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Old 02-16-2009, 09:41 PM
 
38 posts, read 138,936 times
Reputation: 21

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Debi18,If you don't do a campground thing, you can always do a overnight barn/horsetrailer hook up. I read where some people retired from breeding their Quarterhorses but still wanted something to do something horsey.They opened up their barn to people exhibiting at Quarterhorse Congress in Columbus,Ohio and allowed them to park their rigs on their farm. They live 40 miles from there,but their atmosphere makes it worth the drive.The rest of the year, people traveling cross country with their horses also stay overnight.
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Old 02-28-2009, 12:32 AM
 
7 posts, read 54,054 times
Reputation: 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by momojojo View Post
What are the pros/cons to buying a campground? Are they difficult to manage? Do you typically go through a real estate agent to find them?
I thought it would be kind of a cool retirement job. Any thoughts/input?
Pros
Your the boss
Seasonal rush means lots of downtime...you'll need it
You make allot of friends
Living where you work is a plus
You get to buy extras...for the business of course
Amenities are there for you to use too
Opens up other business opportunities
First class treatment at events held at your facility
Most campgrounds are near attractions, they must have attracted you too
Most are in wilderness areas which make quiet relaxing places when not busy

Cons
Your the boss
If it can break, it will....during peak season
Some people you will not make friends with
Problem Customers will keep you up at night, it's a tight rope walk
More stuff will break
County/city taxes, occupancy and sales tax
Security, 24 hour job
Vandalism, or just the fear of it, another thing keeping you up
Collection from not so honest people
drunks
drama queens
pot smokin hippies
earthy types that don't fear nudity, it's usually not a pretty site
Old know-it-alls that tell you how it use to be before you were here
Insurance


I could go on for awhile, but that's a good short list

Difficulty to Manage
Allot of factors go into this. A copy of the campground's books, as far back as you can get, is the first thing you need to see. This will give you an idea of the budget you have to work with. In turn, you'll get an idea of how many employees the owner was using and how many you can afford to keep. Profit margin is a great factor in how hard it will be to manage. If it's making money, you want have to make as many changes up front. You can evaluate the success through operation. Trying to change every thing the first year will leave you broke and tired. It works best when you can slide into a profitable business and learn the ropes during the first year. You might struggle a bit, but you'll learn what is and what is not working. It can be as hard as you make it when it comes to management, it's all about what your getting when you buy it and what you want it to be.

After a system is established, the flow of the job is fairly simple. You can work from daylight to dark, or you can hire enough help to get you through your peak season. You just have to learn what works best for you and your wallet.

Quote:
Do you typically go through a real estate agent to find them?
A campground is an odd animal in the real estate market. It's hard to put a brass tacks price on any one campground. Finding them on the internet is a great option, but eventually you'll have to deal with a real estate agent. In the arena of campground sales, your better off going with the listing agent of actual property your buying. In some states this is not an option, but some states allow such dual agency contracts. Campgrounds aren't usually cheap and take awhile to sell in most cases. This makes for motivated agents and sellers. Never pay the asking price, if you can't get it for less than the asking price it's probably not the right property or the right time to buy it.


Quote:
I thought it would be kind of a cool retirement job. Any thoughts/input?
It's cool, but allot of work too.

Just some background on me.
I grew up on a family owned campground located on a private lake. I've been doing this as long as I can remember. 3 years ago my Wife and I purchased a campground. We live on the campground now and operate a mostly seasonal campground in the southeast. If you have further questions I would be willing to take a call if needed. Good luck on your future purchase.
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Old 03-04-2009, 03:01 PM
 
Location: Heart of the San Joaquin
350 posts, read 987,423 times
Reputation: 321
Quote:
Originally Posted by 10point View Post
Pros
Your the boss
Seasonal rush means lots of downtime...you'll need it
You make allot of friends
Living where you work is a plus
You get to buy extras...for the business of course
Amenities are there for you to use too
Opens up other business opportunities
First class treatment at events held at your facility
Most campgrounds are near attractions, they must have attracted you too
Most are in wilderness areas which make quiet relaxing places when not busy

Cons
Your the boss
If it can break, it will....during peak season
Some people you will not make friends with
Problem Customers will keep you up at night, it's a tight rope walk
More stuff will break
County/city taxes, occupancy and sales tax
Security, 24 hour job
Vandalism, or just the fear of it, another thing keeping you up
Collection from not so honest people
drunks
drama queens
pot smokin hippies
earthy types that don't fear nudity, it's usually not a pretty site
Old know-it-alls that tell you how it use to be before you were here
Insurance


I could go on for awhile, but that's a good short list

Difficulty to Manage
Allot of factors go into this. A copy of the campground's books, as far back as you can get, is the first thing you need to see. This will give you an idea of the budget you have to work with. In turn, you'll get an idea of how many employees the owner was using and how many you can afford to keep. Profit margin is a great factor in how hard it will be to manage. If it's making money, you want have to make as many changes up front. You can evaluate the success through operation. Trying to change every thing the first year will leave you broke and tired. It works best when you can slide into a profitable business and learn the ropes during the first year. You might struggle a bit, but you'll learn what is and what is not working. It can be as hard as you make it when it comes to management, it's all about what your getting when you buy it and what you want it to be.

After a system is established, the flow of the job is fairly simple. You can work from daylight to dark, or you can hire enough help to get you through your peak season. You just have to learn what works best for you and your wallet.

A campground is an odd animal in the real estate market. It's hard to put a brass tacks price on any one campground. Finding them on the internet is a great option, but eventually you'll have to deal with a real estate agent. In the arena of campground sales, your better off going with the listing agent of actual property your buying. In some states this is not an option, but some states allow such dual agency contracts. Campgrounds aren't usually cheap and take awhile to sell in most cases. This makes for motivated agents and sellers. Never pay the asking price, if you can't get it for less than the asking price it's probably not the right property or the right time to buy it.


It's cool, but allot of work too.

Just some background on me.
I grew up on a family owned campground located on a private lake. I've been doing this as long as I can remember. 3 years ago my Wife and I purchased a campground. We live on the campground now and operate a mostly seasonal campground in the southeast. If you have further questions I would be willing to take a call if needed. Good luck on your future purchase.
Wow thanks! That's a lot of good information. I just may take you up on talking to you as we get more into the planning stages. I know its not all going to be a cake walk, but if you've been doing it for this long you must enjoy it. I know they're will be good with the bad. Thanks again.
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Old 03-04-2009, 05:06 PM
 
Location: South Dakota
733 posts, read 4,054,541 times
Reputation: 708
I've handled a couple campground sales and have good, close friends who've been in the business. It is A LOT of work. And if you're in the part of the country that has winter, it's very seasonal. When freeze-up hits the outdoor renovation/repair work stops. So you're running like mad as soon as spring arrives to beat the rush, then handling visitor problems, then running like mad to fix stuff before freeze up. All the while hoping to have made enough money to make it through the winter! If I sound negative, that's been the experience of my friends and clients. Add to it the proliferation of big box stores [OK, WalMart] inviting "motor-homers" to "camp" for free in the parking lot, location which is always vital is now an absolute essential.

Good Luck!
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