Thinking of Buying a Campground? Read This First.
Camping is a national pastime all over the world, and especially in the United States, where vast expanses of land have been set aside to be enjoyed by all. Millions of families head into the great outdoors every year to pitch tents, rent cabins or RVs, and explore the wilderness.
Owning a private campground may seem like they type of business that runs itself, but current campground owners know that it takes a lot of work. There’s a lot to consider when thinking about buying a campground. They can, however, be a great investment for those who love the outdoors, as well as the hospitality industry. Here are a few things to think about from those who have made the plunge already.
1) Stay on top of cleanliness and maintenance. If a campground has advertised bathrooms, guests will have high expectations of cleanliness. That means daily cleaning and stocking up on paper. Chances are, if a guest has booked a reservation on a private campground, a clean bathroom is likely one of the things they’re after. With bathrooms likely comes the added responsibility of a septic system, so be prepared for expenses related to that. It would also be helpful to consider living on-site for any emergency issues that may arise.
2) Make sure to provide amenities. Think about a campground from your potential customers’ point of view. Chances are, people who choose to book a campsite through a company as opposed to camping on public land want a more relaxed, resort-style experience. That includes amenities such as showers, activities, and possibly a pool, if weather appropriate. Planning fun activities for your guests is a good way to generate repeat business, but it takes a lot of work. One current campground owner remembers his first summer as a campground owner, planning multiple large dinners for all of his guests, including a “Christmas in July” celebration. By the end of the season, having recruited friends and family members to help prepare dinners, the entire family was “wiped out.” One way to up your potential for added income is to offer rentals for commonly used camping equipment, such as camping stoves, tents, and more. Many people might not have space to store a large amount of camping equipment, which can deter them from going camping in the first place.
3) Consider the location and future development. Where is the campground located? If there are no amenities on the property, are there any nearby? What are the future plans for the area surrounding the property? Will there be noisy developments in the near future? Changes to the roads and access? These are important things to ask before buying a campground. For example, if a planned road addition will block convenient access to the campground, or change the remote feel of it, it could affect future business.
While many campground owners report being happy with their choices, most will acknowledge that it can be hard work. However, for the right person or family, and for those who enjoy spending time outdoors, it can end up being a fulfilling and rewarding career or family business. Just make sure to thoroughly research your potential business before making a final decision. Explore the many US Campgrounds for sale.
Bruce Hakutizwi is the U.S. and International Business Manager for Businesses for Sale.