With the popularity of staycations booming following the pandemic, more and more people are venturing out and looking to start running their own park home site. Keep reading this blog for our quick guide for starting your new business. Alternatively, you can visit our website for further training for your start-up.
Do your research before you start
Depending on whether you are trying to develop a completely new site or an already existing site, the key thing to consider is the demand within the area of the potential site and the sector in which you are looking to go in to.
These sectors include:
- Holiday parks: if your site is in a breath-taking area, surrounded by UK’s natural beauty and other tourist attractions then the demand for holiday park homes will be evident.
- Residential Parks: if your proposed location may hold many elderly people or individuals looking for affordable living then setting up a residential park home will ensure that your site stays high in demand.
- Touring Sites: camping, glamping and caravanning are activities people are always looking to get stuck into, especially during peak seasons like spring and summer. Thus if you’re looking to run a more seasonal site and provide individuals with short breaks then a touring site would be more suited for your business venture.
Other essential considerations to operate a successful park home site include:
- Your competitors: before making any decisions, it is essential to review the competition that is out there. There are many ways in which this can be done including visit their websites, social media channels, reviewing your brochures and reading reviews.
- Acknowledge why your potential customers should choose your park as apposed to any of your competitors. After completing your research, it will become more apparent what parks in specific areas are missing and what is valued by your target customer. Having this information will allow you to better your park and as a result attract more visitors.
When buying from a previous park operator, you will be at an advantage as you will be able to gather existing information about occupancy levels and get hold of any pre-existing advance booking. With this information, you will be able to decide if you want to improve on the existing patterns by bettering what you offer.
Consider who your customers are
Your target audience will depend on the type of site you decide to operate. For instance, most potential holiday park owners want a reasonably priced home away from home in UKs scenic locations. Typically, holiday sites tend to be extremely popular amongst families. Thus, it is essential that the family atmosphere is maintained. On the other hand, residential park homes are generally populated by older people, both by couples and individuals. As it includes elderly individuals seeking for a secured and relaxed retirement, it is suggested that park operators specify certain age restrictions (if needed) to attract your desired customer.
Touring sites differ as your customer base is far more diverse and varied. Whilst it is suggested that such short breaks are more favoured by young families, it is also popular amongst older people as well as anyone looking for a unique short break. Thus, the site itself must be more diverse to accommodate for all its visitors.
Another essential thing to consider for ALL park home sites is disabled access.
Facilities within your site
Many park homeowners, in particular, holiday park owners seek and expect high standards in facilities within the site. This ensures that you are attracting a steady stream of customers to your site. So, alongside ensuring that your park is cheap, cheerful, well maintained and well laid out, it would also be a great idea to offer a range of various facilities. For instance:
- Comfortable bathroom facilities
- Laundry block
- Electric hook-up points for motor homes
- Sales of gas
- Shops & vending machines
- Fast food outlets (either arranging a food truck to come on site or operating an independent shop).
- Waste disposal points
- Play areas
- Dog walking areas
- Exercise areas
- Swimming pool
- Luxury facilities (adult-only areas including Jacuzzis etc).
- Games room
- Bike hire
- Clubhouse (including bars and restaurants)
Holiday Park Homes
Most park-homes are privately owned, however, as a park operator you will charge owners an annual ground rent which is typically paid in advance. You can also generate an income through site owned park home rentals. These weekly charges will vary depending on the booking period & the demand.
There are various ways of charging campers & caravanners and it is up to you to decide what is your best way for your site. Typically pitch fees are quoted per night and offers tend to vary depending on season and demand. Such sites often provide an all-in charge that includes the pitch charge, charges for the ‘home’, car, people, mains electricity and hot water. From there you can consider other charges like extra cars or pets.
Residential Park Homes
Although park homes themselves are normally owned by residents, the land on which they are sited is owned by you. Usually, a new resident will pay the site operator for a unit. Ensure that the difference between what you pay out and what you charge the new resident is enough to cover all your costs. This includes; provision of units, siting fees, preparation for concrete pitch base and connection to mains services. Additionally, you will able be charging annual pitch fee.
Site licensing and planning
ALL sites must have a licence from their local authority. Such licence will only be granted if specific standards are met. These standards will be laid out and available with your local authority. Typical standards that can be expected are:
- Number of park homes that can be accommodated
- Spacing between each home
- Water supply
- Washing facilities
- Roads, footpaths, and adequate lighting
- Hard standing
- Storage space
- Electricity and gas supply
- Health and safety precautions
- Recreation space
Please note, all sites must have planning permission too.
Additionally, following the news laws and regulations from 1st October 2021 any site owner must be a fit and proper person to lawfully operate a park home site or have a fit and proper site manager in place. To learn more about this read here.
Overall, it is so important to ensure that before making any drastic decisions, you do intensive research about the industry, the competitors and any rules and regulations. If you wish to find out more enquire at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or join our association and receive the following benefits regarding starting your own park home business:
- Start-up Training Services
- Park Purchasing Finance
- Licensing and Planning Support
- PHHPA Park Operators Awards and 2021 Gala
- Park Focus Members Magazine
- Monthly Training & Live Events