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How to Start a Camp by Eliminating Funding Obstacles

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For some, many of their best experiences stem from when they went to camp. Whether they involve sharing stories around the campfire, meeting new friends, or realizing they could do something they never thought possible, the experiences that this type of environment creates really helps shape a person.

And it doesn’t just shape them in that moment, but all throughout their life. They carry the lessons they learned with them into their later years as they advance personally and professionally. That’s why it’s so good that many different types of camps exist—and that so many people enjoy them annually.

How Many People Go to Camp?

According to the American Camp Association (ACA), every year more than 14 million kids and adults in the United States alone attend a camp of some kind. It is at these camps that the attendees can enjoy a variety of sports and recreation activities. For instance:

  • 86 percent have swimming
  • 47 percent teach their attendees how to climb and/or rappel
  • 34 percent let their campers ride horses
  • 23 percent offer activities related to farming and gardening
  • 21 percent teach their attendees more about the wilderness.

Furthermore, 44 percent of all camps have created programs specifically designed for attendees with disabilities. Some of the disabilities they help with are physical, while others are mental.

Whether your goal is to provide these types of services or others; to offer your attendees a summer camp or sports camp; to create a camp geared toward adults, a camp for kids, or maybe both; one thing is clear: It takes capital to start a camp-based business that can survive in this $18 billion industry. So, what can you do to get the capital you need?

How to Start a Camp: Your Business Loan Options

When you’re in the beginning stages of setting up a new camp, one of the first things to consider is where it’s going to be located. A lake in Montana, surrounded by majestic, snow-covered mountains? Maybe you want to create a camp that is nestled in the middle of a forest in the heart of Michigan, where the campers are immersed in trees for miles and miles to come?

If you don’t already have the land in the location of your dreams, you’ll have to purchase it. Small business loans are available for this particular need.

Once the land is purchased, the next step in starting a summer camp is to develop it so you can properly and safely accommodate your guests when they’re eating, sleeping, and engaged in the activities you have planned. This typically requires setting up buildings and activity stations throughout the property.

Then, it’s time to stock up on everything you need to enhance your campers’ stay. From beds and linens to food to paper products, the startup costs can really begin to add up. Fortunately, there is a number of business loan options that can help cover expenses such as these.

Depending on your financial situation and credit history, some new camp owners find traditional loans difficult to obtain. The paperwork is extensive, the wait for the money is lengthy, and sometimes they go through all of this just to learn they’ve been denied. That’s why many business owners intent on starting a camp choose to pursue funding through alternative lending sources like BFS Capital.

Continued Camp Operations Costs

Even after you open your camp, the expenses continually accrue. In addition to buying food and some personal hygiene products for your guests, you also have to replace equipment and furniture as it breaks down to ensure camper safety. These types of expenses can be covered through a merchant cash advance or merchant loan.

And if your camp only operates at certain times of the year, you may also need funding to get you through the months when you’re closed. This becomes important if you have year-round staff on payroll, pay a company to market your camp during its off-season, or use your empty time to do your repairs. Again, many merchant finance alternatives exist, giving you access to the cash you need when you need it, usually within two days.1

Ways to Use Funding When Opening a Camp Type of Business

One of the first questions up-and-coming business owners looking to establish a new camp ask is, “How can I use the funding once it’s obtained?” Though we’ve already discussed some of the options previously, here’s a quick list of the ways you can use your newly attained business capital:

  • Purchasing the land
  • Developing the site
  • Updating the site (if you purchase a preexisting camp, for instance, and need to change it to make it your own)
  • Furniture and equipment purchases
  • Kitchen stock and inventory
  • Purchase of activity-based tools (such as bows and arrows for archery or tents for wilderness survival)
  • Covering expenses during slow seasons

Other Factors to Consider

What else do you need to start a summer camp? If you’re trying to figure out how to start a camp for kids, the ACA shares that, out of the 14,000 camps currently in existence, almost all of them (93 percent) offer some form of financial assistance to children in need. That makes this offering one to consider as well when starting your own. For instance, maybe you’ll decide to offer an income-based grant for your summer camp or create a scholarship program for your sports camp.

And if you’re intent on learning more about how to start a sports camp with a community focus, you may want to set up community service activities for their attendees. This can include cleaning up area parks, visiting senior centers, or conducting food drives. In addition to saving financial resources normally used to cover these types of activities, the University of California, San Diego shares that performing these particular functions offer a number of personal benefits as well. Among them are reduced stress levels, higher levels of self-esteem, and the ability to learn about one’s self while also learning more about the world at large.

BFS Is Here to Help You Start Your Camp

Regardless of what type of camp you want to start and what types of activities you choose to offer your guests, BFS Capital is here to help you make your vision a reality. We offer a variety of merchant funding solutions and business loans. This enables you to start your camp and keep it running for years to come, entertaining and educating your campers for as long as you desire.

Contact us today to discover how we can help you get the cash you need so you can start seeing the happy faces of the campers as they show up at your door.

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1. Complete an Application

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When approved, you’ll have the money in your hands, for any business use, in as few as 2 business days¹.

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