If you are considering purchasing an RV park, there are a few things you should know. There are advantages and disadvantages to being an RV park owner. And before you can get started, you will need to take these and other factors into consideration.
What to Consider Before Buying an RV Park
The first thing you will need to consider when owning and operating an RV park is deciding if it will be worth all the time, money, and effort you invest in it. Will the return investment be enough to make up for it?
In 2020, campsites and RV sites around the country brought in around $7 billion. This information is consistent with the ongoing growth of 2.7% between 2010 and 2020 that has remained steady over the years.
The continued growth of campsites is only expected to increase in coming years as more people are looking for alternate ways to enjoy their vacation time that is affordable and close to home.
When you take all the necessary measures and put in plenty of hard work, owning a campground or RV park can be a worthwhile investment you can benefit from for many years to come.
However, before you head out to look for land to convert into an RV park, you will need to take a closer look at all the advantages and disadvantages of being an RV park owner.
The Benefits of Being an RV Park Owner
Here are a few of the advantages of becoming the owner of a campsite, some of which you probably haven’t considered before.
1. You Get to Be Your Own Boss
Perhaps one of the most important things about being an RV or campground owner is that you get to be your own boss. You get to work on your own terms and usually can set your own flexible schedule.
While owning and operating a campground may not be easy, you will have the freedom to plan your time in a way so you can even have other side businesses if needed.
That is especially possible during the off-season winter months when things will not be as busy at the campsite. You also have the advantage of hiring your own crew, which may or may not include your spouse, children, and other family members.
2. The Profitable Returns
Owning an RV park can provide you with many profitable returns. It is a low-cost housing option where you can live on-site either during the peak season or all year long. With the current housing situation, the demand for RV living is on the rise and is expected to remain a popular option in the years to come.
When you own and operate an RV park or campground, you not only generate profit, but it can also be rewarding in how it allows for flexibility in the way you run it.
To ensure you will gain a reasonable profit over the years, you will have to have a highly effective operation during your early years of operation.
3. Working on a Seasonal Schedule
Most RV parks and campgrounds that are privately owned are seasonal. Therefore, they are only open during the spring and summer months and in some areas, possibly the fall, but they are closed during the winter.
Perhaps the best part is you are guaranteed time off during the holiday season.
While this may not seem very beneficial at first since your campground will only generate a profit part of the year, it also provides you with time to take a break from your duties. You can use this time to work on a side project or take a well-deserved vacation if you have enough income saved up.
4. You Get to Meet Many Interesting People
One of the best things about RV parks and campgrounds is how they convert into small communities. If you have RVers who stay long-term or frequent visitors, you can build a strong friendship with them.
Being an RV park owner means you get to meet different people from all walks of life who enjoy exploring the great outdoors just as much as you do.
5. Be One with Nature
Whether you choose to live inside the campground you own, or if sh air and soaking up the sunshine. Spending more time outdoors provides you with better quality sleep at night and lowers your stress levels. There aren’t many other jobs out there that provide you with these great benefits.
6. Resilient and Recession-Proof Income
Unlike many other real estate investments, RV parks and campgrounds are capable of surviving many economic downfalls. That is because these locations provide low-cost housing options, which becomes a more desirable option once issues with the economy are on the rise.
If you provide lots for mobile home setups, you offer an excellent opportunity for individuals and small families to rent or purchase a home of their own at an affordable rate.
Another reason why owning an RV park or campground is considered recession-proof is that the traditional American road trip will always be a popular getaway option.
RVing is still a very popular form of travelling for young and old alike, and RV owners will always need a clean and safe place to stay while on the road.
7. Cost-Free Living
Many owners of campgrounds and RV parks choose to live on-site, allowing them to enjoy cost-free living. They don’t have a mortgage to pay or many other hassles with owning a separate residence.
They also don’t have to worry about transportation to work each day since their job location is just outside their front door.
The Disadvantages of Being an RV Park Owner
It’s not all sunshine and rainbows when it comes to owning an RV park – let’s take a look at the downsides.
8. Your Busiest Time of Year is When You Would Normally Be on Vacation
If you are used to taking off during the summer and travelling with the family, you will have to postpone those plans or cut them short. The summer months, especially around the Fourth of July, is the busiest time of year for campgrounds and RV parks.
Unless you have a reliable staff member you can trust to take over for you during this time, you will have to resort to taking your family vacation at a different time, possibly during the off-season or winter months.
9. It’s Your Job to Make Sure Everyone’s Stay is Pleasant
As the owner of your campground or park, you will encounter your fair share of visitors who want to cause trouble. Some may cause a lot of damage or have destructive children.
As with any type of business, you will also have customers who are challenging to deal with and simply do not want to follow the rules. You will need to remain polite and professional in many situations where you would typically lose your temper. If you feel this may be too much of a struggle for you, it might be best to consider another occupation.
10. Keeping Up with the Competition
Owning an RV park or campground means you can create a recreational location that is as basic or extravagant as you desire, as long as you have the cash to back up your dreams. If you want to keep things basic, however, you may have some competition to deal with from nearby state parks or national forests.
If these locations offer better amenities, such as swimming pools, playgrounds, or paddleboat rentals, you may have to step up your game to entice visitors to stay at your RV park instead.
11. Staying on the Campground
While many people may enjoy spending a lot of time at the campground, if you’re not planning on living there, you may grow tired of the location after spending so much time there.
Especially if the work becomes tedious and you are dealing with a lot of negative people. You will start to associate the negative aspects of your job with the campground itself.
That could affect your love for the outdoors and nature. If you feel that this would be an issue, you will need to limit the amount of time spent at the campground and try to conduct a lot of your business at home.
12. It is Costly to Start-Up
To charge a high rate to RV park visitors, you will need to have a campground equipped with plenty of amenities that are desirable and outrank your competitors. Everyone who drives through your campsite will expect to have a pleasurable experience.
They are there to have a relaxing vacation and therefore, it’s your job to ensure those wishes are fulfilled. In some cases, it may mean that you have to look for new and inventive ways to make your campground stand out from all the rest. It could end up being extremely expensive.
In most cases, you will need to take money out of savings or take out a loan to get your business up and running.
13. It May Take Some Time Before You See a Profit
Depending on where your campgrounds are located and how much you invest in your marketing strategies, it is very likely that you will not even break even during your first year of ownership.
The reason is that avid campers often have campsites that they visit each year, and they are loyal to those locations. You will have added some perks to your RV park and make it look exceptional to all potential visitors before others will consider staying at your campground instead of their usual favourite.
This means you may have to do some extra promotional work and advertising and the cost to do those things will add up quickly.
14. Lots of Stress Involved
The main thing to consider when you are thinking about owning a campsite or operating any type of business single-handedly is all the stress that is involved. While it is good to be your own boss and set your own schedule, you are also faced with a lot of uncertainty along the way. If a problem arises, you do not have anyone else to turn to for assistance but yourself.
Plus, even if you hire a reliable crew, you will still have to take on many of the most challenging tasks all on your own.
The peak camping season will be an excruciating time, both physically and mentally, as you try to provide your customers with the very best camping experience. Even if you have an extremely successful season and are doing well when it comes to profit, being your own boss in any work environment can be exhausting.
If you decide to take on the challenge, be prepared for the many obstacles that lie ahead, many of which you may not expect.
15. Managing Your Own Staff Can Be Tedious
It can take some time to find the right employees who will make operating your RV park or campground an enjoyable experience for all. You will need to develop tough skin and sometimes make difficult decisions on which staff members to keep and which to let go.
If you are too soft when it comes to many human emotions, you may end up tolerating a problematic employee when they actually need to be fired. That is something all business owners face at some point, even those in the calm and peaceful camping industry.
There are many factors to consider when it comes to purchasing your own campground and creating the best location for outdoor recreation in your area. At the end of the day, if you manage to create a location where hundreds of families from all over the country come to enjoy some peace and relaxation, you have achieved something you should definitely be proud of.
There may be a lot of bumps on your path along the way, but those who have grown accustomed to outdoor living should not have much difficulty when it comes to a bend in the road.