The waterpark industry is rapidly growing, and more and more entrepreneurs and investors are looking to get in on the action. According to IBISWorld, the waterpark industry's revenue is projected to increase by an annualized rate of 4.4% to $2.7 billion over the five years to 2021. With such promising growth, starting a waterpark business could be a lucrative venture. But where do you begin? Starting any business can be overwhelming, but with careful planning and preparation, your waterpark business can be successful. In this blog post, we'll provide a 10-step checklist on how to open, start, and launch your own waterpark business. From creating a business plan to tracking your progress and making adjustments, we'll cover all the essential steps. So, if you've been dreaming about starting your own waterpark, sit back, relax, and let's get started on this exciting adventure together!

1.Write A Business Plan

The first step towards opening a waterpark business is to prepare a business plan. A business plan is a roadmap that outlines your business goals, strategies, and the actions you need to take to achieve them. A well-written business plan will help you secure funding, attract investors, and make informed decisions about your business.

  • Market Research: Conduct thorough research on the waterpark industry, your target audience, and your competitors. Identify your unique selling proposition (USP) and research the feasibility of your business idea.
  • Business Description: Describe your waterpark business, your mission, and your vision. Outline your services, target market, revenue streams, marketing strategy, and growth plans.
  • Financial Plan: Include a detailed financial plan that covers your startup costs, operating expenses, revenue projections, profit margins, and cash flow analysis. This will help you estimate the funding you need to open and sustain your business.
  • Marketing Plan: Define your marketing goals, strategies, tactics, and budget. Identify your target audience and demographics, and devise effective campaigns to attract and retain them.
  • Operational Plan: Outline your operational structure, management team, staffing requirements, supplier partnerships, and risk management strategies.

Tips & Tricks:

  • Keep your business plan simple, concise, and well-structured.
  • Include a SWOT analysis to identify your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.
  • Get feedback from potential customers, investors, and industry experts to refine your business plan.

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2. Develop Financial Model

Before opening a waterpark, it's important to create a financial model to make informed decisions and ensure the park's profitability. This will help you determine start-up costs, project revenue, and expenses, and create a budget for the first few years of operation.

  • Step 1: Research Costs: Before you can estimate how much money you'll need to start your waterpark, you need to understand all of the associated expenses. Consider costs such as land acquisition, construction, permits, insurance, equipment, marketing, staff salaries, and maintenance.
  • Step 2: Estimate Revenue: Once you have a clear understanding of your expenses, you'll need to estimate how much revenue your waterpark can generate. Determine your target market demographic and consider factors such as ticket prices, concessions, rentals, and gift shop revenue.
  • Step 3: Create a Budget: With an understanding of your costs and revenue, it's time to create a budget. Your budget should include projected income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements for the first few years of operation. This will help you identify areas where you can save money and make adjustments to achieve profitability.
  • Step 4: Secure Financing: With a solid financial model and budget in place, you'll be better equipped to finance your waterpark. Consider options such as bank loans, investors, grants, and crowdfunding. Be sure to have a polished business plan to present to potential investors or lenders.

Tips & Tricks:

  • Don't forget to account for unexpected expenses in your financial model. It's always better to overestimate costs and come in under budget than the opposite.
  • Consider partnering with local hotels or vacation rental companies to offer package deals that include waterpark access. This can boost revenue and exposure.
  • Remember that you'll need to budget for ongoing maintenance and repairs to keep your waterpark running smoothly.

Developing a financial model is a crucial step in launching a successful waterpark business. It can help you make informed decisions, attract financing, and ensure the park's long term profitability. Take the time to research costs, estimate revenue, create a budget, and secure financing before opening your doors.

3. Research Funding Sources

Securing funding for your waterpark business is one of the first and most important steps you need to take. Here are some research funding sources that you can explore:

  • Bank loans: One of the most common sources of funding is taking out a loan from a bank or other financial institution. Make sure that you have a solid plan in place before you apply and that you have a good credit score.
  • Investors: You can look for investors who are willing to put money into your business in exchange for a share of ownership or a percentage of profits. Make sure that you present a compelling business plan that shows potential for growth and profitability.
  • Crowdfunding: Crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter or GoFundMe can be a great way to raise money for your waterpark business. Make sure that you have a clear and compelling vision and offer rewards for different levels of support.
  • Grants: There are government and private grants available that can provide funding for your waterpark business. These can range in size and scope, so be sure to research thoroughly and see if you fit the eligibility criteria.
  • Personal savings: You can also consider using your own personal savings or assets to fund your business. This may require more sacrifice and risk, but can also give you more autonomy and control over your business.

Tips & Tricks:

  • Don't put all your eggs in one basket. It's wise to pursue multiple funding sources to increase your chances of success.
  • Make sure that you have a solid business plan and financial projections before you approach potential investors or lenders.
  • Be open to alternative funding methods like revenue sharing or joint ventures.

4. Secure Necessary Permits & Licenses

Before opening a waterpark, it is important to obtain all of the necessary permits and licenses from the local and state government. This process can be complicated and time-consuming, but it is crucial to ensure that your business is operating legally and is up to code. Here are the steps you need to follow to obtain the necessary permits and licenses for your waterpark:

  • Research local and state requirements: Start by researching the local and state requirements for waterpark permits and licenses. Different states and localities have different requirements, so it's important to understand what is required in your area.
  • Contact the local government: Contact the local government's licensing and permit department to find out what permits and licenses are required for a waterpark in your area. Schedule an appointment to discuss your plans with a representative and obtain the necessary applications.
  • Submit permit applications: Complete all of the required permit applications and provide all of the necessary documentation, such as site plans, blueprints, and safety plans. Be prepared to pay any required fees for the permits and licenses.
  • Obtain inspections: Once you have obtained your permits and licenses, you will need to schedule inspections to ensure that your waterpark is up to code. This may include safety inspections, building inspections, and health inspections.
  • Renew permits and licenses: Most permits and licenses must be renewed annually or bi-annually. Make sure that you understand the renewal process and schedule your renewals in advance to prevent any lapses in coverage.

Tips & Tricks:

  • Start the permit and license application process as early as possible to ensure that you have enough time to obtain all of the necessary approvals.
  • Work closely with local government officials to learn about the permit and licensing requirements and to build a positive relationship with them.
  • Consider hiring a professional permit and licensing consultant to help you navigate the process and avoid any pitfalls.

By following these steps and obtaining all of the necessary permits and licenses, you can ensure that your waterpark business is operating legally and safely. This process may seem daunting, but it is an important step in establishing a successful and profitable waterpark.

5. Choose An Ideal Location

Choosing the ideal location for your waterpark business is a crucial step towards its success. You need to consider several factors before settling for a location:

  • Demographics: Analyze the demographics of the area to determine if there is a potential market for your waterpark business. Look at the population, age distribution, and income levels.
  • Accessibility: A convenient location that is easily accessible to your customers is essential. Your waterpark should be close to major highways and public transport systems.
  • Competition: Analyze the competition in the area. Avoid areas that have many waterparks as it will be challenging to thrive in such a competitive environment.
  • Climate: Choose a location that has favorable weather conditions for a waterpark. Avoid areas with prolonged rainy seasons or harsh winters that may affect the park's operations.
  • Zoning Regulations: Ensure that the location you choose complies with zoning and safety regulations. Check with the local authorities before settling for a location.

Tips & Tricks:

  • Look for locations with adequate parking space for the visitors.
  • Consider a location that is close to tourist attractions, such as shopping areas, parks, or hotels. This can attract more visitors to your waterpark.
  • Consult a real estate agent with experience in commercial properties to help you find the perfect location for your waterpark.

Once you have identified several potential locations, conduct a feasibility study to determine which one will yield the best results. This study should consider factors such as:

  • Cost of land acquisition or lease
  • Cost of construction and infrastructure development
  • Local taxes and charges
  • Expected revenue and operational costs
  • Cost of marketing and advertising

Choose a location that is financially viable and has a high return on investment. Ensure that your waterpark is visible and attractive to potential customers by investing in proper signage and advertising.

6.Find & Vet Potential Employees

One of the crucial aspects of opening a successful waterpark business is finding the right employees to help you run your establishment. A waterpark requires a team of dedicated, hardworking people who can work well together to provide an enjoyable experience for all customers. Here are some steps you can take to find and vet potential employees:

  • Create Job Postings: Start by creating job postings for various positions, such as lifeguards, ticket booth attendants, concession stand workers, and maintenance crew members. Post these job listings on your website and social media accounts, as well as job boards like Indeed and Monster.
  • Review Resumes and Applications: Once you start receiving resumes and applications, make sure to review each one thoroughly. Look for relevant experience, education, and certifications, such as CPR and lifeguard training.
  • Conduct Interviews: After reviewing resumes, invite the top candidates for an interview. Use this time to learn more about their skills, experience, and work ethic. Ask them questions about how they would handle various situations, such as a customer complaint or a medical emergency.
  • Check References: Once you have found a candidate you like, make sure to check their references. Call previous employers and ask about the candidate's work ethic, reliability, and attitude.
  • Conduct Background Checks: Before making a final job offer, it's essential to conduct a thorough background check. Look for any criminal history, driving records, or credit history that may be relevant to the job.
  • Invest in Training: Once you have hired your employees, it's essential to invest in their training. Make sure they receive proper training on safety, customer service, and any other necessary skills.

Tips & Tricks:

  • Consider offering incentives such as bonuses or employee discounts to attract and retain top-notch employees.
  • Look for candidates who not only have the right skills but also have a passion for customer service and creating memorable experiences for guests.
  • Consider hiring a staffing company to help you find and vet potential employees if you're struggling to find the right candidates.

7. Develop Operating Procedures

Developing operating procedures is one of the most critical steps in opening a waterpark business, as it will help ensure that your park runs smoothly and efficiently. The following are the essential chapters to consider when developing your operating procedures:

  • Health and Safety Policies: This chapter should outline all the health and safety policies that the park will implement to ensure the safety of guests and employees. The policies should cover everything from ride safety to water quality.
  • Ride Procedures: This chapter should outline the exact procedures that employees should follow when operating each ride. It should include things like how to load and unload guests, how to perform safety checks, and how to operate the ride safely.
  • Employee Policies: This chapter should outline all the policies that employees must follow while working at the park, including dress code, attendance, and customer service policies.
  • Admissions and Guest Services: This chapter should outline the procedures for admitting guests to the park, handling complaints, and providing general guest services.
  • Food and Beverage: This chapter should outline the procedures for handling and serving food and beverages at the park. It should include policies for food storage and preparation, as well as procedures for handling guests' dietary requirements.
  • Maintenance: This chapter should outline the procedures for maintaining the park's facilities, including rides and attractions. It should include policies for cleaning, repairing, and replacing equipment, as well as procedures for inspecting the park's facilities.
  • Marketing: This chapter should outline the park's marketing strategy, as well as procedures for implementing that strategy. It should include things like advertising, promotions, and social media marketing.

Tips & Tricks:

  • TIP: Make sure that your operating procedures are comprehensive and cover all aspects of the park's operation.
  • TIP: Review your operating procedures regularly to ensure they are up-to-date and reflect any changes to the park's facilities or policies.
  • TIP: Train employees thoroughly on the operating procedures to ensure that they understand and can comply with them.

Developing comprehensive operating procedures is critical to the success of a waterpark business. By outlining clear policies and procedures for employees to follow, you can ensure that your park runs safely and smoothly, providing guests with a fun and memorable experience.

8. Create Marketing & Sales Strategies

Once you have finalized your waterpark business plan and secured the necessary funds, it is time to think about how to market and sell your park to potential guests. From creating a brand identity to advertising on social media, a well-planned marketing strategy can make all the difference in attracting customers to your business. Follow these steps to create effective marketing and sales strategies for your waterpark business.

Tips & Tricks

  • Conduct market research to understand your target audience and their preferences
  • Partner with local hotels and tour operators to reach out to a wider customer base
  • Offer discounts and promotions during the off-season to boost sales and customer loyalty

8.1 Develop a Strong Brand Identity

Your brand identity represents how customers view your business. It should reflect your waterpark's unique personality, values, and what sets you apart from your competitors. Start by creating a logo, website, business cards, flyers, and other promotional materials that showcase your brand. Ensure that all your marketing materials are visually appealing, consistent, and effectively communicate your message.

8.2 Use Social Media and Online Advertising

Social media is a powerful tool to engage potential customers and generate brand awareness. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok are excellent channels to showcase your waterpark's pictures, videos, and customer testimonials. In addition, consider using online advertising tools such as Google AdWords or Facebook Ads and create targeted campaigns that reach your target audience. These platforms also offer valuable demographic insights that can help refine your marketing strategies.

8.3 Host Special Events and Promotions

Hosting special events and promotions is an excellent way to attract customers and build brand loyalty. Consider partnering with local sports teams, schools, and community organizations to offer discounted group rates or sponsor events like summer camps. You can also host your own events like concerts, themed-days, and water park nights to attract new customers and promote word-of-mouth marketing.

8.4 Offer High-Quality Customer Service

Providing excellent customer service can make all the difference in building customer loyalty and attracting repeat business. Ensure that your staff is friendly, properly trained, and knowledgeable about your water park's attractions, policies, and safety guidelines. Create a customer feedback system and respond quickly to reviews and complaints to address customer concerns and improve their experience.

8.5 Take Advantage of Cross-Selling and Up-Selling

Cross-selling and up-selling are proven sales tactics that can boost your revenue and customer satisfaction. Cross-selling involves offering customers complementary products or services that match their interests or needs. For instance, if a family buys tickets to your water park, you can offer them discounted tickets to your partner amusement park or a nearby restaurant. Up-selling involves offering customers higher-end products or services that offer better value or experience. For example, you can offer customers VIP passes or cabana rentals to enhance their water park experience.

  • Final Thoughts

Creating effective marketing and sales strategies for your waterpark business can be challenging, but it is essential for success. By developing a strong brand identity, leveraging social media and online advertising, hosting special events, providing excellent customer service, and using cross-selling and up-selling tactics, you can attract more customers, boost sales, and grow your brand. Remember to be creative, adaptable, and customer-focused, and stay vigilant of industry trends and customer demands to remain ahead of your competition.

9. Secure The Necessary Equipment

One of the most important steps to take in starting a waterpark business is securing the necessary equipment. Without this equipment, your waterpark will not be able to operate and serve guests. This chapter will outline the equipment needed for your waterpark business.

  • Water Slides: One of the most popular attractions in any waterpark is the water slide. You will need to invest in a variety of water slides of different heights and designs to keep guests entertained.
  • Wave Pools: A wave pool is another popular attraction in waterparks. Guests can enjoy the feeling of being in the ocean without worrying about tides or undertow. Wave pools require plenty of space and specialized equipment, so be sure to plan accordingly.
  • Lazy River: A lazy river is a perfect way to relax and float along in a slow-moving stream. This attraction can be enjoyed by guests of all ages and abilities and requires a specially designed route to create the desired effect.
  • Water Playgrounds: A water playground is a great way to keep kids entertained and cool during hot summer days. These attractions typically feature multiple water features, splash pads, and interactive water play equipment.
  • Other Equipment: Be sure to invest in safety equipment, such as lifeguard stands, life jackets, and first-aid stations. You will also need filtration systems, pumps, and water heaters to ensure the water in your park is clean and safe.

Tips & Tricks

  • Consider purchasing used equipment to save money, but make sure it is in good condition and meets safety regulations.
  • Don’t forget to factor in the cost of maintenance and repair for your equipment when drawing up a budget.
  • Look for equipment that is energy-efficient to keep operating costs low.

Once you have secured the necessary equipment, it is important to test it all thoroughly to ensure it works properly and meets safety standards. You should also have a maintenance plan in place to keep all equipment running smoothly throughout the season. By investing in high-quality, safe equipment, you can attract guests and build a thriving waterpark business.

10. Track Progress & Make Adjustments

Once you have opened your waterpark business, it is essential to track progress and make adjustments as necessary. This step is crucial to ensure that your business runs smoothly and meets its goals. Here are some chapters on how to track progress and make adjustments:

1. Define Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Defining KPIs helps you measure your business's performance. Identify the most critical metrics for your waterpark business and track them regularly. These metrics can include revenue, visitor numbers, customer satisfaction, employee turnover rate, etc.

2. Use data to make informed decisions

Collect data through various means, such as customer feedback, surveys, and analytics tools. Use this data to make informed decisions and take action. This step will help you identify trends and patterns that can guide you in your business decisions.

3. Stay up-to-date with industry trends

Take the time to research and stay informed about the latest industry trends and innovations. Attend industry conferences, read relevant publications, and follow industry influencers to stay up-to-date. This step will help you identify potential opportunities and threats to your business and make the necessary adjustments.

4. Regularly review and adjust your business plan

Review your business plan regularly to ensure that it aligns with your objectives, goals, and KPIs. Revise your plan if necessary to help you stay on track and make improvements.

5. Continuously improve your operations

Keep an eye out for any inefficiencies in your operations and make adjustments to improve them. This step includes improving customer service, streamlining processes, minimizing waste, and maximizing profits. Use customer feedback to improve your operations.

Tips & Tricks:

  • Regularly measure satisfaction levels.
  • Utilize customer feedback to make necessary adjustments.
  • Stay up-to-date with technology trends in the industry.

Following these steps will help you track progress and make the necessary adjustments to ensure that your waterpark business meets its objectives and goals. Constantly re-evaluating your business and remaining vigilant will keep your business operations optimal and successful. Give your business the chance to thrive and reach its full potential by continuously monitoring and making necessary adjustments.

In conclusion, starting a waterpark business requires careful planning and execution. However, with the waterpark industry projected to increase by an annualized rate of 4.4% to $2.7 billion, it could be a rewarding investment. To successfully launch your waterpark business, the following ten steps are crucial: 1. Write a business plan 2. Develop a financial model 3. Research funding sources 4. Secure necessary permits and licenses 5. Choose an ideal location 6. Find and vet potential employees 7. Develop operating procedures 8. Create marketing and sales strategies 9. Secure necessary equipment 10. Track progress and make adjustments. By following this checklist, you can increase your chances of success and minimize the risks of starting a waterpark business. With the continuous growth of the waterpark industry, starting your own waterpark could be the venture you've been waiting for. Let's dive into this journey together, and make your waterpark business a success!

Excel financial model

Waterpark Financial Model
  • 5-Year Financial Projection
  • 40+ Charts & Metrics
  • DCF & Multiple Valuation
  • Free Email Support