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abbygolden
I got a good chuckle at a review of a RV Resort at a casino today. The rating was a 10 and was in line with all the previous ones at this location. I've been there and it is excellent. What made me laugh was that the rater thought that $37 per night was a real good deal. Personally, I think anytime you stay at a casno the rate should be really low as they are probably going to get your money anyway and the lower they charge someone to stay, the longer they might.

Anyway, it got me to thinking (very dangerous!). How much should an RVer be expected to pay for a FHU with wifi available? I understand there are plenty of variables including location, private/government, amenities, etc. But what do you think should be the average? In my case, I don't mind paying $25 per night. Naturally I've paid more, but I rarely can understand why the place I'm staying charges so much. I've found that RVers west of the Mississippi frequently pay less than those in the east and I suspect that is largely due to the fact that the cost of living is cheaper in the west than in the east.

Restless minds want to know!
John Blue
I agree with you on priced east and west. Yes, the casinos will get your dollars if you use them. We only use the RV parks and at times do eat in casinos. We find most are good clean places to go to. On prices, that is all over the map, some are low and others are not. On the other hand we use high dollar parks as well that cost from $50 to $75 night. Outdoor Resorts of American are very nice places to go. One in Las Vegas is great. We have a number of half off passes to help keep down the cost. We only go to Las Vegas to see the places and eat. Fun city to tour.

In one COE parks here in FL we have paid $4 per night for 50 amps and water summer rates only.

I guess the bottom line we have campgrounds or parks for everyone across the USA and prices to match. So get out and have some fun in RV life.
Lee and Fran
I have never paid over 35 a night and I have been to the east coast and back a couple of times. I think from 20 to 35 a night would work great. I personally would boondock before I paid 50 or more dollars for a night. I find the quaint and quiet little parks between the big cities are better than most I have found in the big cities and a whole lot less in price.

campingandtravels.blogspot.com
It's so hard to know what to pay for sites. We do prefer to pay $20-30, but have paid higher due to location. What gets me is when campgrounds add on fees for electric - shouldn't the electric be part of the price?? We once camped where you had to pay $1/day ($5 minimum if you stayed less than 5 days) for propane that was part of a BBQ that all sites had - and you paid whether you used their BBQ & propane or not! sad.gif

Happy Travels!
Suzanne
campingandtravels.blogspot.com
pianotuna
Hi Suzanne,

At a buck a day for their barbecue I'd be cooking *all* my meals and heating my water in the unit. Does this campground have a review here? I hope the reviewer mentioned this "quirk".

QUOTE(campingandtravels.blogspot.com @ Dec 13 2008, 02:17 PM) *

It's so hard to know what to pay for sites. We do prefer to pay $20-30, but have paid higher due to location. What gets me is when campgrounds add on fees for electric - shouldn't the electric be part of the price?? We once camped where you had to pay $1/day ($5 minimum if you stayed less than 5 days) for propane that was part of a BBQ that all sites had - and you paid whether you used their BBQ & propane or not! sad.gif

Happy Travels!
Suzanne
campingandtravels.blogspot.com

rodman
I would love to only pay $35 for a FHU site. I really can't seem to find one here in my state, which is Ca. The average here is around $40 inland and $60+ coastal. I guess you get used to the cost where you are from. I am hoping to get out of the state and experience some of the place's I have seen everyone talking about. Everyone talks about such beautiful places and at an affordable price's, but I would also consider $40-$50 affordable around here. We do have a few casino's within a few hours of our home that are about $35 and the get top ratings and yes they would also probably get my money other ways too.

Happy Travels,
Texasrvers
The most expensive place we've stayed was $81 a night, but we didn't pay that because we had a coupon. The most we've paid was around $56 a night. We don't usually stay at a place that charges that much, but sometimes it's worth it. For example, parks that are closer to attractions usually charge more. But if this saves us from driving 20-30 miles to get to the attraction the gas and time saved evens out the higher overnight fee. Most of our stays are in the $30-35 range. But for that I expect FHU including cable TV and Wi-Fi. Sadly I can remember paying around $20 a night for this same set up (except without Wi-Fi) back when we first started RVing in 2000. But then everything else has gone up--except my income, of course. biggrin.gif

abbygolden
QUOTE(rodman @ Dec 13 2008, 04:49 PM) *

I would love to only pay $35 for a FHU site. I really can't seem to find one here in my state, which is Ca. The average here is around $40 inland and $60+ coastal. I guess you get used to the cost where you are from. I am hoping to get out of the state and experience some of the place's I have seen everyone talking about. Everyone talks about such beautiful places and at an affordable price's, but I would also consider $40-$50 affordable around here. We do have a few casino's within a few hours of our home that are about $35 and the get top ratings and yes they would also probably get my money other ways too.

Happy Travels,


As beautiful as CA is, you listed one of the several reasons why I avoid it like the plague.
DXSMac
I have paid $50 but only for a high end park. Paying more than $50 is highway robbery. I like the OP's original price of $25.

JJ
westernrvparkowner
Sorry guys, but at $20 to $25 dollars a day, I didn't bring enough money to the party to stay very long. You are welcome to do the math. I have 60 sites (full hookup). I am open 180 days a year and a great year will bring 120 camper nights per site ( I am not completely full the day I open and the day I close). That is 7200 camper nights in which to create income. My expenses are as follows for the Year 2007 .
Electric $34,000
water $8,400
Sewer$2,800
cable $4,400
WiFi $6,000
Labor $23,000
Insurance $7,000
Supplies $3,500
Property Taxes $12,000
Interest $94,200
Repairs $7,300
Credit card fees $8,000
Propane (hot water) $7,000
Advertising $8,000
Capital expenditures $22,000
Misc $10,000

Total $257,600
That's $37.77 per night
On top of that I need to pay loan amoritization and make some profit. Also, remember, that any price I set must take into account discounts for Good Sam,weekly stays, AARP etc.
I know I am in a very expensive area for real estate, so many parks will have lower interest expenses, but I think the other charges may very well balance out for other similar sized parks. Bear in mind, I do not have a pool, which is a very high expense item (i.e. Insurance would be 40% higher with a pool). Even if I owned my Real estate outright, I would find even breaking even at $20.00 a night to be very tough. Some southern parks with a 365 day season can get more camper nights per site, but then the labor and utility costs will rise. It is also unfair to compare rates at Government owned parks with private parks. They don't have to even break even. They RV business is tough for a private operator in this regard. There are very few businesses that have to compete with the government for customers. You don't shop at the government owned mall, or fill up at the government gas station, or buy your groceries from the government supermarket, but you can camp at the government RV park. Just some fat to chew on.
FosterImposters
QUOTE(westernrvparkowner @ Dec 14 2008, 01:50 PM) *

... You don't shop at the government owned mall, or fill up at the government gas station, or buy your groceries from the government supermarket...


rolleyes.gif
Let's see. At last count we are now paying mortgages to the government and banking at a government bank. Real possiblility the only place to purchase a new full-sized p/u truck...will be at a government dealership. But that is a different topic.

abbygolden
QUOTE(westernrvparkowner @ Dec 14 2008, 03:50 PM) *

Sorry guys, but at $20 to $25 dollars a day, I didn't bring enough money to the party to stay very long. You are welcome to do the math. I have 60 sites (full hookup). I am open 180 days a year and a great year will bring 120 camper nights per site ( I am not completely full the day I open and the day I close). That is 7200 camper nights in which to create income. My expenses are as follows for the Year 2007 .
Electric $34,000
water $8,400
Sewer$2,800
cable $4,400
WiFi $6,000
Labor $23,000
Insurance $7,000
Supplies $3,500
Property Taxes $12,000
Interest $94,200
Repairs $7,300
Credit card fees $8,000
Propane (hot water) $7,000
Advertising $8,000
Capital expenditures $22,000
Misc $10,000

Total $257,600
That's $37.77 per night
On top of that I need to pay loan amoritization and make some profit. Also, remember, that any price I set must take into account discounts for Good Sam,weekly stays, AARP etc.
I know I am in a very expensive area for real estate, so many parks will have lower interest expenses, but I think the other charges may very well balance out for other similar sized parks. Bear in mind, I do not have a pool, which is a very high expense item (i.e. Insurance would be 40% higher with a pool). Even if I owned my Real estate outright, I would find even breaking even at $20.00 a night to be very tough. Some southern parks with a 365 day season can get more camper nights per site, but then the labor and utility costs will rise. It is also unfair to compare rates at Government owned parks with private parks. They don't have to even break even. They RV business is tough for a private operator in this regard. There are very few businesses that have to compete with the government for customers. You don't shop at the government owned mall, or fill up at the government gas station, or buy your groceries from the government supermarket, but you can camp at the government RV park. Just some fat to chew on.


This is a very interesting response and allows us to look into "the other side". I notice that you are only open 180 days so I can only assume that you are located in the mountains somewhere (Colorado, Idaho, Califprnia?). Since you are open so few days and your real estate is so expensive in that area, I would also assume that you are a destination park rather than primarily a stop-over. In my original posting, I should've made a distinction between the two types.

For me personally, the chances of me staying at a place such as your is remote as there are generally many other places that would cost less and yet afford me what I'm looking for. This by no means is a condemnation of your facility; rather an expression of my requirements. I stay at a RV "resort" iin western Colorado in the summer for several months that has everything I want including location, big sites, wifi, 50 amps and a great group of campers. For this, I pay $450 per month. everything included. I also stayed for a month in peak season just outside Mesa Verde NP and paid $600 per month. The location was great for me, but the "resort" was not nearly as nice in my opinion as the one for which I paid far less.

Since you are still open for business, I would also assume that your clientele is generally more affluent than many of us and could easily afford your charges. Since your break even cost is $37.77 per night, I would guess that you charge in excess of $50 per night. Again, it may be worth it to many campers or you wouldn't be in business.

Again, thanks for an illuminating post.


Jerry S
I want to thank Western for once again giving us great insight into what it takes to run an RV park. In recent months, he and a few others (owners, managers, campworkers), have tried to explain how some things many customers never even consider, can have an very real dollar cost to the park. Questions in past posts and comments in reviews about things like charging extra for 50 amp/hot showers/cable etc. and how this or that should be paved, updated, or enlarged, etc. show how uninformed many customers are as to park expenses. As Western noted, park owners need to make a profit. How much depends on too many variables to get into here.

While you can argue about the items and amounts on Western's list of expenses, it does give us a better idea of what our fees are covering. As indicated, some costs may be more/less for other parks and some items may/may not be applicable in other parks. In addition to not having the expense of a pool, Western evidently does not have any employees and/or workcampers which would give him a salary expenses and/or/unproductives sites. Even some small parks are not run by just "mom and pop". Just a couple part-time helpers could add $20,000 in expenses. Things really add up for these owners.

Admittedly, some some parks appear that they don't put a penny into upkeep, maintenance, repairs, etc., but even these have to pay their utility bills, taxes, insurance etc. and make a profit. I reviewed a park (Devil's Tower KOA, WY) last year that I downgraded based on their almost $40 a day charge because, based on my observations of their operation (poor maintence, no payroll, no mortgage, facilites in disrepair, etc.) they were charging a premium rate for less than average facilities. Additionally, the park was just a small section of the owner's ranch operation, so this was not their main source of income. All in all, I thought their charge was way out of line.

As to the casino RV park mentioned in the original post, I am guessing it was Seven Feathers (I've been there) in Canyonville, OR. I may be wrong, but I think this particular casino RV park may have as many non-gamblers staying there regularly as gamblers because it is in a highly regarded tourist/vacation area (in the mountains not far from the beautiful Oregon coast). Of the many resort type casino parks I have stayed in, I can thing of only one that may have charged as much or more than $37. Most are under $30 and some very nice ones are still under $20 (at least during the week - probably because many locals use these parks for weekend camping).

Again, just my blathering on the subject.
pianotuna
Hi WesternRVPark,

Thanks very much for the breakdown on expenses. The 37.77 is based on 2/3 capacity.

So how much do you charge for a night?

QUOTE(westernrvparkowner @ Dec 14 2008, 03:50 PM) *

Sorry guys, but at $20 to $25 dollars a day, I didn't bring enough money to the party to stay very long. You are welcome to do the math. I have 60 sites (full hookup). I am open 180 days a year and a great year will bring 120 camper nights per site ( I am not completely full the day I open and the day I close). That is 7200 camper nights in which to create income. My expenses are as follows for the Year 2007 .
Electric $34,000
water $8,400
Sewer$2,800
cable $4,400
WiFi $6,000
Labor $23,000
Insurance $7,000
Supplies $3,500
Property Taxes $12,000
Interest $94,200
Repairs $7,300
Credit card fees $8,000
Propane (hot water) $7,000
Advertising $8,000
Capital expenditures $22,000
Misc $10,000

Total $257,600
That's $37.77 per night

westernrvparkowner
JerryS I do have some employees, their expenses are listed under labor. As for unproductive sites, I am lucky that my area gets a mix of RV types and in peak season, I can usually fill allmost all the sites with something. Actually, I turn away guests many nights who just wish to sleep in their cars because all the Motel rooms in the area are full. We don't allow that, however, since we feel it gives an unsecure feeling to the guests traveling in RVs. It's a little too vagabond feeling to us to have people sleeping in cars.

Pianotuna, My rates are multitiered by site type, site location, length of stay, season etc. I would rather not get into the specifics of exactly how much I make, suffice to say I average less than $42./day per site after discounts etc.. Yes, the ocupancy is based on 2/3rds capacity, but I am completely full(95%+) June, July and August. There is always the possibility of a site going unused even in the highest season due to cancellations, no shows, early departures and extraordinary situations (one year the road from the south into my park was closed for a day due to a landslide, no guests scheduled to arrive from the south could get in, I lost about 10 reservations that day and several of those guests cancelled their entire stay. I lost probably 25 nights total from that one situation.) Late May and Early September is also busy, but not near capacity and I am very empty early and late season as people are not really visiting my area at those times. I am open those dates primarily to get the park ready for the prime season and for winterization. My season is made from May 15th thru September 15th. This is a very narrow window to make a year's income. Hope this makes things a little clearer.
DXSMac
QUOTE(westernrvparkowner @ Dec 15 2008, 01:25 PM) *

(one year the road from the south into my park was closed for a day due to a landslide, no guests scheduled to arrive from the south could get in, I lost about 10 reservations that day and several of those guests cancelled their entire stay. I lost probably 25 nights total from that one situation.)


Um..... just asking..... unsure.gif and trying hard to be polite..... unsure.gif did the people who canceled have to pay a cancellation fee? That was a situation beyond their control......

Just asking......

JJ
westernrvparkowner
QUOTE(DXSMac @ Dec 15 2008, 07:07 PM) *

Um..... just asking..... unsure.gif and trying hard to be polite..... unsure.gif did the people who canceled have to pay a cancellation fee? That was a situation beyond their control......

Just asking......

JJ

We didn't charge a cancel fee for the night they couldn't arrive. Since there was no practical way around this road closure and it was a very local event, we chose to not impose a cancel fee and we refunded those deposits. We did charge a fee for those who chose to cancel additional days. We are usually VERY INFLEXIBLE regarding our cancellation policies. We choose to not become referees in what is a legitimate reason to cancel and what is a made up excuse to make us feel bad. I have posted before about the person that cancelled a month's reservation the day before they were to arrive due to a death in the family. When their mail arrived two days later I called to get a forwarding address and they told me not to worry, they would stop by later in the day. Be assured, my park is not a short drive from anywhere but other accomodations for the National Park my campground serves. These people chose to stay elsewhere and took advantage of us. This was the proverbial straw that broke the camels back. Deposits at our campground are non-refundable outside of our cancellation window (30 days advance notice) Reservations cancelled more than 30 days in advance incur a cancellation charge that is deducted from the refunded deposit amount. We are very clear regarding our policies whenever a reservation is made. We take deposits to be assured the site will be used and we will collect our revenue for it. It is not to earn the penny or so interest the bank will pay us on $40.00 or so dollars we collect on a deposit. When a site is reserved, it is taken off the market and the reserving party has a guarantee of a site. This is a valuable service. We also incur labor costs and credit card processing costs when we make a reservation. If cancellations were infrequent, we could have more flexibility, but there seems to be a large number of people that feel the best thing to do is make multiple reservations for different dates around their destination to assure maximum flexibility for their trip or they make reservations at multiple parks in the same location and then decide on which park they like best when they arrive. I cannot afford to take a financial loss every time someone chooses not to keep their reservation.
medina
QUOTE(westernrvparkowner @ Dec 14 2008, 01:50 PM) *

Sorry guys, but at $20 to $25 dollars a day, I didn't bring enough money to the party to stay very long. You are welcome to do the math. I have 60 sites (full hookup). I am open 180 days a year and a great year will bring 120 camper nights per site ( I am not completely full the day I open and the day I close). That is 7200 camper nights in which to create income. My expenses are as follows for the Year 2007 .
WiFi $6,000


I didn't realise it was that expensive, why does it cost that much each year to run?
westernrvparkowner
QUOTE(medina @ Dec 16 2008, 12:28 AM) *

I didn't realise it was that expensive, why does it cost that much each year to run?

I assume you are talking about the WiFi expense. I have gone over these costs in some other posts, but will be glad to go over it again. My contract from my WISP (wireless intenet service provider) for 250 mbps (optimal conditions) broadband costs me $350.00 Per month, 12 month contract even though I only need it for 6 months. I also subscribe to a service that provides me with passwords and provides my internet portal page with secure sign ons. This costs me $75.00 per month on a 12 month contract. I could probably do it myself, but am willing to pay to save the time and hassle and have someone to contact should I need technical assistance. I also pay for technical support from my WISP and had to pay Microsoft to help troubleshoot a problem with VISTA connectivity. They finally admitted it was their fault and the fix is included in MS VISTA service pack 1 but they didn't think it was necessary to refund my money so there goes $500.00. All my tech support cost a total of $900.00 (including Microsoft). That all adds up to $6000.00 for the year and doesn't include any costs for upgrading equipment (looks like wireless N may be necessary in 2009, this will require new routers, access points, etc Probably another $1500+) Wifi is very expensive to provide in my area. We have no cable internet, no DSL etc. Only Satellite (very unreliable) or the single WISP provider. This Wisp provider also supplies most of the areas motels so my 250 mbps is really closer to 25 mbps at peak times.
Jerry S
Western,

Thanks for pointing out my error. I guess when I went over your list my mind was looking for words like salaries or payroll. How "Labor" did not click in my head as the same thing, I don't know. It is not as if I've never heard of or used the word labor as a synonym of salaries or payroll.

I appreciate how much "inside" informoration you have given. At the risk of being somewhat redundant, I think a lot of customers think owners are raking in somewhere in the range of 20 to 50% net profit on every site they rent. Your figures show that is not the usual situation. In the example I gave in my last post, I think those owners were close to the 50% net profit. I do believe that kind of profit margin to be the exception.
westernrvparkowner
QUOTE(Jerry S. @ Dec 16 2008, 01:06 AM) *

Western,

Thanks for pointing out my error. I guess when I went over your list my mind was looking for words like salaries or payroll. How "Labor" did not click in my head as the same thing, I don't know. It is not as if I've never heard of or used the word labor as a synonym of salaries or payroll.

I appreciate how much "inside" informoration you have given. At the risk of being somewhat redundant, I think a lot of customers think owners are raking in somewhere in the range of 20 to 50% net profit on every site they rent. Your figures show that is not the usual situation. In the example I gave in my last post, I think those owners were close to the 50% net profit. I do believe that kind of profit margin to be the exception.

Jerry, I think you are probably right about the 20 to 50% profit margin range if the campground doesn't take land costs (interest, principal reduction, Property taxes, capital improvements etc) into account and included other income (store sales, laundry, extra fees, commissions on tours etc) into the site revenue.
DXSMac
QUOTE(westernrvparkowner @ Dec 15 2008, 05:07 PM) *

We didn't charge a cancel fee for the night they couldn't arrive. Since there was no practical way around this road closure and it was a very local event, we chose to not impose a cancel fee and we refunded those deposits. We did charge a fee for those who chose to cancel additional days. We are usually VERY INFLEXIBLE regarding our cancellation policies.


Thank you for answering my question. biggrin.gif This tells me that despite the "inflexible" cancellation policy you say you have, that you do have some ethics. Thank you!

JJ
dog bone
that would depend on where i wanted to go or do. i'm not a full timer. i go on vacations. that said. i probably pay more to go to a spot i like.
i have been to 1000 is in a state park and payed $ 18 .00 for a full hook up minus cable. then another $11.00 for a boat slip. the area is beautiful.
then i have been to md and payed $75.00 for a night, with cable. that included a boat slip and free use of the water park. take away $19 per person for the waterpark per day and $23 a day for the boat slip that $75 isn't that bad to be on the water with your boat right behind you. i could stay back off the water and my site fee would be less, but i would have a trailer right on top of me and pay for a boat slip too.
my seasonal park charges $42 a night and $29 just for a tent site. thats high. the reason being they must make the make the money on the weekends in the summer. the seasonal rates are $2800 a year which is not bad.
i guess what i'm saying is, depending on your own preference and situation, that would reflect on how much you wanted to pay for a site.

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