Buying a
Caravan Park?

As specialist Caravan Park Accountants, Rogerson Kenny Business Accountants have a wealth of industry knowledge and experience in buying and assisting Caravan Park owners in operating or selling a Caravan Park. We have created a comprehensive guild explaining everything you need to know about ‘Buying a Caravan Park’ FREE for you to download here!

EVERYTHING you need to know about Buying a Caravan Park

Read our 40 page book and learn everything you need to know when purchasing a Caravan Park!

What to consider when buying
a Caravan Park

When buying a Caravan Park, what are you actually buying?

One of the first considerations when buying a caravan park, is to consider what it is you are intending to buy.

Are you looking to buy the Leasehold Business or the Freehold Going Concern?

Briefly, a Leasehold Business is buying the plant and equipment, the goodwill and right (via a lease) to occupy land and the use of buildings for a term specified in the lease.

A Freehold Going Concern is where you buy the above listed in a Leasehold Business, along with the freehold land and fixed buildings. Please view this article for more information on the difference between a Leasehold Business and Freehold Going Concern.

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What type of Caravan Park
are you considering buying?

Usually compliment a tourist park and this is the most common “mixed” type of caravan park we see. It provides a good mix of steady, guaranteed income and th e “boost” of having tourists stay in the caravan park.

A Caravan Park with “Permanents” refers to people living in the Caravan Park on a permanent basis. These people rent their cabin accommodation and the Caravan Park provides appropriate amenities, keeps the grounds, the supply of water and power, etc. This type of park usually does not mix with an Tourist or Annuals Caravan Park and are usually not located in tourist type areas, but closer to cities and towns. This type of Caravan Park is usually easier to operate, but with less chance of revenue growth.

A “Residential” Caravan Park is a relatively new concept. We have seen this type of Caravan Park mixed with Tourist and Annuals, but also stand alone. Residents, often retirees, will buy their block of land, with cabin (often 3 rooms and generous) and also pay a fee to the Caravan Park for amenities, grounds upkeep, security and supply of services, etc. Planning and experience is usually required for this type of Caravan Park, with approval required from the council and then the expertise of developing the blocks and building the dwellings for sale.

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How much will the bank lend you to buy a Caravan Park?

Banks will typically lend 50% to a Leasehold Caravan Park Business and up to 70% for a Caravan Park Freehold Going Concern.

Banks will want to understand the performance of the business and future outlook, cash flows, your experience, future plans for the business, the length of lease (if a Leasehold) and any conditions of the lease.

There may be working capital requirements when you first start to operate and keep in mind, you may also have stamp duty and professional fees to fund.

A bank will require a finance application, which may include:

  • Contract of sale (even if only draft)
  • Historical financial performance
  • Projected financial performance
  • Information on the Caravan Park (usually as found within an information memorandum)
  • Copy of the lease (if applicable)
  • Personal assets and liabilities statement
  • Information regarding your plans for the Caravan Park
  • Information regarding your experience to operate a Caravan Park
  • Valuation

Any bank will usually consider the below four elements when considering lending.

  1.  Security. The bank will want appropriate security to protect its investment, in the case of failure.
  2. Equity. The bank will require equity, in line with the LVR mentioned above (50% equity for a Leasehold Business, 30% equity for a Free hold Going Concern)
  3.  Cash Flow. Also known as serviceability. The bank will want to ensure the business can generate appropriate cash to service the debt.
  4. Management. The bank will want to understand your experience and will essentially need to satisfy themselves that you can operate a Caravan Park (in basic terms, pay back their loan and interest).

How is a Caravan Park valued?

There are different methodologies for a Leasehold Business Caravan Park and a Freehold Going Concern Caravan Park.

Typically, with a Leasehold Caravan Park, the methodology used in the industry is a multiple of adjusted net profit. This multiple will depend on the location, condition of the facilities, prospects for growth, length, and conditions of the lease (to name a few). A multiple will usually be between 3 and 4 times adjusted net profit. I.e. If adjusted net profit if $200,000 at 4 times, $800,000 value.

A Freehold Going Concern Caravan Park is usually valued on a return-on-investment method. The adjusted net profit of the Freehold Going Concern, once again as per above, depending on the location, business performance, condition of facilities, prospects for growth, local conditions, etc will find a return of investment, usually between 10% and 16%. 10% being for an outstanding Caravan Park. If the adjusted net profit is $200,000 and return on investment is 12%, then $1,666,666.

We suggest you always check for comparative sales to understand the market in that location or similar Caravan Parks in other locations.

Drivers behind the value of a Caravan Park are typically:

If a leasehold, the length of the lease and the rental amount to accommodation turnover.

  • The location of the Caravan Park (tourist area or not)
  • The adjusted net profit. The higher this is, the greater the base to apply a multiple or return on investment percentage
  • If a Leasehold, the length of lease, the rental amount and any conditions attached to the lease
  • The condition of buildings, plant and equipment, fixtures and fittings and facilities
  • Competitors
  • Local attractions driving business
  • Potential for growth (this usually includes development of the Caravan Park (more sites, upgrade powered sites to cabins, etc)
  • Staff, systems and processes
  • Type of Caravan Park (tourist, annual, residential or permanent)
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Maximise the value you of
your Caravan Park

We believe you should always be operating your caravan park so that it’s always ‘sale ready’ which an excellent discipline to adhere to – whether you’re looking to sell soon. A strong sales focus ensures that:

  • Your Park is operating efficiently and effectively
  • You’re well organised financially
  • Your Park is a profitable as possible
  • If you need to sell unexpectedly, you are in a prepared position
  • If you sell, you’ll achieve the best price

We believe that preparing for a sale is one of the first things a new owner should do, and an imperative for existing owners who may have neglected this planning as they believe that the sale or succession of their caravan park may be some time away.

Whether you’re planning to sell in two, five or ten years, following the suggestions in the downloadable eBook will allow you to maximise your profit while you’re running your caravan park, and achieve the best result whenever you choose to sell.

We’ve created a guide to support caravan park owners with succession planning and ensuring they’re well-placed to get the best possible price for their caravan park whenever they sell.