Start a glamping 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 glamping 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 glamping business?
The startup costs for a glamping business are significant, but they can be managed. The main expenses are purchasing land and tents.
To save on land costs, many business owners get into this work after they already own land. Hunting grounds, farming fields and coastal properties that are already owned are excellent and free locations. Business owners that don’t already have land should look at remote locations where property costs are normally lower.
Tents can cost tens of thousands of dollars each. FDomes’ smallest glamping tents start at €7,575 (~$9,350). Inspired Camping recommends larger tents that cost between £25,000 and £35,000 (~$34,600 to $48,600).
Business owners that don’t have this capital can start with simpler tents that feature fewer amenities. Wigwam even mentions that some business owners haven’t installed toilet facilities for guests at first, and instead let guests use the facilities in their own house. This obviously isn’t as luxurious as high-end glamping that comes with a private restroom and shower, but it is an affordable way to get started in the industry.
In cold climates, business owners also need storage facilities for their tents during winter. Storage is usually inexpensive, though.
What are the ongoing expenses for a glamping business?
The ongoing expenses for a glamping business are minimal. They include property taxes, maintenance costs, employees’ wages and utilities, along with some other expenses.
Who is the target market?
The target market for glamping business is affluent individuals, families and couples who want to take a vacation. Many of these people are turning to staycations instead of or in addition to traditional vacations, and a glamping business is the perfect place to go on a staycation.
How does a glamping business make money?
A glamping business makes money by charging guests for use of a tent. Most glamping businesses have nightly and weekly rates, and they charge different rates for differently sized tents.
How much can you charge customers?
On Glamping.com, rates in the U.S. range from $50 to $3,000 per night. At the low end, sites are basic and include few amenities. At the high end, rates are for large lodges or extravagant tents. They also often include activities.
How much profit can a glamping business make?
Because a glamping business can charge significant nightly rates and have low ongoing expenses, this type of business can earn a significant profit. Under Canvas, for instance, has an annual revenue of $8 million.
How can you make your business more profitable?
Glamping businesses often diversify their revenue by adding activities to bookings. These may be on-site activities or activities offered through other companies. On-site activities typically command an additional fee, while other companies' activities may result in a commission. Tours, outdoor activities and romantic events are all activities that people who go glamping may be interested in.
What will you name your business?
Choosing the right name is important and challenging. If you don’t already have a name in mind, visit our How to Name a Business guide or get help brainstorming a name with our Glamping Business Name Generator
When registering a business name, we recommend researching your business name by checking:
- Your state's business records
- Federal and state trademark records
- Social media platforms
- Web domain availability.
It's very important to secure your domain name before someone else does.
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 glamping 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 glamping 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.
Certificate of Occupancy
A glamping business is generally run out of a large piece of land with designated spaces for each camp site. Businesses operating out of a physical location typically require a Certificate of Occupancy (CO). A CO confirms that all building codes, zoning laws and government regulations have been met.
- If you plan to lease a location:
- It is generally the landlord’s responsibility to obtain a CO.
- Before leasing, confirm that your landlord has or can obtain a valid CO that is applicable to a glamping business.
- After a major renovation, a new CO often needs to be issued. If your place of business will be renovated before opening, it is recommended to include language in your lease agreement stating that lease payments will not commence until a valid CO is issued.
- If you plan to purchase or build a location:
- You will be responsible for obtaining a valid CO from a local government authority.
- Review all building codes and zoning requirements for your business’ location to ensure your glamping business will be in compliance and able to obtain a CO.
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.
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How to promote & market a glamping business
Most of a glamping business’ marketing should be focused on building an online presence. The more a glamping business is featured on sites like Yelp, Airbnb, Booking.com, Glamping Hub, Cool Camping and others, the more people will see the business and consider scheduling a stay. Of course, a business should also have its own website.
How to keep customers coming back
When developing an online presence, the importance of high-quality pictures can’t be understated. Businesses should have professional photos done, for these are what will capture potential guests’ attention.
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 Glamping 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?
People who enjoy connecting with others and being outdoors may enjoy running a glamping business. Interpersonal skills are necessary because much of the business involves making guests feel welcome. A passion for the outdoors is helpful, for glamping is largely about connecting with nature.
A glamping business may be started as a part-time endeavor alongside another business, especially if the other business has unused land. Farmers and current campground owners, for example, might have land that can be converted into a glamping space.
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 glamping business?
Most activity at a glamping business focuses on making guests happy. This involves:
- responding to inquiries from prospective guests
- welcoming new guests
- checking in and recommending activities for current guests
- cleaning tents after guests leave
- helping guests in any other feasible way
These activities are only done during the glamping season. During the off-season, a glamping business may close for a vacation or due to weather. Where winter weather would damage tents, a business’ tents must be taken down at the end of the season and then put up once spring comes.
What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful glamping business?
Jake Jewell recommends that glamping business owners have a background in hospitality generally and in holiday accomodations more particularly. Wigwam Holidays echoes this overall sentiment and explains why. Glamping business owners work lots of holidays and weekends, when other people are able to vacation. It’s the job of business owners to make their vacationing guests feel as welcome as possible, and people with backgrounds in hospitality know how to do that.
What is the growth potential for a glamping business?
While a glamping business theoretically could franchise and open new locations, almost all businesses operate just one location. The location may have just a couple of tents, or it might have lots of spaces for guests. Firelight Camps is an example of a typical glamping business that has one location.
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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.
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 glamping business?
A glamping business’ layout must give guests plenty of space to enjoy an intimate and private experience close to nature. To do this, glamping sites must be larger than traditional camping sites. Making sites small in order to fit more sites on a property will hinder long-term success, because it will negatively affect each guest’s experience.
As a general rule, plan on setting aside at least a half-acre for each site. In high-demand areas, such as waterfront locations, a third of an acre may suffice. In places where there isn’t a major natural attraction, like in fields, a full acre is better.
How and when to build a team
Most glamping businesses start out with a partner or employee. Having two people who can see to guests’ needs helps ensure that guests will always be as happy as possible.