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How to Start an RV Park: Cost, Location & Profit Potential

Written by:

Carolyn Young is a business writer who focuses on entrepreneurial concepts and the business formation. She has over 25 years of experience in business roles, and has authored several entrepreneurship textbooks.

Edited by:

David has been writing and learning about business, finance and globalization for a quarter-century, starting with a small New York consulting firm in the 1990s.

How to Start an RV Park: Cost, Location & Profit Potential

Fast Facts

Investment range

$705,800 - $1,212,300

Revenue potential

$400,000 - $500,000 p.a.

Time to build

6 – 12 months

Profit potential

$160,000 - $200,000 p.a.

Industry trend




Recreational vehicles are a popular means of travel in the U.S. and are a less expensive option than vacationing in hotels. In fact, more the 11 million households in the U.S. own an RV, and people rent RVs as well, making the campground and RV park worth nearly $9 billion. 

If you have a love of RVing, you could start your own RV park and get in on that industry.

But first, you’ll need some business know-how. Luckily, this step-by-step guide details all the business insights you need to start a successful RV park.

Step 1: Decide if the Business Is Right for You

Pros and cons


  • Work in the great outdoors
  • Give people a comfortable place to rest and have fun
  • Market is rebounding after the pandemic


  • Requires a large investment
  • Have to find suitable land

RV park industry trends

Industry size and growth

RV Park industry size and growth
  • Industry size and past growth – The U.S. campgrounds and RV park industry is worth $8.7 billion in 2023 after growing .1% annually for the last five years.((https://www.ibisworld.com/united-states/market-research-reports/campgrounds-rv-parks-industry/))
  • Growth forecast – The U.S. campgrounds and RV parks industry is projected to grow 8.2% in 2023.
  • Number of businesses – In 2023, 16,313 campground and RV park businesses are operating in the U.S. 
  • Number of people employed – In 2023, the U.S. campgrounds and RV parks industry employs 66,036 people.

Trends and challenges

RV Park Trends and Challenges


  • Many RV parks have become communities with many amenities and activities.
  • RV parks are getting so busy that people have to book them far in advance.


  • Current fuel prices are keeping some RVers from going on the road.
  • Many current RV parks are expanding and adding amenities, making it difficult for smaller RV parks to compete.

Demand hotspots

RV Park demand hotspots
  • Most popular states – The most popular states for campground managers are California, Texas, and Florida.((https://www.zippia.com/campground-manager-jobs/))
  • Least popular states – The least popular states for campground managers are Wyoming, Vermont, and North Dakota.

What kind of people work in RV parks?

RV Park industry demographics
  • Gender –  39% of campground managers are female, while 61% are male.((https://www.zippia.com/campground-manager-jobs/demographics/))
  • Average level of education – The average campground manager has a bachelor’s degree.
  • Average age The average campground manager in the US is 44.5 years old.

How much does it cost to start an RV park business?

Startup costs for an RV park range from $700,000 to well over $1 million. The largest cost is the preparation of the campsites with hookups, gravel roads, and RV pads. These costs also assume that you’ll add amenities such as a pool.

Start-up CostsBallpark RangeAverage
Setting up a business name and corporation$100 - $500$300
Business licenses and permits$100 - $300$200
Website$500 - $1,000$750
Land$20,000 - $50,000$35,000
Preparation of 30 - 50 campsites$600,000 - $1,000,000$800,000
Office facility construction$50,000 - $100,000$75,000
Amenities construction such as a pool$30,000 - $50,000$40,000
Sales and marketing budget$5,000 - $10,000$7,500
Total$705,800 - $1,212,300$959,050

How much can you earn from an RV park business?

RV Park earning forecast

You can likely charge around $50 per night for each site. These calculations will assume that you’ll have 50 sites. Your profit margin should be around 40%. 

In your first year or two, you might have an average of 40 sites rented for 200 nights per year, bringing in $400,000 in revenue. This would mean $160,000 in profit, assuming that 50% margin. 

As you gain traction, you might have 40 sites rented 250 nights a year. With annual revenue of $500,000, you’d make a tidy profit of $200,000.

What barriers to entry are there?

There are a few barriers to entry for an RV park. Your biggest challenges will be:

  • Funding the startup costs
  • Finding suitable land

Related Business Ideas

If you’re still not sure whether this business idea is the right choice for you, here are some related business opportunities to help you on your path to entrepreneurial success.
How to Start an RV Park: Cost, Location & Profit Potential

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Step 2: Hone Your Idea

develop a business idea

Now that you know what’s involved in starting an RV park, it’s a good idea to hone your concept in preparation to enter a competitive market. 

Market research could give you the upper hand even if you’ve got the perfect product. Conducting robust market research is crucial, as it will help you better understand your customers, your competitors, and the broader business landscape.

Analyze your competitors 

Research RV parks in your area to examine their services, price points, and customer reviews.

  • Make a list of RV parks that offer similar services. 
  • Review your competitors’ services– their features, pricing, and quality – and marketing strategies
  • Check out their online reviews and ratings on Google, Yelp, and Facebook to get an idea of what their customers like and dislike.
  • Identify your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses. 

This should identify areas where you can strengthen your business and gain a competitive edge to make better business decisions.

Why? Identify an opportunity

You’re looking for a market gap to fill. For instance, maybe the local market is missing an RV park with an indoor pool or one that has an arcade.

You might consider targeting a niche, such as a family style RV park.

This could jumpstart your word-of-mouth marketing and attract clients right away. 

What? Determine your services

In addition to renting the campsites, you could generate revenue from an arcade, or by selling snacks, beverages, and camping merchandise. 

How much should you charge for RV park sites?

Your prices should be based on market prices in your area and the number of amenities you offer, but also on your operating costs.

Once you know your costs, use this Step By Step profit margin calculator to determine your mark-up and final price points. Remember, the prices you use at launch should be subject to change if warranted by the market.

Who? Identify your target market

People of all ages like to RV so you should market on both Instagram and Facebook.

Where? Choose an RV Park location

To find suitable land, you should engage with a real estate agent to help you with your search. Here are some factors to consider when choosing the right location for an RV park business:

  1. Demand Analysis: Research local tourism and RV traffic patterns.
  2. Accessibility: Near major roads with clear entry/exit points.
  3. Size & Topography: Ample space, level ground, and scenic views.
  4. Utilities: Access to water, sewage, electricity, and WiFi.
  5. Local Regulations: Confirm zoning and permits for RV park use.
  6. Environmental Factors: Check flood plains, soil quality, and protected habitats.
  7. Safety: Proximity to emergency services and low crime.
  8. Nearby Attractions: Close to landmarks, parks, or entertainment.
  9. Development Potential: Ensure no nearby projects will negatively impact the park.
  10. Cost: Balance land price with budget and ongoing costs.
  11. Community Engagement: Gauge local receptiveness and potential partnerships.
RV Park idea rating

Step 3: Brainstorm an RV Park Name

Here are some ideas for brainstorming your business name:

  • Short, unique, and catchy names tend to stand out
  • Names that are easy to say and spell tend to do better 
  • Name should be relevant to your product or service offerings
  • Ask around — family, friends, colleagues, social media — for suggestions
  • Including keywords, such as “RV park” or “RV campground”, boosts SEO
  • Name should allow for expansion, for ex: “JourneyExpand Estates” and “NomadNest Parklands” over “WanderWheel Haven” and “VistaView RV Retreat”
  • A location-based name can help establish a strong connection with your local community and help with the SEO but might hinder future expansion

Once you’ve got a list of potential names, visit the website of the US Patent and Trademark Office to make sure they are available for registration and check the availability of related domain names using our Domain Name Search tool. Using “.com” or “.org” sharply increases credibility, so it’s best to focus on these. 

Finally, make your choice among the names that pass this screening and go ahead and reserve your business name with your state, start the trademark registration process, and complete your domain registration and social media account creation. 

Your business name is one of the key differentiators that sets your business apart. Once you pick a name, reserve it and start with the branding, it’s hard to switch to a new name. So be sure to carefully consider your choice before moving forward. 

Step 4: Create an RV Park Business Plan

Here are the key components of a business plan:

what to include in a business plan
  • Executive Summary: Provide a brief summary of your RV park business plan, highlighting key aspects like location, target customers, and financial objectives.
  • Business Overview: Describe the nature of your RV park business, including its size, amenities, and any unique features like scenic views or recreational activities.
  • Product and Services: Detail the services you offer, such as RV site rentals, amenities like hookups and showers, and any additional services like campfire rentals or guided tours.
  • Market Analysis: Analyze the demand for RV parks in your chosen location, considering factors like tourism trends, the size of the RV community, and the preferences of potential customers.
  • Competitive Analysis: Identify and assess other RV parks in the area, emphasizing what sets your park apart, such as competitive pricing, exceptional facilities, or convenient location.
  • Sales and Marketing: Outline your marketing strategies to attract RV enthusiasts, including online advertising, partnerships with travel websites, and promotions for long-term stays.
  • Management Team: Introduce the team members responsible for managing and operating the RV park, highlighting their experience in hospitality and campground management.
  • Operations Plan: Describe the day-to-day operations of the RV park, covering aspects like check-in procedures, maintenance schedules, security measures, and customer service protocols.
  • Financial Plan: Present financial projections, including startup costs, revenue forecasts, operating expenses, and expected profitability for your RV park business.
  • Appendix: Include any supplementary materials that support your business plan, such as site maps, photos of the RV park, marketing materials, and financial statements.

If you’ve never created a business plan, it can be an intimidating task. You might consider hiring a business plan specialist to create a top-notch business plan for you.

Step 5: Register Your Business

Registering your business is an absolutely crucial step — it’s the prerequisite to paying taxes, raising capital, opening a bank account, and other guideposts on the road to getting a business up and running.

Plus, registration is exciting because it makes the entire process official. Once it’s complete, you’ll have your own business! 

Choose where to register your company

Your business location is important because it can affect taxes, legal requirements, and revenue. Most people will register their business in the state where they live, but if you are planning to expand, you might consider looking elsewhere, as some states could offer real advantages when it comes to RV parks. 

If you’re willing to move, you could really maximize your business! Keep in mind, it’s relatively easy to transfer your business to another state. 

Choose your business structure

Business entities come in several varieties, each with its pros and cons. The legal structure you choose for your RV park will shape your taxes, personal liability, and business registration requirements, so choose wisely. 

Here are the main options:

types of business structures
  • Sole Proprietorship – The most common structure for small businesses makes no legal distinction between company and owner. All income goes to the owner, who’s also liable for any debts, losses, or liabilities incurred by the business. The owner pays taxes on business income on his or her personal tax return.
  • General Partnership – Similar to a sole proprietorship, but for two or more people. Again, owners keep the profits and are liable for losses. The partners pay taxes on their share of business income on their personal tax returns.
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC) – Combines the characteristics of corporations with those of sole proprietorships or partnerships. Again, the owners are not personally liable for debts. Here’s how to form an LLC.
  • C Corp – Under this structure, the business is a distinct legal entity and the owner or owners are not personally liable for its debts. Owners take profits through shareholder dividends, rather than directly. The corporation pays taxes, and owners pay taxes on their dividends, which is sometimes referred to as double taxation. Read how to start a corporation here.
  • S Corp – An S-Corporation refers to the tax classification of the business but is not a business entity. An S-Corp can be either a corporation or an LLC, which just need to elect to be an S-Corp for tax status. In an S-Corp, income is passed through directly to shareholders, who pay taxes on their share of business income on their personal tax returns.

We recommend that new business owners choose LLC as it offers liability protection and pass-through taxation while being simpler to form than a corporation. You can form an LLC in as little as five minutes using an online LLC formation service. They will check that your business name is available before filing, submit your articles of organization, and answer any questions you might have. 

Form Your LLC

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Step 6: Register for Taxes

The final step before you’re able to pay taxes is getting an Employer Identification Number, or EIN. You can file for your EIN online or by mail or fax: visit the IRS website to learn more. Keep in mind, if you’ve chosen to be a sole proprietorship you can simply use your social security number as your EIN. 

Once you have your EIN, you’ll need to choose your tax year. Financially speaking, your business will operate in a calendar year (January–December) or a fiscal year, a 12-month period that can start in any month. This will determine your tax cycle, while your business structure will determine which taxes you’ll pay.

The IRS website also offers a tax-payers checklist, and taxes can be filed online.

It is important to consult an accountant or other professional to help you with your taxes to ensure you are completing them correctly.

Step 7: Fund your Business

Securing financing is your next step and there are plenty of ways to raise capital:

types of business funding
  • Bank loans: This is the most common method but getting approved requires a rock-solid business plan and strong credit history.
  • SBA-guaranteed loans: The Small Business Administration can act as guarantor, helping gain that elusive bank approval via an SBA-guaranteed loan.
  • Government grants: A handful of financial assistance programs help fund entrepreneurs. Visit Grants.gov to learn which might work for you.
  • Venture capital: Venture capital investors take an ownership stake in exchange for funds, so keep in mind that you’d be sacrificing some control over your business. This is generally only available for businesses with high growth potential.
  • Angel investors: Reach out to your entire network in search of people interested in investing in early-stage startups in exchange for a stake. Established angel investors are always looking for good opportunities. 
  • Friends and Family: Reach out to friends and family to provide a business loan or investment in your concept. It’s a good idea to have legal advice when doing so because SEC regulations apply.
  • Crowdfunding: Websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo offer an increasingly popular low-risk option, in which donors fund your vision. Entrepreneurial crowdfunding sites like Fundable and WeFunder enable multiple investors to fund your business.
  • Personal: Self-fund your business via your savings or the sale of property or other assets.

Bank and SBA loans are probably the best option, other than friends and family, for funding an RV park business. You might also try crowdfunding if you have an innovative concept.  

Step 8: Apply for RV Park Licenses and Permits

Business Licenses and Permits

Starting an RV park business requires obtaining a number of licenses and permits from local, state, and federal governments.

You’ll need the proper zoning permit from your state. Check with your state and local governments before you purchase the land so that you know they will allow an RV park.

Federal regulations, licenses, and permits associated with starting your business include doing business as (DBA), health licenses and permits from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), trademarks, copyrights, patents, and other intellectual properties, as well as industry-specific licenses and permits. 

You may also need state-level and local county or city-based licenses and permits. The license requirements and how to obtain them vary, so check the websites of your state, city, and county governments or contact the appropriate person to learn more. 

You could also check this SBA guide for your state’s requirements, but we recommend using MyCorporation’s Business License Compliance Package. They will research the exact forms you need for your business and state and provide them to ensure you’re fully compliant.

This is not a step to be taken lightly, as failing to comply with legal requirements can result in hefty penalties.

If you feel overwhelmed by this step or don’t know how to begin, it might be a good idea to hire a professional to help you check all the legal boxes.

Step 9: Open a Business Bank Account

Before you start making money, you’ll need a place to keep it, and that requires opening a bank account.

Keeping your business finances separate from your personal account makes it easy to file taxes and track your company’s income, so it’s worth doing even if you’re running your RV park business as a sole proprietorship. Opening a business bank account is quite simple, and similar to opening a personal one. Most major banks offer accounts tailored for businesses — just inquire at your preferred bank to learn about their rates and features.

Banks vary in terms of offerings, so it’s a good idea to examine your options and select the best plan for you. Once you choose your bank, bring in your EIN (or Social Security Number if you decide on a sole proprietorship), articles of incorporation, and other legal documents and open your new account. 

Step 10: Get Business Insurance

Business insurance is an area that often gets overlooked yet it can be vital to your success as an entrepreneur. Insurance protects you from unexpected events that can have a devastating impact on your business.

Here are some types of insurance to consider:

types of business insurance
  • General liability: The most comprehensive type of insurance, acting as a catch-all for many business elements that require coverage. If you get just one kind of insurance, this is it. It even protects against bodily injury and property damage.
  • Business Property: Provides coverage for your equipment and supplies.
  • Equipment Breakdown Insurance: Covers the cost of replacing or repairing equipment that has broken due to mechanical issues.
  • Worker’s compensation: Provides compensation to employees injured on the job.
  • Property: Covers your physical space, whether it is a cart, storefront, or office.
  • Commercial auto: Protection for your company-owned vehicle.
  • Professional liability: Protects against claims from a client who says they suffered a loss due to an error or omission in your work.
  • Business owner’s policy (BOP): This is an insurance plan that acts as an all-in-one insurance policy, a combination of the above insurance types.

Step 11: Prepare to Launch

Launching a Business

As opening day nears, prepare for launch by reviewing and improving some key elements of your business. 

Essential software and tools

Being an entrepreneur often means wearing many hats, from marketing to sales to accounting, which can be overwhelming. Fortunately, many websites and digital tools are available to help simplify many business tasks.  

You may want to use industry-specific software, such as CampLife, RoverPass, or Campspot, to manage your bookings, maintenance, check ins, and payments.


  • Popular web-based accounting programs for smaller businesses include Quickbooks, Freshbooks, and Xero
  • If you’re unfamiliar with basic accounting, you may want to hire a professional, especially as you begin. The consequences for filing incorrect tax documents can be harsh, so accuracy is crucial.

Create a website

Website development is crucial because your site is your online presence and needs to convince prospective clients of your expertise and professionalism. You can create your own website using services like WordPress, Wix, or Squarespace. This route is very affordable, but figuring out how to build a website can be time-consuming. If you lack tech-savvy, you can hire a web designer or developer to create a custom website for your business.

Your customers are unlikely to find your website, however, unless you follow Search Engine Optimization (SEO) practices. SEO will help your website appear closer to the top in relevant search results, a crucial element for increasing sales. 

Make sure that you optimize calls to action on your website. Experiment with text, color, size, and position of calls to action such as “Book Now”. This can sharply increase purchases. 


Here are some powerful marketing strategies for your future business:

  • Social Media Engagement: Leverage popular social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram to showcase your RV park’s amenities, stunning views, and guest experiences. Engage with your audience through posts, comments, and promotions to build a loyal online community.
  • Local Partnerships: Forge partnerships with local businesses, tourism offices, and travel agencies to cross-promote each other. Offer package deals or discounts to customers who visit your RV park through referrals from these partners.
  • Seasonal Promotions: Create attractive seasonal promotions and discounts to encourage off-peak visits. Consider special offers for holidays, extended stays, or mid-week bookings to attract a diverse range of customers throughout the year.
  • Online Review Management: Encourage satisfied guests to leave positive reviews on popular review sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Google. Respond promptly to negative reviews, addressing concerns and demonstrating your commitment to customer satisfaction.
  • Event Hosting: Organize events or themed weekends at your RV park, such as outdoor movie nights, barbecue cook-offs, or nature walks. Promote these events through local media and online platforms to attract both local and visiting RV enthusiasts.
  • Referral Programs: Implement a referral program where existing customers receive discounts or perks for referring friends and family. Word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool in the RV community, and incentivizing referrals can amplify your customer base.
  • Email Marketing Campaigns: Build an email list of past guests and potential customers. Send out regular newsletters with updates on promotions, events, and exclusive offers, keeping your audience engaged and informed about what your RV park has to offer.
  • Geo-targeted Advertising: Utilize online advertising platforms to target potential RV travelers in specific geographic locations. Tailor your ads to highlight your park’s unique features and amenities that would appeal to the preferences of travelers in different regions.
  • Customer Loyalty Programs: Implement a loyalty program that rewards repeat customers with discounts, free nights, or exclusive access to premium amenities. Recognizing and appreciating customer loyalty can foster a strong and lasting relationship with your RV park.
  • Community Involvement: Get involved in the local community by sponsoring events, participating in local fairs, or supporting charitable causes. Building a positive reputation within the community can lead to increased support and referrals for your RV park.

Focus on USPs

unique selling proposition

Unique selling propositions, or USPs, are the characteristics of a product or service that sets it apart from the competition. Customers today are inundated with buying options, so you’ll have a real advantage if they are able to quickly grasp how your RV park meets their needs or wishes. It’s wise to do all you can to ensure your USPs stand out on your website and in your marketing and promotional materials, stimulating buyer desire. 

Global pizza chain Domino’s is renowned for its USP: “Hot pizza in 30 minutes or less, guaranteed.” Signature USPs for your RV park business could be: 

  • Experience nature’s beauty with our RV park nestled in a serene wilderness, offering a getaway like no other.
  • Discover unparalleled tranquility at our RV park, where peace and relaxation meet.
  • Create lifelong memories in our family-friendly RV park, where adventure and bonding go hand in hand.


You may not like to network or use personal connections for business gain. But your personal and professional networks likely offer considerable untapped business potential. Maybe that Facebook friend you met in college is now running an RV park business, or a LinkedIn contact of yours is connected to dozens of potential clients. Maybe your cousin or neighbor has been working in RV parks for years and can offer invaluable insight and industry connections. 

The possibilities are endless, so it’s a good idea to review your personal and professional networks and reach out to those with possible links to or interest in RV parks. You’ll probably generate new customers or find companies with which you could establish a partnership. 

Step 12: Build Your Team

Building a Team for a New Business

If you’re starting out small from a home office, you may not need any employees. But as your business grows, you will likely need workers to fill various roles. Potential positions for an RV park business include:

  • Park Attendants – check ins, customer service
  • Maintenance Workers – maintain sites and common areas
  • Marketing Lead – create and implement marketing strategies
  • General Manager – scheduling, accounting

At some point, you may need to hire all of these positions or simply a few, depending on the size and needs of your business. You might also hire multiple workers for a single role or a single worker for multiple roles, again depending on need. 

Free-of-charge methods to recruit employees include posting ads on popular platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, or Jobs.com. You might also consider a premium recruitment option, such as advertising on Indeed, Glassdoor, or ZipRecruiter. Further, if you have the resources, you could consider hiring a recruitment agency to help you find talent. 

Step 13: Run an RV Park – Start Making Money!

Running a Business

RV parks are wonderful places for travelers to stay and enjoy the great outdoors, and owning one can make for a fun lifestyle. It takes quite an investment to get started, but you should be able to see a nice return on that investment over time.

Now that you know what’s involved, it’s time to shop for land and get your successful RV park started!

RV Park Business FAQs

Is an RV park profitable?

RV parks can be profitable businesses, depending on factors such as location, amenities, pricing, occupancy rates, and operational efficiency.

What happens during a typical day at an RV park?

A typical day at an RV park involves activities such as check-ins and check-outs of RV guests, maintenance and upkeep of park facilities, provision of amenities, assisting guests with inquiries and needs, and social interactions among guests.

What is the growth potential of an RV park?

The growth potential of an RV park varies depending on factors such as market demand, location, competition, and expansion opportunities. Parks in popular destinations, with limited competition, or with potential for amenities expansion may have higher growth potential.

What type of business is an RV park?

An RV park is primarily a hospitality and leisure business. It falls under the category of accommodation services, catering to recreational vehicle owners and travelers seeking a temporary or long-term place to park their RVs or campers.


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How to Start an RV Park: Cost, Location & Profit Potential