Managing RV lots


#1

I have a park with a bunch of empty lots in an area with a lot of tourism and high demand from RVs. My park is built as a mobile home park and doesn’t have any amenities that an RV park has, but trying to bring in some RVs for half the price as other RV parks might still be worthwhile.

There’s a problem though: I know absolutely nothing about RVs.

I picked up the RV university home study course, but most of the course is focused on buying and selling, and not much on the nuts and bolts of managing the day to day of RV parks. I’m mostly interested in items such as:
-How to keep the manager from stealing
-How to handle utility use (we have master metered electric)
-Whether it might be best to only open up to month+ long rentals, or to allow overnight stays
-Given that I’m not a ‘real’ RV park, should a website be enough to drive traffic, or should I take other vital marketing steps?
-etc

Does anyone have any advice on how to get up to speed on questions like these? I’d hate to get my otherwise good manager corrupted by having her skim off $25 nightly RV rents.


#2

The RV’s we have dealt with get lumped into the same operating procedures and lease arrangements as the mobile homes.

I’d be concerned that short term rentals intermixed with mobile homes might create more issues than benefits.


#3

A couple of comments:

  1. Manager stealing: There’s no perfect way to prevent this. Without being able to check elec usage, there’s no great way to know if a customer brings their RV in. You can require that they pay with check or credit, however a mgr can circumvent that by telling the customer that they accept cash. That being said, unless the RVers are causing problems and upsetting residents, there’s no loss to you other than the cost of additional utility usage.
  2. Typically for daily customers this is included in their rent. Monthly users should pay a set fee depending on expected usage.
  3. Long-term users are absolutely preferred, however I wouldn’t turn away daily customers unless they begin to cause problems.
  4. Market with Craigslist and there should be some local tourism websites to use as well.

A couple of other considerations:

  • Sometimes MH customers can be upset if RVers come in and make too much noise or upset their lifestyle, especially if there isn’t much for then to do. Expect a complaint or two.
  • Newer RVs can draw a lot of electricity. Make sure you have newer pedestals and that your electric lines can support the increased draw.
  • If you hope to draw a significant number of RVers, consider offering WiFi for free/a fee given your lack of other amenities.

Let me know if you have other questions, I hope that helped! I used to work for a company that owns a bunch of RV parks.


#4

Thanks, very helpful!

Are you able to elaborate at all on point 2 for electrical usage? Do you just set an expected usage of say $30 per RV per month for electric, based on historical usage?

Right now the park requires a security deposit for utilities, and then when they leave the park we read the electric meter, bill for utilities, and then mail a check for the remaining security deposit. It works, but it’s kind of a pain for everyone, and they have to trust that we have our act together.


#5

Yes, determine what a tenant might use in a month and charge them that. The alternative is to require that any month to month or longer tenant set up their own account with the utility company. This option should eliminate the need to require a security deposit!


#6

Before you put any time or effort into the RV business you need to first contact your municipal office and find out what if anything is necessary to get the licencing in place to even be permitted to have RVs in the community.
If you have not already done this keep in mind you are not operating independently in the wild west, there are regulations to be followed.