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Glamping Startup Costs - How Much to Start a Glamping Business In North America?

Glamping Startup Costs

$755,000 to start a glamping business in the USA. That's the figure we'd estimate for a typical 10-yurt glamping site. But you can also start one for less than $10,000 dollars. How do the figures vary so wildly? Read on...

Starting a glamping business in the USA or Canada can be an expensive process. There are a whole load of things to consider, some of which probably haven’t even crossed your mind. We’re going to make it easy for you by covering the glamping startup costs that are present in pretty much every glamping business. At the end, we’ll run some numbers to find the startup costs for a typical glamping business.

How are we qualified to talk about this? The Glampitect Group have set up two sites of our own and more than 20 more for our clients. We know how to start a glamping business, and we have a deep understanding of the costs involved.

A quick note before we begin: it's impossible to cover every possible eventuality when writing a general blog on glamping startup costs. The best way of finding out how much your project will cost is to commission a bespoke feasibility study with Glampitect.

Download My Feasibility Study Guide

What Are the Costs Associated With Starting a Glamping Business In North America?

There are dozens of individual startup costs when starting a glamping business in the USA or Canada. For the sake of simplicity, we’ll split our glamping startup costs into six groups:

  1. Land acquisition
  2. Groundworks and utilities
  3. Buying units
  4. Final touches
  5. Fees 
  6. Website setup

P.S. You can click on each of the items on the list to skip to the relevant section.

Glamping Startup Cost 1 - Land Acquisition 


If you already have land, great. Click here to skip this part.

For those who don’t, land acquisition is probably going to account for a substantial part of your capital expenditure, particularly if you’re looking to start a glamping business in places where land costs are high. 

On the surface, raw land may appear cheaper than land that already contains a residence and utilities but this can be a bit of an illusion. You’re more likely to have to conduct surveys on raw land to ensure it’s suitable for a glamping development, and the costs of utility installation can be ludicrously expensive. Don’t rule out raw land completely, but bear in mind that the real cost will only be revealed when you look beyond the asking price. 

If you’re low on capital, there are ways you can acquire land without breaking the bank. There will be landowners willing to lease their land, and there may even be entrepreneurial ones looking for a profit-share agreement. A bonus of this method is that the landowner may be willing to manage the day-to-day operations of your glamping site, which saves you doing it yourself or having to look for someone to do it for you.

One of the most creative examples we’ve seen is on this site in New York. Nick Rodriguez struck a deal with the owner of a tiny RV site to put a bell tent on the land in return for a lease and a small management fee. The genius of this is that all the permits were already in place on the land, and the landowner was happy to manage the day-to-day operations for Nick. He spoke to the excellent Keep It Tiny Youtube channel about this in the video below:

Note: Before you commit to purchasing a property, you MUST make sure it has the right zoning for a glamping development first. Check out our guide on making sure you have the right zoning for glamping, or speak to Glampitect about this vital step.

Glamping Startup Cost 2 - Groundworks, Landscaping and Utilities


Another glamping startup cost that will swallow up a sizeable chunk of your budget is the work done on the land prior to putting your tents/domes/yurts/pods on the property.

First, you’ll probably need to do some work on the property to make it suitable for a glamping site. You may need to level out some surfaces, clear some bushes, plant some trees, etc, to create an attractive site.

Another significant cost is meeting the minimum requirements set by your county or state for a commercial glamping site. These include making sure your access road is suitable for guests and emergency services, ensuring your parking lot is big enough, etc. As you can imagine, these costs are completely dependent on your property and the county and state it belongs in.

Unless you plan to go completely-off grid, you’ll also need to install utilities for each of your units. That includes electricity for your lighting, electrical appliances and heating; a water supply for your taps and shower; and a drainage solution for all that smelly waste. You’ll probably want to provide internet on your site too. 

All of this can be pretty costly. For Kevin Rains, owner of Dappled Light Adventures, it cost the best part of $400,000:

The thing is, utility costs can swing wildly from project to project. For large sites with secluded glamping units in the middle of nowhere, the costs can be astronomical. For smaller sites with existing connections and units placed closer together, they can be much smaller. The total build cost for our own site, NC500 Pods Achmelvich, was lower than Dappled Light Adventures’ utility installation bill alone.

That shows just how much this cost factor varies, and why it’s important to commission a feasibility study to get a bespoke estimation for your project.

Download My Feasibility Study Guide

There are also hacks you can employ to lower the costs significantly, particularly if your glampground is going to be on the smaller side. Check out our guide to glamping utilities for the lowdown on drastically reducing your utility installation costs.

Glamping Startup Cost 3 - Buying Your Glamping Units


This is a much easier startup cost to predict. There are a ton of great suppliers of glamping tents, yurts, domes and pods in the North American glamping industry. Check out our Glamping Structure Buying Guide for more information on the best manufacturers in the glamping industry.

To figure out this cost, simply get a quote from your chosen supplier and multiply it by the number of units you want. You’ll also need to account for everything you’ll want inside the tents/yurts/domes/pods, such as bedding, kitchens, toilets, etc, as not every manufacturer includes these items in their offering.

Glampitect North America have a network of trusted glamping manufacturers, and would be happy to point you in the right direction for the best glamping tents. Book a call with us and we’ll discuss your options.

Book A Free Consultation

Featured Glamping Structures - EJH Distribution



EJH Distribution is a distributor for two world-renowned glamping manufacturers: De Waard and Tubbo. They have the most unique and varied selection of glamping structures in North America, and they're capable of meeting a multitude of building code requirements. They also offer financing on all of their products, allowing you access to high-end glamping structures, decks and interiors for just a 20% downpayment.

De Waard's flagship unit is the Big Oak (see above), but they also offer domes, tipis and all kinds of cool canvas tents. Take a look inside the Big Oak and their other structures in their virtual showroom.

Alongside De Waard's canvas structures, EJH is the exclusive North American distributor for the stunningly unique Tubbos (see below). These are glamping units like no other and are sure to be a sellout on your glampground. 

Skyridge Tubbo Rendering

Want to know more about EJH Distribution's glamping structures? Download their brochure below.

Download Brochure

Glamping Startup Cost 4 - Final Touches


Now is a great time to start a glamping business in the USA or Canada. We’re at the stage where enough people know about glamping to make it a highly profitable endeavor, but it’s still enough of a niche to ensure we’re a number of years away from saturation. It’s going to be a long time before the market starts getting crowded.

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start forward planning. There will come a time when supply exceeds demand, and you’ll need to be ready for that. Throwing a couple of tents on your property and hoping for the best won’t be the recipe for a profitable glamping business in ten years' time. You’ll need to set yourself apart from the competition, and you can do that with unique selling points.

Unique selling points, or USPs, are the little extras that differentiate your site from others in your area. They’re the aspects of your site that ensures guests book to stay with you, and not the site twenty minutes down the road. 

You can have intangible USPs, like a strong brand and amazing customer service, but you’ll want tangible ones too. Think hot tubs, fire pits, saunas, farm tours, etc.

Let’s use hot tubs as an example. In the UK, there are 14,800 monthly Google searches for “glamping with hot tub”. Lots of glamping sites over there offer hot tubs to meet this demand. This isn’t a concept that’s as established in the US or Canada (320 and 140 searches per month respectively), so just think how much of a USP a hot tub on your glamping site would be. It’s a relatively new concept that has huge potential to be popular, but, as yet, it’s an untapped opportunity.

Glamping with hot tub

You should be thinking outside the box like this when brainstorming for your glamping business. Incorporate little extras like hot tubs into your glamping startup costs.

Glamping Startup Cost 5 - Fees


From the sexy topic of hot tubs to the massive turn-off that is glamping startup fees.

When we say ‘fees’, we’re talking about a wide range of costs that accumulate in the process of starting a glamping business in the USA and Canada. Glamping startup fees include:

  • Permit application fees
  • Consultants’ fees, e.g. Glampitect, architects, civil engineers, etc.
  • Land surveys. For example, our friend Nick Labadie is currently working on a project that required a $5k percolation test before a septic tank could be installed

These types of fees are easy to miss because most glamping rookies don’t really expect them, and often fail to incorporate them into their cost projections. They’re also difficult to predict, as the degree of work required sometimes only becomes apparent as you reach the later stages of the process. We recommend leaving room for these hidden costs when budgeting.

Glamping Site Startup Cost 6 - Website Setup

You might think you can get away with sticking your glamping business on Airbnb and watching the bookings roll in. And you’re probably right, for now.

However, as the glamping industry in the USA and Canada gets more competitive, you’re going to need to build a brand outside of those external booking sites. You’ll also want to avoid paying the commissions that sites like Airbnb and Booking.com charge, which add up over time.

Just listen to our friend, Mark from Boostly, explain this in the way only he can:

From day one, you should have an attractive website that allows guests to book directly without having to go through Airbnb. The reason for this is twofold: 

  1. You don’t have to pay out commissions
  2. It saves your guests from having to leave your website to make the booking. Trust us, this will increase your conversion rate

Your website build will probably cost between $3,000 and $10,000 USD. It’s one of the smaller glamping startup costs, and it will reap the rewards for your glamping business. Glampitect can assist you with us, so just book a call if you want to get started.

Book A Free Consultation

Adding It All Together


We’ve given you a hell of a lot of information on the startup costs associated with a glamping business, but we haven’t really given you any concrete numbers. That’s because the costs for each aspect vary so wildly depending on your property, location, project size, etc. For example, our first glamping site cost around $250,000, whereas Dappled Light Adventures cost north of $500,000. However, we’ll run some numbers for a hypothetical site to give you a rough idea.

Let’s use a fairly standard, 10-yurt glamping site as an example. The yurts are spaced out nicely to allow for lots of privacy, and they come equipped with kitchens, toilets and full utilities. We’ll assume the land is already under ownership.

How much does it cost to start a 10-yurt glamping business in the USA?

    • Groundworks and utilities - $350,000
    • 10 yurts with interiors fitted - $300,000
    • 10 hot tubs - $50,000
    • Permit fees and land surveys - $50,000
    • Website - $5,000
  • Total glamping startup cost = $755,000

It’s important to stress that these are example figures based on a certain type of project. The site above is a high-end one, with a large number of spaced-out units and full utilities. You can start a glamping business for a whole lot less than $755,000. A couple of tents with basic facilities can easily cost you less than $50,000. Nick Rodriguez' site from earlier cost less than $10,000!

Ultimately, the only way to find out how much it’s going to cost to start your glamping business is to commission a Glampitect Feasibility Study.

Download My Feasibility Study Guide

Financing Your Glamping Startup Costs

You’ll have probably realised by now that starting a glamping business in the US or Canada can be an expensive process. Thankfully, there’s help available when it comes to funding. Check out our guide to glamping business financing for the options available. 

Glampitect North America also have excellent relationships with a number of financing partners who can help with your glamping startup costs. Book a call with us to discuss this. 

Discuss Financing Options

The Next Step - How Profitable Can Your Glamping Business Be?

Once you’ve figured out your glamping startup costs, your next move is to find out how long it will take to recoup your investment. We’ve written a guide on estimating glamping site profitability, which will tell you how to do this.

To get a bespoke projection of your glamping startup costs, profitability and return on investment, commission a glamping feasibility study with Glampitect.

Download My Feasibility Study Guide