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How to Start an RV Park Business: A Step-by-Step Guide

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Free RV Park Business Plan Template

March 20, 2024

12 Min Read

how to start an rv park
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Writing a business plan?

Have you ever dreamed of owning a recreational business that allows people to relax and enjoy the great outdoors?

If so, starting a recreational vehicle park could turn that dream into a reality while also being financially rewarding.

As RVing and camping continue to gain popularity across demographics, more people are purchasing RVs to travel and vacation in comfort. This growing trend has led to an increasing demand for RV parks and campgrounds to accommodate these recreational travelers.

In this post, we will walk you through the essential steps of starting an RV park business from the ground up. The aim is to equip you with the necessary knowledge and best practices to help you launch a successful RV park business.

Let’s get started!

RV Park Industry Outlook

As we have discussed in the introduction, more people are investing in recreational vehicles and hitting the open road. And that trend continues to grow.

As a result of the trend, the RV ownership has increased by over 62% in the last 20 years, with a record 11.2 million RV-owning households now in the USA. Perhaps most eye-opening – nearly 10 million households plan to buy an RV within five years!

As more households own RVs over the short- and long-haul, the need for places to park and camp should continue increasing. So, there’s no better time to capitalize on this high-growth travel trend.

Today, the United States alone has about 53,722 RV parks and campgrounds. And most RV parks have an average occupancy rate of 50%.

Also, the RV park industry is generating over $5 billion in revenue annually and continuing to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 4.59% by 2027.

Now that you know the demand for mobile home parks, let’s go over the simple steps for starting one.

1. Do your market research

Doing your homework is critical before endeavoring to open an RV park. Proper research allows you to make smart, data-driven decisions rather than guesses.

First, analyze local RV and campground ownership trends. How many are registered in your state and area? How many more RV parks are coming in the near future? Learn what draws RV travelers to your region through major nearby attractions.

Also, study competitors. What RV parks already operate around you? Assess their locations, amenities, site types, pricing, and occupancy rates. This helps you spot open niches to fill based on customer needs.

Speaking of needs, go straight to the source – survey RV owners! What amenities and facilities do they prioritize most when picking a place to stay? Their answers will prove invaluable for conceiving your offerings.

Additionally, research the financials – construction costs, financing options, operating budgets, and profit margins. This allows you to model detailed projections unique to succeeding with a park in your area.

Finally, investigate local zoning laws, building codes, and licensing requirements, it will benefit you when starting out.

In short – dedicating ample time to understand your prospective RV park market empowers smart planning.

2. Write a business plan

So you’ve done your homework and researched the RV park industry inside and out. Now, you have a solid grasp of the market, your competition, and your target audience.

Now it’s time to take all that valuable information and channel it into the most crucial step of all—writing a winning business plan.

Think of your RV business plan as your trusty roadmap for success. It’s where you’ll lay out your grand vision, define your target market, crunch those financial numbers, and strategize how you’ll make your RV site stand out from the rest.

Essentially, it’s the blueprint that’ll guide you through every aspect of your exciting new venture.

Here’s what you’ll want to include:

  • Executive summary
  • Company description
  • Services and amenities
  • RV Park Industry Analysis
  • SWOT analysis
  • Marketing and sales strategies
  • Management team
  • Financial plan

With a well-prepared RV park business plan, you’ll be ready to embark on your RV park journey with confidence.

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3. Select a business location

Selecting the optimal location is crucial when starting an RV park. You’ll want to find a spot that offers natural scenery, accessibility, and good potential for RV camping. Here are key factors to consider:

Natural Beauty

RV travelers seek beautiful outdoor settings and opportunities to explore nature. Consider proximity to national and state parks, scenic landmarks, and hiking trails. Easy access to these amenities will attract visitors to your park.


While RV parks should have a secluded feel, they need to be easily accessible from major roads and highways. Ensure your entrance is visible, identifiable, and convenient for customers to locate.

Local Area Demand

Research recreation and camping demand in your target market. High demand signals opportunity, while oversaturation indicates you may want to look elsewhere. Low competition can also be advantageous.

Weather and Climate

Destinations with good weather and mild climates allow more time for outdoor activities. This makes them generally more appealing to campers. Evaluate seasonal temperature variations and weather patterns.


As with any business venture, your available budget will impact location decisions. Prioritize “must-have” amenities and natural features when assessing options relative to your budget and financing.

With careful research into these factors, you can select the ideal RV park location to meet your business goals. The right spot will help attract and delight campers.

4. Designing your RV park

Thoughtfully designing your RV park is vital for delivering accessibility, safety, and an exceptional guest experience.

Start by planning roadways wide enough to smoothly guide even the largest RVs to their site without difficulty. Provide spacious sites equipped with reliable utility hook-ups – clean water, sewer, ample electricity, and more – to meet all camping needs. Allow ample space between sites to accommodate slide-outs and privacy.

Incorporate popular amenities like a sparkling swimming pool, sports courts, convenience store, laundry facilities, and open green spaces for games and activities. Well-lit bathrooms featuring private showers and a dump station are also essential inclusions.

Additionally, ensure electrical, plumbing, and other infrastructure not only meets but exceeds local codes to satisfy demand. Strategically place beautiful landscaping, play areas, and walking trails. Offer everything on a camper’s wish list to create a true home away from home.

By thoughtfully addressing critical guest needs, you’ll create an accessible, comfortable, and convenient RV park.

5. Register business and open bank accounts

Documentation is essential if you wish to own an RV park. Start by registering your business and obtaining the necessary licenses, permits, and employer identification numbers.

Registration and Business Structure

File paperwork to formally register your RV park business as either a corporation, LLC, partnership or sole proprietorship based on your chosen structure. This establishes your business entity and allows you to open business bank accounts and apply for licenses and permits.

Licenses and Permits

Check state and local regulations to determine which business licenses and permits you’ll need to legally operate your RV park. Common requirements include:

  • Special recreation permit to use public lands
  • Zoning permit verifying RV park is an approved land use
  • Environmental permits related to land usage
  • Health inspection permit
  • Music/entertainment permit if offering activities

Be prepared to comply with inspections and renewal requirements for licenses/permits over time. Getting to know local zoning and permitting personnel can be helpful.

Employer Identification Number

Apply for a federal EIN to identify your business for tax and reporting purposes. This number will be used when opening business bank accounts.

Insurance Coverage

Work with an insurance agent to obtain appropriate policies protecting your RV park business based on size, amenities, payroll, and state/local requirements.


Finally, open dedicated business accounts, credit cards, and merchant services. Business banking products will help track cash flow and financial performance.

6. Funding your RV park business

Lining up enough cash to get your RV park off the ground is a crucial first step. There are various financing options out there, so take the time to evaluate which one(s) best fits your needs and vision.

If you have hard-earned savings, it can be an excellent way to get started. Just carefully weigh the risks of going all-in with your own money. Bank loans are an option too, especially ones backed by the government’s small business loan programs.

In recent years, crowdfunding has emerged as a creative way for entrepreneurs to raise funds by pitching their business ideas to the public.

Partnering with commercial lenders or private investors is another route to secure funding. They’ll supply the capital you need in exchange for an equity stake or percentage of future profits. Just know you may have to relinquish some ownership and decision-making control.

Don’t forget to open a business credit card too. This helps cover costs while building a credit history. Many offer rewards or cash-back perks.

No matter which way you go, having thorough, numbers-backed financial projections are non-negotiable.

7. Purchase RV park amenities

When planning your RV park, amenities are a key investment. It helps you to attract guests and ensure they have a memorable experience. Family-friendly facilities and fun activities will make your park a destination campers return to year after year.

A swimming pool is a must-have during warm weather months. Guests of all ages can beat the heat and spend quality time splashing around.

A recreation building with games like ping-pong, pool tables, and arcade machines entertains kids and adults alike. This communal space encourages guests to mingle and enjoy some friendly competition.

While RVing promotes an unplugged atmosphere, having reliable WiFi access meets modern connectivity needs. Campers will appreciate being able to share vacation photos, check emails, and stream entertainment as needed.

Restrooms, showers, laundry facilities, and long-lasting outdoor furniture are all essential amenities.

Get creative too! Add walking trails, playgrounds, sports courts – whatever fits your target campers’ interests. The more boxes you can check off their wish lists, the happier they’ll be!

Amenities enhance the entire camping experience. With the right perks and facilities, your RV park provides guests with a home-away-from-home vibe they’ll want to return to again and again.

8. Get the necessary equipment

In addition to developing great amenities, having the proper equipment ensures smooth park operations and a pleasant guest experience. Key equipment needs include:

  • Trucks and trailers
  • Utilities and hookups
  • Water pumps and storage tanks
  • Dumpsters and waste disposal bins
  • Picnic tables, grills, and fire rings
  • Restroom and shower facilities equipment
  • Washing machines
  • Recreational equipment
  • Computers, printers, and other office supplies
  • Payment processing system
  • Security cameras

Don’t overlook supplies for your staff either; ensure they have storage areas, golf carts for patrolling, and devices for managing reservations and payments. Having proper equipment streamlines daily operations.

9. Marketing your RV park

Marketing is crucial for attracting customers and promoting your RV park’s brand. An ongoing marketing strategy will help drive awareness and bookings.

Website and Online Presence

In today’s digital age, having a professional website is essential. Your website should include appealing photos of your park, a list of amenities/rates, and an online booking platform. Highlight special offers and promotions. Allow space for customer reviews to build social proof.

Pair your website with an active social media presence on platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Consistently share updates, photos, tips for guests, and special deals. Respond to comments and messages.

Advertising Channels

Utilize a mix of advertising tactics like online advertising, email marketing to build a subscriber list, partnerships with affiliates or travel blogs, and local media outreach. Constantly experiment with new channels to reach prospective guests.

Promotions and Packages

Create enticing promotions and packaged deals to attract campers, such as discounted stays, activity bundles, or seasonal specials. These instill value and give guests a reason to book.

Marketing is ongoing, but establishing a cohesive brand presence and multi-channel approach will raise awareness of your RV park.

So these are all the necessary steps involved in starting a successful RV park business. But is it worth investing in?

Let’s find out.

Reasons to Invest in an RV Park

RV travel and camping are having serious momentum, and the trends suggest investing in an RV park could be a very wise move. Here are some of the biggest reasons:

Stable, Recurring Revenue

Unlike more volatile investments, RV parks generate extremely consistent income streams from site rentals, fees, amenity charges and more. You’re not at the mercy of market whims with this resilient business model.

Low Operating Costs

With minimal permanent structures and simple landscaping needs, RV parks have remarkably low overhead and maintenance costs compared to other real estate investments. Those savings go straight to your bottom line.

Build a Real Community

RV parks are about much more than just renting sites. You get to craft a vibrant community hub that facilitates bonding over shared experiences. Watching that warm culture blossom is immensely gratifying.

Value-Add Opportunities

There are endless ways to increase your RV park’s value over time through amenity expansions, enhanced marketing like premium website builders, added revenue streams and more. The ceiling for growth is high.

Strong Demand

The rising popularity of RV travel shows no signs of slowing. With supply relatively fixed, investor demand for quality RV parks continues gaining momentum as a proven money-maker.

With the ability to generate very healthy profits while enjoying a fun, flexible lifestyle, RV park ownership is an increasingly attractive investment for entrepreneurs.


Now you might be pretty much clear about how to start an RV Park business.

To own an RV park, it’s essential to have a deep understanding of the RV community’s needs, and a solid business plan. You also need a clear grasp of the legal requirements, zoning regulations, and financial aspects involved.

You’ve got everything now! What are you waiting for? Start your journey as an RV park owner-operator.

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About the Author


Shyam Dua

Shyam Dua is a seasoned tax professional with 40+ years of experience & a mentor at SCORE. He stands out due to his exceptional business planning skills. With a keen eye for detail and a strong financial acumen, Shyam crafts compelling business plans that pave the way to success. A CPA with a philanthropic heart, Shyam's strategic expertise, and dedication make him an invaluable asset in shaping thriving business ventures. Read more


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