Contingency Planning for Campgrounds

Video Transcript:

Nobody ever likes to think about what would happen if they couldn’t operate their campground. If something happened, whether it be to you personally or to someone in your family that took your time and you were not able to operate your campground, what’s your game plan? What is your contingency plan? Every business owner should have a contingency plan to make sure that their campground or their business can operate without them. Not anybody here is infallible, so we have to look at what we can do to make sure that somebody else knows how to turn on the lights and turn off the lights. At the end of the day, I make sure that campground runs. I had a recent conversation with some campground owners where they said, look, nobody else knows how to do this. If we want to go on vacation, we have to shut down. I think there’s got to be a better way for that, but we have to open our brains to planning a little more and looking at some creative ways to make sure that you have a contingency plan in place to make sure your campground can operate without you.

We never know when something’s going to happen and when you least plan for it. That’s when it will happen. So take a look at some contingency plans in here are some ideas:

1. Talk to campground owners who may be nearby you. They’re not your competition. There’s no big issue there. Talk to them. They could be your best ally. Maybe they could step in and help in the event of an emergency and maybe you could do the same for them. Maybe that is your backup plan is that you both kind of understand what’s going on. Yes, your systems may be different. You may use different reservations. Systems have different things in different places, but it’s a very relatable industry. Somebody else can figure out how to do it if we allow them.

2. Take a look at your procedures. Do you have things written down? I talked with the campground owner who said, “I’m the only one who knows where the water shutoffs are and where all the gas cutoffs are.” That shouldn’t be the case. We all have to plan for that day if something were to happen, so take some time, jotted down, draw some pictures or have them forbid. Use that handy little thing you’ve got called a smartphone. Go out there and just video yourself. You don’t have to be a movie star to do this. Just take your phone out there, walk around your park and point out where the shutoff valves are, point out what needs to happen in the case of an emergency. If there’s some winterizing that needs to be done or if there are some ongoing things that needed to be done, your phone can be a great resource.

3. If you need help in your park from other people to help get things done, use your phone to tell them what needs to be done.  It’s sometimes a lot easier to do than writing things down or explaining them. Building in these types of procedures can also help you a great deal if you try to sell your business because it’s a built-in operations manual for a new prospective owner.

Take some time to think about your contingency plan. Who will run your campground if you can’t? Do they know how? Have you given them the information to do so? Or have you kept it all a secret to yourself?

You can also seek out the help of ARVC or your state associations to see if you can build a  community of people who will step in to help you.  You have like-minds and like operating procedures. In a lot of cases. I know the fine points are different, but in a pinch, another campground owner could be your best ally to help step in and keep your campground afloat if something were to happen.

Donna Bordeaux, CPA with

What happens when you send two CPAs out into the relaxing outdoors to camp? You get  Donna and Chad have over 50 years of combined experience as entrepreneurial CPAs.  They’ve owned businesses and helped business owners exceed their wildest dreams.  They camp and travel across the country every chance they get, so it’s just a natural fit that they focus their CPA skills on helping campground owners throughout the USA grow their businesses and minimize the impact of taxes.  They understand the key performance indicators and specialized issued that face RV park owners every day.

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