How much does it cost to open/start/launch the outdoor activity subscription box

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The subscription box business model has taken the world by storm, and the outdoor activity subscription box is no exception. With the global pandemic, people are turning to outdoor activities more than ever. In the United States, the outdoor recreation industry has an annual economic impact of 7 billion, according to a study by the Outdoor Industry Association. With this huge industry, and people willing to invest in trying new things, starting an outdoor activity subscription box is a lucrative business idea.

The adventure and nature subscription box industry is a relatively new concept, and it is growing in popularity. With subscription services now comprising nearly 80% of consumer spending according to Forbes, an outdoor activity subscription box is a smart choice for entrepreneurs and consumers alike. It offers the convenience of home delivery, the affordability of professional-grade gear and equipment, and the ability to explore new hobbies without a large financial commitment.

More than 12.5 million people participated in camping activities in the United States in 2019, according to the same Outdoor Industry Association study. With this growth, the outdoor activity subscription box business model offers a variety of activities, be it camping, hiking or fishing. The subscription service can help consumers get started on their outdoor adventures with the necessary gear and gear while providing benefits like exclusive deals on outdoor industry products.

If you’re considering starting an outdoor activity subscription box, there are a few upfront costs to consider. These include website development and design, initial purchase of inventory and equipment, marketing and advertising costs, etc. In this blog post, we will discuss in depth the costs of starting an outdoor activity membership box and provide you with a full understanding of the industry and all that is involved in starting this business. .

  • Website development and design
  • Initial purchase of inventory and equipment
  • Packaging and shipping material
  • Marketing and advertising costs
  • Legal and registration fees
  • Rental or purchase office and warehouse
  • Employee salaries and benefits
  • Software and Technology Spending
  • Travel costs to meet vendors and industry events

Let’s dive deep into each cost category and everything needed to launch your own outdoor activity subscription box!

Startup costs:

If you’re interested in starting an outdoor activity subscription box, it’s essential to understand the startup costs involved. A thorough analysis of the cost structure is necessary to ensure a successful launch of the business. In this article, we’ll provide an overview of some of the start-up costs that will need to be considered. Please note that these costs may vary depending on several factors, such as your business size, location, market demand, and other variables.

Cost Average amount range (USD)
Website development and design ,500 – ,000
Initial purchase of inventory and equipment ,000 – ,000
Packaging and shipping material ,000 – ,000
Marketing and advertising costs ,500 – ,000
Legal and registration fees ,000 – ,000
Office and warehouse rental or purchase ,000 – ,000
Employee salaries and benefits ,000 – ,000
Software and Technology Spending ,000 – ,000
Travel costs to meet vendors and industry events ,000 – ,000
Total ,000 – 5,000
  • Website Development and Design: You will need to create a professional and user-friendly website to showcase your products and services. The cost will depend on the complexity of the website, features and design elements.
  • Initial inventory and equipment purchase: This will be one of the biggest expenses you will incur. You will need to purchase a variety of gear and outdoor gear to gift in your subscription boxes.
  • PACKAGED MATERIALS AND SHIPPING: You will also need to invest in quality packaging and shipping materials to ensure that your products are delivered safely and in good condition.
  • Marketing and advertising costs: You will need to allocate funds for marketing and advertising to create brand awareness and attract customers.
  • Legal and Registration Expenses: There will be legal and administrative costs to register and properly establish your business.
  • Office and Warehouse Lease or Purchase: Depending on the size of your operations, you may need to lease or purchase office and warehouse space.
  • Employee Salaries and Benefits: As your business grows, you may need to hire employees to handle various aspects of the business.
  • Software and technology expenses: You will need to invest in software and technology solutions to manage your operations, inventory, and customer service.
  • Travel costs to meet with suppliers and industry events: You may need to attend trade shows or meet with suppliers to find quality products.

1. Website development and design

A crucial part of launching any business, including outdoor activity subscription boxes, is developing a professional and visually appealing website. Website design costs can vary depending on the complexity of the design, the number of pages needed, and the level of customization required.

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According to recent statistics, the average website development cost ranges from 00 to ,000 for a basic website, while a custom designed website can cost up to ,000. These costs typically include graphic design, content creation, coding, and website hosting.

It is important to consider the overall user experience when designing a website for an outdoor activity subscription box. This includes creating a responsive design that adapts to multiple devices and screen sizes, as well as incorporating high-quality images and easy-to-navigate menus. Gamification and interactive elements such as quizzes can also be added to improve user engagement and retention.

In addition to the initial website design costs, ongoing website maintenance and updates should also be considered. This may include bug fixes, security updates, and content additions. Ongoing website maintenance can cost between 0 and 00 per year, depending on the level of support needed.

To boost website efficiency and visibility, it is also important to invest in search engine optimization (SEO) services. The cost of SEO services varies, but a monthly retainer can cost anywhere from 0 to 00 per month. This cost can be justified by the increased traffic and conversions that an optimized website can bring.

  • Examples: The Rei Co-Op website features high quality visuals and an organized layout to showcase their outdoor gear and gear offerings. Cairn Subscription Service offers a unique interactive quiz to help subscribers determine the best subscription box for their outdoor interests and skill level.

2. Initial purchase of inventory and equipment

Starting an outdoor activity subscription service requires an initial investment in inventory and equipment. The cost of initial inventory may vary depending on the types and quality of items included in the subscription box. According to recent market research, the average cost to procure inventory and equipment for a basic outdoor subscription box service can be around ,000 to ,000 . The estimated cost may increase for niche boxes that cater to specific outdoor activities.

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The inventory and equipment required for subscription box service can be purchased from various vendors and manufacturers. The purchase can be made directly from the brands or via wholesale or distributors. The availability of discounts and offers can reduce the overall cost of purchasing inventory. However, it is important to ensure that the quality of the items meets the standards necessary to attract and retain customers.

Subscription box services may choose to purchase inventory and equipment in bulk to reduce cost per item. Depending on seasonal demand and customer preferences, inventory may vary for each box. Businesses can also pre-purchase items based on predicted customer preferences. It is necessary to ensure that the items included in the box align with the monthly or quarterly theme that has been advertised to customers.

Businesses also need to consider the cost of packaging and shipping the boxes. The cost of packaging materials, printing labels and custom boxes can be around .50 to USD per box depending on the size and dimensions of the box. Shipping cost may vary depending on location, weight and shipping carrier selected. Some companies offer free shipping as an added incentive to attract customers.

  • Example 1: A business providing base inventory for a monthly hiking subscription box service needs to purchase backpacks, water bottles, flashlights, and socks. The total cost of inventory can be estimated at approximately ,000 USD (excluding shipping and packing).
  • Example 2: A business that caters to a niche market of fishing enthusiasts may require specialized tackle and equipment such as fishing rods, lures, and reels. The initial cost of purchasing inventory can be around ,000 USD.

3. Packaging and shipping materials

The subscription box industry relies heavily on the proper packaging and shipping materials to deliver products safely and efficiently to customers. The cost of these materials can vary depending on the size and weight of the box, the type of materials used and the shipping destination.

On average, the cost of packaging materials for a subscription box can range from to per box. This includes the cost of the box itself, any additional inserts or padding, and any branded tape or tags.

Shipping costs also vary depending on the destination and the weight of the box. Most subscription box companies use USPS, UPS, or FedEx to ship their products. On average, the cost of shipping a standard 2-book subscription box to the United States is around -, while international shipping can range from – per box.

  • For example, a hiking-focused subscription business might include a small first-aid kit, compass, and high-protein snacks.
  • To ensure these items arrive safely to customers, the company can use a sturdy corrugated box, biodegradable packing peanuts, and branded tape with an average cost of per box for packing materials. ‘packaging.
  • Shipping costs for a standard 2-pound box can cost around for domestic destinations, while international shipping can cost around – per box.

In order to keep costs low, many subscription box companies choose to purchase packaging materials and shipping supplies in bulk. This can help them negotiate lower prices and save money in the long run.

4. Marketing and advertising costs

Marketing and advertising costs are big expenses for any business, including outdoor activity subscription boxes. According to recent statistical information, the average marketing budget of a subscription box business is roughly ,000 per year . This cost includes advertising, public relations, content marketing, and social media marketing costs.

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One of the major costs of marketing is advertising. Many subscription box companies allocate a considerable portion of their budget to online advertising and pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns. The average cost per click for outdoor activity keywords ranges from .50 to .00 , which can add up quickly for small businesses.

Another ad spend for outdoor activity subscription boxes can come from influencer marketing. Influencer marketing is a popular technique used to promote products or services in which companies partner with influencers (people with a wide range of social media) to endorse their products. The average cost per post for an influencer with 100,000 followers is ,000 to ,000 .

Aside from advertising, content marketing is another essential marketing strategy for subscription boxes. This method includes blog posts, video tutorials, and other types of marketing content to educate potential customers on the benefits of outdoor activities and membership boxes. Content marketing expenses can vary widely depending on the type, frequency, and quality of content, with an average cost of ,000 to ,000 per year .

Social media marketing is also an essential part of marketing a subscription box business. Businesses can spend a considerable amount of money on social media advertising, content creation, and management. The average cost of social media advertising is between .50 to .00 per click , depending on the platform used and the target audience.

When starting an outdoor activity subscription box, it is essential to allocate sufficient budget for marketing and advertising expenses. These costs can add up quickly, so it’s crucial to create a solid marketing plan and track your expenses carefully. Using cost-effective marketing strategies such as content marketing and social media advertising can help maximize your marketing dollars and gain traction in the market.

  • Advertising costs average ,000 per year
  • Average cost per click for outdoor activity keywords: .50 to .00
  • Average cost per post for influencers with 100,000 followers: ,000 to ,000
  • Content marketing costs an average of ,000 to ,000 per year
  • Average social media advertising cost: .50 to .00 per click

5. legal and registration fees

To start a business, it is important to understand the legal requirements and the registration process. Outdoor activity subscription box companies are no exception. The cost of legal and registration expenses can vary depending on the state and county where the business is located.

Trademark Registration Can cost anywhere from 5 to 0 per class of goods or services, which can add up quickly if a business wants to mark multiple classes. However, it is recommended to mark the company name and logo to protect the mark against infringement.

Business license and permit fees may also vary depending on location. In general, it can cost between and 0 to obtain the necessary licenses and permits to operate the business. This may include a general business license, sales tax permit, and/or permit to sell products on public lands.

Insurance is a major expense for any business, including outdoor activity subscription boxes. Depending on the scope of the business, insurance can range from 0 to ,000 per year. This can cover general liability, product liability and property damage or loss.

Legal fees can also be a significant expense for starting a business. Legal fees to incorporate or form a Limited Liability Company (LLC) can range from 0 to ,500 depending on the complexity of the business structure. In addition, it is important to consult a lawyer to draft contracts and agreements for suppliers, suppliers and subscribers.

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Taxes are another important consideration when starting a business. The cost of taxes can vary by state and county, but businesses should expect to pay federal income and tax taxes, payroll taxes, sales tax, and property tax .

  • Trademark Registration: 5 – 0 per class
  • Business license and permit fees: – 0
  • Insurance: 0 – ,000 per year
  • Legal fees: 0 – ,500
  • Taxes: Varies by state and county

Starting an outdoor activity membership business involves several legal and registration expenses that can quickly add up. However, knowing the costs in advance can help entrepreneurs budget and plan for success.

6. Rent or buy office and warehouse

One of the important aspects of starting an outdoor membership business is renting or buying the office and warehouse. Many businesses choose to work from home initially, but as the business grows, a separate office and warehouse may be needed to manage operations more efficiently.

The cost of office space in the United States varies by location, square footage, and amenities. According to a report by Statista, the average price per square foot of office space in New York City is , while prices in Los Angeles and Chicago are and , respectively. This means that for a 1,000 square foot office space, New York City rent costs can be as high as ,000 per year.

The cost of warehouse space also varies depending on the location, size and type of warehouse required. In a study conducted by Loopnet, the average cost per square foot of industrial warehouse space is .50. For example, a 10,000 square foot warehouse space can cost around ,000 per year.

It is essential to carefully assess the location and type of office and warehouse space to ensure that it meets the needs of the business. For example, warehouse space should be large enough to store inventory safely, and the office should be accessible to customers and staff with enough parking space.

Another option for an outdoor membership business is to consider co-working spaces or shared office spaces. These spaces allow several companies to share a workspace and significantly reduce costs. The cost of co-working spaces ranges from 0 to 0 per month, and shared office spaces range from 0 to ,000 per month.

  • Tip: Before renting or buying office and warehouse space, consider the expected growth of the business to avoid going over the space too soon.
  • Tip: Search available grants, incentives or small business tax breaks in the selected area. This can help reduce operating costs.

7. Salaries and Employee Benefits

When starting an outdoor membership business, it’s essential to consider the costs associated with employee salaries and benefits. According to recent statistics, the average salary of an employee in the outdoor and recreation industry in the United States is around ,000 to ,000 per year. This may vary depending on position, experience and location.

In addition to wages, companies must also consider the cost of employee benefits, including health care, pension plans, paid vacations, and other benefits or incentives. On average, companies in the outdoor industry spend about 30% of their total budget on salaries and employee benefits.

It is important to note that these costs can vary greatly depending on the size of the business and the number of employees. A smaller operation with fewer employees may have a lower overall salary and benefits budget than a larger company with more staff.

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When determining the salary and employee benefits budget, it is crucial to consider both the short-term and long-term goals of the business. For example, offering competitive wages and benefits can help attract and retain top talent, leading to increased long-term productivity and profitability.

In addition to traditional perks, many outdoor businesses also offer unique perks or incentives to attract and retain employees. These can include flexible hours, remote work options, discounts on outdoor gear, and opportunities for professional development and training.

Ultimately, the cost of employee salaries and benefits is a big factor in the overall budget of starting an outdoor activity membership business. However, investing in a competitive compensation package and unique benefits can lead to a more successful and sustainable long-term operation.

  • Examples of Employee Benefits in the Outdoor Membership Business:
  • Health insurance
  • Dental and vision insurance
  • Retirement plans such as 401(k) and IRA
  • Paid time off and vacation
  • Flexible hours and remote work options
  • Outdoor sheds
  • Opportunities for training and professional development

8. software and technology expenses

In order to provide top quality outdoor equipment and gear, along with accompanying literature and video tutorials, a nature-based adventure or subscription box service will require advanced software and technology. . These expenses include:

  • Website Design and Development: An e-commerce website is the key component of any subscription-based business. The website should be user-friendly and offer a streamlined subscription process. On average, the cost of designing and developing an e-commerce website ranges from ,000 to ,000.
  • Software and plugins: Reliable subscription management software is needed to track orders, payments, and renewals. Other plugins like email marketing, social media integration and SEO optimization are also essential. Subscription management software can cost between and 0 per month, while individual plugins usually cost less than 0.
  • Mobile App Development: Providing a mobile app for subscribers is crucial for better user experience and better retention. The cost of developing a mobile app can range from ,000 to ,000 depending on the complexity and functionality of the app.
  • Inventory management system: An effective inventory management system is necessary to track the fulfillment of actions and orders. Depending on the size of the business, the cost of an inventory management system can range between 0 and ,000.
  • Shipping Solutions: Shipping costs are one of the main expenses for a subscription box service, and an efficient shipping solution can minimize these costs. Shipping software and postage can cost between and 0 per month or more depending on order volume.

It is important to note that the cost of software and technology can vary depending on several factors, including the size of the business, the complexity of the website, the number of subscribers and the level of automation desired. Therefore, it is crucial to research and compare different software options to find the most cost-effective solutions that best suit the needs of the business.

9. Travel costs to meet suppliers and industry events

Travel costs to meet with suppliers and attend industry events can vary significantly depending on location and number of events attended. According to research conducted by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), the average cost per domestic business trip to the United States is ,149, with an average cost of 5 USD.

Costs rise significantly for international travel, with an average cost of US,600 per trip based on a Carlson Wagonlit Travel survey. This includes airfare, hotel accommodations, meals, ground transportation and incidentals.

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For entrepreneurs looking to start an outdoor activity subscription box, attending industry events and trade shows is crucial for networking with vendors and keeping up with industry trends. Attendance fees for these events can range from USD to 0 USD or more depending on location and duration.

In addition to event costs, entrepreneurs should also consider travel costs such as airfare, hotel accommodations, meals, and transportation. For example, attending the Outdoor Retailer Show in Salt Lake City, Utah can cost an entrepreneur over ,000 for a four-day trip.

To minimize travel costs, entrepreneurs can consider leveraging technology to attend virtual events and meetings, or combine multiple vendor meetings and events into one trip to reduce overall travel spend. Another option is to seek out local vendors or attend events closer to home to reduce travel costs.

  • Statistical Information: The average cost per domestic business trip to the United States is ,149, with an average cost of 5 USD. For international trips, the average cost is USD 2,600 per trip.
  • Industry Events and Networking Costs: Entrepreneurs attending industry events can expect to pay attendance fees ranging from to 0 or more, as well as additional costs for travel such as airfare, accommodation, meals and transportation.
  • Reduce travel costs: Entrepreneurs can consider leveraging technology for virtual events, combining multiple vendor meetings into one trip, sourcing local vendors, or attending events closer to home.


As we’ve discussed, launching an outdoor activity subscription box involves a variety of costs and considerations. With the right planning and research, this business idea can be both profitable and fulfilling.

One of the biggest initial costs is website development and design. The cost depends on the complexity and functionality required for the website. However, investing in a user-friendly and attractive website is key to attracting potential customers.

Another significant cost is the initial purchase of inventory and equipment. The cost of inventory and equipment depends on the number of items included in each box and the quality of the products. However, running high-quality equipment is important to keeping customers happy and retaining business.

Other important costs to consider include packing and shipping materials, marketing and advertising costs, legal and registration expenses, office and warehouse rent or purchase, salaries and benefits employee benefits, software and technology expenses, and travel expenses to meet with vendors and industry events.

It is important to consider these costs while calculating the subscription box price to ensure that your business is profitable. Researching the market and the competition can help decide on a reasonable and competitive price.

In conclusion, launching an outdoor activity subscription box is a smart business model, considering the growth of the outdoor recreation industry and consumer spending trends. Although there are upfront costs involved, with careful planning and execution, this business can be lucrative and rewarding.

  • Website development and design
  • Initial purchase of inventory and equipment
  • Packaging and shipping material
  • Marketing and advertising costs
  • Legal and registration fees
  • Rental or purchase office and warehouse
  • Employee salaries and benefits
  • Software and Technology Spending
  • Travel costs to meet vendors and industry events

By keeping the aforementioned key costs in mind and doing thorough research, any entrepreneur can launch a successful outdoor activity subscription box that meets the needs of outdoor enthusiasts and adventure seekers.