In a remarkable tale of vision and determination, Brad and Cece McGalliard’s decision to invest in a campground has not only transformed their lives but also offers valuable insights for the campground industry.
Back in 2012, Brad, then a line technician for AT&T, began to see campgrounds not just as travel spots but as potential business ventures. This shift in perspective was the catalyst for a journey that would lead him and his wife, Cece, to financial freedom and a comfortable retirement in St. Croix.
The couple’s initial foray into the world of campground ownership began with the purchase of Pine Ridge Campground, a 19-acre family-run park located in South Carolina. The investment, which amounted to $1,050,000, was a significant leap of faith. They sold their family home, cashed in their 401K, and even took on the additional costs of renovations and annual upkeep, which over the years totaled $650,000.
Despite their passion for camping, neither Brad nor Cece had prior business experience. However, their determination to succeed led them to seek expert advice. Their partnership with Campground Accounting, a firm specializing in campground ownership, proved invaluable. Over the years, an investment of $65,000 in this partnership resulted in a staggering $1.5 million in tax savings for Pine Ridge Campground.
The collaboration with Campground Accounting also brought about significant operational changes. The McGalliards transitioned from a paper-based reservation system to an online one, reducing administrative chaos and increasing efficiency. Furthermore, they introduced dynamic pricing based on demand and seasonality, optimizing both occupancy rates and income.
Such strategic decisions not only enhanced the profitability of Pine Ridge Campground but also increased its market value. With a recent appraisal pegging its worth at $5 million and a reported revenue of $817,000 in the previous year, the McGalliards’ decision to sell the campground was well-timed. The property was eventually sold for an impressive $4.55 million.
The success story of the McGalliards serves as a beacon for the campground industry. Their journey underscores the importance of adaptability, strategic planning, and the willingness to seek expert advice. For many in the industry, the traditional view of campgrounds has been that of a family-owned venture with limited profitability. However, the McGalliards’ experience challenges this notion, highlighting the potential for campgrounds to be lucrative assets.
As the couple now enjoys their retirement in St. Croix, their story offers a roadmap for other campground owners. By embracing technology, seeking expert advice, and being open to new business strategies, there’s potential for significant growth in the industry.
In an era where the appeal of outdoor recreation and travel is ever-increasing, the campground industry stands at the cusp of unprecedented growth. The McGalliards’ success is not just an inspiring tale of personal achievement but a testament to the untapped potential within the industry. As more entrepreneurs and investors take note, the future of the campground industry looks promising.