Start a Camping Retreat Business by following these 10 steps:
You have found the perfect business idea, and now you are ready to take the next step. There is more to starting a business than just registering it with the state. We have put together this simple guide to starting your Camping Retreat Business. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.
Check out our How to Start a Business page.
STEP 1: Plan your business
A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. It will help you map out the specifics of your business and discover some unknowns. A few important topics to consider are:
- What are the startup and ongoing costs?
- Who is your target market?
- How much can you charge customers?
- What will you name your business?
Luckily we have done a lot of this research for you.
What are the costs involved in opening a Camping Retreat Business?
The costs to start this business will depend entirely on what you already have on hand. If you are the local camping expert, you will likely already have all of the gear you need to get started. At that point, you will only need to worry about your business license, any required state certifications (such as CPR training), and marketing costs. Those who do not have all of the camping gear they need will want to visit their local sporting goods store and stock up on all of the essentials.
In addition to basic camping gear, you will also need any required supplies for your retreat. These are often recurring costs, so your opening costs should only include what will be required on your first retreat.
What are the ongoing expenses for a Camping Retreat Business?
Ongoing expenses are mostly related to materials. Some examples of these costs are dependent on the retreat type itself. A science retreat for kids or adults will have recurring costs for experiment materials. Yoga retreats will need to keep additional mats, blocks, and straps readily available. Those focused on a business retreat may simply need to have extra camping supplies readily available.
Who is the target market?
The target market for this business is gender and age-neutral. Of course, each activity offered at a camping retreat will reflect the age of the individuals that should be there. Otherwise, the target market is truly those who are interested in or love camping. Furthermore, these individuals should also have a passion for the type of retreating you are offering.
How does a Camping Retreat Business make money?
A camping retreat makes money when a booking is completed. This business may opt to have individuals purchase tickets, or the business can require groups of a minimum to maximum number of guests to book all at once. Regardless, the business does not make money until a booking is completed. Depending on payment terms, payment may be required upfront or guests may pay an initial deposit with full payment due by the beginning of the retreat.
How much can you charge customers?
The price you charge for this service can depend on a number of factors. If you do not have your own land and must use a campground, you need to factor in the nightly camping cost into your price. In addition, recurring material costs must also be considered. An average camping retreat costs between $20 to $75 per person per night.
How much profit can a Camping Retreat Business make?
As with most businesses, the potential profit is dependent on operating costs and expenses. Retreats with few added material costs can expect to profit more than other types of retreats. Business licenses and other certifications must also be considered. These will all vary by state. It is safe to say that a camping retreat business can expect to make a minimum profit of $25 per person per night.
How can you make your business more profitable?
This type of business can become more profitable by establishing relationships with campgrounds that offer significant discounts for businesses that regularly book stays. In addition, operating your own marketing campaigns can keep advertising costs down. If possible, requiring groups to come prepared with all of their own supplies will keep costs for camping materials down too.
What will you name your business?
Choosing the right name is very important. Read our detailed guide on how to name your business. We recommend checking if the business name you choose is available as a web domain and securing it early so no one else can take it.
STEP 2: Form a legal entity
Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC or corporation protects you from being held personally liable if your Camping Retreat Business is sued.
Form Your LLC
Read our Guide to Form Your Own LLC
Recommended: You will need to elect a registered agent for your LLC. LLC formation packages usually include a free year of registered agent services. You can choose to hire a registered agent or act as your own.
STEP 3: Register for taxes
You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.
In order to register for taxes you will need to apply for an EIN. It's really easy and free!
You can acquire your EIN for free through the IRS website, via fax, or by mail. If you would like to learn more about EINs and how they can benefit your LLC, read our article, What is an EIN?.
Small Business Taxes
Depending on which business structure you choose, you might have different options for how your business will be taxed. For example, some LLCs could benefit from being taxed as an S corporation (S corp).
You can learn more about small business taxes in these guides:
There are specific state taxes that might apply to your business. Learn more about state sales tax and franchise taxes in our state sales tax guides.
STEP 4: Open a business bank account & credit card
Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection.
When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your business is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.
Additionally, learning how to build business credit can help you get credit cards and other financing in your business's name (instead of yours), better interest rates, higher lines of credit, and more.
Open a business bank account
- This separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
- It also makes accounting and tax filing easier.
Recommended: Read our Best Banks for Small Business review to find the best national bank, credit union, business-loan friendly banks, one with many brick-and-mortar locations, and more.
Open net-30 accounts
When it comes to establishing your business credit, net-30 vendors are considered the way to go. The term "net-30," which is popular among vendors, refers to a business credit arrangement where the company pays the vendor within 30 days of receiving goods or services.
Net-30 credit terms are often used for businesses that need to obtain inventory quickly but do not have the cash on hand.
Besides establishing business relationships with vendors, net-30 credit accounts get reported to the major business credit bureaus (Dun & Bradstreet, Experian Business, and Equifax Business Credit). This is how businesses build business credit so they can qualify for credit cards and other lines of credit.
Recommended: Read our guide on the best net-30 vendors so you can start building business credit now, so you never have to worry about cash flow in the future. Keep in mind that poor cash flow is the #1 reason businesses fail!
Get a business credit card
- This helps you separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
- It also builds your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise money and investment later on.
STEP 5: Set up business accounting
Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.
STEP 6: Obtain necessary permits and licenses
Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.
State & Local Business Licensing Requirements
Certain state permits and licenses may be needed to operate a camping retreat business. Learn more about licensing requirements in your state by visiting SBA’s reference to state licenses and permits.
Most businesses are required to collect sales tax on the goods or services they provide. To learn more about how sales tax will affect your business, read our article, Sales Tax for Small Businesses.
For information about local licenses and permits:
- Check with your town, city or county clerk’s office
- Get assistance from one of the local associations listed in US Small Business Associations directory of local business resources.
STEP 7: Get business insurance
Just as with licenses and permits, your business needs insurance in order to operate safely and lawfully. Business Insurance protects your company’s financial wellbeing in the event of a covered loss.
There are several types of insurance policies created for different types of businesses with different risks. If you’re unsure of the types of risks that your business may face, begin with General Liability Insurance. This is the most common coverage that small businesses need, so it’s a great place to start for your business.
Learn more about General Liability Insurance.
Another notable insurance policy that many businesses need is Workers’ Compensation Insurance. If your business will have employees, it’s a good chance that your state will require you to carry Workers' Compensation Coverage.
STEP 8: Define your brand
Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.
If you aren't feeling confident about designing your small business logo, then check out our Design Guides for Beginners, we'll give you helpful tips and advice for creating the best unique logo for your business.
How to promote & market a Camping Retreat Business
One of the best ways to promote and market this business will be through online groups (such as Facebook Groups of MeetUp) and paid advertising. By creating groups geared toward camping and your specific retreat type, individuals seeking the service you provide will find you. Additionally, paid advertising allows you to target specific individuals through search engines and social media platforms that have expressed interest in what you offer.
How to keep customers coming back
In order to attract customers, your business must come across as genuine. You cannot use stock photography, and you cannot use boring language. You should seem just as excited as your guests to go on this retreat!
To retain customers, your retreat should provide value. This should be a value they cannot necessarily find in the surrounding cities and suburbs. The escape from their daily lives, plus the value you provide, will keep them coming back to your retreat for more.
Still unsure about what kind of business you want to start? Check out the latest Small Business Trends to help inspire you.
STEP 9: Create your business website
After defining your brand and creating your logo the next step is to create a website for your business.
While creating a website is an essential step, some may fear that it’s out of their reach because they don’t have any website-building experience. While this may have been a reasonable fear back in 2015, web technology has seen huge advancements in the past few years that makes the lives of small business owners much simpler.
Here are the main reasons why you shouldn’t delay building your website:
- All legitimate businesses have websites - full stop. The size or industry of your business does not matter when it comes to getting your business online.
- Social media accounts like Facebook pages or LinkedIn business profiles are not a replacement for a business website that you own.
- Website builder tools like the GoDaddy Website Builder have made creating a basic website extremely simple. You don’t need to hire a web developer or designer to create a website that you can be proud of.
Using our website building guides, the process will be simple and painless and shouldn’t take you any longer than 2-3 hours to complete.
STEP 10: Set up your business phone system
Getting a phone set up for your business is one of the best ways to help keep your personal life and business life separate and private. That’s not the only benefit; it also helps you make your business more automated, gives your business legitimacy, and makes it easier for potential customers to find and contact you.
There are many services available to entrepreneurs who want to set up a business phone system. We’ve reviewed the top companies and rated them based on price, features, and ease of use.
Recommended: Find the best phone system for your business; check out our review of the Best Business Phone Systems 2021.
Start A Camping Retreat Business In Your State
Select your state below for an in-depth guide on completing each of these steps in your home state.
Is this Business Right For You?
A camping retreat business is right for an individual who already has skills in a specific area. Whether it is yoga, meditation, outdoor adventures, pottery, or another form of a relaxing — yet engaging — activity, this business needs an owner who can teach and connect at the same time. In addition, those who are interested in this business should either already own land that can be used for camping or know where they can efficiently organize and book a retreat for groups.
Want to know if you are cut out to be an entrepreneur?
Take our Entrepreneurship Quiz to find out!
What happens during a typical day at a Camping Retreat Business?
A typical day for a camping retreat business will be dependent on how involved the owner of the business is in the day-to-day activities. For owners that will be running the business and leading the retreat, their day will be full of adventure from one day to the next. Days when you are not leading the retreat will be filled with lead follow-ups, managing bookings, and doing any financial reporting.
When it is time for a retreat, your days will be focused on waking up before your customers, leading the activities for the day, and making sure everyone is following all safety guidelines. Regardless of your level of engagement in the various aspects of the business, marketing the retreats and reaching the right target audience should be a daily task for your business.
What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful Camping Retreat Business?
In order to be successful, you will need to understand how to have a good time camping and incorporate manageable activities. As the one offering this service, you will be expected to either assist with setting up camping tents and activities and/or hiring individuals who can assist your guests. In addition, basic survival skills are a must. You cannot guarantee that your guests will actually know what berries not to eat and how to read a compass should they get off the main trail.
What is the growth potential for a Camping Retreat Business?
The growth potential for a camping retreat business is exponential Depending on the region’s weather, camping retreats may be completed during any season of the year in whatever region your business serves. Furthermore, camping retreat businesses can collaborate with masters in their craft to further expand their reach – this includes yoga teachers, pottery instructors, science teachers for children, and many more.
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Take the Next Step
Find a business mentor
One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.
Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.
Learn from other business owners
Want to learn more about starting a business from entrepreneurs themselves? Visit Startup Savant’s startup founder series to gain entrepreneurial insights, lessons, and advice from founders themselves.
Resources to Help Women in Business
There are many resources out there specifically for women entrepreneurs. We’ve gathered necessary and useful information to help you succeed both professionally and personally:
If you’re a woman looking for some guidance in entrepreneurship, check out this great new series Women in Business created by the women of our partner Startup Savant.
What are some insider tips for jump starting a Camping Retreat Business?
The best way to launch a successful camping retreat business is to have connections already established. By having a network of individuals who already enjoy camping and the activities you will be offering during the retreat, you already have close connections who will likely be interested in your service. Additionally, having personal pictures of your camping areas will help elevate your image to customers. After all, no one wants their camping adventure in the hands of a company that is unacquainted with the outdoors.
How and when to build a team
If you do not have experience with camping, guiding, or leading the retreat you wish to offer, you should assemble a team immediately. How you assemble this team is up to you. You can look at local associations that specialize in certifying these individuals and let them know you have open positions. You may also reach out to your network and see who you know that meets your criteria.
If you have the skills you need to start this business on your own, you should create a team as soon as you cannot deliver exceptional quality to your guests. Whether it be online customer service, bookkeeping, or a new retreat leader, add the individuals you need to keep your business moving forward.