As a van owner, you hold the key to happiness in your pocket. At GoCamp, we hold the key to your success. When you first start renting out your RV or camper van it can be overwhelming. There’s so much you think you should do, or could do, or want to do. It can seem like too much to tackle.
After years of helping van owners achieve success in the camper van and RV rental market, we’ve figured out that some things are more important than others when it comes to renting out your camper van. Understanding insurance? Very important. Fretting over whether or not to offer firewood as part of the nightly rate? Not so important.
To help you get started renting out your camper van or RV, we’ve compiled all of our lessons learned over the years into a handy list of the top ten things you should think about when renting out your camper van.
#1 No One Should Rent Out Their Baby
A lot of RVs are someone’s baby. Babies shouldn’t be rented. In our experience, if you want to rent your RV to make money, you’ll need to think of your RV more as an asset than as a member of the family. If you shudder at the thought of a nick in the paint, or are too particular about how your RV can be used, then renting might not be for you.
#2 Set Clear Goals
Get clear on your goals. Why are you doing this? How much money do you want to make through renting? A little here and there? Or are you trying to cover your monthly payment, and maybe more for upgrades? Define your why, then the how will follow, including a pricing model, calendar availability, and various rental terms.
Example 1: You want to make as much money as possible.
To make as much money as possible, you might set a competitive nightly rental rate and go for a relatively high utilization rate. High utilization rates are often achieved by lowering nightly minimums, such as allowing shorter-term three-night rentals in the high season. This strategy also requires that you forego personal use of the RV in peak rental periods such as summer and major holidays.
Example 2: You want to make a little bit of extra cash, but still use the RV a lot.
If you still want access to your RV for lots of personal use, and only want to make a modest amount of money, you could set a higher nightly rate, and offer week-long rentals or weekend rentals only when you don’t have your own plans for travel.
#3 Check With Your Personal Insurance Provider
Don’t yawn! Eyes on the road, insurance is important. When you are personally using your RV, you are covered by your personal policy. When your RV is rented, it will be covered by the applicable coverage provided by the peer-to-peer platform you are using (like GoCamp, Outdoorsy, RVshare). There’s a pothole though. Many personal policies prohibit rentals of any kind. By renting your vehicle you may inadvertently be violating the terms of your personal policy. Check with your personal provider before renting out your RV.
#4 Get Personal
Most renters don’t want a cookie cutter, generic RV. They want a rental experience that’s unique and special. By all means, let your RV shine! Naming your rig is half the fun of owning anyway, right? Check out these fun names for some inspiration.
But don’t stop with a pun-tastic name. An RV rental is an experience. How can you enhance that experience for renters? Recommend things to do, places to go, the best drive-through breakfast on the way out of town. Share your best advice because no one knows how to have fun with your RV better than you.
#5 Go All-In
There are a couple of options regarding how to build your rental package. One option is to set a low base rental rate and then incrementally charge renters for things like bedding, camp chairs, and kitchen items. Alternatively, you could set a slightly higher all-inclusive base rental rate, and include all the camping items a renter would need. We recommend going all in. At GoCamp we tell renters they can “Hop In and Go” by providing all the camping, cooking, eating, and sleeping gear they need as part of the basic rental. We think all-inclusive pricing most aligns with customer expectations.
#6 Offer The Add-Ons That Matter Most
Yes, you can offer add-ons! All-inclusive pricing covers the basics, and add-ons allow you to share unique additions with renters. Add-ons can be things, such as a portable toilet, or they can be unique services, like delivery of your RV to the renter’s door. Too many options, though, can be overwhelming and unnecessary. Stick with the ones that matter the most in terms of appeal, practicality, and management.
Here are a few popular add-ons pulled from listings in the GoCamp fleet: Portable Toilet; Bike Rack; Portable Weber Grill; Portable Shade Fly; Surfboard; Stand Up Paddleboard; Tent, Sleeping Pads and Sleeping Bags; Portable Pack n Play.
#7 Create A Supply List
Once you know what’s included in the base rental rate, and what optional add-ons matter the most, you’ll want to create a detailed RV Supply List. Renters need and want to know exactly what is in the RV so they can pack and plan accordingly. And you’ll want to know exactly what was included in the RV, so you can expect it to be there when your RV is returned to you. If you list your rig with GoCamp, we’ll get you started with a sample Supply List. We will also help you create a digital guidebook for your rig.
#8 Make a Basic Driver’s Manual
In addition to creating a Supply List, you’ll also want to make a basic Driver’s Manual for renters that explains how the various camping features in your RV work. As with the Supply List above, if you list your rig with GoCamp, we’ll get you started with a sample Driver’s Manual and help you organize information about your rig in a digital guidebook.
We recommend at least three categories:
- How to drive the RV (e.g. what kind of gas to use).
- How to use the camping components in the RV (e.g. how to turn on the inverter).
- Safety information (e.g. where you keep the fire extinguisher).
#9 Have a Friend Test Out Your Setup
Send a family member or friend off for a free weekend getaway in your RV in exchange for detailed feedback about your set up. They’ll be the fresh eyes you’ll need to catch the little things you may have missed (no tinfoil or sandwich bags in the kitchen?). And they’ll give you the necessary perspective about the things in your RV that are second nature to you, but not so straightforward to others, like how you think operating your awning is intuitive.
# 10 Ask For Reviews
Generating five-star reviews is the single best thing you can do to keep a steady stream of renters in your rig. And the trick to getting reviews is simple, just ask! Let renters know how much you’d appreciate a review. If you don’t get one after a few days, follow up by email and politely ask again. Not only do the stars help bring in more renters, reviews help you know where to spend your time and energy in making your rental even better.
Get on the Road to Rental Success
If you focus on these ten tried and true tips, you’ll be sure to have a smooth ride when renting out your camper van!
Want to learn more about best practices for renting out your camper van or RV? Read up on insurance coverage and roadside assistance >
We’ve been helping van owners succeed in renting out their camper vans since 2017. Over the years we’ve facilitated 1,000’s of successful rentals and made it possible for van owners to earn tens of thousands of dollars. For more information about renting out your camper van, check out all the articles written for van owners. And if you are ready to list your camper van with GoCamp, head to the List Your Van page so we can schedule a call to discuss further.
Earn as much as $50,000+
Use your van when you want to; make good money renting it out when you aren’t using it.
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