Rent out your RV? It might be a great time to give it another look

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By Mike Gast
For many longtime RVers, renting out your RV – your baby (tell me you didn’t give it a name) – to a novice, probable first-time RVer is a daunting thought. What if their kids pull down the curtains? Maybe they’ll spill something – then what? WHAT IF THEY WRECK IT?!

Times have changed. Renting your RV to someone else no longer has to feel like a risky back-alley drug deal. You may not personally know the person to whom you hand your keys, but there is now an entire peer-to-peer rental industry created just to provide the safeguards you need to comfortably share your RV with others – and make a pretty good profit.

The other new factor is that the explosion of use in peer-to-peer home and apartment rentals driven by Airbnb has taken the mystery out of staying in a stranger’s space. That goes for a house, an apartment and now an RV.

Renting out your RV might not be for everyone

I’d also say right off the bat that renting your own RV to someone else isn’t for everyone. After all, “they” will be cooking in your kitchen and sleeping in your bed. You might not be able to handle that.

But, if you find that you just aren’t using your rig enough and there are a lot of nice summer days where it could be out there making you money, then read on.

I’m quite familiar with Outdoorsy, a rental company founded in 2014 that has become one of the big dogs in this new industry. Founders Jennifer Young and Jeff Cavins took an idea to become the Airbnb of RVing and started talking to campers as they traveled in their 27-foot Airstream. Way before the pandemic year of 2020, they knew they were onto something. Resistance among owners to renting their rigs started to fade as they answered all of their concerns. A burgeoning interest by non-RV owners to get outside by any means possible showed them they had a big market in the making.

They’ve grown the company to include listings in more than 14 countries and they have more RV inventory than the seven largest RV dealers in the world combined. Their customers have driven 250 million miles in rented RVs. It’s a drastic understatement to say the peer-to-peer rental market is growing. It’s on fire.

But what about …?

One by one, Outdoorsy began to solve the problems and answer the questions that were troubling RV owners. They built their own reservation software and fancy website and can now cover every trip with $1 million in liability insurance and free roadside assistance, should something go wrong.

The folks at Outdoorsy say they’ve now got RV owners who are earning up to $50,000 a year just by renting their RV. Imagine what that would do for your cash flow. After all, there is nothing but cost when your RV is sitting idle in your driveway.

Outdoorsy isn’t the only offering. There are other companies around North America such as RVshare and RVezy that do what they do, too. Their services are pretty much the same, so I’d suggest doing your own side-by-side comparisons before listing your rig. You might even want to try them all. Campanda, which operates in 42 countries but not currently in the U.S., said it isn’t unusual for an RV owner to make $2,000 to $4,000 a month with just a few bookings.

Weigh the benefits

Companies like Outdoorsy, RV Share and RVezy tout several benefits to renting out your RV:

  • You’re in control: You set your own rates and control your rental schedule.
  • You earn money: Those extra funds might pay off your rig or fund your next adventure. The transactions are all handled by the companies and the money magically appears in your account.
  • You’ve got company: Outdoorsy has a community of owners who help each other out, and RVshare touts their team of rental experts that will walk you through every step.
  • That insurance I mentioned: Every rental is automatically covered with liability insurance and roadside assistance.
  • Get your money fast: Money usually hits your bank account within 48 hours of the start of each trip.
  • They verify every renter: Driver verification processes are designed to ensure your rig is in good hands.
  • There’s Big-Time Marketing: You’ll be a part of a vast network that brings your rig to the attention of a lot of potential renters. RVshare claims their platform reaches millions of renters each year.

Again, renting out your pride and joy isn’t going to be for everyone, but you might just consider it. Right now, a lot of families are struggling with expenses at the same time a lot of other families are looking for a safe way to get outside. Renting your baby might just be the right answer for both.

Related:

Earn income renting your RV when you’re not using it

Mike Gast was the Vice President of Communications for Kampgrounds of America, Inc. for the past 20 years. Now, he’s on to new adventures, helping others tell their stories through his freelance company, ‘Imi Ola Group. You can reach Mike at mike.imiolagroup@gmail.com.

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John
22 days ago

I would love the idea of getting some money to rent out our RV. But my biggest negative, (besides what you mention, cooking in our kitchen, sleeping in our bed), is most other people will not take the extra care to be careful with everything. Too many things could be damaged by just a slight bit of neglect or inattention. So I don’t think I would ever do this.

Henry Dorn
23 days ago

So some stranger is going to show up with the right tow vehicle and take our Jayco 19 footer and know how everything operates and how things are done in the RV camping world?

If they are savvy enough to show up with a correct tow vehicle, then they are savvy enough to find a used small trailer like we did.

Renting a travel trailer isn’t anywhere like stopping overnight in an Air B and B.

Thanks for running an article about renting out one’s trailer…It would be nice to hear from those who’ve done this successfully and make money…

Tom Horn
23 days ago

How in the world could anyone in their right mind hand over that kind of responsibility to some one that probably does not have a clue on how all of the systems operate. All of us that own and operate our RVs have a hard enough time keeping everything working so we can enjoy using and owning. Disaster waiting to happen. Just my opinion. The monetary value of renting will not come close to the Wrecking Crew Damage BILL$$$$

Troy
23 days ago

Well as of next week we will be ending 3.5 years of full timing in our Class A, and we’re stuck with this thing for the next at least 16 years, so I am considering renting it out. As long as the insurance that’s provided is good enough to pay it off if anything happens to it I’m totally good with it. I doubt we’ll ever use it much anymore, so it would be nice for it to pay itself off early.

Tom
23 days ago

Need to define “making money”. After expenses?

Don’t forget to report the income and pay taxes on it. (outdoorsy and the rest have IRS auditable records)

If the unit is financed no lender allows it to be used for commercial purposes- renting it cannot legally make your payments for you.

Aftermarket warranty is not legal to use unless it was purchased with the “commercial use” fees/pricing.

Park an owners unit and a rented unit side by side after 3 years’ use- You will easily know which is which.

John Sharpe
23 days ago

I would consider doing this, if all of my concerns were addressed satisfactorily. We’re considering an upgrade, so we would save money earned to put towards a newer Class A.

robert
23 days ago

One would have to be nuts to rent out their RV. Have had home renters and they do nothing but destroy things. It’s not theirs so they don’t care. RV would be no different.

DL Jenson
23 days ago

No way~ ours is 11 years old and looks brand new~ it is the way we like to keep our things…too much could go wrong!

Wayne Newman
23 days ago

H_ _ _ no, don’t loan it to my grown children. Worked to hard to be able to afford my MH and then let some yahoo tear it up no way.

Gary G
23 days ago

Nope, same reason we don’t stay in hotels and motels.
No cutesy name, just “BDT” BIG {bleeped} TRAILER 😉

A. Tasse
23 days ago

We’re lucky to have a “three-service” parking spot besides our garage at home. The odd time we had enough company to fill our three bedrooms in the house, WE slept in our trailer. Now guess if we’d ever consider renting. Seen enough rental units being tortured, even unwillingly, by tourists in campgrounds.

Kenny
23 days ago

I would never rent our RV. Had rental property for years. Done with that.

Shannon OBrien
23 days ago

We would never consider renting out our RV. Way too much risk and no real reward.

JB AZ
23 days ago

Absolutely will never hand over the keys for our Class A 38 ft. Bounder to a stranger unless we were selling it to them, and already had their money in our hand first.

Crowman
23 days ago

Would not rent out our trailer.

Dave
23 days ago

Ain’t no way I would rent an RV. I have a difficult enough time with the RV being very experienced and careful.

Tommy Molnar
23 days ago

This is an idea that has never even CROSSED my mind, and WON’T! Our trailer is “personal” and will stay that way. If you love your RV, you won’t be letting some stranger (I don’t care how much background checking goes on) drive off with it. “No way, Jose!”.

Traveler
23 days ago

This is just a business adventure,
Watching first time campers as a camp host…….

Dick & Sandy from near Buffalo, NY now in Florida
23 days ago

I have read the fine print in our RV insurance policy. Renting my RV to anyone will void my insurance policy coverage and make us personally liable for any resulting circumstances. I would be very surprised if the liability and roadside assistance mentioned above is anywhere close to the coverage we have on our large Class A DP. Renting our RV is not for us. Stay safe, Stay well, Safe travels.

Drew
23 days ago

It’s always better to prevent damage than trying to repair it afterwords- regardless of insurance or not. Besides the already mentioned the use of sleeping, bathing, and cooking spaces. No, I’m with the others here- no rental of my rig.