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Starting a Small Business
How to Set Up a Campsite Business
By Sharyl Stockstill , eHow Contributor
Campsites might be primitive or have full utilities. They must have a level place for tents and parking.
Providing campsites for the traveling public can be a lucrative business. With a small initial investment, primitive sites can be set up in as little as a day. Additionally, full-service sites can be added as time and funds become available.
Location and attractions are the keys to a successful campsite business. The location should be near a well-traveled road such as an interstate. There should be easy access to the campsites. You will also want to consider what attractions are available that will bring people into your area. If your campsite business is near a thriving city or major attraction, you will have a better opportunity to attract campers than if you are hard to reach or if there is nothing for your guests to do once they find you.
More than 19 percent of the nation participates in camping at least once during the year. If you have a good location and can provide your guests with additional services, your campsite business will flourish.
Assess different property options. Look for land that is near an interstate off-ramp or has several attractions that would attract campers. National parks, lakes, forests and mountains are all considered ideal camping attractions. Though a long-term lease is always an option, purchasing the real estate will provide more stability for a long-term investment.
Design your campsite on paper. Begin by drawing a scale model of your property and pencil in any geographic features you will have to work around. For example, if your property has rolling hills and trees, make notes of these things on your rough design.
Pencil in ideal camping sites. Select areas for primitive camping in tents and where existing utilities are located.
Sketch utility lines you can install for the convenience of your guests. Water lines, electrical and septic systems should be planned for and, if possible, installed before landscaping or adding attractions to your campsite business.
Include additional service areas, such as showers, recreational vehicle dump stations, picnic tables and barbecue grills on your drawing.
Develop a business plan based on your scale drawing. A business plan can help address ideas and concerns which will materialize in your planning stage. You can calculate the cost of the initial investment, phases of development and any issues you might have with neighbors, zoning, licensing and insurance. The business plan will help you to remain organized and can be an asset in obtaining funding from banks and investors.
Developing a business plan will also provide you with the opportunity to research your competition, your anticipated occupancy rate, and growth potential.
Obtain a business name, licenses, tax number and zoning approval. Set up your business by meeting all of the federal, state and local obligations for the business. Some states have special taxes known as a Lodger's Tax that you will have to collect and forward to your state taxing authority. The state revenue department can provide you with additional details about taxes specific to your location.
Open any bank accounts that might be necessary for operating expenses and begin keeping track of all transactions for income tax purposes.
Set up your campsite business. When all of your paperwork and funding is in place, it is time to install the utilities and begin developing your campsites. Primitive areas can be completed first to provide you with a small return on your initial investment. A primitive area does not have any utilities and is often just a level site where tents can be erected.
As your business grows, you can add sites for recreational vehicles, group gatherings, and additional services.
How to Start a Campground Business
By Meg Jernigan, eHow Contributor
A campground can be as simple as a primitive backcountry area or it can be acres of paved roads with pads for RVs, full hookups and a range of activities from miniature golf to volleyball. A primitive campground doesn't need more than a bathhouse and sites. Big RVs need plenty of room to maneuver. Once you've decided what sort of campground business you want to operate, customize the following guidelines to suit your guests' needs.
Prepare the campground. Level tent and RV pads, supply water, sewage and electrical hookups for some of them, and leave a screen of foliage between them for privacy. If you're creating a large campground, make some of the sites pull-throughs so RVs don't have to back into sites.
Set aside a separate section for tent campers. Provide a fire ring and a picnic table at each site. Outfit some tent sites with electricity and water. Consider building a couple of primitive cabins for people who don't have camping equipment.
Build a bathhouse for guests without RVs and an owner's residence/check-in/camp store. Create a dump station where RV owners can empty their tanks away from the campground.
Provide amenities like a game room, swimming pool and picnic pavilions. Build a fishing pier if you're located on a lake or river. Offer fishing gear for sale in your camp store. Stock the store with necessities like groceries, RV repair parts, charcoal, bottled water and toilet paper.
Create an Internet presence. Maintain a webpage with a map and directions to your campground. List your rates and keep them current. Make a reservations page and place your contact information prominently on the website.
Make sure other websites that list campgrounds, like city directories, tourism bureaus and local towns have a link to your website. Sprinkle keywords throughout your website that will cause it to appear high in search engine rankings.
Place ads in accommodations magazines that are given out at rest areas on highways. Publish a flyer that can be placed at tourist information stops and service stations near your campground.
Offer incentives like a rewards program or a discount for guests who return to your campground. Provide golf carts for guests with mobility issues to get around large campgrounds.
Tips & Warnings
Check the rules and regulations for campgrounds in your area before you begin. Make sure sites are not subject to standing water. Print campground maps to give to guests. State the campground's policies clearly on the maps.
How to Start My Own RV Camping Park
By Jackie Johnson, eHow Contributor
If you have acreage in an area popular with tourists, developing the land as an RV park could be a profitable venture. Developing land for an RV park is not an overnight process. It involves zoning, engineering, site planning, land development and even market research to see what nearby RV parks offer so that you can be competitive. Many of the steps in converting land into an RV park need the expertise of many professionals who are qualified or licensed to take the project from start to finish.
Determine if there is demand for another RV park nearby. If you know the market, you might be able to trust your expertise. However, your financial institution or local jurisdiction may require you to put together a due diligence package, the core of which will be a market study to judge the feasibility of your site, what amenities you will need and how large the lots should be.
Hire engineers or land planners to survey your property, prepare the documents for zoning, and work with local jurisdiction to get the required approvals for the RV park. This can be a time consuming process with many trips back to the drawing board, depending on the jurisdiction. Some places may even require an environmental impact statement beyond the scope of the due diligence package.
Hire a land development firm to grade the property, install the utilities and cut the roads. Hire paving companies and landscapers to put in the roads and the landscaping materials. Depending on the amenities you offer, you may have to hire a swimming pool contractor for the pool and spa and general contractors to build the clubhouse along with interior designers to decorate it.
Adjust the nightly, weekly or monthly rates. Phone the RV parks in your area for current pricing and incentives.
Advertise the project as it nears completion. Use local resources, the Internet, magazines geared toward RV campers and print materials to get the word out. Having a battery of photos of your RV camping park will help others see what your property is like and attract guests.