How to Start a Profitable Campground: Pros and Cons

If you are considering turning your love of camping into a small business, you have lots of questions and you need a lot of information. Here is how to start a profitable campground, both the pros and the cons. Let’s go camping!

First, decide whether you want to run a simple campground with tents or a full-scale luxury camp offering cabins and RV parks. Your decision should be based on your finances and your local market demand. 

To start, you will need to know how much money you need to invest, whether to start from scratch or to buy a franchise and whether it is a profitable endeavor. Read on to get your answers from successful campground owners. 

Certainly, with some hard work, and a bit of luck and fun too, running a campground can be very profitable. Here are the pros and cons of starting a campground business:

Starting a Campground: Pros

The campground business has many advantages that you will enjoy as you run it.

Profitable business

Healthy outdoor lifestyle

Community building

Meet interesting people

Flexible hours

Beautiful locations

Be your own boss

Live on premises rent-free

Campground Business Owner: Cons

Lots of hard work and long hours

You miss your summer vacation

Need to be available 24/7

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How to Start a Successful Campground

Like any other business, there are factors that make it successful and we discuss them below.

Step 1: Planning: Owner experience required

As prospective small business owners, you will benefit from having experience running a business.  You must be able to create a business plan that includes a budget, staffing needs, the services to be offered, a marketing plan and an implementation plan to work with.

Business planning is a vital step that will help you to evaluate the business on paper before you begin. Taking the time to plan ahead will save you tons of money and mistakes. I know 🙁

You should also be able to host a number of fun outdoor events while keeping a positive attitude. 

Plus you will need to source startup funds, manage operating funds, manage staff and pay taxes. 

You should also be able to do road maintenance, repairs, plumbing, accounting, administration, and electrical maintenance.

Step 2: Location considerations

A campground is a real estate investment and location can make or break your business. 

Before buying a campground, ask yourself: Where do people like to go camping? 

Do extensive research and find the best location by a river, a lake, a national park or other attractions. Also, make sure it is easily accessible from major highways.

Step 3: Infrastructure and equipment

You will need to design and build some or all of the following if your proposed location is raw: roads, bridges, boat ramp, playgrounds, recreation room, hiking trails, a dog walk area, plumbing and septic systems, bathhouses, fencing, bathrooms, a pool, and other amenities. 

Also, you will want to purchase some barbecue grills, picnic tables, and other equipment needed by campers. Remember to have good wi-fi services. 

More millennials are interested in camping but they love their technology. In fact, 88% of campers surveyed said they take along their cellphones. All of this equipment must be included in the business plan along with the associated costs of building/purchasing them.

Step 4: Staffing needs

Initially, you may be able to do all the work yourself but, as the business grows and demand increases, you may end up being overwhelmed. 

Delays in services may disappoint some of the campers. As soon as your business can afford staff; recruit a cleaner, an office assistant, and a host for events.

Step 5: Marketing and promotion

Once your campground is ready to receive campers, let people know about it. 

Do not bother advertising in the papers as most people do not read those anymore. Here are more effective ways to market your campground. 

Indeed, it is possible to run a profitable, and fun, campground business. Sure, it is hard work to start but it is very rewarding in terms of connecting with people, working outside, natural stress relief, schedule flexibility and profits. 

If you believe becoming a campground owner is for you, then go for it! Here are some helpful resources:

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