“We always wanted an RV but figured they were just too expensive, and we didn’t have a place to put one,” Outdoorsy owner Steve Reed shares with us. And that could have been the end of this story, but fortunately, Steve and his wife Sherese stumbled upon Outdoorsy.
“I was building an office in my attic and watching videos about tiny homes and how people optimize small spaces,” Steve recalls. “Eventually, after watching many videos, I came across people remodeling buses, cargo trailers, and RVs. One particular video featured someone who mentioned they rent their rig out on Outdoorsy, saying it’s like Airbnb but for RVs. That’s when the light clicked.”
You see, Steve and Sherese had already been dreaming of renting vacation homes. “We had wanted to start our own Airbnb as well,” Steve explains. “I figured if you put that house on wheels, you can take it wherever you want to go. Plus, we could potentially generate some revenue to fund our own trips.”
The next step? Finding the right RV. “We’re a family of six, so we wanted room, but when driving the Class As, they felt so huge to drive,” Steve tells us. ”If we were renting ours out, I didn’t want something that would freak people out. I did some more research and found out that a Class C offered a lot of the space of a Class A but is easier to drive.”
Eventually, the Reed family found the perfect rig for them. “We found a Class C with a nice open layout and plenty of storage,” says Steve. “We gutted it and remodeled the inside. I rebuilt the dinette because the old one wasn’t made well. We’ve made a number of upgrades to enhance the renters’ experience.”
Curious about those upgrades? Steve elaborates for us: “The inside is fully stocked and remodeled to feel more like a tiny home than an RV. We got rid of everything that felt like an ‘RV.’ I installed a residential fridge that runs off an inverter while you drive, and I put in a new generator. I also installed a more advanced tank and battery sensor panel so renters can more easily know when to dump the tanks, and a tank flush system to make that job easier. We put a 32” Amazon Fire TV in the bedroom, and we include extra supplies for cleaning and accidents, along with tools, jumper cables, a four-camera system to help maneuver the RV in tight spaces, and many more things.”
And that’s not all Steve did to ensure his rental was as professionally presented and comfortable as possible. “I also designed a website, a printed collection of checklists to explain what to do in any situation, and a downloadable handbook with pictures and descriptions of how to do anything in the RV,” he shares.
At this point, it was time for the Reeds to list their rig. “We chose Outdoorsy because they have a great mobile experience where you can do everything through your phone without printing out papers. We also appreciate that the customer service is excellent, as is the insurance. I’ve had nothing but smooth transactions and keep my RV rented out as much as I need to without using another rental service. I have an account with a competitor, but I never finished it because I’ve been booked solid with Outdoorsy.”
Initially, Steve and Sherese hoped to use their rental business to help pay for their rig. “I did some number crunching and estimated about $20K per year in profits,” Steve tells us. “But we did double that in our first year. In fact, I earned about $43K in a little over a year. I had it rented out about 75% of the time I could have, and we took a few breaks so we could take it out or take a breather every now and then.”
Of course, that kind of success doesn’t come without some work. “I have had to apply serious problem-solving skills and have delved into some areas that I never thought I would in order to engineer solutions to RV problems,” Steve says. “I also need to be able to clean the RV and have it ready for the next renter. I can see how someone can get way in over their heads with this, but there are some great payoffs.
“We love using our RV and boondocking on the beach, visiting family, traveling in style and comfort, and just the pride that comes from investing your time as a family together in a fun project.”
All About Steve
Favorite morning beverage: “Water with lemon.”
Favorite campsite meal: “Anything in a Dutch oven.”
Music you like to play on the radio: “Do people still listen to the radio? Haha, I’m usually blasting my playlist of alternative hits from the ’90s.”
Best game to play on the road or at your campsite: “There’s a really fun game called Bottle Bash, it’s also known as Polish Horseshoes, look it up.”
Favorite season: “Summer.”
If you could travel anywhere in an RV, where would you go? “We’ve been talking about going east; we’ve spent nearly all our time in the west. I’m interested in seeing the Smokey Mountains and visiting the older parts of the U.S.”