A summer camp business is a facility that operates overnight recreational camps for adults and children. Camps may have themes and the industry includes outdoor adventure retreats. Camps generally provide accommodations and other amenities, such as cabins, fixed campsites, food services, recreational facilities, and equipment.

IBISWorld estimated that there are 6,000 summer camps in the United States with market size of more than $4 billion. As a matter of fact, the market size of the summer camp sector in the United States reached 3.91 billion U.S. dollars in 2019, up from the previous year’s size of 3.86 billion U.S dollars.

Steps on How to Start a Summer Camp Business

  1. Conduct Market Research

If you are considering starting a summer camp business, then you would need reliable market research to be able to maximize profits from the business. The first step in the market research process for your summer camp business should be to develop market-based research questions in line with your overall business goal and objective.

In this regard, you should source information that will help you maximize your business, look for data that will tell you what your potential market will be looking out for from summer camp, and also help you operate your summer camp business with less stress and of course, build the business to profitability.

a. Who is the Target Market for Summer Camp Business?
  • Schools
  • Families
  • Churches
  • Paramilitary
  • Corporate organizations
  • Tourists and international Campers
b. Is Summer Camp Business a Profitable Business?

Yes, the summer camp business is quite profitable. Available data shows that an average summer camp business can make around $240,000 (USD) and above per year gross.

c. Are There Existing Niches in the Industry?

Yes, there are niches when it comes to the summer camp business. Operators may specialize in any of the niche ideas including sports camps, team building camps, community service camps, farming/ranching/gardening camps, and wilderness camps.

d. Who are the Major Competitors?
  • Raquette Lake Boys Camp
  • IMG Academy
  • YMCA Camp Conrad Weiser
  • Lakefield College School Summer Academy & Programs
  • Timber Lake Camp
  • Paris Saint-Germain Academy USA Pro Intensive Camps
  • Camp Rim Rock for Girls
  • Windsor Mountain Summer Camp
  • Camp North Star
  • YMCA Camp Mason
  • Pok-O-MacCready Camps
  • Camp Kamaji for Girls
  • Camp Pillsbury
  • Camp Nashoba North
  • Camp Poyntelle
  • Timber Lake West Camp
  • Camp Green Lane
  • Raquette Lake Girls Camp
  • Camp Chippewa for Boys
  • Mercersburg Academy Summer Programs.
e. Are There County or State Regulations or Zoning Laws for Summer Camp Business?

Yes, and zoning laws require summer camp facility operators to follow specific rules and regulations, including some that apply only to players in the campground and summer camp industry. Please note that in many communities, zoning laws require summer camp facilities to apply for a permit from the city.

This application process allows the city’s zoning department to determine whether the summer camp facility meets the zoning rules of the community. Permits also ensure that all summer camp facilities are properly licensed by county or state agencies.

f. Is There a Franchise for Summer camp Business?

No, there are no franchise opportunities for the summer camp business.

g. What Do You Need to Start Summer Camp Business?
  • A Feasibility Report
  • Business and Marketing Plans
  • Business Licenses and Permits
  • A Well-Equipped and Secured Summer Camp Facility
  • Insurance
  • EIN (Employer Identification Number)/Federal Tax ID Number.
  • A Corporate Bank Account
  • Employees
  • Operational Capital (For Ongoing Expenses)
  1. Choose a Memorable Business Name

When looking to start a business, before you can begin to file the necessary documents with the constituted authorities or start your website, it is necessary that you come up with a name that you will be recognized with. It is essential that the name you come up with can easily be pronounced, is unique and easily memorable.
Some of the catchy business name ideas suitable for a summer camp business are;

Creative Summer Camp Business Name ideas
  • Green Network© Summer Camp, Inc.
  • Next Level® Summer Camp, LLC
  • Future Solutions® Summer Camp, Inc.
  • Tree Land® Summer Camp, Inc.
  • Bob King™ Summer Camp, Inc.
  • Lush Green™ Summer Camp, LLC.
  • Nile Division© Summer Camp, LLC
  • Mount Camel® Summer Camp, Inc.
  • Christian Culture© Summer Camp, Inc.
  • Move Ahead© Summer Camp, Inc.
  • Dray Danton® Summer Camp, LLC
  • Park House® Summer Camp, LLC
  • Latitude Connect™ Summer Camp, LLC
  • First Port© Summer Camp, Inc.
  • Pantex Chap® Summer Camp, Inc.
  • Power House™ Summer Camp, Inc.
  • George Town™ Summer Camp, Inc.
  • Mangrove Base© Summer Camp, Inc.
  • Fresh Nest® Summer Camp, Inc.
  • Oasis Land™ Summer Camp, Inc.
  1. Register Your Business

a. What Type of Business Structure is Best for Summer Camp Business?

When it comes to the business structure of a summer camp business, the one that most players in this line of business consider is an LLC. It is common to consider an LLC because providers want to protect themselves from lawsuits. Please note that an LLC will need an EIN if it has employees or if it will be required to file any of the excise tax forms listed below.

b. Steps to Form an LLC
  • Choose a Name for Your LLC.
  • File Articles of Organization.
  • Choose a registered agent.
  • Decide on member vs. manager management.
  • Create an LLC operating agreement.
  • Comply with other tax and regulatory requirements.
  • File annual reports.
c. What Type of License is Needed to Open a Summer Camp Business?
  • General Business License
  • Zonal Permits
  • Signage Permit
  • Operational State Facility Inspections for your facility
d. What Type of Certification is Needed to Start a Summer Camp Business?

You don’t need any certifications to start a summer camp business.

e. What Documents are Needed to Open a Summer Camp Business?
  • DBA
  • EIN
  • Business and liability insurance
  • Federal Tax Payer’s ID
  • State Permit and Building Approval (For your summer camp facility)
  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • Business License
  • Business Plan
  • Employment Agreement (offer letters)
  • Operating Agreement for LLCs
  • Insurance Policy
  • Online Terms of Use
  • Online Privacy Policy Document
  • Contract Document
  • Company Bylaws
  • Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
f. Do You Need a Trademark, Copyright, or Patent?

If you are considering starting a summer camp business, usually you may not have any need to file for intellectual property protection or trademark. This is so because the nature of the business makes it possible for you to successfully run the business without having any cause to challenge anybody in court for illegally making use of your company’s intellectual properties.

  1. Cost Analysis and Budgeting

a. How Much Does It Cost to Start Summer Camp Business?

A summer camp business will cost from $2 million to $6 million to start and that can easily go higher depending on your overall business goals and objectives.

b. What are the Cost Involved in Starting a Summer Camp Business
  • Business Registration Fees – $750.
  • Legal expenses for obtaining licenses and permits – $7,300.
  • Marketing, Branding and Promotions – $5,000.
  • Business Consultant Fee – $2,500.
  • Insurance – $5,400.
  • Rent/Lease – $2.5 million.
  • Other start-up expenses like commercial satellite TV subscriptions, stationery ($500), and phone and utility deposits ($2,800).
  • Operational Cost (salaries of employees, payments of bills et al) – $60,000
  • Start-up inventory – $75,000
  • Store Equipment (cash register, security, ventilation, signage) – $4,750
  • Furnishing and Equipping – $1.5 million
  • Website: $600
  • Opening party: $7,000
  • Miscellaneous – $5,500
c. What Factors Determine the Cost of Opening a Summer Camp Business?
  • The size of the summer camp
  • The choice of location
  • The required licenses and permits
  • The cost for branding, promotion, and marketing of the summer camp business
  • The cost of furnishing and equipping the summer camp facility
  • The cost of the insurance policy covers
  • The cost of registering the business
  • Cost of recruiting and training your staff
  • The cost for the purchase and customizing of uniforms
  • The cost of the grand opening of the summer camp business
d. Do You Need to Build a Facility? If YES, How Much Will It Cost?

Yes, it is compulsory to build a new facility for your summer camp business, and it will cost you a minimum of $3 million.

e. What are the Ongoing Expenses of a Summer Camp Business?
  • Electric bills
  • Utility bills (internet subscriptions, phone bills, signage, and software renewal fees et al)
  • Salaries of employees
  • Maintenance
  • Insurance
  • Marketing costs
f. What is the Average Salary of your Staff?
  • Chief Executive Officer (Owner) – $55,000 per year
  • Summer camp Facility Manager – $38,000 per year
  • Accountant/Cashier – $34,0000
  • Marketing and Sales Officer – $32,000 per year
  • Attendants (5) – $30,000 per year
  • Customer Care Executive/Front Desk Officer – $23,396 per year
  • Cleaners – $18,000 per year
  • Security Officers – $21,150 per year
g. How Do You Get Funding to Start Summer Camp Business?
  • Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
  • Raising money from investors and business partners
  • Sell shares to interested investors
  • Applying for a loan from your bank/banks
  • Pitching your business idea and applying for business grants and seed funding from the government, donor organizations, and angel investors
  • Source for soft loans from your family members and friends.
  1. Write a Business Plan

a. Executive Summary

Green Haven® Summer Camp, LLC is a standard summer camp facility that will be located in a serene environment on the outskirts of New Haven – Connecticut. Our aim in setting up the business is to contribute our quota in ensuring that families, campers, religious organizations, and corporate organizations that live in New Haven and neighboring cities have a facility that is highly suitable for corporate and family summer camping.

b. Products and Service
  • Providing overnight recreational camping
  • Organizing camping programs for teens
  • Selling meals, snacks, and nonalcoholic beverages prepared for immediate consumption
  • Providing room or unit accommodation for travelers and others
  • Collecting tuitions or fees and membership dues
  • Other related facility operations.
c. Mission Statement

Our mission is to foster values of sharing, integrity, responsibility, and respect in a friendly, safe environment of fun. We want to give our guests the best camp experience because we know it gives them greater self-confidence and self-esteem.

Vision Statement

Our vision is to encourage our campers to discover and develop the best version of themselves.

d. Goals and Objectives

The goals and objectives of the summer camp business are to provide a safe and secured camp facility and programs for campers.

e. Organizational Structure
  • Chief Executive Officer (Owner)
  • Summer camp Facility Manager
  • Accountant/Cashier
  • Marketing and Sales Officer
  • Attendants (5)
  • Customer Care Executive/Front Desk Officer
  • Cleaners
  • Security Officers

Marketing Plan

a. SWOT Analysis
Strength:
  • Ideal Location for summer camp facility
  • Highly Experienced and Qualified Employees and Management
  • Availability of additional service offering
  • Highly Secured and Clean Facility
  • Excellent operational history
Weakness:
  • Not enough existing clientele to run at full capacity immediately
  • The owner is new to large-scale marketing
  • We will need a loan to build our facility
  • The owner is currently running the business solo
  • Lack of economies of scale.
Opportunities:
  • A growing number of campers in the United States
  • Build upon existing clientele
  • Online market, new services, new technology, and of course the opening of new markets
  • Favorable government policies.
Threat:
  • Loans diminish profitability until they are paid off
  • The first year will be financially tight while we gain customers and pay off loans
  • Competition in the area could increase
  • Management of employees requires time, money, and efforts
  • Economic downturn; when the economy is bad it affects consumer spending which in turn impacts businesses negatively.
b. How Do Summer Camp Businesses Make Money?

Summer camps make money by;

  • Providing overnight recreational camping
  • Organizing camping programs for teens
  • Selling meals, snacks, and nonalcoholic beverages prepared for immediate consumption
  • Providing room or unit accommodation for travelers and others
  • Collecting tuitions or fees and membership dues
  • Food and drinks court
c. Payment Options
  • Payment via bank transfer
  • Payment with cash
  • Payment via credit cards
  • Payment via online bank transfer
  • Payment via check
  • Payment via mobile money transfer
d. Sales & Advertising Strategies
  • Introduce your summer camp by sending introductory letters to schools, households, religious organizations, and other stakeholders in and around your city
  • Open your summer camp with a party so as to capture the attention of residents who are your first targets
  • Advertise your summer camp on national dailies, local TV stations, and local radio station
  • Promote your summer camp online via your official website and all available social media platforms
  • Continuously improving the performance of our brands
  • Hire the services of experts to make your brands the first choice in your city
  • Making your first impression count positively
  • Make use of attractive handbills to create awareness and also to give direction to your summer camp
  • Adopt a direct mailing coupon marketing approach
  • Position our signage/Flexi banners at strategic places
  • Create a loyalty plan that will enable you to reward your regular customers

Financial Projection

a. How Much Should You Charge for your Product/Service?

The average weekly rate for day camp ranges from $199 to $800, while overnight camps will set parents back between $680 and $2,000 a week, according to the American Camp Association.

b. How Much Profit Do Summer Camp Business Owners Make a Year?

It depends, but the available report shows that on average, a successful summer camp owner can make from $50,000 to $90,000 a year. A successful summer camp itself can make over a hundred thousand dollars depending on its popularity, location, and assets.

c. What Factors Determine the Amount of Profit to Be Made?
  • The capacity of the summer camp
  • The type of related services and product offerings
  • The location of the summer camp
  • The management style of the summer camp
  • The business approach of the summer camp
  • The advertising and marketing strategies adopted by the summer camp
  • The number of years the summer camp business is in business
d. What is the Profit Margin of Summer Camp Business?

The profit margin of the summer camp business is not fixed. It will depend on some factors that are unique to your location, your facility, amenities, and service offerings.

e. What is the Sales Forecast?

Below is the sales forecast for the summer camp business it is based on the location of the business and other factors as it relates to such startups in the United States;

  • First Fiscal Year (FY1): $550,000
  • Second Fiscal Year (FY2): $750,000
  • Third Fiscal Year (FY3): $1.2 million
  1. Set Up your Office

a. How Do You Choose a Perfect Location for Summer Camp Business?
  • The demography of the location
  • The purchasing power of businesses and residents of the location
  • Accessibility of the location
  • The number of summer camps in and around the location
  • The local laws and regulations in the community/state
  • Traffic, parking and security et al
b. What State and City are Best to Open Summer Camp Business?
  • Paso Robles, California
  • Grand Island, New York
  • Canyonville, Oregon
  • Cedar City, Utah
  • Long Beach, Washington
  • Dandridge, Tennessee
  • Mountain Home, Idaho
  • Custer, South Dakota
  • Theodore, Alabama
  • Roswell, New Mexico
c. What Equipment is Needed to Operate Summer Camp Business?

You should purchase games accessories, camp beds, electronic gadgets, camp gas, first aid box, safety gadgets, computers/laptops, internet facility, telephone, fax machine, and office furniture (chairs, tables, and shelves) amongst others and all these can be gotten as fairly used.

  1. Hire Employees

When it comes to hiring employees for a standard summer camp, you should make plans to hire a competent chief executive officer (you can occupy this position), facility manager, marketing and sales executive (business developer), accountant, attendants, cleaners, and security officers.

  1. Launch the Business Proper

In recent times, no summer camp opens its door for business without first organizing an opening party to officially launch the business. You can choose to do a soft opening party if you are operating on a low budget or you can choose to go for a grand opening party.

With a proper launching of the summer camp business, you will officially inform people in your city that your summer camp business is open for business.

a. What Makes Summer Camp Business Successful?
  • Choose a good and secured location to launch the business
  • Hire only competent, hardworking, and trustworthy staff
  • Be deliberate with your marketing sales approach
  • Encourage the use of word of mouth to promote your summer camp business
  • Leverage all available online and offline platforms to promote your summer camp business
b. What Happens During a Typical Day at Summer Camp Business?
  • The facility is open for the day
  • Administrative work is done concurrently
  • The facility is cleaned, arranged, and ready to welcome patrons
  • Campers come in and their rooms are allotted to them
  • Campers engage in various activities
  • Food and drinks are served
  • Surveillance is carried out
  • Maintenance of the facility is carried out
  • The facility is administratively closed for the day.
c. What Skills and Experience Do You Need to Build Summer Camp Business?
  • Good facility management skills
  • Customer services skills
  • Interpersonal skill
  • Business management skills
  • Bargaining skill
  • Work experience in the campground industry
  • Experience in managing people
  • Experience in business administration.