Automated RV Parks – At Last!

Well, here we go. RV self-parks are on the rise. [Refer to my May RV Lifestyle Expert Podcast this year discussing the concept.] Soon they will be wherever there is a vacant strip of land with easy access, probably right next to the automated EV hookups.

RVSelf-ParkBilled as America’s 1st Automated RV Parking Facility, RV Self-Park is located in Sullivan, Missouri. Nary a human in sight. This is the first RV park opportunity I ran across on the Internet. Their franchise details are on the website.

“We estimate that costs to construct and open an RV Self-Park franchise to be between $639,645-$890,770. This does NOT include the cost of real estate. An RV Self-Park will require approximately 3.3 acres of land which must be acquired separate from the other costs mentioned previously. Please note successful franchise applicants will be required to provide documentation showing they have sufficient access to capital.”

There seem to be restrictions in certain states: “The following states currently regulate the offer and sale of franchises: CA, HI, IL, IN, MD, MI, MN, NY, ND, RI, SD, VA, WA, and WI.” Several extra processes apply before you can operate in these states.

“Making Overnight Stays Stress Free “More than Easy”—We’re giving RV travelers a new overnight parking option that’s easier, faster and “more than easy” in our specially designed RV Self-Park facilities. Reserve a site online, select the site you want, pay online with a credit card, then drive right in and park with no hassle. All pull-through and all full hook-up parking sites.”

One interesting concept, of many that are sure to materialize soon, RV Self-Park has all utilities sensor enabled. To avoid wasting water and power (or perhaps vandalization), an RV must fill the sensor area for utilities to power on. You might be able to park without paying, but no utilities power on. There may be surprises here. If someone reserves your spot in the middle of the night, look out!

Reservations can only be made online using your computer or phone. Options of 14, 18, or 24-hour plus reservations are available. Apparently, you can rent up to 28 days. Possible price increases on holidays and site availability.

When paid time expires, the utilities shut off. Talk about fully automated, yes indeed. There is even a gate code to open the trash shed to drop off your garbage on the way out.

At this prototype park in Missouri, there are 3 types of sites available: basic, with table, or with table and gazebo, all priced differently. All sites have 20/30/50 Amps, water, and sewer. The surprising extra is a dog park.

Changes made to date, time check-in or site number are easy and quick via cellphone. There are several YouTube videos on the main website to walk you through the use of the utilities. There is also an excellent walkthrough video blog by RV Texas Y’all.

Some of the downsides to this type of RV park:

  1. Close to the highway (noise).
  2. Pressure to meet the deadlines you set (utilities power down).
  3. Utility location does not meet your RV needs.
  4. No one to answer complaints or render assistance.

RV Self-Park is an interesting concept and easy to change and duplicate. I envision thousands of small RV parks dotting the landscape along every popular RV route from Mexico to Canada.

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