If you are entertaining the concept of owning a guest ranch in CO, be sure to consider these important factors ahead of time. Often referred to as The Switzerland of America, Colorado beckons people from around the world to its vacation destinations. The “highest state” can certainly be a great place to operate a Guest Ranch.
Quality, efficiency, safety, and maintenance stand out in the minds of guests. Friendliness goes a long way, too. Ranch vitality keeps guests happy and coming back for more.
Colorado Guest Ranches Differ
Any type of Colorado ranch could be used as a guest ranch welcoming city folks to walk and ride the land and enjoy fresh air. Ranches have different focuses. This uniqueness depends on purpose, facilities, terrain, people, and animals. Huge ranches, smaller ranches, ranches bordering on public lands, hunting ranches, cattle ranches, horse properties, working ranches, mountain ranches, fishing ranches—Colorado has them all within her 104,185 square miles. And any of them could be a wonderful guest ranch.
The guest ranch industry incorporates a variety of Colorado terrain and types of ranches. Run your ranch rustic and casual or pampered and elegant. Visitors choose their destinations based on ambience, activities, and prices.
Skill Sets Needed for a Guest Ranch
Guest ranching takes a big dose of an independent spirit. A well-rounded set of skills and a hearty personality will go a long way on the trail to success. It’s best to think about these things before investing. Outline your own strengths and get an idea of the cost of employees needed for your guest ranch. You’ll need experts in horses, recreation, spa activities, and the kitchen!
The guest ranch industry incorporated these knowledge and skill sets:
4. Finances & Business
7. Human Resources
8. Nature & Outdoors
Multitasking on Colorado Ranches
Colorado guest ranches usually the hospitality side from other operational activities. Ranch owners figure out the market for their guest ranch services. There’s usually a prime season and a couple of slower seasons. Think about working a guest ranch seasonally, maybe 3 months or half the year.
Then comes off season when the emphasis turns to long-term ways to make a profit. How can a rancher improve his fields, stock, plant fields and harvest? Animals need to be checked and new horses brought in. Maybe the kitchen needs a remodel, or a new cabin added.
You will likely require more resources for the specific activities your guest ranch offers. If the emphasis is on horseback riding, you’ll need good, trained horses. And that means a trainer. Cattle ranching activities require good-natured cowhands and safety precautions. If you advertise gourmet food, then you’ll need a trained chef and culinary staff. To recoup costs, special activities may increase your rates or can be offered a la carte.
Guest Ranches Operate Solo
New guest ranchers are signing up to be entrepreneurs. Guest ranches are businesses, rare businesses at that. Guest ranches may seek advertising help from associations but, really, there are few agencies to fall back on. Just don’t expect the North American Dude Ranch Association to offer financial backing.
Independence comes with a price. Usually, it’s hard work and ingenuity. Ranchers in the Rocky Mountains may be surprised about what it takes to make improve the legacy of their guest ranches. To make ends meet, every rancher needs to be on top of economic possibilities. There will be no tax breaks, subsidies, or farm bills to help. Instead, owners and managers of guest ranches here in Colorado must work smart.
Believe it or not, the cost of maintaining the property and buildings uses approximately 90 percent of the hospitality income. Fees go towards accommodations, taxes, and maintenance. Buying a smaller Colorado ranch near public lands for horseback riding could be one way to reduce those expenses. Think about how you could network with neighboring ranches if necessary.
Smart Moves to Stabilize Ranch Finances
People willing to pay for expensive ranch vacations do contribute to the bottom line for a sampling of Colorado ranches. They will also pay well to help around your working ranch. However, markets change. Competition changes. Always be prepared for the unexpected.
Guest ranch income is but one source of income you will need. The other side of the coin? Expenses. Costs for upgrades, maintenance, livestock feed, fencing and repairs, and other upkeep continues. Then there are circumstances. When the weather and emergencies like covid halt regular business, a smart guest ranch will be ready. Have savings, have contingency plans such as leasing acreage or allowing other recreation. Offer extras such as treks on horseback or bring in a guide for to teach hunting or fly fishing on your ranch.
In addition, while there are not monies to help with the guest ranch, there may be subsidies available for your operational ranch.
Start a Guest Ranch in CO
While there are people who dream of running a guest ranch, others need to learn from the ground up. Start with the things we talked about here but continue to investigate the guest ranch industry. Guests will come to immerse themselves in the country, the beauty, the newness, and will return to a well-run guest ranch.
Realtors – Colorado Ranches for Sale
Find out when the best Colorado ranches for sale come to the market. Call Harrigan Land Company in Sedalia, Colorado at 303-908-1101. Serving Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming, Utah, Montana, and the surrounding areas.