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Old 09-27-2013, 08:09 AM   #15
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Researching a business idea, and need some input. The question is: How much would you pay for electricity only, in a parking lot close to shopping and dinning. Probably smaller towns, with a municipal parking lot with good security. You could make reservations with your smartphone, and pay with credit card. Your space is waiting for you when you get there. Maybe a dump station, and water available. The idea is to get you out of the truck stops and Walmart parking lots, and have electricity for those hot or cold nights when boondocking is not so much fun. Your feedback and ideas are very much appreciated...
Before we got our sanity back, DW and I thought we might want to own an rv park. Our thoughts were to have a section with basic services with a credit card/cash slot like a self serve parking lot. We actually paid a high fallutin market research company to investigate the feasibility along the high travel snowbird corridors. Their findings were that Wally dockers and other parking lot users would continue to use parking lots, except maybe when it was real hot and the cost for electric was less than fuel for generators. Their findings were that those that like to jump off the highway, park, eat, sleep, would continue to do so, and were definitely attracted to the no fee parking. The only market (and it was small) was to move some who wanted more quiet and secure places to stay than parking lots and were staying in full service campgrounds into a limited service area This would your customer base in the higher profit areas in order to increase the discount area.

I do not remember the exact methodology used for the study, but I remember it involved a lot of in person interviews in rest stops, truck stops, and parking lots. There were a lot of other business reasons why a limited service overnight area did not make sense when analyzed, but the lack of a viable market seemed to set the tone for us.
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Old 09-27-2013, 08:14 AM   #16
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$10 to $20 would be acceptable, but you would probably get a lot of flack from nearby CG,s
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Old 09-27-2013, 11:18 AM   #17
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I think location is critical here. If you can find a high traffic route with no Walmarts in the area, that may be enough to tempt overnighters. Or, a long stretch of road with few other options (e.g. I-10 through parts of Texas come to mind). $10 is about what I'd consider.
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Old 09-27-2013, 11:58 AM   #18
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I would be for it. Like said by others I am self contained so don't really need hookups. When we are travelling we stay at Walmart's when available just for a sleepover and to get off the road. I don't stay in truck stops or rest stops period. If towns had lots available for overnight stops I would use them and gladly pay for the security and quietness. I don't think $10 would be out of line.
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Old 09-27-2013, 01:03 PM   #19
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Well as several have already said, it's not the money it's the convenience.
As I travel alone most of time- with my dogs- I like the quick off/ on of WM and CB's. I don't want a truck stop or a CG. I can run my gene if needed for MW or AC and no one complains. I can park along an outer edge and exercise my dogs and no one complains. I can buy any necessary items or have a nice dinner or BF at CB.
I like the security of an all nite store snd other RV's or truckers nearby.
I'm not sure how many would be in your setup. What if I arrive late like I usually do and theres what I consider an undesirable vehicle or 2 there.
Cost - I would gladly pay WM - oh forgot - I usually do!
What I would like would be an area for just RV's at some truckstops that wouldn't interfere with the truckers. I would pay only $5- 10 tho.
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Old 09-27-2013, 01:04 PM   #20
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$10, but if there was other options available like WM I would stay there. We have no problem using WM & have several times.
Some small towns in the northern midwest do have these setups. Some are free, some ask for a donation, and others are $5-$10. We have used all of them. Most of these on highways that are not near interstates. When we used most of these we were tent camping & not in our MH. If you did this I would suggest you have space for tents. No tent camping at WM.
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Old 09-27-2013, 01:58 PM   #21
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yeah.... I think this is a $10 deal.
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Old 09-27-2013, 02:31 PM   #22
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If you pulled into a rest area on the interstate and there was electric hook up available for $5 or $10 would you? Maybe there's your answer.

My thinking is that I wouldn't because I had chosen the rest area over a campground because I just needed to eat and sleep. We just go from the driving seat to the dining table to the bed and back again, probably wouldn't even go outside. Had I wanted to take an evening stroll, chat to my neighbours, do some laundry etc. then I would go to a campground.
Having said all that, that is our preferred 'en route' overnights, once we are in 'camping' mode we stop earlier and sit, visit, BBQ, etc.
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Old 09-27-2013, 02:38 PM   #23
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You may also have to consider a max of 1 or 2 nights only or you would be full of people 'living' for $10 a night using all your electric - ouch!!
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Old 09-27-2013, 03:17 PM   #24
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Ohio TP (I90) rest stops for example has such service - it works great. Just put your CC in the vending machine. They also have a dump and water, picnic and an area for walking dogs . And this is seperate from the regular rest stop area. It is for RV's.

Can't recall the price I paid but it was great and filled up early in June when I was there. Would have no problem paying $20. Convenience trumps price as long as it is within reason for me.

Don't always use electric but if it is hot or cold it is nice ro have shore power vs run the genny. 10hrs of genny is likely $15- $20. Dump and water is also a bonus. We pay $5 just to dump now at Flying J for example.

If the location is right, there might be a business case to support the venture.
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Old 09-27-2013, 09:51 PM   #25
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Researching a business idea, and need some input. The question is: How much would you pay for electricity only, in a parking lot close to shopping and dinning. Probably smaller towns, with a municipal parking lot with good security. You could make reservations with your smartphone, and pay with credit card. Your space is waiting for you when you get there. Maybe a dump station, and water available. The idea is to get you out of the truck stops and Walmart parking lots, and have electricity for those hot or cold nights when boondocking is not so much fun. Your feedback and ideas are very much appreciated...
Ele only, .50 an hour, and add a dump station and access to good water, $20.00 a night and not a penny more!
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Old 09-27-2013, 11:25 PM   #26
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Yes, the Ohio Turnpike has 8 service plaza's with RV parking spots with electric, water and dump for $20.

On our longer trips over 450 miles plus, we will stop for some "shut eye" and continue our travel at daybreak. I would be willing to pay $10-$15 for a simple parking spot that offered electric, water and dump if I needed it. Most likely I would just pull in at sunset, leave the tt hooked, open up a bunk end (we have a hybrid) and plug in the tt to run the AC if needed.

There are plenty of rural areas between freeway exits that you could pick up cheap land for such an endeavor. You would want that parking lot to be sheltered away from the freeway noise. Even just 1000 feet from the road and maybe a noise buffer of pine trees to cut the semi truck noise.

Right now when we have a long drive, we will pull into a rest stop and the wife and kid will sleep in the car, and I'll lay down on the couch in the RV. Just enough shut-eye (4-5 hours) to be able to drive again. It would be nice to open up the bunk ends, eat dinner, watch TV, take a shower and sleep on a mattress.
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Old 09-29-2013, 05:29 PM   #27
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Yes, the Ohio Turnpike has 8 service plaza's with RV parking spots with electric, water and dump for $20. On our longer trips over 450 miles plus, we will stop for some "shut eye" and continue our travel at daybreak. I would be willing to pay $10-$15 for a simple parking spot that offered electric, water and dump if I needed it. Most likely I would just pull in at sunset, leave the tt hooked, open up a bunk end (we have a hybrid) and plug in the tt to run the AC if needed. There are plenty of rural areas between freeway exits that you could pick up cheap land for such an endeavor. You would want that parking lot to be sheltered away from the freeway noise. Even just 1000 feet from the road and maybe a noise buffer of pine trees to cut the semi truck noise. Right now when we have a long drive, we will pull into a rest stop and the wife and kid will sleep in the car, and I'll lay down on the couch in the RV. Just enough shut-eye (4-5 hours) to be able to drive again. It would be nice to open up the bunk ends, eat dinner, watch TV, take a shower and sleep on a mattress.
traveled from Midwest to Maine this summer. Have list of Walmart that allow over nite parking and a lot of them are changing policy because of local city policy. I love Walmarts but if could fine parking with elec for $5 - 15 close to interstates I would love it.
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Old 09-29-2013, 05:53 PM   #28
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Interesting OP! I've thought about this often myself and I've wondered what kind of bureaucratic obstacles and zoning hassles one would get into---and probably major behind-the-scenes obstruction from vested interests who don't want the potential competition.

I had thought about ways to franchise the concept in such a way that parking lots of shopping centers etc. which are basically unused overnight could perhaps adjust the slots available at any given time of day/night based upon mall visitor capacity. That is, during busy times like Christmas, keep out metered RV parking until 10pm (and perhaps price so as to "push" RVs out of their spaces by 9am or whatever)....but at other times when there is lots of surplus parking capacity use the dual-use parking spaces at a shared-profit center. [That is, the parking lot owners, usually a mall or major box store shopping center, would get a cut and the "RV stop & drop" franchise owner would get the rest. I can think of ways to retrofit an existing parking lot using above-pavement conduit etc. Of course, the "parking meters & connection kiosk" would be distributed appropriately for optimum dual use parking of cars versus RVs.]

What always concerned me about the concept was that local zoning authorities would surely demand septic stations etc. and yet not want to approve them.

In major cities where new airports have been built, I've thought about converting old pay-to-park lots to such RV hookup (and storage) parks, especially where the sun shade structures could economically be raised in height. But I kept seeing zoning issues and, usually, high property taxes which would make the necessary profit margins virtually impossible to sustain.

So I'd love to see someone succeed at the concept, especially at a time when we as a society should be encouraging multi-use and cost-efficient utilization of all property improvements (as well as larger numbers of senior citizens and low-income individuals needing low-cost housing options.) But I think a great many zoning boards would fight hard against any and all residential "refugee housing" implications even if solely within their own imaginations.

One thing is for sure: without value-added, higher-profit optional services being utilized by a significant percentage of customers, an electric-only hookup station would never pay its way. And full-time paid security would be a must or else liability insurance would price you out of existence, I would think.

There are so many reasonable ideas like this which never get their chance because of the kind of litigious and anti-competitive society we live in. But I love it when the brain-storming leads to success where the obstacles seemed daunting so power to ya on your ideas!
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