If you’re an entrepreneur with a love for the open road, starting an RV park may be the perfect business venture for you. This guide will walk you through the process of starting a new RV park, from planning and development to marketing and beyond.
Here are the 10 steps you can take to get started on building your very own RV park business.
10 Steps to Launching a New RV Park Business
1. Choose Your Type of RV Park Business
The first step in launching an RV park business is to identify the type of RV park business you want to launch. You might choose from the following types among others:
- Family-friendly RV parks
- 55+ RV parks
- RV parks with on-site amenities such as a swimming pool or golf course
2. Name Your RV Park Business
Give your RV park business an identity so people will think of it as a well-known and respected brand. You can take the name of your RV park business from your industry, focus on a geographical location, or use your own name among other options.
The main goal for naming your RV park business is to make it sound appealing and trustworthy so that people will want to visit your RV park.
3. Determine Your RV Park Business Model
There are several possible types of business models for an RV park business including:
- Owner-operated: You are the sole proprietor of your RV park and handle all aspects of the business including day-to-day operations, marketing, accounting, and maintenance.
- Franchise: You purchase a license to operate an existing RV park brand. This option provides you with support in the form of marketing, management training, and access to proprietary software.
- Management company: You hire a professional management company to handle the day-to-day operations of your RV park while you focus on strategic decisions and marketing initiatives.
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 RV park 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 RV park 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 RV park business structures.
5. Write a RV Park Business Plan
All RV park 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 RV park business plan and strategy, you should think about the following questions your customers might have:
- What type of RV park is best for me?
- How do I choose the right RV park business model?
- What should I consider when naming my RV park business?
- How much liability protection do I need as an RV park owner?
- What are the tax implications of owning an RV park business?
- What are the most important components of a RV park business plan?
Answering these questions in your business plan will give potential investors and customers a better understanding of your business and what you have to offer.
Read our article about how to write an RV park business plan.
6. Apply for the Necessary Permits and Licenses
There may be required licenses and permits you need to obtain before launching your RV park business.
For example, if you plan to sell food or alcohol, you will need to obtain the proper state and local permits. If your RV park will have on-site amenities like a swimming pool or playground, you may need to obtain a special use permit from your city or county.
You must also register your RV park 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 RV park business licenses.
7. Determine Your Budget & Apply for Funding as Needed
In developing your RV park 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 RV park business, you may consider taking advantage of that. In addition to your personal funds, other forms of potential funding for your RV park business include traditional bank loans, SBA loans, credit cards, angel investors and family and friends.
Read our article about the costs associated with starting an RV park business to help you determine if funding is needed.
Read our article about how to fund your RV park business.
8. Get the Technology & Software Needed to Run Your Business Efficiently
When you start your RV park 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 RV park specific software, which can automate the reservation and check-in process for customers, as well as help you manage your inventory.
You should also have a website for your RV park business so potential customers can learn more about your services and make reservations online. A strong social media presence is also beneficial for promoting your business to a wider audience.
Read our article about the technology and software you need to run an RV park business.
9. Market Your RV Park 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 RV park 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. RV park businesses should consider the following promotional strategies for which you should start getting prepared:
- Host Events that Promote Your Business
RV parks can host events to attract new customers and promote their services. Events could include RV rallies, camping weekends, wine tastings or holiday celebrations.
- Sponsor Local Community or Charity Events
Sponsoring local community or charity events is a great way to get your business name in front of potential customers and give back to the community.
- Giveaways & Contests
Giveaways and contests are popular marketing tools that can help you attract new customers. You could offer a free stay at your RV park as a prize or hold a contest for the best RV makeover.
- Advertise in Local & National Publications
Advertising in local and national publications is a great way to reach a large audience of potential customers. You could place ads in RV magazines, camping guides or travel websites.
- Create Promotional Materials
Creating promotional materials like flyers, postcards or website banners is a great way to get the word out about your RV park business. You can distribute these materials at local businesses, RV shows or community events.
- Partner with Local Businesses
Partnering with local businesses is a great way to cross-promote your services. For example, you could partner with a nearby restaurant to offer a discount to customers who stay at your RV park.
- Use Billboards & Signage
Billboards and signage are great marketing tools for RV parks since they’re highly visible. You could place billboards along major highways or put signs up in local campgrounds.
Read our article about how to market your RV park 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 RV park business.
Read our article about how to effectively grow your RV park business to learn more.
Starting an RV Park Business FAQs
RV parks offer a unique and affordable vacation experience for travelers. They also provide an opportunity for entrepreneurs to be their own boss and run a business in a growing industry. Therefore, starting an RV park business can be a great way to achieve financial and personal success.
To start a successful RV park business, you need to have a good location, quality facilities and attractive amenities. You also need to market your business well so potential customers are aware of your services.
If you have at least 5 acres on your property, you can start a small RV park business from home. However, you will need to obtain the proper permits and licenses from your local government first. You will also need to have quality facilities and amenities to attract customers.
Start by establishing a workspace and home office. Then, configure your land. Next, develop your business plan. Finally, apply for the necessary permits and licenses.
If you have a website for your RV park business, you can promote your services online. You can also list your business on online directories and portals. You can also use social media to market your business.
Establish an e-commerce website so customers can book reservations online. You can also use social media to post pictures and updates about your RV park.
Here are some tips for starting an RV park business:
- Choose a good location.
- Develop quality facilities and amenities.
- Market your business well.
- Have a detailed business plan.
- Obtain the necessary permits and licenses.
- Train your employees well.
- Focus on customer service.
- Offer discounts and promotions.
- Use social media to market your business.
A simple checklist to use when starting an RV park business is as follows:
- Choose Your Type of RV Park: 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 RV Park 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 RV Park Business Model: Determine how your business will make money. Will you sell products, services, or a combination of both?
- Write an RV Park 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 RV Park 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 an RV park can be a lucrative business venture, but it’s important to plan first. Make sure you have the necessary permits and licenses in place, as well as a detailed business plan. You’ll also need to focus on customer service and marketing your park to potential customers. With the right strategy in place, you can successfully launch and grow your very own RV park business.