On top of the infrastructure costs are the fees imposed by Local Councils for “licensing” and/or planning approval, subdivision, re-zoning of the land,connection fees to services and so on (and on…). We know of figures such as $40,000 annual license fee, $25,000 “Amenities charge”, $30,000 “establishment fee” etc. All of these on top of Council Rates, Water, Sewage, Garbage and Power charges. Then, of course, comes Insurances, Wages, Superannuation and all the other costs of operating a “business”.
Assuming we now have our Caravan Park finished and operating we have to staff it and maintain it. For the latter you probably need as a minimum a Ute, maybe a trailer as well, a Ride-On Mower and a storage shed to keep it all in.
Staffing comes down to the operational structure (Owner operated, managed, leased etc.) but whoever is responsible for running the park day to day has to find enough people to man the office for at least 12-14 hours a day; clean the amenities, maintain the grounds etc.
After all this is in place you probably want to add some onsite accommodation, usually cabins these days rather than onsite vans.. So start adding from $100,000 per cabin, and then you have to supply linen, maybe kitchen facilities and find someone to clean and launder.
The other significant factor is that many areas are VERY seasonal, e.g. the wet tropics where the Park has to survive on a 5 to 7 month season at best.
I think you might get the picture by now that Caravan Parks in the 21st century are not the piece of grass they were in the 60s, 70s or even 80s when some of us used to travel around them. Next time you book in and/or check in please share a thought for the people involved and what has been done to provide you with a comfortable night’s (or week’s) stay.
Author’s Note: This is not intended to be an exhaustive view of every little detail but to present the overall picture. It maybe paints the ideal (?) picture but we all know that there are people involved in running Caravan Parks who we might think are in the wrong industry but give them a thought anyway!
In Part Two we will look at Paid Campgrounds in all their variations, and in Part Three at Free Camps and their evolution,