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Updated on February, 2024

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Find Out- Is Summer Camp Business Profitable?

The profitability of your Summer Camp business depends on 4 important factors: Industry Prospects, Investments, Revenue Sources, Cost and Profitability. We have taken a deep dive to find out potential profitability from the Summer Camp business. 

Summer Camp Industry Prospects

The US summer camp market size is estimated to be $3.34 billion in 2022 and is expected to grow over the next five years (ibisworld). Additionally, the Summer Camps industry in the US is projected to have a market size of $4.0 billion in 2024, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.4% over the past five years (statista).

Investments

  • Land Acquisition or Lease: If you’re buying land for your camp or leasing a space, this will be a major CapEx item.
  • Building and Facility Construction: Costs for constructing essential structures like cabins, dining halls, activity centers and restrooms.
  • Recreational Equipment: Investment in sports and recreational equipment such as balls, nets, rackets, swimming pool installation, playground equipment and camping gear.
  • Safety and First Aid Equipment: Purchasing safety equipment like fire extinguishers, first aid kits, life jackets for water activities and other emergency supplies.
  • Transportation Vehicles: If your camp includes transportation services, costs for buses or vans to transport campers.
  • Office Equipment and Furniture: Desks, chairs, computers, printers and other office supplies for administrative operations.
  • Kitchen and Dining Equipment: If meals are provided, investment in kitchen equipment, utensils, cookware and dining furniture is required.
  • Technology and Software: Costs for software for registration, scheduling and management of the camp activities.
  • Signage and Branding: Costs for signage around the camp and other branding materials.
  • Utility Set-Up Costs: If your campsite needs installation or setup of utilities like electricity, water, or gas.
  • Renovation and Landscaping: If the land or existing facilities require landscaping or renovation to suit the needs of a camp.
  • Professional Fees: Upfront costs for legal, architectural and consulting services, including any fees for obtaining permits and licenses.
  • Initial Marketing and Advertising: Costs associated with promoting the camp, including website development, promotional materials and advertising campaigns.
  • Insurance Premiums: Initial payment for insurance coverage relevant to running a summer camp, including liability insurance.

Careful planning and budgeting for these expenses are crucial for the successful launch of your summer camp. It’s important to consider the long-term sustainability of these investments and how they align with your business goals.

Revenue

  • Camper Enrollment Fees: The primary source of revenue will be the fees charged for camper enrollment. This can be structured as a one-time fee for the entire duration of the camp or as a weekly fee.
  • Specialized Programs and Workshops: Offering specialized programs such as adventure sports, arts and crafts, or STEM activities can attract additional fees.
  • Day Camp Services: For parents who prefer not to send their children to overnight camps, offering a day camp option can be a lucrative source of revenue.
  • Equipment Rentals: If your camp has sports, camping, or other specialized equipment, you can rent these out to campers for an additional fee.
  • Food and Beverage Services: Providing meals and snacks for an additional fee, especially if your camp has catering facilities.
  • Transportation Services: Charging for transportation if you offer pick-up and drop-off services for campers.
  • Merchandise Sales: Selling camp-themed merchandise like t-shirts, hats, water bottles and other gear can be a significant source of revenue.
  • Event Hosting: Utilizing your camp facilities to host events such as retreats, team-building exercises for corporations, or family reunions during the off-season.
  • Sponsorships and Partnerships: Collaborating with local businesses or organizations for sponsorships or partnerships can provide additional revenue and marketing opportunities.
  • Grants and Donations: Depending on your camp’s mission and structure, you might be eligible for educational or recreational grants, or you could receive donations from individuals or organizations.

These revenue streams can help stabilize your income and make your summer camp business more resilient to changes in the market. It’s important to assess the demand for different services continuously and adjust your offerings to meet your customers’ needs.

Cost of Services Sold

  • Food and Beverages: Costs for meals and snacks provided to campers. This can vary based on the number of campers and the type of food service offered.
  • Activity Supplies: Expenses for materials used in camp activities, such as arts and crafts supplies, sports equipment and educational materials.
  • Camper Transportation Costs: If you offer transportation services, the costs for fuel, vehicle maintenance and driver wages are variable and depend on usage.
  • Utilities Based on Usage: Additional costs for electricity, water and gas that vary based on the camp’s occupancy and activity levels.
  • Seasonal Staff Wages: Salaries for temporary staff hired for the camping season, including counselors, instructors and support staff.
  • Program-Specific Costs: Expenses related to special programs or workshops that may require additional equipment or specialized instructors.
  • Maintenance and Upkeep: Variable costs for maintaining and repairing camp facilities and equipment, depending on usage.
  • Cleaning and Sanitation Supplies: Costs for cleaning supplies and services, which can vary based on the number of campers and frequency of cleaning required.
  • First Aid and Medical Supplies: Expenses for maintaining a well-stocked first aid station and any other medical supplies necessary for camper safety.
  • Marketing and Promotion (Variable Portion): A portion of your marketing and promotional expenses can be variable, especially if linked to specific campaigns to attract more campers.
  • Insurance (Variable Portion): Some insurance costs may vary with the number of campers and the scope of activities offered.

Efficiently managing these variable costs is crucial for maintaining the profitability of your summer camp. It involves strategic planning in purchasing, staffing and resource allocation to align with the fluctuating number of campers and the range of activities you offer each season.

Operating Expenses

  • Property Rent or Mortgage: If you’re leasing or have purchased property for your camp, the regular payments for this space.
  • Utilities (Fixed Costs): Basic utilities such as water, electricity and gas that are not directly tied to the number of campers.
  • Insurance: Costs for comprehensive insurance coverage, including property insurance, liability insurance and possibly specific coverage for outdoor activities.
  • Salaries for Permanent Staff: Wages for year-round employees, such as administrative staff, maintenance workers and management.
  • Marketing and Advertising: Ongoing marketing costs to promote your camp, including website maintenance, online advertising and print media.
  • Professional Services: Fees for services like accounting, legal advice and consulting.
  • Office Supplies and Equipment: Regular expenses for office supplies, software subscriptions and any equipment necessary for running the administrative side of your business.
  • Property Maintenance and Repairs: Regular upkeep and repairs of camp facilities and grounds.
  • Training and Certification Costs: Costs for staff training and certifications, particularly those required annually or biannually.
  • Taxes and Licenses: Any applicable business taxes and fees for permits or licenses required to operate your camp.
  • Depreciation: Depreciation of capital assets like buildings, vehicles and major equipment.
  • Miscellaneous Expenses: This includes any other costs that are necessary for the operation of the business but do not vary with the number of campers.

These operating expenses are crucial for the smooth running of your summer camp and ensuring a safe, enjoyable experience for campers. Regular review and careful management of these costs are important for maintaining the financial health of your business.