Do you want to start an RV park business? If YES, here is an 18-step guide on how to start a profitable RV park business with no money and no experience. The real deal in starting an RV Park (Recreation Vehicle Park) business is securing a big facility that is large enough to contain not just the tracks for the recreational vehicles (RV) and other fun-filled outdoor games for children.
But also a restaurant, a place where parents/guardians can hangout while their wards catch fun, enough parking space, and also a location that may attract the kind of clients that would pay to make use of your RV park. It may take you months to get an ideal facility and you may have to pay from your nose.
The fact that you are going to secure a facility big enough to accommodate the activities and services you intend offering and enough parking lot means that you must truly be prepared for this business. If your RV Park facility is of high standard and it is located close to a residential estate with loads of growing families, you will attract loads of children especially on weekends and special holidays.
So also, you should have an interest in children and families if indeed you want to do pretty well in this line of business. You should also be able to convince parents and school managements to make use of your RV park facility on a regular basis.
18 Steps to Starting an RV Park Business
Table of Content
- 2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- 3. Decide What Niche to Concentrate On
- 4. Know the Major Competitors in the Industry
- 5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
- 6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face
- 7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)
- 8. Choose a Catchy Business Name from the ideas Below
- 9. Discuss With an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
- 10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
- 11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
- 12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
- 13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
- 14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
- 15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
- 16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed With ideas & Strategies
1. Understand the Industry
The campgrounds and RV parks industry primarily operates recreational vehicle parks and campgrounds, as well as recreational and vacation camps. The industry also includes trailer and caravan parks and wilderness camps. Basically, players in this industry take care of outdoor enthusiasts and also provide access to facilities such as washrooms, laundry rooms, recreation halls and playgrounds et al.
A close watch over the Campgrounds and RV Parks industry shows that the industry has enjoyed stable growth in recent time. The industry is largely driven by travel – related trends as trips to campgrounds and RV parks are viewed as cost-efficient alternatives to traditional vacations.
Going forward, increasing fuel prices and an appreciating dollar are expected to affect industry growth. On the other hand, improvements in the broader economy of the united states, as well as an aging population will support the growth of revenue for this industry.
The Campgrounds and RV Parks industry is indeed a very large industry and pretty much thriving in all parts of the world especially in developed countries such as United States of America, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, Australia and Italy et al.
Interesting Statistics About the Industry
Statistics has it that in the United States of America alone, there are about 14,031 licensed and registered Campgrounds and RV Parks who are into franchising responsible for employing about 51,211 employees and the industry rakes in a whooping sum of $6 billion annually with an annual growth rate projected at 2.3 percent between 2011 and 2016.
It is important to state that no establishment has a lion share of the available market in this industry. A recent report published by IBISWORLD shows that the Campgrounds and RV Parks industry has expanded steadily, with revenue expected to increase at an annualized rate of 2.3 percent over the five years to 2016.
The report shows that while the cost of using campground and RV facilities is less expensive relative to other types of accommodation, the RV Parks and Campgrounds industry was not immune from the impact of the broader economic downturn.
The report also stated that following the downturn, a spike in unemployment caused consumers to curtail nonessential purchases and cancel or delay their travel plans. Recovery commenced in 2012, but the industry’s rebound began slowly, with revenue increasing marginally in 2013. As the US economy underwent its initially tepid recovery, travel-related sectors experienced a bump in sales.
In recent time, the Campgrounds and RV Parks industry has experienced revenue growth, despite many families being time – strapped. While the industry contended with mounting competition from alternative leisure activities, such as gym and fitness centers and cinemas, many operators generated industry revenue growth on the basis of convenience.
In the coming years, the industry revenue is forecast to grow as family entertainment centers such as campground and RV parks will continue to enhance their product portfolios to attract families, despite their reduced leisure time.
2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
The demographic and psychographics composition of those who need the services of an RV park facility is not restricted to adults who love outdoor activities and camping but extends to children and families also. There is a wide range of clientele who visit and patronize RV parks for different purposes.
In essence, the target market of an RV park facility is all encompassing; it is not restricted to any age group, gender, race, tribe or group of people.
So, if you are looking towards defining the demographics of your RV park facility business, then you should make it far reaching to include households and families, schools, churches and religious centers, sport clubs, corporate organizations, travelers and tourists.
3. Decide What Niche to Concentrate On
Most RV Park facilities tend to operate the general service that a standard RV park facility provider is expected to offer, that is why it seem that there are no niche areas in the industry. But on the other hand, some RV park facilities may decide to major in some key areas such as;
- Operating campgrounds
- Operating RV parks
- Operating overnight recreational camps
- Operating travel trailer and caravan campsites
- Operating wilderness camps
- Food and drinks court
- Ice cream shop
- Other related facility operation
The Level of Competition in the Industry
No matter the line of business you decide to pitch your tent, you are still going to compete with others who are into same area of business and the RV park facility business is not an exemption.
The level of competition in the Campground and RV Parks industry to some extent depends largely on the location of the business, your niche area of operation and of course the capacity of your RV park facility. If you can successfully create a unique niche for your RV park facility business, you are likely going to experience little or no competition.
For instance, if you are the only RV park facility in your location that operates overnight recreational camps, or operates travel trailer and caravan campsites, or wilderness camps, you can successfully monopolize the market for a long time before you start having competitions.
4. Know the Major Competitors in the Industry
It is important to point out the fact that in every industry there are always brands who perform better or are better regarded by customers and the general public than others. These are some of the leading RV park facilities in the United States of America and in the globe;
- Camp America
- American RV Resort
- Crescent City/Redwoods KOA Holiday
- Paducah / I-24 / Kentucky Lake KOA
- Perry’s RV Park and Campground
- Manatee Hammock Campground
- Durango KOA Holiday
- St Louis West/Historic Route 66 KOA Campground
- Grand Junction KOA Holiday
- La Junta KOA Journey
- Cotopaxi/Arkansas River KOA
- Deer Park Campground
- Arrowhead Campsites/RV Park
- High Pines RV Park
- Monarch Spur RV Park
- Atlantic Oaks RV Park
- Rollins Restaurant & RV Park
- Echo Canyon Campground
- Lazy Village Campground-Rv Prk
- Harlan County Campground & RV
When starting an RV park facility business, you just have to get your costing cum economic analysis right if your intention of building the business is to generate profits, grow the business and perhaps expand the business and start competing at the national level.
When conducting costing and economic analysis for your RV park facility business, you just have to critically examine these key factors; place, pricing and promotion. As a matter of fact, you would have to continue to review these key factors at regular intervals while running your RV park facility business.
As an RV park facility business owner, you just have to have proper grasp of your competitive landscape if indeed you want to maximize profit and be in the frontline of the industry.
It is important to note that security and facility maintenance cost is one of the most important factors contributing to the overall cost of running an RV park facility business and should be considered as a major factor when carrying out your costing and economic analysis.
5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
If you are looking towards starting an RV park facility business, you would have to start from the very scratch because you can hardly get the franchise of an RV park business to buy.
Besides, starting an RV park facility business from the scratch might be stressful initially but it is profitable and can run on auto – pilot when compared to other similar businesses that usually require detailed groundwork before launching the business.
With an RV park facility business, you should just try as much as possible to secure a good location for your RV park and then leverage on every marketing tool within your disposal especially the internet to marketing your RV park facility.
Please note that most of the big and successful RV park and campground facilities around started from the scratch and they were able to build a solid business brand. It takes dedication, hard work and determination to achieve business success and of course you can build your own RV park facility business brand to become successful.
6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face
If you decide to open your own RV park facility today, one of the major challenges you are likely going to face is the presence of well – established RV park facilities and of course other players in the Campground and Parks industry in your target market location. The only way to avoid this challenge is to create your own market.
Some other threats and challenges that you are likely going to face when you start your RV park facility are mature markets, bad economy (economy downturn), and stiff competition. So also, unfavorable government policies, seasonal fluctuations, demographic/social factors, downturn in the economy etc are likely going to affect consumer spending for leisure services such as RV Park and camping.
7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)
Generally, you have the option of choosing a general partnership, limited liability company which is commonly called an LLC, or a sole proprietorship for a business such as RV park facility. Ordinarily, sole proprietorship should have been the ideal business structure for a small – scale RV park facility business especially if you are just starting out with a moderate start – up capital.
But people prefer limited liability Company for obvious reasons. As a matter of fact, if your intention is to grow the business and host campers all across the United States of America, Canada and other countries of the world, then choosing sole proprietorship is not an option for you. Limited Liability Company, LLC or even general partnership will cut it for you.
Setting up an LLC protects you from personal liability. If anything goes wrong in the business, it is only the money that you invested into the limited liability company that will be at risk. It is not so for sole proprietorships and general partnerships. Limited liability companies are simpler and more flexible to operate and you don’t need a board of directors, shareholders meetings and other managerial formalities.
These are some of the factors you should consider before choosing a legal entity for your RV park facility business; limitation of personal liability, ease of transferability, admission of new owners, investors’ expectation and of course taxes. You can start this type of business as limited liability company (LLC) and in future convert it to a ‘C’ corporation or an ‘S’ corporation especially when you have the plans of going public.
8. Choose a Catchy Business Name from the ideas Below
Normally, when it comes to choosing a name for your business, you should be creative because whatever name you choose for your business will go a long way to create a perception of what the business represents. Typically, it is the norm for people to follow the trend in the industry they intend operating from when naming their business.
If you are considering starting your own RV park facility business, here are some catchy names that you can choose from;
- Zebra Team RV Park and Campground Facilities, LLC
- Loftus Road RV Park and Campground Facility, Inc.
- Cross County RV Park and Campground Facility, LLC
- Adventurers RV Park and Campground Facility Ltd.
- Santa Fe Community RV Park and Campground, LLC
- Area Connect RV Park and Campground Facility, LLC
- Trans Racing RV Park and Campground Facility, LLC
- Watergate RV Park and Campground Facility Services, Inc.
- Port Harbor RV Park and Campground Facility, Inc.
- Freetown Community RV Park and Campground Facility Services, Inc.
9. Discuss With an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
In the United States and in most countries of the world, you can’t operate a business without having some of the basic insurance policy cover that are required by the industry you want to operate from. Thus, it is imperative to create a budget for insurance policy covers and perhaps consult an insurance broker to guide you in choosing the best and most appropriate insurance policies for your RV park facility business.
Here are some of the basic insurance policy covers to consider for your RV park facility business in the United States of America;
- General insurance
- Health insurance
- Liability insurance
- Risk Insurance
- Workers Compensation
- Building/Property insurance
- Overhead expense disability insurance
- Business owner’s policy group insurance
- Payment protection insurance
10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
In starting your own RV park facility business, usually you may not have any need to file for intellectual property protection/trademark. This is so because the nature of the business makes it possible for you to successfully run the business without having any cause to challenge anybody in court for illegally making use of your company’s intellectual properties.
On the other hand, if you just want to protect your company’s logo and other documents or software that are unique to you or even operation concepts, then you can go ahead to file for intellectual property protection. If you want to register your trademark, you are expected to begin the process by filing an application with the USPTO.
11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
When it comes to operating an RV Park business, you do not need to have any formal training or special certification before you can be allowed to open and operate the business in the United States of America and in all countries of the world.
All you need is informal training that will expose you to the in and out of managing an RV Park facility. On the other hand, if you come across any form of certification that can aid you to conduct your RV Park facility business properly, then by all mean try and pursue such certification.
12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
These are some of the basic legal documents that you are expected to have in place if you want to legally run your own RV Park and campground facility company in the United States of America;
- Business and liability insurance
- Federal Tax Payer’s ID
- State Permit
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Business License
- Business Plan for your RV Park
- Health inspection Certificate
- Copy of license for the service support facility and/or a recent inspection report
- Non – disclosure Agreement
- Employment Agreement (offer letters)
- Employee’s Handbook
- Operating Agreement for LLCs
- Insurance Policy
- Company Bylaws
- Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
- Building License
- Franchise or Trademark License (optional)
13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
Starting a standard, secured and well – equipped RV Park facility business is capital intensive even if you choose to launch the business on a small scale and you only have a handful of full time employees on your payroll.
Leasing of a standard facility that can accommodate your customers and staff members and of course the purchase of camping supplies and equipment are part of what will consume a large chunk of your startup capital, in essence, if you choose to start the business on a small scale, you will still have the need to go source for fund to finance the business.
Here are some of the options you can explore when sourcing for start – up capital for your RV Park and campground facility business;
- Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
- Raising money from investors and business partners
- Sell shares to interested investors
- Applying for loan from your bank
- Pitching your business idea and applying for business grants and seed funding from, government, donor organizations and angel investors
- Source for soft loans from your family members and your friends
14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
Starting a business such as RV Park and campground facility business comes with its own challenges; it is a business that cannot be started in any location. As a matter of fact, you will need zoning approval from local council and other regulating authorities in the city you intend opening your RV Park and campground facility business.
Generally, in business, it cannot be overemphasized that the location you chose to start your business is key to the success of the business; hence entrepreneurs are willing to rent or lease a facility in a visible location; a location where the demography consists of people with the required purchasing power and lifestyle.
If you make the mistake of renting or leasing a facility for your RV Park and campground facility business in a not too visible or hidden location simply because it is cheap, then you must be prepared to spend more in promoting the business.
It is important to note that a business facility in a good location does not come cheap hence you should be able to allocate enough fund for leasing/renting in your budget. If you are new to the dynamics of choosing a location for a business such as RV Park and campground facility business, then you should feel free to talk to a business consultant or a realtor who has a full grasp of the city and perhaps country you intend starting your RV Park and campground facility business.
These are some of the key factors that you should consider before choosing a location for your RV Park facility business;
- The demography of the location
- The demand for the services of RV Park facility and other recreational related businesses in the location
- The purchasing power of residents of the location
- Accessibility of the location
- The number of RV Parks, campground facilities and other recreational related services businesses that are in the location
- The local laws and regulations in the community
- Traffic, parking and security et al
15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
On the average, there are no special technologies or equipment needed to run a RV Park facility except for the needed lodging and recreational facilities. You will definitely need public address system, computers, internet facility, telephone, fax machine and office furniture (chairs, tables and shelves). These machines, tools and instruments can be purchased as fairly used especially if you have limited finance to meet your budget.
When it comes to choosing between renting and leasing a facility for your RV Park business, the size of the facility you want to own, and your entire budget for the business should influence your choice. Besides, you will need a facility that is in a serene environment, a facility that is big enough to accommodate the number of campers and staff member working for you.
As regards the number of employees that you are expected to kick start the business with, you would need to consider your finance before making the decision.
Averagely, when it comes to starting a standard RV Park facility business on a large scale, you would need the services of the following professionals; Chief Operating Officer (you can occupy this position), Marketing and Sales Executive (Business Developer), Accountant, Recreational Vehicle Park Safety Instructor/Assistant, Human Resources and Admin Manager, Facility Manager, Customer Services Executive/Front Desk Officer, Security Guards and Cleaners.
Over and above, you would need a minimum of 10 to 15 key staff members to effectively run a medium scale but standard RV Park facility.
The Service Delivery Process of a RV Park and Campground Facility
The service delivery as it relates to RV Park and campground facility to a large extent depends on the organization and what they stand to achieve.
Basically, an RV Park facility business sources for clients, once they are able to win the client over based on the services they intend offering and the facility available, they will both agree on the terms and conditions as required by campers.
The services could be providing just campground facility, operating RV parks, operating overnight recreational camps, operating travel trailer and caravan campsites and operating wilderness camps et al. It is important to state that an RV Park facility business may decide to improvise or adopt any business process and structure that will guarantee them efficiency and flexibility.
16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed With ideas & Strategies
The fact that the entry barrier for starting a small – scale RV Park and campground facility services business is not too high means that there is bound to be more players in the industry no matter the location you choose to start yours.
In essence, you must come up with innovations if you must carve out a market for yourself within the available market in your community, city, state or country. So, when you are drafting your marketing plans and strategies for your RV Park facility services, make sure that you create a compelling personal and company profile.
Aside from your qualifications and experience, it is important to clearly state in practical terms what you have been able to achieve in time past as it relates to your line of business. This will help boost your chances in the market place when marketing your services. Here are some of the platforms you can utilize to market your RV Park facility;
- Introduce your campground and recreational vehicle facility by sending introductory letters alongside your brochure to religious organizations, sport clubs, schools, corporate organizations, households and key stakeholders in and around the location where your RV Park and campground facility is located
- Open your RV Park and campground facility services with a party so as to capture the attention of residents who are your first targets
- Print out fliers and business cards and strategically drop them in offices, libraries, public facilities and train stations et al.
- Deliver consistent customer experiences to all your members; making your first impression count positively to those making use of your campground and recreational vehicle facility for the first time
- Make use of attractive hand bills to create awareness and also to give direction to your campground and recreational vehicle facility
- Engage in roadshows in targeted communities from time to time to market your services
- Advertise your services in community based newspapers, local TV and radio stations
- List your business and products on yellow pages ads
- Leverage on the internet to promote your RV Park and campground facility
- Engage in direct marketing and sales
- Encourage the use of word of mouth marketing (referrals)
- Leverage on the internet to promote your RV Park and campground facility
- Join local chambers of commerce and industries around you with the main aim of networking and marketing your RV Park facility; you are likely going to get referrals from such networks
- Engage the services of marketing executives and business developers to carry out direct marketing for you
17. Work Out a Reasonable Pricing for your Services & Products
One key factor that will help you offer your services at the right price is to ensure that you cut operational cost to the barest minimum, and channel your efforts towards marketing and promoting your brand name. Asides from the fact that this strategy will help you save cost, it will also help you get the right pricing for your products.
If you are able to secure business partnerships with sports clubs and relevant corporate organizations as it relates to getting referrals, then you will be able to get the right pricing and of course maximize profits from your RV Park and campground facility business.
18. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
If your intention of starting an RV Park facility business is to grow the business beyond the city where you are going to be operating from to become a national and international brand, then you must be ready to spend money on promotion and advertisement of your brand.
No matter the industry you belong to, the truth is that the market is dynamic and it requires consistent brand awareness and brand boosting cum promotion to continue to appeal to your target market. Your corporate identity has a lot to do when it comes to building a profitable business.
Here are the platforms you can leverage on to boost your brand awareness and create corporate identity for your RV Park facility business;
- Place adverts on both print and electronic media platforms
- Sponsor relevant community based events
- Leverage on the internet and social media platforms like; Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google + et al to promote your services
- Install your billboards in strategic locations all around your city or state
- Engage in roadshows from time to time in targeted neighborhoods to create awareness for your RV Park
- Distribute your fliers and handbills in target areas
- Contact religious organizations, sport clubs, schools, corporate organizations, households and key stakeholders in and around the location where your RV park facility is located informing them about your facility and the services you offer
- List your RV Park facility in local directories
- Advertise your RV Park facility in your official website and employ strategies that will help you pull traffic to the site
- Position our Flexi Banners at strategic positions in the location where your RV Park and campground facility is located
- Ensure that all your staff members wear your branded shirts and all your vehicles and trucks/vans are well branded with your company logo