Want to rent out your camper van? Dawn and Les Prock rent out their Storyteller Overland Beast MODE 4×4 adventure van on the GoCamp website. Based in the Seattle area, they own a fantastic camper van. In addition, they own the bragging rights to the title “top earner” during the 2021 rental season. They joined the GoCamp fleet in 2021 and quickly enjoyed success renting out their MODE 4×4, named Serenity.
When you list your camper van on the GoCamp website you can still use your van. And you can use it as much or as little as you’d like. Dawn and Les opted to rent out their van a lot. In the 2021 rental season, Serenity booked 20 reservations from May-December. In total, Serenity was rented out for 122 nights. The longest reservation was 31 nights! That was almost a new record for the longest rental. But the honor for the longest rental went to another MODE, which booked a 39 night rental.
MODE 4×4 adventure vans are among the most popular options on the GoCamp website. Looking ahead, Serenity is poised for another fantastic rental season. Serenity has already surpassed last year’s 20 reservations.
We sat down with Dawn to discuss a variety of topics regarding her experience renting out her camper van. From why she loves camper van travel to the white glove touches she adds to her renter’s experience, we covered it all. We also talked about Dawn’s innovative strategies for generating rental leads.
If you want to rent out your camper van, or already do, the information below will help you earn your own bragging rights.
How it Started
On one of their first camper van adventures, Dawn and Les took their van to a nearby state park. But due to some late night partiers, the couple didn’t get any sleep. After that, it became apparent that Dawn and Les would seek out dispersed and backcountry campsites when going out on their own.
But Dawn and Les rarely travel alone. Their absolute favorite way to travel is with the grandkids. When talking with Dawn, it was obvious by her voice inflections that loading the grandkids into the back bench seat gives her endless joy. This year Dawn and Les planned a Grand Canyon trip for the whole family. Dawn was quick to point out, “We’re not just taking a trip. We’re making memories.”
Giving her grandkids memories is extremely important to Dawn. When we asked her favorite place to travel in the camper van, she replied, “Anywhere with the grandkids. We’re showing them the world.”
Initially Dawn and Les rented their van out on GoCamp because they didn’t want it sitting in the driveway when they weren’t using it. In short order it became one of the most popular vans on the GoCamp website.
Success is in the Details
Dawn takes a very hospitable approach with her renters.
“My goal is nothing goes wrong.” Dawn actively tries to take care of as many details as possible so her renters can experience the carefree van lifestyle that is so magical. Below are some tips and tricks she picked up along the way.
As soon as Dawn gets a reservation, she reaches out to the renters. She greets them and sends general information about the van.
Two weeks before the renters pick up the van, she reaches out again and collects all trip details. This includes things like flight arrivals and departure times so she can plan to pick her renters up from the airport. Note this is an extra special touch that Dawn offers to augment the renter’s experience. Many van owners do just fine without offering this added level of service.
Dawn’s extra touches don’t go unnoticed. In its short time on the GoCamp website, Serenity has earned one five-star review after another. Recent renters wrote, “Just returned from a great trip to Eastern Washington in Serenity. Dawn and Les were the perfect hosts, incredibly friendly and helpful, and they really went above and beyond. Easy and responsive communication, and they were super flexible. They stocked the Beast well and provided a wealth of information and links prior to the trip and day of. First time I’ve been able to bring my Nespresso machine while camping. : ) Storyteller knows what they’re doing, and they do it well. Wonderful experience overall, and I look forward to renting Serenity again from Dawn and Les. Highly recommended van and highly recommended hosts. Thank you!”
Guides and Supplies List
Prior to the trip Dawn sends a detailed list of everything included in the rental. Every piece of gear in the van is listed and Dawn includes the location of each item. For example, if a renter is looking for a can opener, they need only check the list and it will direct them to the exact drawer where the can opener is located. Dawn also has a suggested packing list that she shares.
“Where did you get your van?”
The infamous question. Dawn’s van is a dream rig for many vanlifers. She is aware that her renters are likely to be stopped and asked, “Where did you get your van?”
Because it’s so important for Dawn that her renters have a distraction-free experience, she keeps the van stocked with business cards that include a QR code. The QR code links to more information about Storyteller Overland.
“When people ask about the van, I tell renters to just hand them this card and go to the website. Our van gets a lot of attention and renters don’t have to interrupt their vacation.”
Because Dawn owns a Storyteller Overland Beast MODE 4×4, she gets lots of renters who are interested in buying a MODE of their own, but want the chance to try it out before putting down a deposit. Dawn estimates that at least 40% of her renters are referrals from the local dealership that sells MODEs. And two of her renters returned to the dealer to purchase their own MODEs after experiencing #vanlife in Dawn’s van.
If you are a van owner with a coveted build, take this tip from Dawn. Reach out to your local dealer and encourage them to send folks your way for a “try before you buy” experience.
Renting out a van in high demand and keeping up Dawn’s quality standards is no small feat. “I wasn’t looking for a job, but I have a job now,” she says.
Each time the van comes in, it takes one to two days to turn it around for the next rental. Sometimes it takes even longer if the outgoing or incoming renters have requested multiple add-ons.
Additionally, Dawn spends time going above and beyond when communicating with her renters. But it’s the extra personal touches that make folks want to rent Serenity. Dawn remarked that one of the things she loves about renting out her van is all of the nice people she meets as a result.
Join a Support Group
Dawn is part of a Facebook group of other MODE owners called Storyteller Overland Insiders and MODElifers. She recommends finding an online group of people who own the same type of van as you.
Dawn’s group is super helpful with fixes and modifications. Once, when one of her renters was having trouble with the onboard shower, Dawn turned to the Facebook group to find a quick answer. The group even provided diagrams that she was able to share with her renter in order to troubleshoot the issue.
Focus on the Impact
As with all jobs, there will be days that you don’t want to do the work. Whether it’s washing the linens or dumping the latrine, these jobs can start to feel cumbersome.
What is Dawn’s recommendation when these feelings set in? Focus on the impact. “Don’t think of it as work. Instead remember that you get to meet a lot of nice people and help them with their vacations. Focus on the positives,” says Dawn.
Owner Success Stories
Dawn’s story is but one of many. Matt Miller thinks GoCamp is the best passive income generating tool at his disposal, and Erin Barton is glad to have GoCamp “take all the hassle out of it” for her. We’ll continue sharing more insights from GoCamp van owners so that you can better understand the RV rental marketplace from the perspective of those actively renting out their camper vans.
And to make sure you understand how it all works, we’ve also developed valuable resources and materials that share guidance on how to be successful in the RV rental marketplace. Contact us to learn more.