Campgrounds provide a great way for people to get outside and enjoy nature. They also offer a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs who are looking to start their own businesses. If you’re thinking about starting a campground, there are a few things you need to know before getting started.
Here are the 10 steps you can take to get started on building your very own campground business.
10 Steps to Launching a New Campground Business
1. Choose Your Type of Campground Business
The first step in launching a campground business is to identify the type of campground business you want to launch. You might choose from the following types among others:
– RV parks: RV parks provide campsites and hookups for recreational vehicles.
– Cabin rental campgrounds: These businesses offer campsites with small cabins that can be rented by guests.
– Tent campgrounds: Tent campgrounds provide sites for guests to pitch their tents.
2. Name Your Campground Business
Give your campground business an identity so people will think of it as a well-known and respected brand. You can take the name of your campground business from your industry, focus on a geographical location, or use your own name among other options.
The main goal for naming your campground business is to make it sound appealing and trustworthy so that potential guests will want to stay at your campground.
3. Determine Your Campground Business Model
There are several possible types of business models for a campground business including:
- An overnight campground business with sites for guests to stay for a short period of time.
- A seasonal campground business that is only open during certain months of the year.
- A full-time campground business that is open all year long.
No matter which model you choose, make sure that it aligns with your business goals and the services you offer.
4. Choose a Legal Form for Your Business
By incorporating your campground business, you will limit your liability. You can incorporate as a Limited Liability Company (LLC), a C Corporation (C-Corp), or an S Corporation (S-Corp). Or you can operate as a sole proprietorship.
The business structure you choose for your campground business will determine the amount of taxes you pay and which state or federal tax forms you need to file.
Read our article comparing the most common campground business structures.
5. Write a Campground Business Plan
All campground business owners should develop a business plan.
A business plan is a document that outlines the goals, strategies, and operations of a business. It can be used to secure funding from investors or lenders, as well as to guide the day-to-day operations of the business. The business plan should include information on the company’s products or services, market analysis, financial projections, and management team among other things.
When developing your campground business plan and strategy, you should think about the following questions your customers might have:
- What type of campground is it?
- What amenities are offered?
- How large are the campsites?
- What is the cost to stay at the campground?
- Are there any discounts available?
- What are the check-in and check-out times?
- What is the cancellation policy?
- Is there Wi-Fi available?
- What is the pet policy?
- Are there any activities available on-site?
- What are the nearest attractions?
- Do you offer group discounts?
Read our article about how to write a campground business plan.
6. Apply for the Necessary Permits and Licenses
There may be required licenses and permits you need to obtain before launching your campground business.
For example, if you plan to serve alcohol at your campground, you will need to apply for a liquor license from the state or local government. If you will have live music at your campground, you may need to obtain a noise permit.
You must also register your campground business as a legal entity with the state where you plan to do business. You can simply file an online form through your Secretary of State website.
Registering with the federal government is also essential so you can properly pay taxes for your business. You will also need an Employer Identification Number (EIN), which you can apply for at the IRS website, if you plan to hire employees.
Read our article about obtaining the proper campground business licenses.
7. Determine Your Budget & Apply for Funding as Needed
In developing your campground business plan, you will figure out how much funding you need to start and grow your business.
If you have your own funds to invest in your campground business, you may consider taking advantage of that. In addition to your personal funds, other forms of potential funding for your campground business include traditional bank loans, SBA loans, credit cards, angel investors and family and friends.
Read our article about the costs associated with starting a campground business to help you determine if funding is needed.
Read our article about how to fund your campground business.
8. Get the Technology & Software Needed to Run Your Business Efficiently
When you start your campground business, it’s essential to have the right technology in place to maximize efficiency. You definitely need a computer with Internet access, and accounting software for tracking expenses and revenues.
You may also want to invest in a customer management system (CMS) to help you manage your customers, bookings and reservations. A CMS can save you a lot of time and headaches by automating many of the tasks associated with running a campground business.
Read our article about the technology and software you need to run a campground business.
9. Market Your Campground Business to Potential Customers
Before you start selling your services, you have to let the world know you exist. The first step is to create a website so people can learn more about your services and how they benefit them.
After you launch your website, start promoting it through social media channels like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Also consider networking with other people in the campground industry through social media and blogs so they can help share your business.
You also need to start gathering the materials needed to execute on your promotions strategy, which is your strategy for attracting new customers. Campground businesses should consider the following promotional strategies for which you should start getting prepared:
- Develop a targeted mailing list and send out targeted mailers to potential customers.
- Sponsor a local charity event or visit schools to talk to kids about the benefits of camping.
- Create a blog or video series about camping and post it on social media and your website.
- design attractive and eye-catching print ads and make sure they’re placed in key locations like grocery stores, gas stations, etc.
- Invest in search engine optimization (SEO) to make sure your website appears as the top result for relevant searches.
Read our article about how to market your campground business for more tips.
10. Get New Customers & Grow Your Business
When you promote your services, you’ll start to get interest from potential customers.
Make sure you’re ready to serve these customers. Also, be sure to establish systems to ensure consistency and reduce costs. And be sure to find and train the right people to help you grow your campground business.
Read our article about how to effectively grow your campground business to learn more.
Starting a Campground Business FAQs
Why Start a Campground Business?
There are many reasons to start a campground business. Campgrounds can be very profitable businesses, and they offer a unique opportunity to work outdoors and be your own boss. In addition, campgrounds provide a much-needed service to the community by providing a place for people to enjoy the great outdoors.
What is Needed to Start a Successful Campground Business?
To start a successful campground business, you need to have a strong understanding of the industry and what it takes to run a campground. You also need to be able to market your services effectively and attract new customers. In addition, you need to have the right technology in place to maximize efficiency. Finally, you need to find and train the right people to help you grow your business.
How Can I Start a Campground Business From Home?
If you want to start a campground business from home, establish a workspace and home office. This will help you stay organized and focused on your business. In addition, invest in the right technology to help you manage your campground business effectively. Finally, make sure you have a strong marketing strategy in place to attract new customers.
How Can I Start a Campground Business Online?
If you want to start a campground business online, you need to have a strong understanding of the industry and what it takes to run a campground. You also need to be able to market your services effectively and attract new customers. In addition, you need to have the right technology in place to maximize efficiency. Finally, you need to find and train the right people to help you grow your business.
Establish an e-commerce website for customers to book campsites and buy products.
What are Some Tips for Starting a Campground Business?
There are many things to consider when starting a campground business. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Research the market. Make sure you understand the campground industry and what it takes to run a successful campground business.
- Create a marketing plan. Attracting new customers is essential to the success of your business. Develop a marketing strategy that will help you reach your target market.
- Invest in the right technology. Technology can help you manage your campground business more effectively and efficiently. Make sure you have the right tools in place to run your business smoothly.
- Find and train the right people. Surround yourself with people who are passionate about the campground industry and who can help you grow your business.
Where Can I Find a Simple Checklist for Starting a Campground Business?
A simple checklist to use when starting a campground business is as follows:
- Choose Your Type of Campground: This should be based on what you are best at and how much experience you have. Remember to keep your interests, skills, and experience in mind at all times.
- Name Your Campground Business: This should be done with care, as your brand is important for attracting the right customers. A simple, memorable name will go a long way.
- Choose a Legal Form for Your Business: Whether you choose to become a sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, corporation or another option will depend on your business. Ensure that you are aware of all the implications of each type.
- Determine Your Campground Business Model: Determine how your business will make money. Will you sell products, services, or a combination of both?
- Write a Campground Business Plan: Your business plan will also help you determine what your start-up costs will be and will provide a roadmap with which you can launch and grow.
- Apply for the Necessary Permits and Licenses: In most locations you will be required to apply for a business license and/or permits before you can begin operations.
- Determine Your Budget & Apply for Funding as Needed: You will need to know how much money you have to spend on all of your business-related expenses before opening any doors. If needed, apply for a small business loan or other funding options.
- Get the Technology & Software Needed to Run Your Business Efficiently: You need to have the right tools in place to succeed. Implement software that will help you manage your time, contacts, and business operations in general.
- Market Your Campground Business to Potential Customers: A solid marketing plan will be crucial to your success. It should focus on attracting the right customers so that you can provide them with the services they truly need.
- Get Customers & Grow Your Business: Once you have a solid marketing plan, it's time to actively pursue and secure those who could benefit the most from your services.
Starting a campground business can be a lucrative endeavor, but it’s important to plan accordingly. Make sure you have the right technology, marketing strategy, and team in place to help you succeed. With careful planning and execution, you can be on your way to owning and operating a successful campground business.