Industry sector: Leisure

Caravan site: Cash sales

'Cash sales' means all income from your main business activity which is received at - or before - the time of sale. So it will include some or all of:

  • all pitch fees (including deposits and bookings fees) that you receive from residents and holiday makers
  • payments for year-round storage of owners' caravans
  • payments for utilities, depending on how you charge for these
  • caravan sales (this might be in the form of a referral commission paid by a local caravan dealer)
  • any retail or catering activities, including food and drink vending machines
  • coin operated machines such as showers, hairdryers, washing machines or payphones
  • sales from a campsite shop, if you have one, including for example sales of food and drink, clothing, beach toys, gas cylinders, newspapers and magazines etc

While some payments may be made in cash, remember that Cash sales also include:

  • debit and credit card payments
  • cheques

To prepare your cash flow, you need to estimate how much income you will receive over the next twelve months, including VAT. To do this you will need to decide on the nature of the caravan site you will operate, how many pitches you will have, what your annual occupancy rate is likely to be and how much you will charge. You will also need to decide on the services you will offer and what you will charge for them.

There are a number of things to consider when you make your estimates:

Type of business

  • what type of caravan site will you operate - a holiday home park, a residential park home site or a touring caravan site, tent campsite or mixed site that accepts caravans, tents and motorhomes
  • what restrictions - if any - will you impose. For example, you may only accept over-50s in a residential park home site
  • where will your site be located - a holiday site will ideally be situated in a scenic area, close to major tourist attractions
  • will you have static caravans of your own that you rent out
  • what facilities will you offer, for example a bar, club house, restaurant, swimming pool, launderette and so on. Will you provide all of these yourself or will you permit other businesses to operate from your site on a concession basis
  • how many pitches will you have
  • will you provide mains hook-up for tourers
  • are you planning to take advantage of the laws that let you use land for tent camping for a very limited number of days each year without a camping licence (and possibly without planning permission, depending on how long you want to do it for)

Your pitch fees

  • how will you decide on the pitch fees to charge
  • will you vary your fees according to the season
  • will you offer discounts, for example to groups
  • how often will you put your fees up
  • what will you include in your fees (for example water and electricity)

Your services

  • will you offer summer and/or winter storage facilities
  • will you arrange holiday lettings on behalf of static caravan owners, or on your own account for static caravans that you own
  • will you sell new and second-hand caravans

To help with your decisions, click on the checkpoints for guidance. Once you have worked out a Cash sales figure add it to the relevant field in your cash flow forecast.