camper van in portland oregon setting up camp

Owner Feature: Mason Marsh

When you rent your van with GoCamp you join a community of other owners. It’s the perfect opportunity to share your love of vans, as well as your strategies, successes, and challenges.

We interviewed van owner, Mason Marsh from Portland, Oregon. Mason owns a Winnebago Solis named Miles and has been on GoCamp since July 2022. In that time he’s had 20 reservations and a slew of five-star reviews. Read on for our interview with Mason to learn about his secrets to success.

man attending Bend Adventure Van Expo

Why did you decide to rent your van?

Being able to generate income with Miles is how we get to keep Miles. Our family couldn’t justify the expense of a camper van, but we really wanted one so I built a business plan that offset the ownership burden with rental income. As long as Miles can earn his keep, we’ll have a kicking van for our adventures!

What was one of your favorite rental experiences?

Mine is always the moment the renters first see Miles. I’ve spent a lot of time setting the van up with custom touches and meaningful things, and when I slide that door open and people see the inside of their new vacation home, they smile and I feel like the work is all worth it. As for a specific rental experience, I’m reminded of a couple that rented Miles last summer for a loop around the Pacific Northwest. They had wonderful weather and things just vibed for them. Every day I would get text messages with photos of Miles in these awesome places. The renters really seemed to want to include me in their adventure and I loved their messages. When they got home, they bought a van just like Miles and I helped them outfit their Solis to match Miles. To me, that’s strong affirmation that these camper vans are more than conveyance and a place to sleep…they are escape pods and people really need that escape.

What are one or two things you think every new owner should know?

Oh boy…it’s tempting to think of renting out your van as a simple business transaction, but it’s actually a relationship. Every time you establish contact with a renter, you begin building a relationship that can become a very meaningful experience for them as they head out on their adventure. You are sharing your personal asset and a lot of your affection for your van will transfer to the renter if you treat them with respect and enthusiasm. I think of each rental as an investment in people’s memories. That’s pretty special.

What are some of the “must have” supplies you keep in your van? What are some of the “extras”?

I’ve outfitted Miles with dozens of things, and almost all of them are must-haves for mobile adventurers. For me, starting each day with great coffee sets a strong tone, so Miles has a boss BruTrek  insulated french press and insulated mugs (cold mornings should not mean cold coffee). I toss in a bag of fresh local coffee and a tin of stroopwafels so my renters can kick back, sip some delicious coffee and enjoy a warm stroopwafel with those they love. The day is gonna be great.

Other items I think make Miles extra cozy are the mattress toppers and plush bedding. People rent a van so they don’t have to sleep on the ground, but a lot of beds in vans are lumpy, stiff and all the things not luxurious. I have memory foam mattress toppers, organic cotton/linen sheets and Rumpl comforters along with fluffy pillows in Miles, and I sleep like a log when I am tucked in for the night on the road.

As for extras, I include everything from card games, a bluetooth speaker, and even quarters and detergent for laundry in a cabinet we call the “Cabinet of Convenience.” When people are traveling, things get left at home and we’ve tried to provide these things so my renters don’t go without. I’m proud of the guidebook library I include in the cabinet. Each renter’s itinerary dictates the library, so those headed to the coast get wildlife and trail guides for that area, and so on.

Can you describe your rental process from what happens when you receive a booking confirmation, to when the renter returns your van? Has this process changed during your time renting your van through GoCamp?

As soon as I can after receiving a reservation, I email the renter introducing myself and confirming the details of their rental. This ensures the dates and details they’ve provided are accurate. This initial contact kicks off a back-and-forth for the time leading up to the rental. I offer help with planning, and I enjoy helping people get the most of their time in the van. As the trip approaches, I nail down the special items they might need or want in the van. For example, do they want coffee, tea, beer, wine, cider or cocoa? If they are bringing a pet, does the pet need a water bowl or bed? Are kids coming? Which ages are they? All these things are worked out weeks ahead if possible. When the renters arrive, I greet them with a spotless van and walk them through as much as they are willing to see and try. I make sure they have the systems down. Because I know most renters arrive tired, jet lagged and anxious to get going, I have created a full guidebook for every feature of the van. So when they are two days in and the toilet cassette is full, they can look up how to service it because it’s been two days since I showed them.

During the trip, I text once to check in, otherwise I’m silent so they can enjoy their vacation. Some renters text all the time with questions, some never do. Either way I know they have everything they need to have a successful adventure.

On return, the only thing I require is that the renter fill the gas tank and remember to pack up their things. I don’t expect them to dump the tanks, fill the water or clean the van. They paid a cleaning fee, and I want them to wrap up their trip not worrying about that stuff. So when they arrive for drop-off, I talk to them about their trip, take a quick swing through the van to look for anything they might have left behind, and I get them on their way with some stickers so they can show off Miles to their friends at home.

When they get home I send an email thanking them for their business and informing them of any damages or personal items I found when I cleaned out the van. I then ask them to write a review. (I include a link to make that easy.) I also remind them that they are now part of our Miles family and they are welcome back any time.

This process is always evolving based on renter feedback and my continued time with the van. Right now I’m developing a web page that will give them detailed information about storage, included equipment and other data they might want as they plan their trip. I like the GoCamp Road Trip Ready Guide, but most of my renters haven’t read it all nor do I think they will during the trip, so I am trying to create as many on-ramps to this important information as possible.

How have you utilized strategic pricing to affect your success?

I am competitive with this, so much so I’m wondering if sharing some of my “secrets” here is a bad idea. I dropped my prices this winter after other owners brought similar vans to GoCamp in my area, at much lower prices. So in the spirit of competition, I have dropped my rates in hopes of winning more bookings. More booking at lower rates are better that Miles sitting smugly in the driveway making nothing.

What does success with GoCamp mean to you?

Simply put, my van will pay for itself while my renters have epic adventures they will never forget. Is that too much to ask for? Maybe.


Interested in connecting with other owners? You can ask questions, share tips and tricks, and virtually meet other owners on the private GoCamp Owners Group on Facebook. If you’re not currently renting your van with GoCamp, but you’d like to, you can learn more here.