jan 2 2012, 09:13 AM) *

Don, our campground has a small metal building that has a mens bathroom and women's bathroom. The room has toilet, sink, shower a bench and a decent amount of room to be able to call it handicapped accessible. This type of building might work for you also. It wouldn't be that expensive to build but would be good for your customer base. There is a narrow room in between that holds the water heater and cleaning supplies. This type of bathhouse works well for families with kids so they can be together and have privacy.



Thanks for the info. I am trying to decide if the showers and restrooms should be together or not. While I am sure very convenient, this type of setup probably would tie the showers up for long periods while blow-drying hair, shaving, etc. Verses separate zones so to speak. Hope to get more input from other owners.


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dalsgal
post Jan 3 2012, 02:17 PM
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I understand your worry but we have never had a problem with people having to wait. We have also been to other campgrounds that only had one bathroom for each and never had to wait either. I do think that a bathroom/bathhouse would be best done before a laundry room or any other construction.
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RanMan
post Jan 5 2012, 02:33 PM
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Don,
When I bought my RV Park it did not have a bath house either. It took me about three years to be able to build one. One of the most important things to consider when designing the restrooms is to build something that is easy to maintain and keep clean. For me, that meant tile floors and walls. To keep the building near ground level, we used a concrete slab foundation. Basically what I built is like three private baths in the same building. Exterior is open-faced block. One unit is for Men, another for Women, and one unit is Wheelchair Accessible (including the shower). This last unit can be used by men or women, whether or not they are disabled. It also can be like a family friendly restroom with a diaper changing station. Having three sections allows us to clean one at a time, so that the others are still available for campers to use. It was expensive to construct, but three years later, it still has that brand new look. It definitely impresses folks and helps draw more campers. Because it is all tile, I can regularly spray the floors and walls with disinfectant, scrub the toilets, and wash everything down with a water hose. Once a year at least it gets a pressure washing. Even the showers are tile walk-in with no shower curtain to collect mildew. It was a huge expense to build, but overall it was well worth it. People tell me it is nicer and cleaner than their own bathroom at their home. We have 63 sites, and seldom does anyone have to wait to use it, although there are many RVers who never use park bathrooms.
Another option you might consider is to obtain ready-made restrooms from a company that makes park model homes. While they do not have the same quality as a site built facility, they are considerably less expensive and quicker to install.
Laundry facilities are also very important to many of my guests, whether long term or overnighters. Once you make the intial investment for coin laundry equipment, they pay for themselves.
Let us know how things work out. Have a great 2012.
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Don-in-GA
post Jan 7 2012, 11:47 PM
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Thanks for all that information. I would love to get some pictures if possible. I was thinking along those lines of construction. Using a slab and split face concrete block. I also want to be able to clean and hose the entire place down knowing nothing can rot or rust. I had considered a pre maid park model unit until I saw one recently while camping myself. It would be a nightmare to keep clean and did not look durable at all. Did you make your own plans or find something on the net?


QUOTE(RanMan @ Jan 5 2012, 03:33 PM) *

Don,
When I bought my RV Park it did not have a bath house either. It took me about three years to be able to build one. One of the most important things to consider when designing the restrooms is to build something that is easy to maintain and keep clean. For me, that meant tile floors and walls. To keep the building near ground level, we used a concrete slab foundation. Basically what I built is like three private baths in the same building. Exterior is open-faced block. One unit is for Men, another for Women, and one unit is Wheelchair Accessible (including the shower). This last unit can be used by men or women, whether or not they are disabled. It also can be like a family friendly restroom with a diaper changing station. Having three sections allows us to clean one at a time, so that the others are still available for campers to use. It was expensive to construct, but three years later, it still has that brand new look. It definitely impresses folks and helps draw more campers. Because it is all tile, I can regularly spray the floors and walls with disinfectant, scrub the toilets, and wash everything down with a water hose. Once a year at least it gets a pressure washing. Even the showers are tile walk-in with no shower curtain to collect mildew. It was a huge expense to build, but overall it was well worth it. People tell me it is nicer and cleaner than their own bathroom at their home. We have 63 sites, and seldom does anyone have to wait to use it, although there are many RVers who never use park bathrooms.
Another option you might consider is to obtain ready-made restrooms from a company that makes park model homes. While they do not have the same quality as a site built facility, they are considerably less expensive and quicker to install.
Laundry facilities are also very important to many of my guests, whether long term or overnighters. Once you make the intial investment for coin laundry equipment, they pay for themselves.
Let us know how things work out. Have a great 2012.

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SASMITH
post Aug 4 2012, 08:12 PM
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Posted to this thread to see what info it brings. Just purchased a piece of property that is a campground that was operational until fall 2011. Considering putting it back in use, but do not know much about operating a CG. Any info sent my way will be appreciated. Thanks, SASmith
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kcmoedoe
post Aug 5 2012, 09:53 AM
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QUOTE(SASMITH @ Aug 4 2012, 08:12 PM) *

Posted to this thread to see what info it brings. Just purchased a piece of property that is a campground that was operational until fall 2011. Considering putting it back in use, but do not know much about operating a CG. Any info sent my way will be appreciated. Thanks, SASmith

The first thing I would investigate is why it went out of business. As they say, those who do not study history are bound to repeat it. Remember, starting a business only to make money has a tremendous history of failure. You need to have a passion for what you are doing. Look at Microsoft and Apple. Bill Gates, Paul Allen, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak were nerds and computer geeks first and foremost. They would have built the companies for free because they lived to make software and computers. Do you really want to own and operate an RV Park?
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TranQuilguy
post Aug 5 2012, 10:39 AM
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QUOTE(SASMITH @ Aug 4 2012, 09:12 PM) *

Posted to this thread to see what info it brings. Just purchased a piece of property that is a campground that was operational until fall 2011. Considering putting it back in use, but do not know much about operating a CG. Any info sent my way will be appreciated. Thanks, SASmith


Where is the park?How big is it?What is there you can use, pond,lake,pool,shopping area? Number of spaces and the like.Why did you buy it?Do You RV?For how long ?Do you have Family help?
Just asking so we know what to advise.And one more thing,do you have a passion for what you are doing?I must agree if you love this as I do it makes a big difference.

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