Help - Search - Members - Calendar
Full Version: Owning A Campground
RV Park Reviews Campground Discussion Forum > RV Park and Campground Discussions > General Chat
slglenn63
After many fun filled years of the "camping life", my husband and I are seriously considering buy property or a campground as our new life style. I've got great ideas about what I would like to see in a campground/ inn etc.. All sounds good but does it really work? If you have had experience owning a campground, and would like to impart some wisdom, I would be most appreciative.
dalsgal
I don't own a campground but I manage one. I love my job but it is a 24/7 job since we are on a route that brings us both monthly and overnight campers. Most people are great but we have some that think because they pull their rig onto the property that they have the right to tell us where they will park, what rules they will and will not follow (we only have couple for overnighters) I have been out in the middle of the night checking people in, tracking them down as they try to slip out early to avoid paying and have made some great friends of some of the campers. There are lots of pluses and lots of minuses to owning a park. You can get camp hosts to help with some of the work but in our case, as managers, we do it all. We do all maintenance, pump propane, run the office, clean the bathrooms and laundry room, operate the small store, clean the pool, and anything else that might occur. I do enjoy it but it is lots of work with very little free time. We are closed on Sunday for everything other than checking in campers and that means we have to be home by early afternoon in case someone comes in. The place we manage is for sale and my job could change or be gone if someone makes the purchase and doesn't need us. We are actively looking for a job in the Carolinas as managers since we do this as our sourse of income and not a sideline.
kcmoedoe
Research and study a lot. Go to a campground ownership seminar or school. Be well informed on what you can expect and it can be a great business to own. I have a lot of experience with owners, since my bank had a number of campground loans and it was a market we actively served. RV parks are generally a solid business to invest in. As I have said on other posts, they are not get rich quick schemes, or even get rich kinda quick schemes. They require hard work and dedication. Remember, your role will be reversed, you will no longer be camping. Be very careful about designing a park around your personal ideas and desires. You need to be sure they are marketable and profitable. We had one park whose owner decided adding a shooting range and skeet range. He said it did attract a few shooters, but his bread and butter clientel, the family weekenders, didn't like it, and his registrations dipped dramatically. He had to close the ranges, and lost a bunch of money. It took him several years to get back to where he was before he started the shooting venture. Be sure you have the skillsets to make the park work. You have to have a customer service attitude. It sure helps to be mechanically skilled, so you don't have to hire out every repair. You also have to have a business aptitude. You will need to be profitable. Be sure you have the financial ability to get into the business. RV parks are a capital intensive business and require significant down payments to purchase. Remember also, that buying a "turnaround" opportunity will require a lot of time and money. You will have to overcome all those reasons it is a turnaround. Advertising takes a lot of money and usually takes a while to become effective. If the park had infastructure problems, you will not only need to fix the problems, but get the word out the problems no longer exist. That can be a very slow process. The good news is, most of my park owners wouldn't consider doing anything else.
resortbizopps
QUOTE(kcmoedoe @ Oct 27 2010, 11:44 PM) *

Great advice- I'v seen your posts on financing. Please drop me a line--bklantzy@gmail.com I would like to discuss having you write an article for me. Brain
Research and study a lot. Go to a campground ownership seminar or school. Be well informed on what you can expect and it can be a great business to own. I have a lot of experience with owners, since my bank had a number of campground loans and it was a market we actively served. RV parks are generally a solid business to invest in. As I have said on other posts, they are not get rich quick schemes, or even get rich kinda quick schemes. They require hard work and dedication. Remember, your role will be reversed, you will no longer be camping. Be very careful about designing a park around your personal ideas and desires. You need to be sure they are marketable and profitable. We had one park whose owner decided adding a shooting range and skeet range. He said it did attract a few shooters, but his bread and butter clientel, the family weekenders, didn't like it, and his registrations dipped dramatically. He had to close the ranges, and lost a bunch of money. It took him several years to get back to where he was before he started the shooting venture. Be sure you have the skillsets to make the park work. You have to have a customer service attitude. It sure helps to be mechanically skilled, so you don't have to hire out every repair. You also have to have a business aptitude. You will need to be profitable. Be sure you have the financial ability to get into the business. RV parks are a capital intensive business and require significant down payments to purchase. Remember also, that buying a "turnaround" opportunity will require a lot of time and money. You will have to overcome all those reasons it is a turnaround. Advertising takes a lot of money and usually takes a while to become effective. If the park had infastructure problems, you will not only need to fix the problems, but get the word out the problems no longer exist. That can be a very slow process. The good news is, most of my park owners wouldn't consider doing anything else.

This is a "lo-fi" version of our main content. To view the full version with more information, formatting and images, please click here.