COLORADO MOUNTAIN INCOME PROPERTIES — HOW TO LIVE YOUR DREAM AND MAKE A LIVING
I’ve been getting lots of calls lately from people who have had enough of living in a city, fighting traffic every day, wondering if their jobs are secure, and dreaming of living in the mountains or in the country, living a simpler and more peaceful life.
Does this sound too good to be true? Not really. All you have to do is find the right opportunity and take the plunge. All right, you say, I’m ready, but what can I do? What is the right business for me?
Living in the country and in the mountains presents some interesting and special opportunities and challenges, but trust me, no one really makes an easy living. It can be tough. You know the saying, though—“The harder I work, the luckier I get”. People with determination and drive seem to do well everywhere they go. Those who understand the concepts of producing quality goods and services, sound business principles, and good customer care will prosper. Anyone who is good at “thinking outside the box” has a much better chance of succeeding than someone who does the “same old, same old” business plan that developed 50 years ago. Those who are internet-savvy, strong marketers, and have good people skills will do well.
What are some business opportunities that a person can pursue in the mountains?
Well, here are some ideas:
MOUNTAIN LODGES AND BED-AND-BREAKFAST INNS
Many people have the dream of running a mountain lodge or bed-and-breakfast inn. The challenge here is to find a property that has the views, amenities, and comforts that you want, and combine it with the financials and bookings that make up a good business. One difficulty is that mountain property is expensive. Recreational buyers are snapping up mountain homes for the aesthetics of pretty views, access to a trout stream, and the proximity to a ski area. Face it, mountain real estate is higher-priced than someplace like Amarillo, Texas, and there’s a reason why. But that’s also why visitors want to come here, and that’s why they’ll pay good money to stay in your lodge or B&B. You’ll have a good income stream with a well-run mountain lodge, but you’ll also have to have a good website, a strong marketing campaign, and an attractive property. I am well acquainted with this business category, and can help you locate a strong property.
CAMPGROUNDS AND RESORTS
This is probably the category of mountain business that has the most opportunities. Those who are comfortable running a campground or resort will find a lot of good buys on the market. For some reason, there seem to be a lot of campground resorts for sale. Why is this the case? Many of the owners are older and can’t do as much as the business demands. They want to truly RETIRE. Others haven’t had a good business plan and the resorts need a new owner with new ideas. Okay, you might ask, what about the economic downturn? Won’t bookings be down? Actually, probably not. Gas prices are down significantly, and there are many retirees who have committed to an RV lifestyle and enjoy it immensely. Instead of traveling extensively, they commit for a longer time to one place—meaning longer-term bookings. For the Colorado Front Range resident, a vacation trip to Europe, Alaska, or Jamaica might seem out of reach, but a camping trip to Salida might be just the ticket. Summer resorts in Colorado are in high demand. Are they profitable? You bet.
I get inquiries from buyers looking for outfitting businesses all the time. There are a few for sale, and they get snapped up fairly quickly. Some people don’t even know what an outfitting business is—it’s someone who takes hunters, fly-fishermen, campers, and horseback riders into the mountains and the wilderness areas for back-country adventures. If you think you have what it takes to be an outfitter, give me a call, but let me warn you first. This is not for the faint at heart. It takes a lot of knowledge and skill to load gear and a week’s worth of food for a group of six hunters onto a pack string of mules and head into the high country for a week-long elk hunt. If you know nothing about horses and hunting, get your experience first and then come talk to me. If you have skills, you can do well as an outfitter. By the way, “outfitters” come in all sets of skill packages, from guiding rafting and kayaking trips to guiding fly-fishing trips, snowmobiling trips, back-country skiing, and mountaineering expeditions. These businesses come up for sale every now and then, and I keep tuned in to these opportunities when they come up.
In the valleys below the mountains, large farm parcels are very rare and very expensive. However, a more intense form of agriculture is taking root. Organic farming provides food products that are in high demand, and providing high-quality food to local supermarkets and restaurants is a growing trend. While a productive vegetable farm in California might be several hundred acres, an income-producing organic farm might be only eight or ten acres, but will be equipped with intricate irrigation systems, greenhouses, packing rooms, and delivery trucks. I know of two quality organic farms for sale as I write this.
Of course, there are other business opportunities as well. There is always a demand for artisans who make iron art, pottery, sculpture, and stained glass. Restaurants, hotels, and convenience stores come up for sale. Solar power installers are in high demand. Quality builders can almost always find work. If your dream is to live in the mountains or in the country with a relaxed, fulfilling lifestyle, call me. I may know of a business opportunity that matches your talents and work ethic.
Colorado income properties, commercial real estate, rental properties in Colorado