Why Do I Want To Own An RV Park?

Published: 22nd January 2008
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In the arena of commercial real estate, there are numerous different investments that can be made. While many simply stick to the basics, there are some great opportunities out there for the adventurous. Owning an RV park is an investment with a potentially huge upside for an investor. While it has always been a profitable commercial real estate investment, over the next few years, the demand for RV parks will inevitably grow. Over the next 10 years, the retired population in this country is scheduled to grow. With the Baby Boomer's, the largest generation in American history is retiring soon. When this group of millions of people stops working, they will undoubtedly look for fun activities to fill the void. The travel industry, as a whole, is predicting a large period of growth. Within that industry, the RV park sector is expected to grow the fastest.

How can you expect to succeed in owning an RV park? First of all, you must realize that it is not your typical commercial real estate investment. It is more about adopting a particular lifestyle than it is sticking to a definite business plan. Many owners live at the park to watch over it. While this may not be for you, it's best if you can spend some time there. In this business, the best form of advertising is through word-of-mouth.

RVers love to socialize. When they pull into camp, the first thing they'll do is get out and meet the people around them. If the owner of the RV park is friendly and accommodating, the patrons will be happy. At the next RV park they attend, they'll be sure to tell everyone they meet about your park. Whether your RV park gets a good review or a bad one is up to them, but you can bet they'll tell others all about it. Therefore, you must make sure that their stay is enjoyable. The last thing you can afford is trying to overcome negative word-of-mouth. Therefore it is essential that you need to be a "people person" in order to own an RV park.

Besides being a "people person" there are several other traits in a successful RV park investment. You need to have as many amenities as possible. Setting yourself apart from any competition is essential. Many newer parks offer wireless Internet access and cable television. While this may not be considered "roughing it" many boomers are more upscale and need to check their email. Another good thing to have is access to food. Many RV parks now offer food delivery services or full-service restaurants. Many RVers get tired of cooking and would love an easy meal. Accommodating this need can go a long way for you as an owner. Some RV parks even have health clubs and spas. While this isn't essential, it is definitely a nice amenity.

If you have all of these amenities, they will do you no good unless you maintain them. Keeping the RV Park clean is critical to the success of the business. This is one of the biggest things that RVers like to tell others about. You must also have a friendly and helpful staff at all times. RVers love to start conversations off with how dirty a park was or how unhelpful the staff was. Make sure they aren't talking about your park.

While many areas can support an RV park, other areas just aren't good locations. Make sure that your investment is in a good area for RV travel. You don't want to be too far off the beaten path. Being in an area that is well known for camping and RV's is a good idea also. Being close to a river, lake, or some other natural beauty is important.

Another important factor to consider when looking at commercial real estate for a good RV park investment is access. You need easy access into and out of your park. Many of today's RV's are bigger than a tour bus. A lot of drivers don't like to have to back them into spaces or make difficult driving maneuvers. Therefore, it is important that you have many pull-through campsites. Sometimes RV drivers will eliminate an RV park simply for this reason.

RV parks are a great niche to consider when choosing your commercial real estate investment. Now is a great time to get into the RV park business. Over the past several years, the RV park industry has been picking up steam. Boomers grew up in RV's with their parents. Many of them are catching on to the trend and investing in an RV themselves. This alone shows that investing in an RV park is a smart move in many cases.

The main thing to ask yourself when considering a commercial real estate investment in the RV park business is if it is the right thing for you. The attitude and skill set that you have plays a big part in your success as an owner. One RV park owner said, "The most important thing is to have the proper attitude, being people friendly and imparting that to your help. People are always talking to each other at the parks. The word of mouth business is really strong. When you have a reputation it really travels."

If you don't think that you fit the description of this type of person, it might not be a good investment for you to get into. The last thing you want is to get in over your head. However, if you are a "people person" there is a lot of money to be made. Dedicate yourself to making every customer's experience a great time and you will do very well. If you get the word out about your RV Park, RVers will come from hundreds of miles away just to experience your park. They will come in waves and they won't stop coming unless you anger them.

Overall, it is a great time to consider choosing an RV park when evaluating your commercial real estate investment choices. The growth potential is unlimited for the right people. Starting your own, or purchasing an existing RV park are both great ideas at this point. Be sure to keep it friendly, clean, and upbeat. If you do, there is no limit to the money that can be made.

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