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June 1st, 2017

Memo From Frank & Dave

The famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright was born in this month in 1867. While you may not be aware of it, Frank Lloyd Wright would have loved RV parks, as he was a huge fan of tying people together with nature. He tried to make all of his buildings an extension of the environment, and felt that it was beneficial for all humans to be connected to nature. The RV park business is all about this same business model, and the best RV parks succeed in this noble cause. While Frank Lloyd write passed away before the modern RV park business flourished, he would be proud of the industry’s intent and would no doubt be traveling America in his RV if he had lived a half-century later.

The Benefits Of Low-Tech Industries

early car

Even back in the old days, the automobile business plan was pretty simple. Four wheels and an engine – no horse needed. While the modern car has been through many refinements over the past century, there is something extremely reassuring in dealing with low-tech industries. What makes them so profitable?

Never obsolete

RV parks have no risk of being obsolete. There is no technology that can replace the simple business model of allowing RVs to park on a property and provide enjoyable amenities. Although there are consumer improvements that can modify the latest in RV park design – such as pull-through lots – the overall business model has remained unchanged for nearly a century.

No sudden shocks

Because of the absence of technology in the RV park sector, there are no sudden “shocks’ that can come from sudden changes, such as happened with the music industry with the advent of digital sound. If you break down the components of an RV park, from pools to miniature golf, you’ll find that virtually every piece of the consumer experience is nearly a century old. It is very stress free being involved in a business that has no worries of being on the wrong side of a new technology shift.

Easy to understand

Because of the simplicity of the business model, it is not difficult to understand successful RV park ownership and management. This is a good thing, as you can focus on the key drivers to profitability much easier when you know what they are. It’s like playing an old video game like Pong as opposed to a new one like Call of Duty. In the time you can learn what the controllers mean on the new video game, you can already be on your way to mastering the old one.

Shorter learning curve

It is very reassuring to enter an industry that has well-established business points that can be used to prepare your business plan. This allows you to improve your level of play quickly and effectively. There are many successful RV park owners that came from other industries and professions just a short while ago, but are now able to compete with long-time owners. Some have even built entire portfolios of RV parks in only a few years.


The RV park industry is extremely easy to understand and perform well in. Its low-tech nature allows for a “plug and play” attack plan and the absence of worry about sudden shifts in the business model. That’s why RV park owners are generally a successful and content group.

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Want To Office Here Every Day?

colorado office

To many investors, the big attraction to buying an RV park is the ability to make a complete lifestyle change. Many owners like to live nearby their property, and self-manage them. If that’s the case, this could be the view out of your office every day for the rest of your life. If you like what you see, then learn more about RV park investing to discover the correct way to identify, evaluate, negotiate, perform due diligence on, finance and operate RV parks. Quality of life is the key to happiness, and RV parks deliver on this important attribute 24/7.

Thoughts On Building An Insanely Great Product

airplane interior

This is a photo of the new Southwest Airlines jets that are being brought into their fleet. Southwest now not only offers the lowest cost fares, the most on-time flights, zero accidents since inception, and a great sense of humor, but also some of the nicest planes in the U.S. Steve Jobs spent his career in search of building “insanely great” products – such as that offered by Southwest – and it’s a goal that works for the RV park industry, as well.

Never compromise

When you are in search of excellence, you cannot lower your sights. You must keep pressing to improve every step of what you do. It becomes a mantra that is a business plan unto itself. An engineer once brought the prototype I-phone to Steve Jobs office, and Jobs looked at it and said “I want it even smaller”. The engineer said “we can’t, there’s no room”. So Jobs threw the phone in a fish tank and said “see those air bubbles – there’s still room you can remove”. This kind of dedication to making a superior product is what made Jobs great – and can work for you, too.

Think like a customer

A great way to start on your journey to build the best RV park experience for your customers is to see the world from their point of view. What would you like to be different? What can be improved on? RV park owners sometimes become complacent with a “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it” attitude. But the truth is that the search for greatness never ends, and you should always be analyzing your property to find ways to make it better – and from a customer’s perspective.

Market testing

When you think you are on to a good idea to improve your RV park, be sure to market test it. Ask for their input, and get their votes. Having your customers complete surveys on their experience can be hugely valuable. This is the best type of feedback – honest opinions directly from your customers.

Be ahead of the rest

If you are on the cutting edge of improving your RV park at all times, you will always be ahead of the pack on new ideas and on happier customers. With social media, the positive reviews of your RV park will travel fast and immediately impact your revenues. Being a pioneer of customer service and experience will give you an edge over the competition.


The pursuit of greatness with your RV park is a noble pursuit that will reward you with higher revenues and net income. It also pays dividends in quality of life, as there is great personal satisfaction in creating a terrific business model.

Elvis Almost Stayed Here

graceland rv park

This is the RV park next door to Elvis Presley’s beloved Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee. There are an incredible 3,000 people per day that tour the estate, and a large number of them arrive in RVs. The best RV parks are what are called “destination” locations, and there are few destinations greater than the home of the King.

RV Shows Are Everywhere On Cable

If you do not watch much television, you may have missed several new shows that paint a very positive picture of the RV industry. So what’s available on cable right now pertaining to the RV lifestyle?

flippin rv's

Flipping RV’s

This is a very entertaining show that focuses on restoring vintage RVs. Here’s the show’s description:

Buying, restoring and selling things for profit -- otherwise known as flipping -- has become the subject of many reality shows in recent years. For young married couple Justin and Anna Scribner, those flippable items are vintage RVs and trailers. Once they find one they like and negotiate the price, the Scribners start refurbishing to get it looking like new. It doesn't always go smoothly; problems arise during some projects. But what else can you expect from motor homes that, sometimes, are older than 50 years?

big time rv

Big Time RV

This program is kind of the ‘lifestyles of the rich and famous” of RV owners, but is highly entertaining and shows many of the most expensive RV models in the U.S. Here’s the show’s own description:

For many motor-home lovers, it's "the bigger the recreational vehicle, the better." Though there's a big price to pay for a convenience-filled rig that helps make it a home away from home, it's worth the cost to shoppers featured in "Big Time RV," which presents a glimpse inside a Tampa, Fla., dealership that's one of the largest, most prestigious of its kind in the U.S. While touring and testing every make and model available, the sales force and service center work to satisfy the demands of those who want to buy -- or rent -- big, luxury RVs.


If you’re interested in the RV park business, here are two shows that are fun to watch and learn from. Shows such as these are great for the industry, as they stimulate interest in RVs and that translates to greater sales and more nights on the road.

How To Make Your Signage Compelling (And Not Like This)

bad signage

Some signs are assets to their owners. Others drag a business down. How can you make your sign seem attractive, compelling, and up-to-date? Here are several tips on proper sign construction.

Simple pole base

Sign support columns should always be singular. A simple pole base never goes out of fashion. Don’t try to get fancy and try to design the next big thing. Just use one old fashioned pole. Keep it simple.

No earth colors

Since the whole point of a sign is to attract attention, the opposite is to blend into the environment. As a result, you should never use earth tones in your signage. Just look at the signs of Public Storage, the largest self-storage owner in the U.S. What do you see? Yes, orange. There’s no orange in nature – unless you are in a Florida orange grove.

Internal lighting

The best signs are illuminated from the inside, and not the outside. They accomplish this by having fluorescent tubes inside the sign face, and a vinyl material that allows the light to escape. This is much more expensive than the type of sign that is illuminated with flood lights – and looks significantly better. All top RV parks have internally illuminated signs.

Professional design

Never try to design your sign yourself. Use a professional who really knows and understands how to do it correctly. You can find designers at such websites as 99Designs and Fiverr.com that can give you knock-out designs for an incredibly low cost.

Don’t be afraid to copy the best

See a sign you like? Then just copy it. Don’t feel the need to be a pioneer – you can simply piggyback off of somebody else’s work. However, you can’t copy trademarked names and logos. But if you like a certain color choice or typestyle – those are not off limits.



Signs are expensive, so do them right the first time. Don’t build RV park signs that will become obsolete down the road. Like everything else, signs have certain fundamental principles that keep them always in fashion and looking great.

Why Persistence Is The Key Trait To Finding The Right RV Park To Buy

boxing cartoon

Have you ever noticed that many of the greatest stories in human achievement begin and end with the trait known as “persistence”. This powerful force makes someone invincible, and it can also make your search for the right RV park invincible, as well. So how does it work?

The power of volume

It’s a fundamental truth that the key to finding the right RV park to buy is to look at a lot of them. The more the better. Once you have decided the traits of the type of RV park you want to purchase, the more of them you review the greater your odds of success. You should take advantage of all forms of finding RV parks that are for sale: on-line listings, brokers, cold-calling, direct mail and dropping by – and do them all at the same time.

Holding out for the best deal

The opposite of persistence is to give up easily. And many people do when it comes to looking at RV parks to buy. Don’t just settle for the first park that sort of meets your criteria – you should hold out for the best deals. Most people only buy one RV park, so it’s vital that you pick a complete winner. We often look at 10 good properties for every one that we buy, and 100 properties to narrow it down to those 10.

Many times the seller must be courted over time

Selling an RV park is a big deal to most moms & pops, and they cannot decide to do so without time. Many buyers make the mistake of thinking that they will simply contact mom & pop and have them say “sure, I’ll sell it to you – just give me $50,000 and I’ll carry the financing on the rest”. Instead, typically mom & pop will say “let me think about it” and later “let me talk to my accountant”. These conversations can often go on for months. Persistent buyers will hang in there and ultimately get the deal done. Those without persistence will end up missing out on what might have been a life-changing acquisition.


Of all the traits of a successful RV park buyer, one of the most important is persistence. It allows for the unrelenting search for the right property to buy, and the aggressive follow-up needed to tie it down.

What Makes One RV Park More Valuable Than Another?

art museum

Some signs are assets to their owners. Others drag a business down. How can you make your sign seem attractive, compelling, and up-to-date? Here are several tips on proper sign construction.


As with all real estate, the initial driver to high valuation is location, location, location. An RV park that is right next to a major destination is far more valuable than an overnighter RV park in the middle of nowhere. You see these most valuable RV parks all the time, near a tourist landmark and typically completely full. It is not hard to rate all RV parks based on location alone.

Current rent

Between two identical RV parks, the one with the higher rents and revenue is the more valuable. Since RV parks are an income property, the higher the income the higher the value. It’s not rocket science. If you look at an RV park with $400,000 in revenue and another with $300,000 in revenue, the $400,000 property is the more valuable one.

Potential rent

Another consideration in the above example, however, is what the revenue could be, not what it is currently. If, in the above example, it turns out that the RV park with $300,000 in revenue has the potential to go to $600,000 with higher rent levels and occupancy – while the $400,000 in revenues is fully maximized – then the $300,000 revenue park may be the more valuable. But you have to tap into that value before it is worth anything. This is where many great RV park turnaround deals come from – buying an existing income stream and then improving it.

Future land value

Not all RV parks come with this feature, but often the best RV parks have future land value greater than the value as an RV park. Take, for example, the RV park next to Disneyland in California. The rents are $75 per night but, even then, the property will someday probably be a high-rise building. In those cases, the value of the land might exceed the RV park’s value, making it more valuable than the net income would suggest.

Property condition

Between two identically located RV parks with identical operating numbers, the property with better property condition would be deemed more valuable. Poor condition properties often need significant investment in terms of deferred maintenance, and that drags the overall value down. They will also be dragged down in the opinion of the appraiser, who will consider the property inferior.

Drive-up appeal

Some properties just have a certain “style” that is the sum of their location, entry design, and even what’s seen on the approach to the property. These properties impress customers, appraisers, bankers and buyers alike, and this value add is a bit subjective, but most people can determine if a property has it or not.

Operational expertise

Another differential in RV park value is simply operational expertise. A property that is well managed will have lower expenses and higher net income, as well as a better appearance and less deferred maintenance. So you can actually manhandle a lesser valued park into a more valuable one with simply better management.


RV parks are just like fine art – some are more valuable than others. The key is to know what those drivers to value are, and then how to evaluate them so you do not overpay. The good news is that, unlike fine art, you can actually put your stamp on an RV park and boost the value simply through knowing what you’re doing and operating it better.

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