CBIZ Sattler Adventure Sports Blog

Insights and tips on how to protect your adventure sports business, giving you and your guests peace of mind.

Ward, Hayden
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New Year, New Adventures — Starting an Outfitter Business

Beginning an outfitter business

A new year means new adventures! Maybe you’ve been considering starting a hunting business in Wyoming or purchasing a campground in Tennessee. Regardless of the venture, deciding to own a business can feel overwhelming and scary. To help guide your future adventure, here are some tips for starting an outfitter and guide business.

Draft a Business Plan

Great things are possible with great planning. At the core of every successful business venture, there’s a strong plan that determines how the business will run. It doesn’t matter if you want to own a campground or take groups on long hikes through Bryce’s Canyon, a detailed, strategic plan must be developed and implemented. To learn how to draft a thorough plan, visit the  U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) website to get started.

Further, creating a  contingency plan to prepare for unexpected events can minimize their impact on your business. It can help you address how to handle issues like group cancellations or a customer injury. Situations such as these need resolutions with specific steps to get your business back on track quickly. Having a contingency plan will help you do just that.

Determine Your Startup Costs & Financial Plan

One of the best ways to figure out your operating expenses is to create a list. Write down the equipment you need, property expenses, gear and food for customers, hourly wages, advertising, website, insurance, and license fees.

The most important thing owners can do is create long-term  financial goals. Set targets for your small business to measure the progress you’ve made. If your desired income has not been reached, adjust your plan and be flexible. Financial preparedness is peace of mind when unplanned disruptions or disasters occur. 

Obtain the Correct Permits, Licenses & Insurance

An essential piece to starting an outfitter business is having the correct permits and licenses. Depending on the state your business operates in, you will need a permit, license or possibly both in order to conduct business. Each state will vary on what is needed and where to get it. For example, outfitters in Idaho must be licensed through the Idaho Outfitters and Guides License Board.

One of the most important things you can do for your adventure sports business is to create a thorough liability waiver. Waivers are required for any outdoor business where participants could be at risk while partaking in the activity. A liability waiver is a legal defense mechanism that can protect your business from liability of negligence and shows goodwill in terms of mitigation. It’s a low-cost liability protection for any business and can always be enhanced. Liability waivers should be reviewed by an attorney before being put into action. They’ll help ensure that your waiver meets the legal requirements, state laws, local laws and standards for your field of business. 

With any sport, game or adventure, there are always risks. If someone has an accident while game shooting or falls during a hiking expedition, your business needs to be covered. They could file a lawsuit to recover their medical costs, claiming that something during their experience caused their injuries. A  comprehensive adventure sports policy should cover the cost of defending your claim and any damages or settlement payments (up to the policy’s limits).

Implement Marketing & Advertising Strategies

You have a great business plan, you’ve obtained all of the licensing and permits, purchased insurance, and have a great group of team members . . . now what? In order to spread the news about your awesome outfitter business, there needs to be a bit of marketing put into place. Having a  strong online presence could be the start of creating major success for you and your business. Start with the basics like setting up a website and listing your business on Google. For more marketing and advertising tips,  download our guide.

Take One of the First Steps Today

Becoming a business owner can feel like taking a large leap into the unknown. There’s always the possibility of you being personally liable and your assets being at risk. It’s best to be covered for peace of mind. CBIZ Adventure Sports is here for you every step of the way. Request a free quote to get the protection you need today.

This blog may contain scenarios that are provided as examples only. In an actual claim situation, coverage is subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions of the policy issued. The information provided is general in nature and may be affected by changes in law or the interpretation of such laws. The reader is advised to contact a professional prior to taking any action based upon this information.

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CBIZ Sattler Adventure Sports Insurance, a division of CBIZ Insurance Services, Inc., is the largest insurer of adventure sports businesses in the United States. As part of an $850 million New York Stock Exchange traded company (CBZ), we developed a policy coverage to meet the needs for those in the recreation and outfitting industries. Our policy is underwritten by an A.M. Best Rated A++ (Superior) company.

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