FINDING A GOOD BUSINESS
PERFORMING DUE DILIGENCE
OBTAINING FINANCING* (see below)
DETERMINING A FAIR VALUE
COMPLETING THE TRANSACTION
Which of those services would be most useful to you
when you really want to get it done?
OUR PERSONAL ONE-ON-ONE SERVICE WILL BE THE MOST IMPORTANT TIME THAT YOU WILL EVER INVEST IN YOUR FUTURE. YOUR ABILITY TO FIND CAMPGROUNDS FOR SALE ALONG WITH YOUR ABILITY TO ANALYZE CAMPGROUNDS FOR SALE WILL DRASTICALLY IMPROVE YOUR ODDS AT SUCCESS.
We help you as little as 1 hour at a time.
IT'S BEEN SAID THAT "NOBODY WHO HAS FAILED COMPLAINS
THAT THEY GOT TOO MUCH USEFUL ADVICE".
Do you dream of owning your own campground or resort business? Buying a campground or other recreational business can be a complicated process, from finding the right one to working out all the details required for a smooth transfer of ownership. We can help you find a campground for sale that fits your criteria.
We work as Buyer Representatives, Campground Consultants or campground brokers to help individuals find mature, profitable campgrounds, RV parks and cabin resorts that are usually not on the market for sale. We then assist with due diligence, financing, valuation and deal-making. Don't wait for campgrounds for sale, make it happen. Use our proven system to find campgrounds for sale.
*An often misunderstood priority is financing. This might seem like a task to deal with after you find a business to buy but nothing could be farther from the truth. We see more failed transactions due to financing than any other issue. We can help you deal with financing to separate yourself from the rest of the pack. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org and ask, "Guidant Information".
Choose a free no-obligation phone interview by calling 406-534-9750 or email a request for our "TIPS OF THE WEEK" to begin finding mature, profitable campgrounds for sale. email@example.com.
Our system is proven to work for campgrounds for sale in addition to resorts for sale. We guide you through this program to:
- Avoid Overpriced Listings
- Obtain Accurate Information To Make A Decision
- Perform Due Diligence
- Know How To Price A Business
- Use Creative Financing
- Understand The Process To Complete The Transaction
While there is no such thing as the "perfect" campground, we know the importance of finding one that fits your needs, talents, skills and lifestyle. We have many different types of campgrounds for sale, RV parks for sale, cabin resorts, KOA Campgrounds for sale and the knowledge and experience to walk you through the entire procedure. It is vital that you are fully informed about the campground itself as well as the acquisition process.
Don't limit yourself to the resort businesses or campgrounds for sale that are advertised for sale on the market by campground brokers. We can help you establish a relationship with the campgrounds, RV parks and cabin resorts privately for sale by owner.
Don't continue to wait for a profitable campground to come on the market, take control and make something happen that fits your criteria.
Below you will find some helpful information as you consider whether buying a campground is right for you.
For Campground and Resort Buyers
Going into business for yourself is a big step, one that can be full of apprehension and even fear. Almost 90 percent of all those who purchase a campground have never owned a business. Most of them bought a business that was different than what they had been looking for. These buyers had the opportunity to explore the marketplace and subsequently found a resort business for sale more to their liking. In most cases, the seller financed the sale.
As you begin your search, keep in mind that running your own campground is more than a job; it is a lifestyle change. In most cases, it is a very big lifestyle change. Usually, you will be working longer hours, making all of the decisions, and, as the expression goes, "you will be the chief cook and bottle washer." In other words, you will be doing all of the work from running the campground to, in many cases, sweeping the floor and changing the light bulbs.
Most buyers are seeking to obtain the following when considering the purchase of a campground:
- Pride in the service or the product
- Control of own destiny
- Customer and employee contact
What o look for with your campground consultant when searching for campgrounds for sale, RV parks for sale, camping resorts for sale:
1. How long the campground has been in business.
A campground with a long track record means there are good reasons for it to be operating. It will be well known in the area, and people will be used to patronizing the campground. The longer it has been in operation, generally, the better the business.
2. How long the present owner has owned the campground.
The longer the present owner has been in business, the more likely he or she has been successful. People don't stay in a campground if they are not making money.
3. Why the present owner is selling their campground.
If the owner has been in the campground business for six months, is 37 years old, and wants to retire, you should be suspicious. The more valid the reason for sale, the more realistic the seller will be in considering your offer. However, keep in mind that after five or six years or more, people do get restless, "burn-out" sets in, and people look for new challenges. Why the seller has their campground for sale is an important question - your campground consultant will get the answer.
4. Why books and records are important.
The financial records are a good indication of how well the campground has been doing over the years. Keep in mind that tax records are not designed to show the campground in the best light; no one likes to pay more taxes than they have to, and campground owners are no different. Generally, tax returns are a worst case scenario. You need to be able to look at the expenses and discover which ones are non-cash items, such as depreciation and business use of home and vehicles. How important was that business trip to Las Vegas? A professional campground consultant can point these items out to you.
Keep in mind that financial records are only history. There are no guarantees that they will or can be duplicated or repeated. All of your profits are future. In the final analysis, the financial records of campgrounds for sale are an indicator of what the campground has done; what you do with its future is up to you.
5. How to determine if the seller is reporting all income.
The simple answer is - you can't! Not reporting income is against the law. You should consider only the income that the campground or resort business owner can show you. We all know, of course, especially in cash type businesses, that there is the possibility that the seller is not reporting all of his or her income for tax purposes. This "underground economy" has been well-documented and is valued in the billions of dollars. Many sellers will tell you about how much they are "skimming," but you should ignore their statements, since they have no way of proving these amounts. In determining whether a campground for sale is the right one for you, you should base the decision on the figures actually supplied to you by the seller and the campground broker.
The Bottom Line
Being in business for yourself can be a daunting prospect. There are no guarantees. At some point, after all of your investigation is completed, you will still have to make that "leap of faith" necessary to proceed with the purchase of the campground. You will have to work hard, perhaps even "tighten your belt" a little, and perform many different jobs to be successful in your own business. But, if running your own show, making your own decisions, not having to worry about job security (remember, no one can fire you from your own business), and just being on your own are important - then owning a campground, RV park or cabin resort is for you. After taking this leap of faith, almost all campground owners will tell you that they would never go back to being an employee.
What should you look for when considering campgrounds and resort businesses for sale?
Unfortunately, too many prospective buyers want to know the asking price first and then ask how much money they can make. These are the wrong questions to ask initially. You need to know how much cash the seller requires as a down payment. No matter how good the numbers are, there is no point in looking at a business for sale if the seller wants three times as much cash as you are willing to invest. Your campground consultant will help you determine the actual amount of money a campground earns which is usually much more than just the bottom line. A smart approach is to get more information on the campground, and even make a visit, before ruling it out or getting too involved in the numbers. It's all part of the learning process.
Those who have never bought a campground (incidentally about 90 percent of those looking to buy a campground) often have little firsthand knowledge about the process. There is no right or wrong way to buy a campground. However, it is important that you get answers to all of your questions and that you have all the information necessary to make an informed decision. Here are the steps to buying a campground, RV park or cabin resort that over the years have proven to be the most efficient and practical:
Get the Basic Facts
Get preliminary information on price, terms, income, cash flow, and general location of businesses for sale. There is no point in continuing the buying process if the amount of cash necessary to buy the campground is more than you are willing to invest. At this point, don't worry about the full price. It's important, but the key factor is the amount of cash that is necessary to buy the campground. There is very little outside financing available such as banks, etc., for those who are purchasing campgrounds. The great majority of campground, RV parks and cabin resorts purchases are financed by the seller. This is why the amount you are willing to invest is a key issue.
Also, the campground for sale has to be able to meet your basic financial needs. You always expect a business to improve under your ownership, but you have to be able to meet your living expenses as well as meet the debt service of the business. It is also important to remember that almost all purchase prices and down payments are negotiable. In fact, campgrounds generally sell for about 15 percent to 25 percent less than the original asking price. There is an old adage that says, "the more cash you are willing to invest in a campground purchase, the lower the full price; the less cash you are able to invest, the higher the full price. Ask your campground consultant to help with the campground valuation.
Visit the RV Park for sale
Visit the campground to see if you like the location and the looks of the campground itself - both inside and outside. This is a visual inspection. Pretend you are a customer. It's not time yet to talk to the owner. If the campground is the type that does not lend itself to a visit, make an appointment with the seller to inspect the campground, or have the seller's representative schedule a visit. There is no point in going any further if you don't like the physical location of the campground for sale or the appearance of it.
Non-Binding Letter of Intent
Draft a non-binding letter of intent that spells out the information that will be required for you to investigate the campground. The letter should not include a price that you are willing to pay for the campground. Without going through due diligence, you will not know how much to offer for the campground.
Get Questions Answered
If you like the campground so far, it's time to get your questions answered. For example: What have been the sales for the past few years? Can the seller support the figures you have been told? Now is not the time to have the seller's books and records completely checked. There will be plenty of time to do that and review other important issues during the due diligence phase. This is the time to get those questions answered that have a bearing on whether you may want to own and operate this particular campground. It is also the time to visit with the seller to get your questions answered about the campground itself.
At this point, you hopefully have arrived at a meeting of minds with the seller, and you are ready to begin removing the contingencies, performing what is commonly called due diligence and understanding campground valuation.
Unless you are completely familiar with the type of campground purchased, it is beneficial to include as part of the agreement that the seller will stay with you (30 days is fair, with perhaps another 30 to 60 days of telephone consultation) a sufficient length of time to teach you the business - at no charge. If you want the seller to stay longer, it may be best to offer to pay him or her a consulting fee of some type.
For Business Buyers
The next step to buying your own campground, RV park or cabin resort is to make sure it is the right move for you and your family. Owning one's own campground is still very much "the great American dream," but it's not for everybody. Here are some questions that you should ask yourself before taking the next step.
How long have you been thinking about buying a campground?
Many people are interested in buying their own campground, but are not willing to make the commitment necessary to move forward. They continue to look just like those who continue to look at new and expensive automobiles, but will never spend the money necessary to buy. One veteran observer has said that the longer you look for campgrounds for sale, the less likely you are to buy.
What is your time frame to find a campground?
If you're thinking of buying a campground in two years, it's good to start your education. A business advisor is a good place to start. Keep in mind that it really doesn't make much sense to start your search now, since any campground you find now will have been sold by the time you are ready to buy. It's important, however, to arm yourself with all of the information and education available before you begin the search. Business advisors or consultants are specialists in helping you learn the important steps to make a good decision when you are in a position to buy a campground.
What is your primary reason for buying a campground?
If you are not motivated to buy a campground, you won't. You must go into business for yourself for the right reasons. If you're tired of the corporate world, just have a "job-job," or perhaps even a dead-end job, then business ownership may be right for you. Certainly if you're unemployed or being transferred to a place where you don't want to go - buying your own campground, RV park or cabin resort can be a viable solution.
Are you willing to invest a majority of your liquid assets in a campground?
Buying your own campground requires a serious financial investment. If you're the type who does not want risk, you might want to rethink owning your own campground. It is not for the faint-hearted and should be backed up by a campground valuation report.
Are you independent enough to make your own decisions and be in control?
Operating a small business requires continual decision making. You're the boss, and you are in control. All of the decisions are yours - right or wrong. And, you will make a lot of wrong ones. The question is, can you recover and keep going forward? If you brood about poor decisions or they keep you awake at night, owning your own campground may not be for you.
Is your family supportive of your owning a campground?
If your family, especially a spouse, is not behind you 100 percent, then you should think twice about campground ownership. It's very important that you have the support of your spouse. He or she has to understand that running a business can be time-consuming. On the plus side, however, many campgrounds, RV parks and cabin resorts do allow for flexibility so you can attend the afternoon little league game. Visit with your campground consultant about how a particular campground will fit your lifestyle.
Are you open-minded about different opportunities, or are you looking for a specific type of campground?
It's best if you are open-minded, especially if you are a first-time buyer. There are many types of camping resorts available, and you don't want to limit your choices. You should be looking for a business that will provide the income you need (or ability to do so), that you can afford,that has numbers that work, and, most importantly, that you can see yourself running.
Do you have reasonable expectations?
Do you think that you can buy a campground with lots of cash flow for $100? It's important that you have realistic expectations about what your money will buy. Many sellers are willing to assist in financing the sale of their campground, but remember, they're not going to give it away. Keep in mind that many campground owners have spent years building their business, and it may represent the biggest financial asset they have. They're not going to just hand it over to you. Always rely on a campground valuation report or appraisal as a reality check.
Can you make the "leap of faith" necessary to buy a campground?
Many prospective campground owners do their homework, do everything necessary to begin the purchase process, and then back out of the transaction. They just don't have the courage to go forward. There is nothing wrong with that; not everyone should buy and own their own campground. However, if you don't think you can part with your money and take over operating the campground on your own, you may want to take a second look at business ownership.
Do you need a guarantee?
If you are looking for a guarantee or a sure thing, then campground ownership is not for you. You can and should look at all of the financials, tax returns, and all of the books and records as part of the due diligence process. Remember, however, that they all represent history. You can't buy anyone else's history. A new owner makes changes, no matter how subtle. Their management style is different, and times change. You have to look at the campground with the attitude of how you can improve things. The financial history of the business is certainly important, but it does not guarantee the future of the campground - you do.
Do You Have More Questions?
Be sure to visit Buyer FAQ for answers to the following questions:
- Why should I buy a campground, RV park or cabin resort rather than start one?
- What is the real reason people go into business for themselves?
- How are campgrounds priced?
- What should I Look for?
- What does it take to be successful?
- What happens when I find a campground I want to buy?
- Why should I go to a business buyer advocate?
- Do I need an attorney?
- How do I go through due diligence?