RV park bases its fee on number of slide-outs. Huh?

By Chuck Woodbury
A recent Facebook post told of an Idaho RV park that charges an extra $1.50 a day for each slide-out on an RV. As you might imagine, the policy outraged some RVers: “I avoid places that nickel and dime people like that.” “Find another campground fast.” “Insane!” “Nope…not getting our business.”

File photo. Not the Idaho RV park

We called the RV park and talked with the owner. I won’t mention the name of the park because after talking with the owner, it’s apparent he’s not trying to gouge.

His reasoning is that larger rigs use more services, such as water and electricity. But he doesn’t want to measure every RV that checks in. So he determines an RVs total slide-outs and then charges extra for each one. The idea is that the more slides, the larger the RV and the more services the RVer will use, and, therefore, the more it will cost him (the park owner) to host his or her stay.

The nightly base price of the park is $31, which is not, of itself, an outrageous fee for a park right along a beautiful river in a popular tourist area. But does charging this way make any sense to you? It doesn’t to me. I mean, really, is it fair that an RVer in a 28-foot travel trailer with three slides pay $4.50 more than RVer with a 40-foot Prevost bus with no slides? 

I have a feeling this is a pricing concept that’s headed nowhere.

Your thoughts?

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60 Thoughts to “RV park bases its fee on number of slide-outs. Huh?”

  1. Dan

    I’ve seen some park charge a little more for 50amp than they do for 30 amp. That makes more sense.
    I’ver seen another that charges a slight fee for each air conditioner you have, whether you use each one or not. This is kind of the same thing, just because it is there doesn’t mean you use it.

  2. Dan

    So, a 38 foot motorhome with 2 slides on one side would pay more than the same size motorhome with a full wall slide taking up the same square footage?
    I say his best bet is to measure. Charge an extra $1.50 for every 5 feet over a certain length. The amount of slides has nothing o do with amount of services they use. For that matter, neither does length.

  3. Deb

    I agree, this concept doesn’t make sense. We used to have a 2000 35′ class A with one slide, and now have a 2015 36′ Class A with 3 slides. For using the same electric and water for the 2 of us, we would now be charged $4.50 vs $1.50? Weird, and it doesn’t make sense.

  4. Jeff

    Century 2 RV Park, Salmon, ID. Not even a GOOD SAMS Park or any other campground affiliations. Rated an Overall 7, that makes it off my list of parks to consider!

  5. Darrel

    Wo only have two slides, and previously until last year had no slides. That said, Century 2 in Salmon ID will NEVER see one dime of my money.

  6. Kelly

    I don’t know about all states but I know some license, and charge, vehicles by length and weight, ie. size. It seems to me that charging by size would be appropriate for camp grounds as well. That is how I am charged in my state for my tags and other fees – Miata cheapest, Lincoln cost more, and my RV the most.

  7. Tom smithbrother

    If it is fare to charge extra for large rigs where is my discount for my 14 foot camper trailer.?

  8. Philip H. Wood

    In my neck of the woods, you should not pay more than around $350/month and this should cover water, sewer, trash, and WIFI. Electricity cannot be billed at more than cost although you can factor in certain items. When calculating the costs for you daily customers the costs should never exceed $21/day. Yes, if you do not make a profit you will go out of business and that is not good for either owners or customers.

  9. 19KC69

    The name of the campground is Century 2 Campground in Salmon ID.

  10. Matthew Colie

    In the boating world, it has be de rigueur forever to charge by the overall length. This is true even in a fixed length slip. So, while adding to the fee for slides is interesting, I can think of better ways to make the revenue more relative.
    If an owner was to bill by RV length, and add slides at a fraction of their length?
    There are lots of ways to make this more fair to the small RV owners.

  11. livingboondockingmexico

    Too many rules, regulations and amenities have driven up the cost of rving and camping. National and state parks charge high day use fees even if you pay for a campsite and then turn around and offer steep discounts to veterans, disabled, seniors, etc. National parks have become Disneylands with an overabundance of paved roads, public facilities, buses and concessions. That does nothing to protect the natural aspect of parks. Pack out what you bring in, be self-responsible.

    So for those reasons, I avoid rv parks, state and national parks and when I do want to enjoy them I’m boondocking nearby and avoid all of these silly rules and rv park restrictions and being with people who have no respect for others.

  12. Phil Smith

    I am a firm believer in free enterprise, and in my freedom to “vote with my feet” (or tires). He is taking his shot at how to make the profit that he feels is right, and RVers’ acceptance or rejection of the fee will tell him if he is right. If you choose to stay, you accept his terms.

  13. Jim Graham

    This Guy is not a very good business-man. The amount of everything consumed is relational to the number of people that are using the resources, not the size of the rig that doesn’t use any of the resources!

    1. Traveling Man

      Incorrect..If you have a larger rig, you may have 2 or 3 A/C units. Your furnace is certainly larger. Water consumption is higher for 10 versus 1.

      Sewer depends on the number of persons on board and whether or not the tanks had been dumped prior to arrival.

      Larger rigs require a larger parking space. Class A Motorhomes require additional space for tow vehicles.

      The reason for parking at a campground is all the same whether it is one or 10 persons.

      Persons with pets need a dog run (or should have since no one wants to pick up their dogs left behinds).

      Kids…Do you have them? Should there be an extra charge for the entertainment venues they require? Who pays for the beach, tennis courts, playgrounds?

      The septic system doesn’t care how many persons are on board. There is still routine maintenance required.

      Water treatment systems are not dependent on the number of persons using it (to a degree). Chemical treatment is still required. Construction costs are still the same.

      How many seniors use the pool?

      How many persons use a pit toilet?

      Then, there are local pricing problems….Environmental studies, permits, insurance, grounds up keep, etc.

      And there are land acquisition costs. How are you going to divide the cost for YOUR space.

      The bottom line is that there is no one “fair” way to distribute costs. And if 2 people stay in a pop tent or 28′ rig or 45′ rig, how would YOU divide all of this mess up?

      People are great at complaining. No one EVER seems to offer solutions…Do any of you who complain actually run a park?

      Like others have already stated, if you don’t like the price, move to another space. No one is control of prices except the owners. If there a bunch of amenities and you have a large crowd, you’ll pay more. It doesn’t matter if you are by yourself or not.

  14. Bonnie Bowers

    The owner should just raise his rate to 35.00 a night because doing what he does is going to make him lose potential campers.

  15. Chris

    To begin with RVs are a luxury item. If you can’t afford the campground fees stay somewhere else. If you can afford the RV I’m sure you can afford the space. If not al the rest of us will have plenty of campgrounds to choose from. Oh wait a second ,have you tried getting a campground space lately. They are all booked months in advance. So I would suggest paying the fees or sell your RV . There are plenty of people willing to pay the fees. It’s called supply and demand.

    1. Roy Ellithorpe

      To begin with, I don’t consider my RV to be a luxury. It’s where we live in the winter. Yes, we’re snowbirds and sometimes we have to pay “crazy” prices to stay in an area that for some reason we feel we must, but to pay $50 per night as a matter of course is NOT going to happen. I quite enjoy the odd night at Wal-Mart or a gravel pit.
      That being said, I am a firm believer in free enterprise, if they can get 50 or 75 dollars, more power to them, but it would have to be a very special occasion for me.

      1. Chris

        That’s fine for you Roy but ask any bank in the country for a loan on an rv and they will consider that a luxury item and not a necessity..

  16. Shebasmom

    You’re right packnrat. Why shouldn’t singles get some discount since they charge for one extra person.

  17. Vanessa

    People use facilities not slides. As a single person with a couple of furrballs and one slide I wouldn’t use as much as a couple with a couple of kids in the same rig. I can see figuring out a way to charge more for monstrosities that have dishwashers and washing machines…those campers will use them and consume more resources.

    1. David

      Chuck should name the park, that is the only way to make a change. It`s like not signing your name on a complaint letter…

      1. bago55

        Century 2 in Salmon ID

  18. Eric Meslin

    I don’t like ridiculous rate structures, or ridiculous discount structures for that matter. But the bottom line is what really speaks to me. Is it reasonable given the location, layout, cleanliness, and amenities? I have a 30′ travel trailer with one slide. A price of $32.50 isn’t terrible for a private park. Unless I can use my Passport America discount, I haven’t seen many less expensive than this. By the way, I read a Passport America note recently that was very complex, and when I finished reading several times I came to the conclusion that qualifying for the discount was impossible. I guess the host just wanted cheap advertising and access to more of the market?

  19. Robbie

    We stopped using state parks a long time ago after they started charging the additional daily entrance fee. Makes good sense to save our money and enjoy the quiet of boondocking and not worry about the cost of RV parks…..they’re not worth the expense or the hassle.

    1. Gary Lindahl

      Good idea Robbie; however, in Texas there is very little if any BLM land available, and you can’t stay in a WalMart lot forever. As one reader stated, when gas gets up to $5/gallon, there will be plenty of sites available.

  20. wayne

    Obviously I will make sure to avoid this and any other campground charging above the normal fee, just because they can…………………

  21. TimL

    How about a surcharge based on a decibel emission from the camp site? The more noise, the greater the camp site fee.

    1. Vanessa

      Love it! I can understand having outdoor speakers and TV for tailgating but I am amazed that so many RVs have outdoor speakers. If I am outside and want to listen to music I will take a portable speaker and confine the sound to my campsite and hope my neighbors do the same.

      How about dividing campgrounds by “roughty” and “zen” and corresponding pricing.

    2. Traveling Man

      I like this idea…If your dog barks incessantly, there should be a $500 fine.’

      If you party loudly til 5 in the morning, there should be another $500 fine.

      If you leave your obnoxious generator running without a muffler, that’s another $500.

      Pretty soon, one can have the resort to themselves.

      When gas gets back to $5 a gallon, there will be plenty of room.

      keep the ideas flowing.

  22. fred coston

    How much too put out the awning ?

  23. Larry Prough

    I am a firm believer in the “free enterprise” system. The owner can charge what ever he wants as long as the charges are listed ahead of time. I personally will pass him by.

  24. Willie

    Everybody is an expert but nobody has run an RV park.

    1. Dan

      Willie: I’m no “expert at managing an RV park.” But I am an “expert” at managing our travel money. There is a breaking point for us in regards the increasing fees, charges and expenses of RV parks.
      We ran into this same scenario in Utah last month. With our slide out looking into someone else’s window and directly over the sewer hook up, we’d had enough.. The other neighbor lit up a bonfire on the other side, despite a balmy 78 degree evening. We had to close the vents and windows and turn on the A/C. This was all in an expensive, “Luxury” oasis park. I can also enjoy an air conditioned hotel room cottage or yurt having far less noise and unwanted smells for about the same as the aforementioned fun tokens. We now have our beloved motorhome up for sale. The proceeds will keep us fine resorts for several seasons to come. Maybe I’ll try a plane next. 😉

  25. Colin Grant

    Most of you won’t like the BC ferries. Up to seven feet wide standard fare according to length but over seven feet is double standard fare. RV park owners should charge by the square foot just like airlines should put you and your baggage on a scale together and charge by the pound. It is the only fair way but most people would object.

    1. frater secessus

      People would object because *because* it’s fair. Free-riders rarely approve of fair asssessment.

    2. Roy

      The ‘seven feet’ on BC ferries is HEIGHT, not width …

  26. Mike & Louise

    Agree with most that a self-contained unit typically uses less of the campground services such as showers and toilets in comparison to a tent or pop-up tent trailer. We’ve been to campgrounds that have higher rates for 20, 30, 50 Amp service and for longer sites. This makes sense and allows you to choose what you need.

  27. Diane M

    Totally doesn’t make sense. Can’t tell you the number of times, especially when traveling cross country, we only plug in electric for overnight stays. And we only put out our bedroom slide, which doesn’t correlate to increased costs. Simple way would be to charge more for the longer sites, pull thrus vs back ins, sites with views, etc. I also hate the nickeling & diming. Just tell me the rate for different class of sites & I’ll decide based on my needs.

  28. Captn John

    Even with 4 slide outs that is too cheap for a nice park. The more campers on the road the more the supply is in demand. Even though stays of 1 – 2 nights we often do not use the sewer it is still available. Find me a pull through FHU in a nice park in a location I wish to be and $50 is fair to me. Cut me some slack for stays of a week or more and I’m happy. Cheap CGs are a vanishing breed. Who would spend $20,000 or more to add each additional campsite for a possible $30 per night return?

    1. Zoom

      I agree completely!!! I also think that $50 for a nice campsite is a bargain.

      1. Darrel

        $1500 a month for a campground? It better be VERY high end to support that and attract very many campers.

  29. Paul Terry

    The larger the rig the fewer the campsites equals less revenue which leads to higher rates. I might add the larger rigs together with fewer new campsites contributes to the current campsite problem.

    1. Gary Lindahl

      In Texas, there is very little, if any, BLM type land available.

  30. Chris Y

    I wouldn’t pay it just because it’s another nickel and dime ploy. $31 Is plenty for my 30 amp, 30 ft Class C with 3 slides. I do not use their facilities other than w/e/s. Sewer only if I am staying several days or longer.
    He will lose business.

  31. Steve

    I have a 39′ 5er with three slides (two of the slides are longer). Perhaps the RV park owner could explain how we use fewer / less services than a 39′ 5er with five (smaller) slides. I believe his thinking is flawed.

  32. Steve flippo

    Why do some rvers think they are owed a campsite? I am not a fan of the monstrosities many rvs have become. 40 foot long, diesel engines, 50 amps, multiple air condifioners, washer dryers??!! Come on, its getting ridiculous. There are wheels on your rv for a reason. If you don’t like the rates, roll your bloated, resource hogging tin can down the road.

  33. Alan Edelkind

    Makes no sense to me. WE have a 36′ TT with three slide-outs. There are ONLY two of us (not counting our 4 legged companion). We don’t use most of a campgrounds facilities (shower, bath, etc.). We like the space in the TT which is why we have 3 slide-outs. Maybe we ought to get a discount for not using most of the campground facilities :-).

  34. Traveling Man

    Base Rate: $
    Electric Meter: $
    Sewer (Dump Station): $
    Swimming Pool: $
    Laundry: $
    Bath House: $
    Dirt Site: $
    Gravel Site: $
    Concrete Site: $
    Premium Site (more space, picnic table, grill): $
    Deluxe Site: (same as above with lake or pond access): $

    I would not oppose a structure such as this. Having said that, it’s near impossible as there are fees to construct and maintain these facilities. Taxes and Insurance are also hard to calculate in this fee structure.

    Each type of campground has to figure out how to manage fees based on the overall campground. There is also campground labor, upkeep, future growth.

    If a campground owner had a structure such as the above, ultimately we all pay for those services whether we need them or not. How does a owner hire for just those services you want to pay for? One day, everyone wants these services. Other days, no one wants these services. It would just be a nightmare to manage even if you could. In tight labor markets, it would be worse.

    I would suggest/propose that park owners set a fair market price. If it is unreasonable, I will not stay there. If I want to enjoy the pool, I will as it has already been paid for. The same for bath houses.

    If you want to camp in a no frills campground, then that is a different rate.

    Campgrounds are there to make a profit. Campers are there to enjoy the amenities and have a good time. Balance people. Balance. If you want free, boondock or dry camp. If you want a resort, go to a resort.

  35. Betty D

    I can understand paying more for extra people. More people use more services. I can understand paying more for pets or extra vehicles. And I understand that longer vehicles need a bigger site; slides need a wider site. But using more services because I have 3 slides on one side vs 1 slide all the way done the side doesn’t make any sense at all.

  36. Bob Godfrey

    Perhaps we should all take a national standardized test and display the results on our RVs so that owners will note that we have “learned” to be judicious in our water usage, electricity, sound levels etc etc. and then we might not have to pay extra. These little extras are an annoyance and petty on the park owner’s part. We have seen extra “fees” for some of the dumbest things ever. Should we also get refunds if we have a washer/dryer and don’t use it during the stay? How about if we don’t use the sewer connection? Or how about a refund if we don’t stream movies on their internet? Ridiculous.

  37. Jeff

    Totally ridiculous! And the reasoning of the Park Owner is just SILLY! I am willing to bet, he got this idea from someone else.

    I would simply get back in my Truck and drive off!

    1. Jeff

      Is this extra cost IDENTIFIED someplace in a directory, like Good Sams? This would help RVers make an informed decision and NOT Stay there.

  38. Martin

    It’s not the number of slides which use additional services, it is the number of people in the RV who use additional services. You want to charge more for additional usage, then have an added charge for persons in the RV! Personally, if an owner was going to charge more for slideouts, I’d turn right around and drive off.

    I’ve made it a standing rule I will not use any campground which charges extra for pets – they don’t use facility’s resources or services. When RV owners let their wallets talk, RV owners will listen.

    1. Susan F

      I agree with this reasoning and would add that the addition of a washer & dryer in a rig also adds to that draw on services. The number of slides has no bearing.

    2. Lee

      If everyone was a Good Dog Neighbor and picked up after Fido, I would agree with you. Howsomever that’s just not the case, creating more work for the park staff. As usual, the irresponsible minority causes the majority to pay.

  39. Dr4Film ----- Richard

    Ridiculous and petty since you asked!

  40. packnrat

    as a single man, i should get a 50% discount.
    no tv,
    no internet ( while on the rd),
    no washer/dryer.
    no extra lighting.
    no loud noise,
    short showers,
    to bed early,
    no dog,
    no rug rats,
    so i use far less than 1/2 of any services..

    1. TP

      Makes sense to me packnrat.

    2. K.ermit

      I have no slideouts, so do I get $1.50/ day credit??

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