Published Date: October 17, 2020
Last Updated on June 22, 2023 by Camper Front
Every campground has its pros and cons, and owning a campground is not exempted from this. If you are considering buying a campground there are a lot of factors that have to be taken into consideration.
You have to weigh the stress of owning a campground against the return on investment (ROI), as well as other factors.
So, before you pull out the tractor, consider the pros and cons of owning a campground so you can make an informed decision about investing in one or not.
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Pros And Cons Of Owning a Campground
There are a lot of pros and cons of owning a campground, and we’re going to go over all of this so that you can make the right decision:
Pros of Owning a Campground
Let’s start with the pros of owning a campground before proceeding to its cons:
1. The Returns
Owning a campground is very profitable; the fact that they offer a low-cost housing option basically shields them from the wrath of economic turndowns. Recently they have been a lot of people downsizing to RV living, and this means more business for campground owners.
In fact, with the current housing crisis, the demand for this continues to grow. Also, RVing remains a popular means of traveling for both young and old people, and RV owners will always need a clean, safe, and reliable place to park their homes on wheels.
Owning a campground not only generates profits but is also a rewarding activity as it allows for flexibility in how you operate. But in order for this business to be profitable, you need to have an effective operation in its early years.
Your amenities should all be in good shape and easily accessible. You also want to be very innovative about your campground concept, and most importantly, you need to have a bit of prior experience running or managing a campground.
2. Being Your Own Boss
Nobody wants to be bossed around; when you own a campground, you become your own boss while living rent-free. However, you can decide not to live on the campground but living within the campgrounds premises while making management and supervision more efficient.
Running a campground might not be easy, but you get to set your own schedule according to your convenience; you can even plan your time in such a way that you can run other side businesses with none of them clashing.
Also, if you have children, you can also teach them campground management so you can pass on ownership of the business to your children or grandchildren.
3. It Is A Seasonal Business
Many privately owned campgrounds are seasonal; this means they only function during summer periods and are shut down during the winter period.
Although this might seem counter-intuitive as the campground won’t be generating an income during that period, you get to take a well-deserved rest during that time. Have enough time to spend with the family, time you probably won’t have when you are running a campground.
Read Also: Is Living in a Camper in My Backyard Legal?
4. You will be Meeting New People
A campground is like a little community for RVers, so you get to meet different people from different cultures and ethnicity, ranging from old to young, male, and female. This makes owning a campground a really fun business to venture into.
5. It Allows You To Explore Natural Beauty
If you live inside the campground, you get to experience that refreshing outdoor lifestyle. You wake up to the sounds of birds chirping; you breathe in fresh air, you also get great sun exposure for better sleep quality and reduced stress levels.
If your campground is also located close to a water body or popular tourist site, you get to explore all of that natural beauty for free while making money; how cool is that?!
Cons of Owning a Campground
Everything they say has its pros and cons, but rather than view the cons in a bad light; they are only guidelines to help you determine if you are capable of owning a campground. Here are the cons of owing a campground:
1. Staying On The Campground
Yes, while this might be an advantage, in certain circumstances, it may become a disadvantage. If you are living on the campground full time for the first year (which is actually recommended in order for you to be able to kickstart the business), you may miss a lot of family functions.
This is because, unless you have someone to stand in for you, it might not be possible to leave the campground for long periods of time. So until you get your campground running efficiently, you are going to miss a lot of birthdays, weddings, and even funerals.
2. Lots Of Startup Funds Required
In order for you to be able to charge pretty high rates for your campground, it has to be equipped with lots of amenities like electricity, water, shower, and even recreational facilities. All this costs a lot of money to put in place, even securing a well-positioned site costs a lot of money.
3. It Takes Time To Start Getting Profit
Now, depending on the location of your campground, the amenities it has, and the rent fee, your campground may not be able to make an investment return even after a year! Yes, a year!
You see, like every new business out there, it’s going to take a while to get campers to know you, and you may need to run a lot of ads, give lots of discounts and incentives, you need to prove yourself exceptional and intrigue campers in order for them to leave their regularly patronized campground for yours.
All these affect the ability to make a profit for up to a year and even more than that. So because of this, you will need to have backup cash during this period because there will likely be times when you have almost no one in your camp.
And yet you are still paying for utilities, your workers, insurance, and your loans, and with the low returns you might be getting, you will definitely need backup cash.
4. Enormous Stress Involved
Owning and running a campground is a lot of work, especially during summertime — both when you start your business and as you continue to look after your guests and campers. Plus, you have office and bookkeeping work to do also.
You will need to be available at all times, and when there is a customer rush, it may feel a little bit overwhelming. But still, you want to make sure every customer is treated and provided with the best services you can offer so they return next time.
Fortunately, camping activities usually reach its peak during summer and drop during winter, so you can take a break or even go on a vacation during that period.
5. You Need Prior Experience
For you to be able to effectively own and run a campground, you will need to have some prior experience on how to run a business. You will need 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.
This is a very important step that will enable you to evaluate the business properly before you venture in.
6. Staff Management Can be Tedious
Depending on the size of your campground, you are definitely going to need a couple of staff, who can either be paid, staff or family members.
Even if you are able to run the campground during the startup period, when the influx of campers increases, you will definitely need helping hands, which adds to the cost of running the campground.
7. Getting A Location And Installing Amenities Can be a Tiring Process
You don’t want your campground to be located in a remote or inaccessible area; this will deter campers from visiting your site.
Instead, you want your campground to be close to a river, a lake, a national park, or other attractions. You also want to make sure it is easily accessible from major highways.
As stated earlier, the number of amenities your campground has to offer has a huge impact on how much you can charge for it.
For a really high-end campground, you will need to have accessible roads, recreational facilities for both humans and maybe dogs, plumbing, septic systems shower house, and other amenities. You may also decide to add wifi services to your campground.
All these amenities make your campground more desirable to campers, and you get to charge a good amount for rent.
8. Bad Clients Can Make The Business More Stressful
Yes, there will be a fair share of those people who will be troublesome and even destructive. A camper may pull out while still plugged in and make a run for it without you noticing.
You may also get campers with little kids who are nothing but destructive, and their parents do nothing or little to stop them; with frequent proper supervision of your campground, you might be left with hundreds of repair costs all the time.
There will also be customers who are just plain difficult to deal with; they seem to know how everything should be done, so they won’t want to follow up with laid-down rules. You will need a lot of patience and professionalism to deal with that type of customer.
Conclusion: Owning a Campground Can Be a Great Investment
These are the major pros and cons of owning a campground. Owning a campground might seem like a lot of work and commitment at first, but with patience and proper management, you get to enjoy the bountiful produce of your labor.