If you’re serious about setting up a glamping business you need to start thinking about the type of service you are going to offer. If it’s one that will use tents as a source of income then there are some very important questions you should be asking your tent supplier or you could make some very costly mistakes.
Firstly, “What are the best tents to use for my glamping business?” Then, “How much do they cost and what’s the return on investment?” Finally, “How long will they last and are they safe for my customers?”
Actually, there are more questions to ask, including:
Do I need planning permission to put one up; Do I have to take it down and store it over the winter; Do I need to waterproof it at any point against the elements; How do I fit a wood burning stove in it; How do I keep it clean and get it ready for the new camping season; and finally and most importantly; How much am I likely to earn per year from my tent?
What’s The Best Type Of Tent For A Glamping Business?
One choice that exists for a new glamping business is the safari tent. It is large enough to comfortably fit beds for a family of up to 6 people, and still include space for luxury seating, a kitchen area, wood burner and open doors to an outer area. It is also one of the cheapest options, has the best longevity/cost ratio, earns the most for a new business and therefore has the best return on investment, but I cover that in more detail with figures below. Although in our experience Airstreams, in general, have the highest occupancy rates, the safari tent model has the best financial returns and makes the most sense to new businesses wanting to set up and start earning as quickly as possible.
How Long Will it last and is it safe?
When looking for your new tent you will need to do your homework. Ideally, you want a premium tent with canvas that has the longevity of 20 years and the choice of steel or wooden frames that will last for at least 10 years. The premium canvas also needs to be tough and fire retardant to stringent standards (essential if you are going to fit a wood burner) so they will keep your guests safe, weatherproof and warm. This type of quality will result in a better return on your investment as the materials will last longer.
Do I need planning permission for this type of tent?
This is an interesting question. The tents are classified as temporary structures, so it is arguable that you do not need planning permission, especially if you decide to take them down over the winter period. However, every planning department is different and you may need consent for a change of use for the land the tent is placed on, so you must check this with your local planning office or ask a planning consultant to do this on your behalf.
Do I need to take it down and store it over the winter?
While this is possible and may help with planning restrictions, there are some considerations for packing away the tent over the winter. Firstly, you will need a dry space to store the equipment. This has to be rodent free and the tent has to be packed down properly to avoid any rips or tears. However, if you feel this is too much work or don’t have a storage area, you could purchase a winter kit – an outer tent that sits as a protective layer over the top of the safari tent when it’s not in use.
Do I need to waterproof it with chemicals at any point?
Some materials do need to be waterproofed regularly and this is something you should discuss with your supplier.
How do I fit a wood burning stove in it?
There are a number of wood burning stoves and fitting kits we have highlighted. You can do this yourself, if you are happy you won’t wreck your new tent, however, there are fitting services available too, which you can access through your supplier.
How to I keep it clean and get it ready for the new camping season?
At the beginning of each season, all you need to do is hose down the tent and rub any marks clean with a cloth. No chemicals are needed so this is perfect for environmentally sensitive areas or organic farmland.
How much do they cost, what will I earn and what will the return on investment be?
Based on one operator in the UK, the cost of a Superior 6m x 7m Safari Tent is £3,696+vat. Allowing £2,000 for the base and internal decoration, you could recoup the cost of your Safari Tent in as little as 3 months, and with a lifespan of around 10 years, depending on the charges for your particular customers, the area you are operating from and the season in which you are operating.
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