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How to Buy a Campsite

Buying a campsite in Canada sounds like the dream - but what should you be looking out for when looking to purchase one?

There’s nothing quite like the great outdoors, especially in Canada.

From the lake-filled Banff National Park to the snow-capped Rocky Mountains, the country is a camper’s haven of beauty and wonder.

Buying a campsite guarantees you reliable trade of wanderlust junkies keen to explore the Great White Norths’s varied landscapes and national parks.

However, there are many factors to consider when choosing which campground would be the right investment for your business plans.

Agreements

Before you purchase a campsite, you should find out about the land for sale.

If there are semi-permeant lodges on the grounds, such as static caravans or log cabins, these plots may be rented out.

If this is the case, you should find out what the legal arrangements are:

  • How long is the rental agreement?
  • What is the rate?
  • Can you evict problematic tenants?
  • What are the liabilities and commitments involved?

Find out whether these chalet owners have their own bathroom facilities or whether they’ll be using yours.

Having a few different revenue streams for your campsite will create a more stable business, so keeping these rental agreements in place can work in your favour and provide a steady, reliable income.

Reviews

No matter how great the facilities are or how scenic the location is, reviews can make or break a campsite business.

We live in an age where travellers research their holiday lettings thoroughly before booking a trip and negative reviews on service or cleanliness can be detrimental to any campsite business.

Check what kind of reputation a business has on the different reviewing websites before making an offer on the business opportunity.

Camping Select, Camping-Canada, RV Park Reviews and Trip Advisor are all directories dedicated to offering customer-base reviews on campgrounds across the country.

Camping Select is the national rating program for more than 300 campsites in Canada, and awards stars based on a number of categories; facilities, services, quality, amenities and recreational activities.

You can still be a one-star campsite with great reviews, just as you can be a five-star business with terrible ratings.

If you are a basic, clean yet comfortable site without the bells and whistles, then the grounds will be somewhat easier to maintain; there is a lot of work that goes into gaining and upholding a five-star campsite which you should be aware of from the start.

Facilities

You should undertake a thorough inspection on the condition of the equipment and facilities included in the sale of the business.

If the campground comes with additional equipment such as tepees, bell tents or yurts for luxury camping purposes, then you should check what condition these are in; is there mould or tears in the fabric and will they need replacing?

Similar checks should be made on all other campsite facilities, from the rest rooms to swimming pools.

If you need to invest a lot of money on improving and renovating buildings and amenities, make sure you calculate and factor in these costs before you make an offer on the business.

If you are buying a campsite with a pool, you should be fully aware of all the work and commitment involved in maintaining, cleaning and safeguarding it.

You should also check the electricity and water supplies to the campgrounds, as well as the drainage, sewerage and emergency access areas.

There is a lot of work involved in maintaining a campsite, and ensuring these hook-ups are all running efficiently and correctly will prevent you from encountering any unexpected, nasty surprises further down the line.

Land

The main aspects to consider when purchasing a campsite is the location and its accessibility.

If you are near an area of outstanding natural beauty or near a tourist attraction, then you can expect to pay more for the business.

If the campground is in a very remote location, you should be aware of the road conditions and accessibility factor; remember, the track leading up to your campsite is your lifeline.

Research who owns the road leading up to the campsite and understand the conditions in place for your guests to have continual road access.

It is important to consider whether the track is easily drivable in all weather conditions that could occur during busy tourist seasons.

If you have future development plans in mind for your campsite business, you should make sure the land and the surrounding areas will allow you to grow the business.

There could be a number of factors that could prevent you from expanding or making developments on the site. For example, if the land is on a flood plain or the grounds could be neighbouring an area of national conservation.

It is worth contacting the local council and applying for a pre-planning application to ensure there is scope for future development opportunities if this is fundamental to your business plans.

Also be worth researching whether planning has been refused in the past or look for a business that already has planning consent for development; you may be paying more but it will guarantee and speed up the process.



Krystena Griffin

About the author

Krystena Griffin writes for all titles in the Dynamis stable including BusinessesForSale.com, FranchiseSales.com and PropertySales.com as well as other industry publications.

@Be_TheBoss

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