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Does anyone have any thoughts or pointers on finding possible investors for a rafting company. I'm in Idaho and wanting to start a company or purchase an existing one. I have been doing my research on companies and have created my business plan. But I'm a couple 100K short.


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Discussion Starter #3
I'm coming in with 50k of my own. Profit in 5-6 years depending on which company.


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Yep they are one of the companies that I was looking at.


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PawPaw
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As a former ID outfitter I would not bring in any investors. That sounds like a bad idea to me- those investors will want to be in the action and will question every decision you try to make. Go in alone. And frankly, a rafting biz is not a good investment. I feel you are barking up the wrong tree, friend. Get a business loan with the help of the SBA. Profit is 5-6 years? Doubtful. I had a business plan too- then I put it away and started running a business for real. Being an outfitter is a lifestyle choice and not to be done with ideas that you will make money. About the only way to make money in the biz is to improve the value of the company over time and then sell-out (if you can find a buyer).

Yeah I hope I have discouraged you. Just raft a lot and leave the burden of being an outfitter to someone else. Be a guide.


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Does anyone have any thoughts or pointers on finding possible investors for a rafting company. I'm in Idaho and wanting to start a company or purchase an existing one. I have been doing my research on companies and have created my business plan. But I'm a couple 100K short.


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I know of a company that is looking to sell on the Arkansas River in CO, but is very low cost because it is small. Let me know if you're interested.
 

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You will in my opinion just be buying a paycheck and a small one at that. You do not have a product to sell just a labor intensive service company., Your profit relies on weather, water availability and disposable cash by your customers. You are selling a want, not a need. Worst of all it is a seasonal service. Take your $50 thousand, spend $ 2000 for magnetic signs, $100 for pooper scoopers. Hire some people to put up door hangers and scoop the poop. Charge $20 per yard for one dog Plus $5 for each additional dog. Pay your poop scoopers 1/2 of that. They should be able to do 20 yards a day. I think picking up someone else shit will pay better and give you lots of time to raft.
 

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Shapp
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I had a detailed look at the books of a raft outfitter for sale a few years ago on my home waters, very well established. I was looking at a potential purchase. There was definitely no room for investor potential. I think the way most of these things pencil out is to have it be family run, with seasonal low paid help. Even at that they are just paying the bill with modest wages at best for the owners, no room for outside investors that do not materially participate in the business. Thoughts from a small business owner/partner for 18 years (though not an outfitter).

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Shapp
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A couple more thoughts on how to effectively run a business that relies heavily on seasonal employees such as a raft/outfitting business (our business is heavily dependent on seasonal workers, who I manage). I have found it most effective to pay seasonal employees as much as possible given the specific economics of your business, which is hopefully more than your competitors. That may seem counter intuative to making money for yourself. However, in the end you want those same folks returning year after year and not jumping ship. The buisness will save a boat load of money by not having to procure and train new people every year. It also makes the managers life much easier as when those high quality seasonal employees return, they can get on the ball 100% on day one with little or no instruction or oversight. If you have to pay outside investors off, invariabbly that will cut heavily into seasonal worker wages and fringe benefit (likely instead of owner wages/benefits). Not optimal in the long run. It really is true, especially with seasonal employees, you get what you pay for.
 

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One thing to be aware of, Idaho has super draconian and anti-competitive outfitting laws. Outfitting licenses are not directly transferable to a new owner. There is a "licensing board" composed of other outfitters who sign off on all new licenses and sales of existing businesses. Since the licensing board members are literally your direct competitors, they have no incentive to make it easy for you to succeed in your business operations or in cashing out of your business if you manage to build a successful one. The licensing requirements for your guides there are also super bureaucratic. I took a very hard look at buying an outfit there, but passed on it due to the messed up regulatory environment. Idaho is a screwed up state to do business in period, and has super high state income tax. I'd look at Montana or Colorado.
 
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