If you’re passionate about the outdoors and want to work in an industry that’s steadily growing in popularity, starting your own camping business might be the perfect career choice for you. But how do you go about making this dream into a reality? And what kind of camping business would be the most profitable and enjoyable to run? In this article, I’ll walk you through the process of starting a camping business step by step, providing insight into key factors that will help your business grow and succeed.
Step 1: Pick an Industry
When you’re starting your own business, one of your most important considerations is finding an industry with demand. Ideally, you want something that has large numbers of people who are spending money on it. The camping industry is definitely one of these—according to Statista, there were over 50 million U.S. camper households in 2014 and many households went multiple times that year; that’s a lot of money being spent. In addition, some of those households likely had more than one person in them. So if you can find a way to capture even 1% of their income (about $500 per household), that’s significant growth potential for your business. And as far as industries go, campgrounds aren’t going anywhere anytime soon: we love our nature and adventure. As long as we do, we’ll need places to stay close by so we can enjoy it!
The first step to starting any business is choosing what type of company you want to be. There are three basic types: a sole proprietorship, a partnership or limited liability company (LLC) and a corporation.
Step 2: Narrow Down Location
One of the first things you will want to do when looking for your site is figure out where you want your campground. If you are new at starting a business, it may be wise to begin small by just getting started with a campsite and some tents or small cabins on your property. If, however, you are more experienced and looking for larger returns, it may be better for you to start with several acres.
Step 3: Get Your Supplies
If you’re starting from scratch, there are plenty of basics you can purchase at a discount retailer. Here’s your camping must-have list: Tent: A two-person tent should cost $100 or less, but it should have all of the features you need. Look for tents that have lots of ventilation, so you stay cool and dry inside.
Step 4: Decide on Perks
The First Thing to Do Before Pitching Investors. Decide on perks before pitching investors so you can tailor your pitch accordingly. Is there anything you want that’s not essential? You might be able to raise money without it, but if it’s something you really need in order for your business plan and model to work, you should include it anyway—the more generous investors will look upon it favorably. You never know what they might toss in with their investment!
Step 5: Choose a Pricing Model
Decide how you want to price your services. Do you want it to be free? Do you want people to pay a set fee? Perhaps you’d like people to contribute an amount based on what they can afford. The list of pricing models goes on, but these are some of the most common ones. However, remember that no model is inherently better than another—it all depends on your unique situation and goals!
Step 6: Set Up Shop
Establish yourself in your industry. Before you can start any business, you need a place to run it from. It may sound daunting, but setting up shop is simple if you know what’s involved and how much it will cost. Consider renting out an office space for two or three months while your search for permanent real estate; with enough diligence, you should find something that suits your needs before six months pass.
Step 7: Hire Employees
If you want to start your business and need help, then you’ll want to hire employees. You’ll have more time to focus on growing your business and less stress from doing everything yourself. Remember, hiring employees is expensive in some states! Make sure you look into how much it costs for labor. You may be better off hiring contractors instead of full-time employees.
Step 8. Promote and Market
Whether you’re selling products, services or promoting an event, you have to get your message out. One way is through media outreach. Pick up one of your local newspapers and look at what local businesses are doing in their advertisements—you can do that with social media posts, too. You could also reach out to radio stations and even try pitching some stories about your business or industry.
Step 9. Encourage Repeat Business
The best business practice for any company is for customers to return often. In fact, some businesses actually offer discounts or incentives for repeat customers. To keep your customers coming back, give them something special each time they visit—from loyalty cards that entitle them to free treats after purchasing five coffees from you, to special offers that can only be claimed by first-time visitors.
Step 10. Keep Up Maintenance
Once you have all of your systems up and running, consider paying for some maintenance or staffing for your business. It will cost you more than doing it yourself, but if it saves you time and energy, then it might be worth it. Your employees will also be in good hands if something does go wrong with your equipment.