Friday, May 15, 2009

So, You Think You Want To Own A Campground?

It is Friday. There are some things you need to know about Fridays if you are considering buying a campground and running it yourself............

1. Your time is not your own. You have to hurry to do anything and get back in that office. Even bathroom breaks are interrupted. You can go hours without one single person coming in the store. But if you try to take a quick trip to the necessary room, forget it. Oh, and don't even think about eating a complete meal.

2. If you are the one "chosen" to man the phone be prepared to have it on your person at all times. You'll be tethered to the central location of the phone and will only be able to go so far from the building. People will call at the oddest hours and assume that you know who they are. Phone etiquette is a lost art. I always identify myself to the party I call whether I know them or not. It is also a good idea to invest in a system with more than one handset.......... they do not do well when left out in the rain.

3. Privacy no longer exists for you. If you don't want folks walking into your living quarters be aware that signs are ignored. Lock the door.

4. Signs are great. They would be even better if anyone read them. Be prepared to go over any and all rules verbally, while encouraging the camper to try and read along with you. Things that are common sense to most of us must be put in writing and then read to those lacking the ability to think about the consequences of their actions.

5. No matter how hard you may try, you will not please every one. There is always that one person who knows every thing there is to know about every thing. This person will always be there to tell you what you should be doing and what you are doing wrong. You must learn to smile graciously while thinking of the responses you would like to give and can't.

6. Most folks will come to your park, check in and pay, then stay their allotted time and leave. You will not remember them. These are the good campers. You will, however, remember the others. These would be the ones that pull out while still hooked up and cause major damage.....
but leave before you see it. Or, the ones that let their children have free reign of the entire facility wreaking havoc and leaving a trail of debris in their path. The same children will run gleefully through your freshly planted vegetable while the parents look on lovingly at how much fun the children are having. If they don't have children of the human variety, these folks will not think twice about letting their dogs relieve themselves on the lawn that is beside your living quarters and is obviously a private area. After the dog is finished they will nonchalantly walk away as if they haven't a care in the world. Oh, yes, these wonderful folks will be etched in your memory....forever!

7. Be aware that not every camper is cut out for the honor system. You must sleep at some point. To facilitate this sleeping action you will install a night registration system that will allow weary travelers to be able to find lodging without your assistance. Having been among the travelers who always stop very late at night we were aware of how this works. You simply fill out the registration and put the money or credit card info in the envelope and drop it in the night box, keeping a copy of the transaction for yourself. It will have "customer copy" written right on it. Never occurred to us to NOT pay for a nights stay. We were so innocent to the ways of the world. After many months I finally figured it out after a rather nasty confrontation with one such "gentleman". You take the registration packet, go park and fill out the information, then forget about it until morning. If you are approached and asked to see such registration, you simply say you were coming in to pay on your way out. There are some folks who actually do pay on the way out. If you approach them and they are defensive and shouting at you....... you have found one that intended to pull out with no intention of paying. Probably over slept.

Like most things in life, there is a counter balance. Sundays are good days... Monday, if it is a holiday.

1. These days are for singing..."It's the most wonderful day of the week....all the campers are leaving and my heart is heaving a sigh of's the most wonderful day of the week." I need more lyrics. I hum as I go about cleaning and have been asked why I am humming a Christmas carol. I just smile blankly and tell them my heart is full of good cheer......

2. Winter is very not busy, so you only have to open the store when some one pulls up. If you want to sleep late, you can. You can actually have a conversation without interruption. In winter we hibernate. We eat, then talk about what we should eat next and watch TV. Winter is our "vacation". Just can't afford to go anywhere...... Owning a campground will not make you rich.

3. You get to meet some wonderful people. Kind of like the theme song for "Facts Of Life". "You take the good, you take the bad....." We have friends that include us in their Christmas celebration every year right along with their family. Our doctor became our doctor through the campground.... a better deal for us than him. He gets to see us both at our absolute worst and then insists on giving us a huge discount. People feed us all the time. We could probably treat our selves to a smorgasbord every weekend.

4. I never lack for something to ponder and write about.

5. I did mention good friends, didn't I? Because when put on a scale of pros and cons, it is looking like the pro side is a little light..........


ellen abbott said...

"Owning a campground will not make you rich.' Boy, can I relate to that. Neither will being an artist. There are a lot of parallels actually.

'It's looking like the pro side is a little light.' I wonder about my choices too sometimes. But truth to tell, when I think about being a corporate drone it makes me shudder.

Living on the Spit said...

Sounds like you had a hard day at the office sweetheart!!!

Lover of Life said...

Actually I think the pros were pretty well recognized. You have your really busy months and then the down months to rest up for the next onslaught. And time to figure out how to deal with the sketchy ones!

Kathy's Klothesline said...

Ellen--You are right, being your own boss definitely has it's benefits and allows for creativity.

LoS--Not so much, just my cynical side poking out.

LoL-Yes, I think "onslaught" says it all!

Kathy G said...

Hubby and I were driving from St. Louis to Columbia last night for a a graduation, and I saw a sign for your campground. I was so excited!

Erik's RV Blog said...

Owning a campground is something I have always wanted to do. Our first outing in the Class A money pit found us in Geneseo, IL because it was close to the worst RV dealer you could ever buy from but because of that we found a very nice campground and look forward to going there even though it is a few hours away from home.

We went there a few days before they opened this year and I helped Shari with taking out the boats and setting them up. We've been there a few more times this year and will be going there for Halloween 10/27 to 10/31.

They don't have 40 acres but you can tell they are running around a lot! Knowing what they go through and reading what you go through I don't know if I'm cut from the right cloth to do it.

Oh I think I could handle the campground itself, it's the people I might have an issue with. Somebody trying to get away with not paying or somebody ruining the property, I'd end up in jail me thinks...

Gotta hand it to you folks who make the best of it. :)