As children we are told it is polite to share. And that is certainly a good thing, but once I became an adult, I wanted my own things and I didn’t necessarily want to share them.
I still feel that way, which places me at odds with current economic trends.
I have a car that has a back seat, so I suppose I could sign up with Uber or Lyft and share my car with the world by spending my nights playing taxi driver. But I have seen enough movies about the risk of giving rides to strangers to make that idea totally unappealing. Besides, I have enough trouble keeping the interior of my car clean without inviting passengers to bring dirt in.
My wife and I have a spare bedroom in our house, so we could sign up with airbnb.com or couchsurfing.org to host strangers in our home. But my wife won’t let me answer the doorbell without peering through the glass first, and unless I recognize the caller or it’s a kid wearing a scout uniform, I can’t unlock the door without first interrogating the person with shouted questions. So I don’t think I could talk my wife into turning our house into a bed and breakfast for people we meet through the Internet.
An unwillingness to share my car and house with strangers may seem selfish in the current sharing economy, but, in my defense, I don’t want to share your car or house either. I will make exceptions if your car is a Ferrari and your house is the Bill Gates mansion. But, generally I feel more comfortable going to a hotel than seeking out a couch in somebody’s house, and I’d rather call up a company that has a fleet of taxis and trained drivers than catch a ride with an amateur.
I’m sure my selfishness will prevent me from making some marvelous new acquaintances, but maybe I’ll avoid some bad experiences too.
Which brings me to rvshare.com. It’s a website that allows people to rent out their idle RV for extra income. Whether this idea makes sense to you depends on whether you are selfish like me or want to jump into the sharing economy.
The rvshare.com website says, “Make Money Renting Your RV…Earn up to $30,000/year.” The site allows you to enter your size, year and type of RV to calculate potential yearly earnings. For example, a 24-foot travel trailer that is seven years old would net $3,900 to $7,800 and a new 40-foot Class A might fetch $18,720 to 37,440. But as the website noted in smaller type under the calculation: “Earnings above are an estimate of what you will earn renting your RV. Your actual earnings may vary.”So who knows what you might earn, but I imagine there is a lot of appeal in the idea of renting out an RV you have paid a lot of money for and aren’t using much. If you click on the website, you will find everything from truck campers and motorhomes to travel trailers and fifth-wheels at a range of rental prices. The rental rates I saw went from $73 a night to $300.
It’s free to put a rental listing on the website, but you would want to get rental insurance before letting anyone drive off in your RV.
One of the selling points of an RV is that it gives the owner a place to sleep and eat that is all his own. You don’t have to sleep in a hotel or motel bed that countless others have occupied before. No one but you, your friends and your family have sat in the chairs, cooked in the kitchen and taken a shower in your RV. But once you rent it out, all that has changed.
Whether you would be willing to rent your RV to a stranger probably depends on whether you think the income would be worth the trouble.
And whether you would want to rent an RV from a private party rather than from an RV dealer or from a big RV rental company depends on all those factors that cause some people like me to call a taxi and others to bring up the Uber app on their smartphones.
Write to Mike Ward, Editor at RV Life magazine, 18717 76th Avenue West, Suite B, Lynnwood, WA 98037 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Find “First Glance” online at rvlife.com.