RV Park Development: Three Things to Consider Before Developing an RV Park
By Amie Mersmann, President, Mersmann Consulting Group
You have made the decision – you are going to develop a RV park, campground or glamping establishment. You have capital, a location, and are ready to begin the process of designing, constructing, and operating a park. So, now what do you do? There are several things to consider before committing time and resources to an RV park development.
- Location, Location, Location
If you build it, they will come, right? Well, it is not that easy. First, your location must be accessible to RVs, large enough and shaped for proper spacing while maximizing land use. Have you examined all environmental and regulatory issues, both current and historical? Second, there must be a reason for guests to visit your RV park. Are you in a destination location, close to a popular attraction, near a populated area, or in a workforce area? All situations warrant consideration if demand proves that there is elasticity for a new park in the area. An additional consideration is if your project is wanted by the local city and county. If there is pushback from the start, it may be enough to consider a different location. If the government is willing to work with your project, are you aware of your zoning and utilities requirements?
- Enough Cash, and Then Some
Do you have at least $3MM to $6MM? That is the bare minimum to develop a mid-level transient RV park, that includes ample amenities, and would earn high ratings in the industry. Do you have a relationship with a bank that is willing to provide a loan? Have you considered your options in loans, such as conventional versus a SBA loan? Are you willing to personally guarantee your loan? And, have you considered a partnership to ease the financial burden?
- Circle of Trust
Do you have a group of investors, or a management team or consultants in the industry with ample experience in each area of expertise needed to design, develop, and operate a RV Park? You will likely receive a different opinion from each person that you speak with, whether they have actual experience in this industry or not. Even those who have worked many years in this industry will differ in opinions throughout the process of developing and operating a RV park.
Know who you are and who your market will be. Then, form your circle of trust within your development. This will set up a strong management team from the start and will prevent costly diversions throughout the process.
It is an exciting time to develop a RV park, campground or glamping establishment. More people are purchasing RVs, more people are working remotely and more people are vacationing within driving distance. This industry has many resources, both locally and nationally, to support a new development. With careful planning and a solid team around you, the possibilities are endless!
About Mersmann Consulting Group
Mersmann Consulting Group is a planning, development, and management firm serving the Outdoor Hospitality Industry. MCG has extensive experience providing strategic planning, design, business planning, operational startup, marketing solutions, and resort management that distinguish our clients’ developments above the competition. Our projects span across all aspects of the Outdoor Hospitality Industry, including RV parks and campgrounds, luxury outdoor resorts, lodges and boutique hotels, workforce housing, and event and recreation venues.