April 11, 2022
Joe Fairless

JF2778: Thinking Outside the Box with RV Parks and Storage ft. Sam Wilson


Sam Wilson has always been an entrepreneur. After selling the flooring business he owned, he wasn’t sure where to focus his energy next. That’s when he discovered real estate. Today he’s focused on commercial real estate projects — mainly RV parks and boat/RV storage. He’s an enthusiastic investor with a never-ending stream of creative ideas about how to make the RV park and storage space better for himself, his investors, and his tenants. Highlights from the episode include: 

 

His Introduction to RV Parks & Storage

Sam Wilson feels like he had been involved in almost every type of commercial real estate asset before landing where he is now. It was his curiosity that led him to seize an opportunity to build a boat and RV storage facility. He was especially encouraged to move forward after conducting some research — cap rates for this asset class are trading on a much higher basis than other commercial asset classes, and because the RV and boat industries have been booming since the onset of the pandemic, there’s a high demand for storage.

 

Active vs. Passive Investing

Although Sam is both an active and passive investor right now, his 10-year goal is to transition fully into passive investing. Although he compares owning an RV park to running a business, he’s laying the groundwork for his future by finding talented partners who are passionate about operations. “I want to find people that love to be in that day-to-day and really put the right people in the right seats,” he says. “That’s what we’re really building right now.”

 

Boat & RV Storage Goals

RV deliveries have majorly increased in the past few years, and the largest demographic of buyers are people ages 35 to 55 with families, Sam says. Because most of these people can’t park an RV in their driveway, the demand for storage is skyrocketing — and they’re willing to drive massive distances to find it. Sam is exploring the idea of creating luxury RV storage spaces with 100-amp hookups and possibly even shared ownership, where renters could purchase their storage units. 

 

Education Is Key

The hardest lesson Sam has learned is the importance of fully educating yourself on an asset class before diving in. This is especially important in the RV industry because it’s fragmented and it’s difficult to find information about it. “I think that’s a hurdle that I’m working through,” he says, “and again, I’m looking for excellent partners that can help really come on board the operation side.”

 

Find a Mentor — and Don’t Be Cheap

Sam’s Best Real Estate Investing Advice Ever is to find a mentor. “I always say, ‘Don’t hire the guru-but-no-do,’” he says. In other words, if someone is offering a course on something that they haven’t actually done themselves, don’t walk away. Run. He says anyone seeking a mentor should be prepared to pay well for advice from a true expert — it’ll be worth every penny.

 

Sam Wilson | Real Estate Background

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