Owning an RV park can be a great experience, but just like any endeavor there are risks to consider. Despite the strongest RV sales in U.S. history – and many more years of strength projected – there are things to be concerned about. So what do RV park owners worry about? And how do they protect against these issues?
Many economists project a recession in 2021. Even if they’re wrong on the exact year, the fact of the matter is that the economy has never in history gone 13+ years without one. And one casualty of the typical recession is banking instability – the result of loan losses and lack of confidence in the direction of interest rates. So how can you protect yourself from the potential loss of banks writing new loans for a year or so? The key is to make sure that your RV park debt is longer term, rather than short term. If you have a 5 year note, then you can choose when to refinance between the 3rd and 5th year, giving you plenty of time to maneuver. Ten year loans are even safer. But a two or three year loan is dangerous.
Federal government shutdowns
Many RV parks rely upon a nearby attraction to bring in customers and a Federal government shut down will often cause National Parks to close on a temporary basis. While this is looking less and less likely these days, it’s still a risk nevertheless. There’s no way you can buy insurance against a government shutdown, nor is there really an effective defense. But if you own an RV park near a National Park, you have to be aware of this risk. The good news is that most shutdowns have been extremely short. Best plan is to simply have some emergency money in the bank if it should happen.
It’s a fact that America today is very litigious and employees are a major source of that risk. It’s imperative that all RV park owners have at least a basic knowledge of employment law in their state, as well as all potential risks covered. Make sure that any failure by the employee is documented and that required warnings are given before termination. It’s also a good idea to have some form of initial probationary period as part of the employment agreement to give you the opportunity to make a quick ending on a hire that was clearly a bad idea.
Every smart RV park owner is aware of weather risks – but your level of risk is kind of predetermined by your geographic location. That being said, the most dangerous place for most RV parks are in potential hurricane areas. But there are also tornados, fires, earthquakes and flooding floating around out there. The key is to have insurance that protects you from such events. Contact a good specialty insurer like Mobile Insurance in Houston to get the coverage you need.
Owning an RV park does not mean being free of worry. However, you can take steps to minimize or eliminate your risk and this will give you great peace of mind. This list should get you started.