A water park is an amusement park that features water play areas such as swimming pools, water slides, splash pads, water playgrounds, and lazy rivers, as well as areas for bathing, swimming, and other barefoot environments.
Modern water parks may also be equipped with some type of artificial surfing or body boarding environment, such as a wave pool or flow-rider. Available data shows that the market size of the water park sector in the United States reached 2.33 billion U.S. dollars in 2022.
The sector saw growth over the previous year’s size of 1.67 billion U.S dollars. The market size, measured by revenue of the Water Parks industry, is $3.3bn in 2022. There are currently over one thousand water parks within the U.S., most of which identify as stand-alone outdoor water parks.
Steps on How to Start a Water Park Business
Table of Content
Conduct Market Research
If you are considering starting a water park business, 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 water park 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, data that will help you know what your potential market will be looking out for from a water park, and also help you operate your water park business with less stress and of course, build the business to profitability.
a. Who is the Target Market for Water Park Business?
Most water parks offer entertainment and an opportunity for exercise and active leisure time for adults, teens, children, and families. The majority of water parks are still mainly aimed at children, but they are increasingly being focused on other target groups.
b. Is Water Park Business a Profitable Business?
Yes, the water park business is profitable. Available data shows that the Water Parks industry has made a big splash over the years, as industry revenue was bolstered by rising per capita disposable incomes.
c. Are There Existing Niches in the Industry?
Yes, there are existing niches when it comes to water park business and they are;
- Indoor water parks
- Outdoor water parks
d. Who are the Major Competitors?
- Noah’s Ark
- Kalahari Resort Pocono
- Aquatica, Orlando, Florida
- Schlitterbahn New Braunfels
- Water World, Federal Heights
- Alabama Splash Adventure, Bessemer
- Red Bay Water Park, Red Bay
- Oasis Water Park, Phoenix
- Crenshaw Springs Water Park, White Hall
- Casitas Water Adventure, Ventura
- Ravine Waterpark, Paso Robles
- Splash Kingdom Waterpark, Redlands
- Splash Away Bay Water Park, Middlebury
- CoCo Key Water Resort, Orlando
- Helen Water Park, Helen
- Roaring Springs Water Park, Meridian
- Paradise Bay Water Park, Lombard
- Atlantis Water Park, Clarksville
- Water Park of New England, Danvers
- Palm Island Indoor Waterpark, Batavia.
e. Are There County or State Regulations or Zoning Laws for Water Park Business?
Yes. Zoning laws require water park facility operators to follow specific rules and regulations, including some that apply only to players in the campground and water park industry. Please note that in many communities, zoning laws require water park facilities to apply for a permit from the city.
f. Is There a Franchise for Water Park Business?
Yes, there are franchise opportunities for water park businesses. Here are some of them;
- KidzMondo Water Park
- Unlimited Snow
- Water Country.
g. What Do You Need to Start Water Park Business?
- A Feasibility Report
- Business and Marketing Plans
- Business Licenses and Permits
- A Well-Equipped and Secured Water Park
- EIN (Employer Identification Number)/Federal Tax ID Number
- A Corporate Bank Account
- Operational Capital (For Ongoing Expenses)
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 water park business are;
Creative Water Park Business Name ideas
- Palm Avenue© Water & Game Park, Inc.
- Free Falls® Water Park, LLC
- James Harts® Water & Game Park, Inc.
- Jump Land® Water Park, Inc.
- Barry T™ Water Park, Inc.
- Spring Oak™ Water & Game Park, LLC.
- Oak Springs© Water & Game Park, LLC
- New Spring® Water & Game Park, Inc.
- Rainbow Town© Water & Game Park, Inc.
- Justin Lake© Water & Game Park, Inc.
- Ray Play® Water & Game Park, LLC
- Park House® Water & Game Park, LLC
- Magnus Greene™ Water Park, LLC
- First Port© Water Park, Inc.
- Moses Malone® Water Park, Inc.
- Play House™ Water Park, Inc.
- Speed Link™ Water & Game Park, Inc.
- Lead Way© Water & Game Park, Inc.
- Water Nest® Water & Game Park, Inc.
- Roland George™ Water & Game Park, Inc.
Register Your Business
a. What Type of Business Structure is Best for Water Park Business?
When it comes to the business structure for the water park business, most players in this line of business consider it 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 Water Park Business?
- General Business License
- Zonal Permits
- Signage Permit
- Operational State Facility Inspections for your facility
d. What Type of Certification is Needed to Start Water Park Business?
You don’t need any certifications to start a water park business
e. What Documents are Needed to Open Water Park Business?
- Business and liability insurance
- Federal Tax Payer’s ID
- State Permit and Building Approval (For your water park)
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Business License
- Business Plan
- Employment Agreement (offer letters)
- Operating Agreement for LLCs
- Insurance Policy
- Contract Document
- Company Bylaws
- Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
f. Do You Need a Trademark, Copyright, or Patent?
If you are considering starting a water park business, usually you may not have any need to file for intellectual property protection or trademark. This is because the nature of the business makes it possible for you to successfully run it without having any cause to challenge anybody in court for illegally making use of your company’s intellectual properties.
Cost Analysis and Budgeting
a. How Much Does It Cost to Start Water Park Business?
A water park business will cost from $1.5 million – $10 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 Water Park 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 – $1.2 million.
- Other start-up expenses include 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 (Waters) – $1 million
- Website: $600
- Opening party: $3,000
- Miscellaneous – $2,500
c. What Factors Determine the Cost of Opening Water Park Business?
- The size of the water park business
- Other entertainment facilities
- The choice of location
- The required licenses and permits
- The cost of hiring and paying a business consultant and attorney
- The cost for branding, promotion, and marketing of the water park business
- The cost for furnishing and equipping the water park business
- 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 water park 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 water park business, and it will cost you a minimum of $1.5 million.
e. What are the Ongoing Expenses of Water Park Business?
- Utility bills (internet subscriptions, phone bills, signage, and software renewal fees et al)
- Salaries of employees
- Marketing costs
f. What is the Average Salary of your Staff?
- Chief Executive Officer (Owner) – $55,000 per year
- Water Park 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 a Water Park 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.
Write a Business Plan
a. Executive Summary
Water Nest® Water Parks, Inc. is a standard and well-equipped amusement cum water park business that will be located in a growing community in Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater – Florida. Water Nest® Water Parks, Inc. has a big selection of slides for all ages. Extreme speed slides, open and closed slides, Twisters, Black Holes, Turbo, Free Fall, and Kamikaze slides are just a few that can be experienced.
Speed slides with mats offer the more competitive visitors a chance to race with their friends. Family slides allow for family bonding where parents and their children can make memories together in the water. Children can play and explore in multiple areas including a cave, inflatable, obstacle course, splash fountains, pirate-themed play area, and many other kid-specific attractions.
b. Products and Service
- Operating water-play areas, such as waterslides, splash pads, spray – grounds (water playgrounds), lazy rivers, or other recreational bathing, swimming, and barefooting environments et al
- Operating water attractions
- Operating recreational bathing facilities
- Selling merchandise
- Selling food and beverages
c. Mission Statement
Our mission for establishing Water Nest® Water Park, Inc. is to become an innovative leader in the family entertainment industry. We bring new and exciting attractions to our locations, focusing on guest experience and promoting positive, forward-thinking company culture.
Our vision is to build a world-class outdoor water park facility that is going to be more than just a water park but a place where families make memories together in a safe, fun, clean and affordable environment.
d. Goals and Objectives
The goals and objectives of the water park business are to provide a safe and secured recreational facility for children and adults.
e. Organizational Structure
- Chief Executive Officer (Owner)
- Water Park Facility Manager
- Marketing and Sales Officer
- Attendants (5)
- Customer Care Executive/Front Desk Officer
- Security Officers
a. SWOT Analysis
- Ideal Location for water park facility
- Highly Experienced and Qualified Employees and Management
- Availability of additional entertainment service offerings and facilities
- Highly Secured and Clean Facility
- Excellent operational history
- 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 and will need to manage construction/build out the existing business
- Lack of economies of scale.
- Growing numbers of families in our location.
- Build upon existing clientele
- Online market, new services, new technology, and of course the opening of new markets.
- Favorable government policies.
- 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 consumers’ spending which in turn impacts businesses negatively.
b. How Do Water Park Businesses Make Money?
Water parks make money by charging admission fees, but they also earn revenue through sales of food and beverages, souvenirs, and merchandise.
c. Payment Options
- Payment via on-the-counter 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 water park by sending introductory letters to schools, households, and other stakeholders in and around your city
- Open your water park with a party so as to capture the attention of residents who are your first targets
- Advertise your water park on national dailies, local TV and radio stations
- Promote your water park online via your official website and all available social media platforms
- Hire the services of experts to make your brands the first choice in your city
- Make your first impression count positively
- Make use of attractive handbills to create awareness and also to give direction to your water park
- Adopt a direct mailing coupon marketing approach
- Position your signage/Flexi banners at strategic places
- Create a loyalty plan that will enable you to reward your regular customers
a. How Much Should You Charge for your Service?
The price of the water parks differs from park to park and for an hour, the average cost is $10 to $20 for teens.
b. How Much Profit Do Water Park Business Owners Make a Year?
It depends, but the available report shows that on average, a successful water park owner can make from $75,000 to $150,000 a year. A successful water park itself can make over two 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 water park
- The types of related services and products offerings
- The location of the water park
- The management style of the water park
- The business approach of the water park
- The advertising and marketing strategies adopted by the water park
- The number of years the water park is in business
d. What is the Profit Margin of Water Park Business?
The profit margin of a water park business is not fixed. It could range from 15 percent to 25 percent depending on the service offering.
e. What is the Sales Forecast?
Below is the sales forecast for the water park 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): $1.5 million
Set Up your Office
a. How Do You Choose a Perfect Location for Water Park Business?
- The demography of the location especially as it relates to the number of children and families
- The purchasing power of businesses and the residents of the location
- Accessibility of the location
- The number of water parks and other family entertainment facilities in the location
- The local laws and regulations in the community/state
- Traffic, parking and security et al
b. What State and City are Best for Opening a Water Park Business?
- Long Beach, Washington
- Dandridge, Tennessee
- Mountain Home, Idaho
- Custer, South Dakota
- Theodore, Alabama
- Roswell, New Mexico
- Paso Robles, California
- Grand Island, New York
- Canyonville, Oregon
- Cedar City, Utah
c. What Equipment is Needed to Operate Water Park Business?
You should be prepared to purchase water slides, splash pads, water playgrounds, water pumps, flow channels, drainages, and safety gadgets et al. You will also need computers and laptops, an internet facility, telephone, fax machine and office furniture (chairs, tables, and shelves) amongst others and all these can be gotten as fairly used.
When it comes to hiring employees for a standard water park, 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.
Launch the Business Proper
No water park opens its door for business without first organizing an opening party to officially launch the business. You can choose to do a soft opening 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 water park business, you will be able to officially inform people in your city that your water park is open for business.
a. What Makes Water Park Business Successful?
- Choose a good and secured location to launch the business
- Make use of reliable water slides, splash pads, water playgrounds, waters flow channels, and water pumps
- Hire only competent, hardworking, and trustworthy staff
- Throw an open house grand party before officially opening the water park business
- Be deliberate with your marketing sales approach
- Encourage the use of word of mouth to promote your water park business
- Leverage all available online and offline platforms to promote your water park business
b. What Happens During a Typical Day at Water Park Business?
- The facility is open for the day
- Administrative work is done concurrently
- The facility is cleaned, arranged, and ready to welcome patrons
- The water slides, splash pads, and water playgrounds are properly positioned and ready for use
- Service points are activated and ready to serve customers
- 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 Water Park Business?
- Good facility management skills
- Customer services skills
- Interpersonal skill
- Business management skills
- Bargaining skill
- Work experience in the family entertainment and water park industry
- Experience in managing people
- Experience in business administration.