Chelsea Gonzales
by Chelsea Gonzales
Posted May 23, 2022

“I’m an engineer by trade, which has been a great launching point for the RV world,” Outdoorsy owner Mike Kneale shares with us. “I spent the first half of my career working on airplanes with Boeing. I worked on projects to improve the factory and helped design the interior of airplanes like the new 777X. There’s an amazing amount of similarity between aircraft and RV design!”

But what led the engineer to purchase an RV in the first place? “Like a lot of families, when the pandemic hit in 2020 we were looking for a different way to travel,” Mike explains. “We decided to buy our first travel trailer (Rocky the R-Pod) for a cross-country adventure that summer. We chose Rocky because he fit all four of us—me, my wife, and two elementary-aged kids—and was easy to tow. I spent about a month using my engineer know-how to upgrade his electrical system to include two rooftop solar panels, a portable solar panel, and a fancy new battery.”

Sunseeker RV

From there, the adventures began. “We launched on July 12th and weren’t back in town until the day before school started,” Mike recalls. “We spent several weeks on the road, with a long layover in Michigan to see family. Stops included everything from dinosaur country, Montana, through raging rapids in West Virginia, mountaintop forests in New Mexico, and camping Kalaloch on the Pacific coast.

“We’ve had so many more awesome adventures since then! Within a day’s drive of our home, you can reach mountains, forests, deserts, and countryside from Northern California through Montana. One really cool spot we camped was on a week-long trip through Utah. We spent a night in a remote campsite at the end of a long dirt road, tucked into a draw with towering red rocks nearly surrounding us. The place was almost deserted, the stars were amazing, and the rocks lit amazing colors at sunrise.”

After experiencing their first big RV adventure, the Kneales wanted to share that experience with others. “We thought a lot of other families in our area would appreciate the opportunity for a ‘socially distant’ vacation that year, so we decided to share Rocky with our neighbors,” says Mike. “We put Rocky up for rent on Outdoorsy, and it turned out we were right! He was in high demand, and a lot of families around Seattle’s ‘Eastside’ area took him out.

“Our first rental over Labor Day 2020 was actually to someone who shares a mutual friend with me,” Mike continues. “Rocky traveled on several weekend trips that fall, everything from horse shows to concerts to family reunions—even down to New Mexico over Thanksgiving!”

Boundless RV

Mike had found a new passion and he was quick to jump on the awesome business opportunity. “Renting RVs was a good fit for me since I could spend time with my children and put my business and engineering skills to use,” Mike tells us. “I decided to make a mid-career change, leaving my ‘real’ job and launching Boundless RV later that year. Over the next year, I grew the business by purchasing more RVs and pulling in some (amazing!) staff.”

“Over the first 12 months, we did about $60K of business, grew our fleet from one travel trailer to four, and hired our first employee,” Mike shares. “We’re expanding going forward by setting up consignment partnerships with local RV owners—we help get them listed on Outdoorsy and run their rentals, splitting the income.”

How did Mike’s business grow so quickly? We imagine it’s all the thought and care he and his staff put into each and every rental. “At Boundless RV we are hyper-focused on delivering a fantastic experience to our customers,” says Mike. “The vast amount of our customers live within five miles of us—these are our neighbors! Being busy professionals, often with young children themselves, they are looking for a convenient, fun, and family-friendly experience.

“We are the largest RV rental business in our neighborhood, we stock brand-new RVs, and go the extra mile to make the rental experience amazing. Many renters are new to RVs, so we developed ‘how-to’ manuals and videos. We include our signature ‘deep clean’ with each rental—because what renter wants to spend hours cleaning a rig after their vacation?—along with propane refills.”

Not only does Mike put a lot of care into every rental experience, he also genuinely enjoys it. “One of the best things about this job is meeting all the renters,” he tells us. “We usually share a ton in common, and it’s fun to swap itinerary ideas before they leave. The return process is even more fun. Everyone is always all smiles sharing their adventure stories with us!”

All About Mike

Mike Kneale and his wife

Favorite morning beverage: “Coffee – best taken sitting at a sunrise campfire.”

Favorite campsite meal: “Katy’s famous veggie chili.”

Music you like to play on the radio: “Road trips aren’t complete unless accompanied by some ’90s Country!”

Best game to play on the road or at your campsite: “Highway Bingo.”

Favorite season: “Summer! Sandals, shorts, and sun.”

Last photo you took: “Spec sticker on the back of a new solar panel.”

If you could travel anywhere in an RV, where would you go? “Wyoming! Yellowstone, Tetons, mountains, forests—all just a long weekend trip from home.”

Chelsea Gonzales

http://wonderwhereverwewander.wordpress.com/

 

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