By Chuck Woodbury
A friend of mine owns an RV park. There are about 100 sites and some cabins. The park, like most others, has a busy season and a slow season. He has owned the park for a dozen years and has many loyal customers — many families — that return time and time again, often for summer vacations.
One day, a man showed up at his park. He represented a company that would soon be laying a pipeline in the area. Hundreds of workers were required, and as is often the case, many travel from place to place, job to job, with RVs, most often fifth wheel trailers.
He asked my friend if he would like to rent out his entire campground for a year. He said “Tell me what you would earn if every campsite in your park was filled every day of the year. How much money would you take in?”
And then he said, “Whatever that amount is, add 20% and that is what I will pay you to rent your park for a year.”
Let’s face it, that would add up to a whole lot more money than my friend would ever earn in a year — I bet it would be at least triple what he normally takes in. And there would be no worries about reservations or checking customers in and out every day. He’d receive a check every month, and life would be pretty darn simple.
Well, my friend turned the man down. Sure, it was tempting to take the big money, but my friend knew that if he booked his place with pipeline workers, he’d lose his regular customers. In the long run, that might cost him a whole lot more than what he’d realize renting the place to the pipeline company. And it would be a slap in the face to his long-term customers, spoiling some family traditions.
Some park owners don’t say no. They take the easy money. And then, when you or I are passing through their area and need a place to stay, they turn us down: No vacancy!
At a time when more RVs are on the road than ever, this sort of thing is not helping those of us who use our RVs primarily for recreational purposes and not as a dwelling that we pull or drive from place to place to work our jobs.