Can RV Rentals Make You Money?
Do you know pros and cons of renting out your RV or travel trailer? New online technology makes it possible for any private parties to connect with each other. The technology exists to easily connect RV renters with willing RV owners. It’s similar to how Airbnb connects renters with homeowners wanting short term renters.
Gone are the days when rental companies controlled all the RV rental income. Now two private parties can connect with each other. The RV owner and RV renter directly negotiate dates, terms and price.
For the owner, it can be a great way to make extra money. It beats keeping the RV in storage all winter. For the RVer, it can be the ideal and affordable way to travel. Now you can skip the hassle of an RV rental company.
This is What Private RV Rentals Look Like
The biggest RV rental companies on the market are RVShare and RVezy. Want to rent out your RV? These services make it easy to upload photos, set your price and specific terms. Renters with RVezy can travel in comfort. Both RV rental companies offer 24/7 roadside assistance. Need full insurance coverage? They have that too.
What RV Renters Can Expect
You can find virtually any type of RV for rent. From tiny teardrop trailers to 40-foot toy hauler fifth wheels. Brand new Class A motorhomes, and even vintage travel trailers are also available. The prices range from under a hundred dollars a night to nearly $600 per night. Additional fees apply, like excess mileage, excess generator usage, and insurance costs. Also, each rental requires a damage deposit from the renter.
View this post on Instagram
Bring on sweater weather, pumpkin everything, and cozy bonfires with friends ☕ 🎃 @janethecamper 🚐 The 3 Best Front Living Room Fifth Wheels in 2020: link in bio #rvshare #rvdecor #fallldecorations #autumn #hauntedtravel #tinyhomeonwheels #rvinterior #pumpkineverything #rvlife #spookyroadtrip #rvreno #rvrental #thisishowwerv #rvinginstyle
I just gave you the overview of what RV renters can expect with peer-to-peer RV rentals. Now here are the pros and cons of RV owners renting their rigs.
What RV Owners Can Expect
The obvious advantage of renting out your RV is the opportunity to generate some extra cash from an asset that might otherwise be costing you storage fees or mortgage payments every month.
Additionally, if you only use your RV part-time and the rest of the time it’s parked on your property or it’s in storage, that idle time is not necessarily good for your RV. The batteries run down. The interior can become damp and musty, and you’re probably paying for insurance all year, even in the months when you don’t use it.
Could you rent it often enough in the off-season to forgo winterization?
If you aren’t going to use it in the winter months and it’s not in the rental pool, then you’ll probably need to winterize your rig and figure out how to protect it in inclement weather. But if your RV is being rented throughout the winter, it doesn’t need to be winterized, or tarped, or stored in a covered lot, and the extra income you receive from the rental will pay for the insurance.
Your rig will still be available to you when you’re ready to go camping but it won’t just be sitting there sucking up your hard-earned cash all those months when you don’t need it. It’s like having a vacation rental or an Airbnb rental property. You own it and you can use when you need it, but the property generates enough extra revenue that it’s not draining your reserves.
The biggest cons of renting out your RV
There are several things that need to be considered before you put your RV in a rental pool. The systems and operation of the typical RV can be quite complex. Consider the complexity of slides, and jacks, and inverters, and generators.
Some rigs have battery packs and solar panels, or detachable propane tanks or even portable generators, and there is a right way and a wrong way to utilize all of this equipment, not to mention the proper use of the gray and black water holding tanks.
We’ve owned a Class A RV since 1999. In 1999 we bought a new one. We went through the new owner orientation to learn about every system in our new rig. Eleven months later we are still discovering things about our new RV. Many were not covered in the orientation, or we had forgotten.
Are you a risk taker?
How much more bewildering would it be to someone who has never owned or operated an RV, until they climbed in your rig and drove away for the first time? That thought makes me shudder. Will they remember to close the black tank shut-off valve before taking the hose off? Will they remember to put the jacks down and get your rig level before putting out the slides, or will they remember to bring the slides in before pulling up the jacks?
The biggest downside of putting your RV in the rental pool is handing the keys to a newbie. Maybe they never towed or driven a big rig. They have no ownership interest in it. Will you let them take your valuable asset to who knows where?
If the RV is drivable like a Class A, B, B+ or C RV, this concern is magnified, because of the added width and height of some of these RVs, but travel trailers and 5th wheels also require driving finesse and a lot of care when being backed into a campsite or even maneuvering around gas pumps. Many fifth wheels are even taller than the tallest Class A motorhome, and forgetting about that extra height just one time can result in extensive damage to a rented RV.
What about private RV rental insurance?
Of course, the RV rental organizations require the purchase of RV insurance to cover both the RV owner’s asset, as well as the renter, and there is an additional damage deposit required at the time of the rental, but there may be damage you never see and that is the issue that concerns me the most.
Body damage is obvious, but the improper use of the slide controls can damage or cause a premature breakdown of the slide motors. Draining lead/acid batteries below 50%, driving long distance over washboard gravel roads, and pulling the slides in without vacuuming up the grit and pebbles that can scratch the floor, are all things that can damage your rig, but are not readily apparent when the RV is returned.
Should you rent out your RV? Here’s the verdict.
Everyone is different. People have different tolerances for risk. Adding your RV to a rental pool might be the perfect way to recoup some of your investment. I’ve read many reviews and for the most part, people seem to be happy with this arrangement.
Some people don’t want to own an RV. But many are willing to spend a few thousand dollars for a memory-making road-trip. Some people have an RV that they are not using all the time. They are happy to share their equipment with the rental population. Now the apps and technology make it possible for these people to connect.
Peggy Dent is an author, writer, and full-time RVer, traveling around the US and Canada. She’s traveled more than 130,000 miles in a motorhome, over the past 20 years, and is currently writing for the RV industry. You can contact her through her website at www.APenInYourHand.com