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Old 11-14-2005, 05:49 PM   #29
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Kinda makes the case for boondocking, huh?

Frederic
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Old 11-14-2005, 05:55 PM   #30
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I'm afraid we're going to be seeing a lot of jumps in prices at private campgrounds over the next few years, or worse yet, some of today's better campgrounds being sold and the land used for other purposes.

As several of you have noted, land prices have skyrocketed in many localities during the past several in particular. If and when campgrounds in those places are sold, the new owners won't be able to offer camping at "bargain" $30 - $50 per night prices.

What I'd like to see, however, is for campgrounds that have swimming pools (which I like to avoid if possible) to have a separate, higher, daily price for use of the pool.

John
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Old 11-14-2005, 06:01 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by redeagle313
We just started looking for places to camp in the Florida Keys in February. Looks like $80 a night is the minimum for full hook ups.
I think the only way you can camp down there long term is if you are X-milltary
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Old 11-14-2005, 07:37 PM   #32
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Have you ever thought of buying a campground membership? I have a membership to Outdoor World, they have 14 campgrounds on the east coast and 1 in Illinois. After you buy the initial membership you just pay the yearly dues, which are around $450. Used memberships can be found for as little as $2,000. The membership is good for 3 generations of family to use.
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Old 11-14-2005, 08:59 PM   #33
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You know, I've been RVing for nearly 30 years. In that time, I've seen prices go up dramatically and also have seen many privately owned campgrounds disapper.

Also some of the state forest campground that were once free, now cost $10 a night, but I feel that seems like a fair price for some of the boondocking we do for the quality of the place we've found and return to when possible.

I look at it a few ways....first, I agree some of the per night prices are fairly steep. However on the other hand, costs haven't gone down for these folks and most places (not all) can only make their money for half the year.

It's a tough call and thank goodness for choices still avail....if one is too expensive, most likely there is still a competitor that will compete for the business. We've seen some expensive dumps and some expensive Plaza Hotel type campgrounds....in the end were happier in the woods, fully self contained and campsites that are 200x200 in size or larger, wooded and in the middle of nowhere.
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Old 11-14-2005, 10:32 PM   #34
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Campgrounds are not cheap to operate

During a forced career switch about 11 years ago, my former boss and I looked seriously about purchasing a campground. We looked at a lot of KOA campgrounds since KOA has a real estate arm which helps market existing campgrounds.

They method of determining income is to measure camper nights. You define this as one site rented for one night. It seemed like the majority of seasonal campgrounds we looked at varied between 6,000-10,000 camper nights.

One of the common themes we heard from many owners is that you live like paupers, but retire as kings. The meaning is that between operating expenses, insurance, and paying the mortgage, there is minimal income available. Now when you sell the value of the property gives you that big income rush.

Bottom line even with my boss' and my investment, and payment on the loan, it looked as if our net income would have come out in the low 20's. KOA also takes a monthly % of each campsite rental. I think it was about 15% or so. The liability insurance and mortgage take a large amount of the income. Tie into that issue of sewer systems and EPA rules and you have serious expenses.

I spoke to a KOA owner at Lake of the Ozarks Mo. He was a former computer person, loved camping and dreamed of slowing down. He bought this 150 site campground which included a home on the site. To make things work, he rented the home and he and his wife lived above the KOA office in the A frame apartment. His daughter who was a college student lived in his 5th wheel which was stored on a site.

He and his wife told me about their lack of checking out the site (they bought in the winter). The pool leaked, the roof was rotted. They thought they understood how much acreage but found that the previous owner sold some of the property that abutted the highway and gave views of the campground.

He told me stories about kids using the pool as a toilet, vandalism again from kids in the bathroom. The campground was too big for he and his wife to operate comfortably but too small to afford hiring help. To make ends meet he taught classes at the local community college in the winter.

He put the place up for sale a few years later only to find he was unable to sell it. What finally saved him was the trend for campground hosts. This allowed him to get his help by trading campsites and a small amount of pay. Things are better for him today, but the entire situation was an eye opener for my boss and I. We deep sixed our pipe dreams and both decided to continue careers in the employed world.

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Old 11-15-2005, 04:57 AM   #35
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I hear ya jcanavera! A few years back we looked at a few campgrounds to buy. We love camping! First, the realization of what potential income here in the North East is with the limited season, tax burden and then upkeep it seemed more like a hobby income. Then we thought, when the heck would we camp??? There are allot of places you can camp for reasonable rates, you just have to be frugal....
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Old 11-15-2005, 05:04 AM   #36
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Must be a dream of all campers to own their own campground...so they can do it right We have some acreage that we looked into the possiblity of developing into a campground. Up front costs were going to exceed 1 million dollars, that was mainly for infastructure. The day and age of burying some cable, putting in some gravel pads and throwing down some sewer pipe to a big septic tank are over. The other big killer would have been liability insurance If you will notice most of the KOA's and other campgrounds are for the most part older properties. Very seldom do you see a brand new campground and if you do it is going to be in a resort area where they can recoup their investment.

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Old 11-15-2005, 09:40 AM   #37
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Campgrounds that have year round income usually sell for 7 figures. Figure what the cost for the mortgage is for these.

This is why I really don't complain about campground rates...especially on the KOA side or at places that have a short season. You can get rich on the value of the land, but I've met very few affluent campground owners. And those that are got into this business back in the 60's, and in most cases plowed their earnings right back into the campground.

Down in Branson Mo. Compton Ridge campground is a good example of a guy who developed the campground when few others were in the area. He plowed the money he made back into the campground and added improvements each year to bring people back. His grandkids are helping run the place today. I don't begrudge him for what he charges because the place is worth it.

Jack
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