Starting a Campground Business
By Eric Hammer
Starting a campground business can be a dream come true for
some people. If you happen to love the outdoors and you enjoy
meeting new people all the time, it can be a very enjoyable experience.
Keep in mind however that running a campground is not the same
experience as visiting a campground.
When you are in charge, youll be the one people complain
to if the outhouses are all stopped up or if the water isnt
flowing in the showers. Youll also have to deal with visitors
who stay beyond the time they paid for and refuse to leave and
wildlife problems that your guests may encounter. In other words,
yes, you get to live in a campground all the time, but you also
have the headaches that you used to pass on to the owners.
Finally, before you take the plunge to create your new campground
business, youll need to do a feasibility study, check on
zoning regulations and decide what kind of campground you want
to run (do you want a campground which offers pure wildlife experiences
where people pitch their own tents or will you provide cabins?
What about RVs? Will they be allowed to come to your campground?).
How Much Can You Make?
Most campground owners charge a per person or per group rate.
The typical prices range from $10 for a single person pitching
a tent to as much as $80 for a group coming in an RV, which includes
all hookups for the RV.
Keep in mind that depending on where your campground is located,
you may not be able to accept visitors on a full time basis due
to weather considerations. However, even if your campground is
located in area that is usually temperate, youll still
have high and low seasons when more or less people will come.
Summer for example will always be high season since kids are
off from school whereas during most of the year, you can expect
much lighter use of your campground.
Ways to Make More | Related Opportunities
In addition to offer the basic amenities, you can also offer
activities for which you can charge extra money. For example,
ice cream socials, movie nights and other events are popular
with people coming to campgrounds and can make extra money for
you, especially during high season when there are enough people
Consider also the possibility of running a for profit summer
camp on your property or leasing the property to a summer camp
each summer. This way, you can maximize your profits, guaranteeing
income over the summer while renting the space out as an ordinary
campground the rest of the year.
In all cases, remember that you need to keep the space clean
and family friendly. Be prepared to evict those who are making
others uncomfortable and make sure to maintain your campground
in order to get repeat business.
Speaking of repeat business, consider selling subscriptions
to families who might want to come regularly, where they either
get a discount or they can stay for free for a certain number
of nights with their subscriptions. Often, these can be big money
makers because people buy subscriptions which then dont
get fully utilized.
Qualifications / Requirements
Youll need to check with the local zoning board to make
sure your site is legal for a campground. Youll also need
to either hire someone who is handy or be handy yourself as you
will have to keep things in good repair, at the very least repairing
or replacing things like porta potties and water tanks with sinks
for potable water. If you intend to offer cabins, be prepared
to hire cleaning staff to clean them after each guest leaves.
Start by reading up on campgrounds in your area and actually
visiting some. See how they operate. Ask questions. Most campground
owners love to talk about their businesses and will be happy
to advise you (unless you plan to buy the plot of land right
next door) on your new venture. When you find a piece of land
for sale that you are interested in, research it thoroughly.
Check with the local zoning board before you sign any documents
to make sure that the land really can be used for building a
Staves Consulting: Designing and Building a Campground
or RV Park An excellent resource from an organization
that helps you to start your new campground business (for a fee
KOA: Koa campgrounds are actually a franchise operation for
campgrounds. They offer a number of advantages over starting
a campground on your own, including professional support staff
who can offer you good ideas and franchise wide advertising.
The disadvantage of course is that your start up costs will be
higher as will your operating costs.
BuyMyDreamHotel: Buying a Campsite A
bit of a different take on starting a campground business. In
this case, its all about buying an existing campground
business and running it. Very useful information.
Campgrounds, Many choices Not really about starting
a campground business, this is where to find a campground for
people interested in visiting one. However, the information can
be invaluable to those wishing to start a campground business
of their own all the same.