Are you an RV owner who isn’t sure if renting out your rig is a good move? While it may not be for everyone, renting your RV to other people looking to enjoy the great outdoors can be a very rewarding experience. Sometimes hearing it from someone who has done it firsthand can help you make the right decision. In this post, I wanted to share some of the biggest pros and cons we have experienced while renting our RV.
A Little Background to Our Rental Experience
In the past year, my wife and I have rented our RV out on 4 different occasions— Christmas, Thanksgiving, and two spring breaks. We travel full-time in our RV, so renting our RV was more of an experiment than anything (with the upside that we’d make a little money while we’re not using it). We’d heard of others listing their RV for rent, but we knew many of these RV owners weren’t full-timers. The thought of renting our RV was only slightly terrifying. What if someone wrecked our RV, or worse, backed up our black tank?
Ultimately, we decided to go ahead and try listing our RV for rental on Outdoorsy. We chose Outdoorsy because they had a one click insurance coverage, DMV background checks for people renters and everything in their sign up process is extremely easy. Within a half hour, we had an inquiry from someone who wanted to take our 2016 Winnebago Brave on a two-week road trip during Christmas. As it turns out, this guy actually happened to be one of the singers in my all-time favorite country band. But that’s a story for another day.
With our RV listed on Outdoorsy for several months, we went through the process of renting the RV on several occasions. Here’s what we learned.
Pros to Renting Your RV
We’ll start with the good stuff. There are three big pros that we discovered that come with renting out your RV:
- It makes you money
- You get to meet people and introduce new campers to RVing
- Renting your RV can make the purchase feasible
Let’s talk about each of these in more detail.
Making That Money
This is the big incentive for most RV owners. We made over $5,000 last year from the four times we rented our Brave (our Class A RV is listed for $250/night). Our RV payment for the entire year is around $7,000. So this meant that from renting our RV on just a few different occasions, we were able to cover most of our RV payment for the year.
As an added bonus, we didn’t have to pay for storage or a campground while we were out of our RV. After our RV was safely returned and money deposited from our first rental, I turned to my wife and inquired about buying a second RV just for renting out.
She said no. I’m still trying to convince her it is a solid business opportunity.
Introducing New Campers to RV Lifestyle
One of the families who rented our RV took their two kiddos on the road with them. When Alyssa and I picked up the RV, we’d received handwritten notes and gift cards from the family. They told us how much fun they’d had and how they’d love to do it again.
In the few times we’ve rented our RV, I’ve realized renting is the gateway to actually owning an RV. An RV rental is the perfect testing ground to see if you enjoy the lifestyle.
It is a good feeling to introduce this lifestyle to people who want to experience life on the road.
Enabling the Purchase of an RV
If you didn’t already own an RV, renting your unit could be a way to rationalize this expensive purchase. RVs can be pricey, and renting your RV is a great way to subsidize the cost of ownership. You don’t even have to list your RV for rent year round, but just while you aren’t using it or during peak season like summer or the holidays. You can read more about how other RV owners have done this by visiting “Meet Our Owners” on the Outdoorsy Never Idle Journal.
Cons to Renting Your RV
Unfortunately, there can also be a few downsides to renting out your RV. These include:
- Some stress and anxiety
- The business learning curve
- Having to take out your belongings
But not so fast! These aren’t as bad as they sound. Luckily, there are ways to overcome these obstacles.
Stress and Anxiety While a Stranger Drives Away with Your Home
The first time someone drove away with our RV, I struggled with leaving it behind. Our RV is our home and I couldn’t help but think about worst case scenarios.
What ultimately made me feel better was coming to peace that whatever happened during the rental was out of my control. I mentally came to grips with the possibility that someone could total our RV. This actually made me feel quite better because I thought about it a bit more rationally.
If someone wrecked our RV then we’d simply file an insurance claim and move on. Of course, nothing ending up happening during any of our rentals, but we had the peace of mind.
This is honestly the biggest con to renting your RV— the anxiety while someone drives it away. If you can feel comfortable with a variety of best/worst case scenarios, you’ll be fine.
The Learning Curve of Running a Business
This is more of an obstacle than a con, but I’ll lump it into the mix. Renting out your RV is very much a business. Using Outdoorsy, multiple RV owners have turned their RV into a serious business that supports their lifestyle (upwards of $40k/year from renting their RV).
However, running any business requires a learning curve. You’ll have to learn how to prep your renters who will pick up the rig, ensure you’re charging the market rate, and provide great service so customers will leave positive reviews on Outdoorsy.
While Outdoorsy makes it easy to connect with people who will rent your RV, obtain insurance and communicate with renters, you’ll still have to learn some of the business basics.
Removing Everything from Your RV
As full-time RVers, the biggest hassle for us is removing everything from our RV in the first place.
Since we live in the RV, we have to remove all of our clothes and personal items from the RV. This takes us about an hour to move everything out and 30 minutes to bring everything back to the RV. We left lawn chairs, books, pots and pans, dishes, and other necessities all inside the RV for our customers.
Again, if you’re not full-timing inside your RV this won’t be as much of an issue.
Is Renting Your RV Worth It?
For us, the answer is absolutely yes. Through renting our RV we’ve covered RV payments, met cool renters, and introduced a number of people to a lifestyle that we love.
If you want to learn more, I would check out Outdoorsy’s owner page to see some of the FAQ and first steps with renting your RV.
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