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How Much Does It Cost To Start & Run a Campground?


Starting a campground or RV park can be a lucrative business venture, but it also comes with a number of costs and expenses that entrepreneurs need to know in advance. In this article, we will outline some of the key startup costs and day-to-day operational costs associated with running a campground. So, if you’re thinking about starting your own campground, or building RV parks read on to find out more!

General Campground Startup Costs

Cost Of Land

The cost of land is one of the biggest startup costs associated with starting a campground or to build an RV park. Depending on the location, the size of the property, and other factors, the cost of land can range widely. For example, in rural areas, land might be cheaper than in more urban or suburban areas. Another factor to consider is whether you plan to buy the land outright or lease it from someone else. The average cost of land for a campground is between $5,000 and $50,000. The cost can also vary if you are purchasing unused land, or an existing RV park. 



After you’ve secured the land for your campground or RV park, the next step is to start construction. This includes costs like clearing the land, building roads and campsites, installing utilities, designing RV park building plans and so on. The cost of construction will again vary depending on the size of the property, the RV park layout dimensions, and the amenities you plan to offer, as well as if the land was vacant or an existing park. On average, it costs about $10,000 to $20,000 to construct a basic campground with no amenities and anywhere from $50,000 to $200,000 to construct a campground with RV hookups and other amenities (including water, energy, and multiple internet service providers).  Other construction costs to consider for today’s RV parks would be swimming pools, and other amenities for RV camping life that will help add to a successful RV park design. You will also need to consider if your building costs will include campground or RV park model cabins for guests to use. 



There are also a number of overhead costs associated with running a campground or to build an RV park. These include costs like property taxes, utilities, utility connections, maintenance, and so on. The amount you’ll need to spend on overhead will depend on the size of your campground and the number of guests you have. You can expect to pay about $2,000 to $4,000 per month in overhead costs.



Another important cost to consider for your particular RV park or campground business is insurance. This is essential to protect your business in case of any accidents or injuries that occur on the property, offering protection to your business and your RV travelers. The cost of insurance will vary depending on the size of your campground and the coverage you choose. Insurance for a campground typically costs between $500 and $2,000 per year.


Permits and Licenses

Depending on your location, you might also need to obtain permits and licenses from national or state associations in order to operate your campground or your own RV park. The cost of these will vary depending on the regulations in your area. These can cost about $200 to $500.



A significant cost associated with running a campground or RV parks is labor. This includes the cost of hiring staff to help with tasks like cleaning camping cabins, maintenance, security, and so on. The cost of labor will again depend on the size of your campground and the number of guests you have. The average wages for most campground employees are around $22 per hour. Management employees generally earn around $25 to $30 per hour.



Another cost for RV parks to consider is related to amenities. This includes additions to the campground or RV park, such as a playground, a swimming pool, a laundry room, and so on. The cost of amenities will vary depending on the type and number of amenities you offer. On average, it costs about $20,000 to $50,000 to add amenities to a campground.



Finally, don’t forget about the cost of marketing your campground or RV parks. This includes costs like advertising, website design and brand development. Marketing is an important part of running a successful campground, so be sure to factor it into your budget. The cost of marketing can range widely, from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the scope of your marketing efforts.

Try Our Campground Startup Costs Calculator

Enter your expected startup costs below and then click the “Calculate My Startup Costs” button. We have included estimated/typical startup costs for each category, but feel free to modify our figures to reflect your specific business needs.

Purchasing location
Build out of sites (design and construction fees)
Build out of buildings (design and construction fees)
Franchise fees
Furniture and displays
Other equipment
Licenses and permits
Legal fees
Establishing website, logo and social media accounts
Cash registers/Point of sales systems
Initial marketing expenses and grand launch
Initial inventory and supplies
Cost to pay and train staff before opening
First and last month's rent and first month's utilities fees



As you can see, there are a number of costs associated with starting and running a campground or typical RV park business. All in all, you can expect to pay between $30,000 and $150,000 to start an average-sized campground. Of course, this is just a rough estimate and your actual costs will vary depending on factors like the size of your campground, the location, the amenities you offer, and so on. So, be sure to do your research before embarking on the process of starting a campground.

Other Helpful Articles

Average Campground Rates & Fees + Determining How Much To Charge

How To Build a Campground + What To Expect in Costs

How Much Do RV Parks & The Owner Make Each Year?

How Much Does It Cost To Start & Run an RV Park?