Opening your very own water park might seem like a daunting task, but there are several ways you can make it easier on yourself.
If you can take the proper steps, the cost of opening a water park won’t ever be too much for you to handle on your own, and that’s something that anyone who wants to open one will want to remember.
The average cost to start an outdoor water park is $750,000. This can vary between $500,000 to $1,500,000, depending on the size and location of your park.
The average cost for an indoor water park is $875,000. Depending on layout, size, and location, the price can vary between $550,000 and $2,000,000.
Let’s explore all the things that it will take for you to open a water park.
Water Park 101
Water parks are an excellent way to get out and enjoy the sunny days remaining in the year, but they’re also a great way to make money.
That’s why many people want to open one, but not all of them will be able to do it successfully.
Water parks are typically outside, meaning there’s always a chance the weather won’t be pleasant, which can negatively impact your business.
You also have to worry about finding the proper place for your water park. Many people just don’t have enough space in their backyards for something like this, so you’ll need to find somewhere else you can put your park.
You’ll need to make sure you have all the tools necessary to do it successfully, so let’s get right to the business of listing them out.
One of the most important things you need before you can open your water park is land.
Finding a plot that branches off an existing road might be more expensive, but it will also allow customers to easily access it, which is very important if you want to succeed.
An average waterpark will require between 7 and 14 acres of land to move around in, but you can always manage with less.
With the average acre of land going for roughly $3,500, this will vary greatly depending on what state you’re in and what location you choose.
Expect to spend between $25,000 and $50,000 on average for your initial plot of land. Prices can go well over $1,000,000 if you decide to build somewhere that offers a lot of traffic.
Choosing a location close enough to a city will give you your best shot at getting off on the right foot.
Finding a location where you can pay rural prices but is accessible for city dwellers will allow you to have a cost-effective plot of land that customers won’t mind driving to.
Indoor vs. Outdoor
The next thing you’ll have to do is decide whether or not your water park will be indoor or outdoor.
Both options have their perks, but most businesses prefer using an existing building rather than putting up a structure that costs just as much money.
You can always choose to do both if you have the money to spend, but most people will settle on just one of these as their first choice.
An outdoor water park will usually cost much less than an indoor one.
If you decide to build an indoor facility, you will need the land and a structure to house your indoor water park. Building will cost you between $200 and $630 per square foot.
You also need to consider the costs of heating and cooling when you’re planning your indoor water park.
An outdoor water park will require fewer expenses, but that doesn’t mean it will be cheap.
You will need a fence no matter which type of water park you’re putting up because you don’t want children wandering away from the area and getting hurt.
If a child wanders off, this can lead to lawsuits that can cause you a lot of money.
Fencing can cost between $12 – $22 per linear foot, but this will vary depending on the type of fencing you choose and how secure it is.
Rides And Entertainment
Once you have your park up and running, you’ll be able to work on attracting customers who will pay a fee for admission to come inside and have fun.
The minimum you’ll need to get started is six rides. The more you have, the better chance you have of attracting customers day after day.
The average water amusement park ride costs roughly $80,000, but this also depends on what kind of ride it is. Expect to pay a total average of $480,000 for your initial six rides to get your park started.
The average cost of a wave pool is around $35,000, depending on the size you choose. This is an excellent accompaniment to any water park because it can support many guests at one time.
Most water parks will sell food and beverages inside, and you need something to keep your customers entertained while they wait in line for their turn on a ride.
Restaurants and concessions cost around $20,000 and up. These can be great additions to your water park to help increase the bottom line.
You’ll also want to build yourself some changing rooms that people can use, so they don’t have to change their clothes on the side of a dirty wet pool deck.
Changing rooms will cost an average of $2,000 per unit.
Paid lockers are another great way to help your customers keep their things safe while they’re riding the rides at your park. This also adds another layer of revenue for the business.
These will cost you an average of $1,000 per unit.
If you choose to have an outdoor water park, consider having shaded areas for your guest, so they don’t have to stand out in the hot sun all day.
Shaded seating can cost you an average of $4,500 per 20 feet of space.
You will need other things, but these are some of the main items to consider when building your waterpark.
Your water park will require staff to operate every hour that it’s open. A water park will typically require about 30 employees at any given time.
Full-time employees will cost you an average of $32,000 per year and part-time employees $15,600 per year on average.
Employee levels can range from managers who go for an average of $44,800 per year to lifeguards that only cost around $10,600 per year on average.
Your water park will also need a handful of maintenance employees as well.
These employees typically have an average yearly salary of $40,000.
You’ll also need to pay an additional fee for health insurance and paid holidays. This can vary depending on how many people you have working for you, but expect it to run you anywhere from $4,000 to $7,500 on average per employee each year.
Your location and whether your water park is indoors or outdoors will determine if you’ll be open year-round.
Either way – you will need insurance whether people can come to use your park every day of the year or not.
Operating a water park is considered a higher-risk business and can require a costly insurance policy.
For most water amusement parks, the insurance you need will cost an average of $5,000 per month. This insurance helps protect your business in the event something happens to one of your customers.
You will also need to protect your employees with employee compensation insurance. This will help halt any legal issues that might come about if someone is injured while on your property.
Employee compensation insurance will cost you around $2,500 per year, depending on the size of the policy and what your water park offers.
Park Operation Expenses
You will need to consider how much your daily and monthly operation expenses will be.
Your utilities can also add up because of all the hours that your water park is open every week.
The amount of money you will need to pay for your utilities can vary greatly. On average, expect to pay around $8,200 a month for your utilities.
This is just the average monthly cost of your utilities. You might have to pay more in some months if you have a particularly cold winter or hot summer that causes people to come out in droves.
You will also need money for your trash collection services and any maintenance you might need for your rides.
On average, expect to pay about $1,000 per month for your trash collection service and another $2,700 each month for any maintenance or supplies needed.
These are just some of the main expenses you will incur monthly when you’re operating a water park.
Marketing and Signage
You will also need to advertise your water park if you want people to come out and enjoy the fun.
Advertising can be costly, depending on how you do it. You might make an effective advertisement with a simple sign or through social media or online, but all popular forms of advertising are not free.
Expect to spend anywhere from $1,500 to $4,000 on promotional services per month.
It’s also crucial to have proper signage so people know you exist.
This will cost you around $3,000 to have this done.
If you want a flashy sign made or a custom-designed sign for your water park, expect to pay somewhere from $5,000 to $15,000.
You may also want brochures created for the water park that you can hand out or leave on tables in the local area. These typically cost around $1,000 each month.
Choose Your Pricing
You will have to consider your pricing when it comes to operating a water park. How much you charge can both attract new customers and keep them away.
When it comes to admission prices to your park, consider charging for daily and yearly access.
If you’re going to charge a daily fee for access, expect to have people pay anywhere from $25– $55.
People will expect the price to be around $75 – $130 per person for a yearly pass.
Be careful not to charge too little or too much because potential visitors may assume that your water park does not offer very many attractions if your pricing is too low.
On the other hand, if you charge too much for people to come and enjoy your park, many people won’t be able to afford to go as often as they would like – even worse – may choose to visit a different park.
You might want to consider having special pricing or promotions for children, senior citizens, and other groups. This can be a great way to attract new customers if you want to expand your business.
You will have to run your water park with a lot of care to be profitable.
Consider hiring someone to manage the operations on the property so that you don’t have to worry about everything being organized and up-to-date.
This will help ensure that everything runs smoothly, including your supplies, rides, and other necessities.
On average, you should expect to pay around $40,000 for someone experienced to manage your water park.
You will want to keep people coming through the gates of your water park.
To do this, consider having some form of monthly event or promotion.
You might offer different deals on certain days of the week or try offering some new features every month to encourage people to visit.
It is also crucial to ensure that any concessions or novelty items you offer have at least a 40 to 60 percent profit margin.
When you are thinking about opening a water park, it is important to consider all the expenses that come with the business.
Talk to other successful owners to learn more about their process or what they have done in the past when running a water park.
You may also consult an accountant who has experience helping people run the type or size of the park you’d like to.