Buying Campsites

Buying An Existing Campsite or Caravan Park Business

As you have arrived at Campsites For Sale you perhaps are still in the process of searching for a campsite to buy, so we suggest that you firstly visit our campsites for sale page which may be reached by clicking on the Home link near the top of this page. If you have already found that dream campsite that you are interested in buying then please read on...

When you have found that dream campsite for sale and you want to have a closer look, then please take your time to read our comprehensive check list below. This will guide you with what you might wish to consider in order to ensure you have found the right business.

First of all Are there any non permanent structures located on the campsite grounds that are not legally owned by the current campsite operators? You should not assume that when you buy a campsite that you will legally own all land and equipment that are on the site, remember that some property may be leased or have contracts attached to them. Also explore what conditions are set out are for the owners of caravans and mobile homes. How long are you legally obliged to continue to rent the caravan pitch to that caravan owner? If you are not happy with the yearly rental charges, when can you alter the rental charges? What does the contract say about how you could remove a problem caravan owner, for example that of nuisance or otherwise noisy behaviour towards other caravan owners?

Star rating targhets that are offered are quite different between caravan and camping organisations. Star ratings can take into account the number of toilets and showers available to a generic number of caravan occupants. Other ratings may be influenced by whether there is a bar or clubhouse or a swimming pool or a small shop on site.

If the campsite you are looking at has a swimming pool, does it conform to local council's regulations? The maintenance of a swimming pool can be very expensive and so it is important to know if the equipment in good working order and if available is there documented proof of the maintenance, with bills and receipts? The local council may say that the swimming pool must be surrounded by a child proof fence and that a qualified lifeguard is on duty when the pool is open. You should not underestimate the work or commitment involved in running a clean, legal and safe pool for your clients. In this respect, think about if there are any trees nearby that will deposit leaves into the pool during the day when not covered over. On the other side of the coin, in our many years of experience at campsites, pensioners and the older caravan owners may be looking for campsites that dont have pools in the belief they will have a quieter campsites to look forward to.

You must also consider the emergency access to the land and ensure that any emergency vehicles are able to gain access to all areas of the property, don't forget any isolated parts of the property too such as caravan storage areas which generally don't tend to have made up roads leading to them. Don't forget that fire engines are very wide vehicles and whilst the length of a caravan outfit would be longer, most UK caravans are narrower than emergency Fire engines. Most large commercial vehicles over 3500kgs Gross Vehicle Weight are 2.55 metres wide, but that does not take into account the mirrors and equipment that may be fitted to the vehicle and may be overhanging the sides.

You must also ensure that the current risk assessment procedures are working correctly and those include dealing with the escape and security of persons in the case of an emergency. Don't forget that some of your clients may be disabled persons. This is particularly important when you have areas that can be publicly accessed via steps or stairways.

Has the local authority issued a licence in relation to all of the caravan pitches being used? Remember that in peak season times owners may attempt to squeeze the odd extra caravan onto a site and this may be more than the site is allowed under it's licence conditions.

You may be already deciding to increase the capacity of a site and this may be one of the reasons for your intended purchase. Before you make any form decisions about this you should seek help and guidance from the local authority. Do not assume that because there may be land availble to use because there are empty spaces, there may be legal reasons why the planning authority has declined its use in the first place. In addition, planning authorities like to see that a site is being used to capacity before they will wish to permit expansion plans.

Electricity and water supplies: Will your campers be requiring water at the tap located at each pitch. Increasingly there is a demand for individually serviced pitches and the old tradition of a single tap for 5 or 6 caravans is being phased out. How many pitches are serviced with electricity? It is true to say that some campers will not require electricity, and in fact some campers would rather enjoy the whole camping experience without it. However, most caravan owners will need a bit of electricity for watching the TV at night, which seems to be the norm nowadays during holidays. What happens if the caravan owners overload the circuits, how is the system geared up to cope with this? Are there primary breakers at each pitch and also secondary breakers installed that serve a number of pitches?

Also think about how your surface rain water and sewage is dealt with on the site. How old is the sceptic tank if fitted? when will this need to be replaced? what is the cost of getting it emptied? are there any access problems? remember also any expansion plans will inevitable mean that there will be a need for an increase in capacity of any tanks. Are there any rivers and streams nearby and if so how are they affected by storm water leaving the site?

Is the site associated with any organisation such as The caravan Club or Camping and Caravanning Club? If so, give them a ring and find out there procedures for transfer when ownership changes hands. it may be that the organisation will require the removal of any signage until they have visited the site under the new ownership. You will be getting a lot of custom from being associated with a large caravanning organisation, so treat that connection as you would a valuable asset  and look after it well !

Would you book to stay on the campsite you are looking to buy? Spend some time there, get settled in with its customers, make a holiday out of it and get chatting to the holidaymakers and see what they 'really' think of the site. Would they return? How long have they been coming there. Get some really honest answers about their likes and dislikes over the site. Take on board their comments and think what you could do to make things better. But, if the answers are coming across very negatively, then do listen to what is being said and don't let the heart rule the head.

The articles on this website are the personal opinions of the author. Any use of these materials is only with the full responsibility of the reader.


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Last modified 13 August 2010