If you have an RV sitting idle in your driveway or a storage space, you could be missing out on a great money-making opportunity.
Just as Airbnb connects people who have space to rent out with people who need a place to stay through its peer-to-peer platform, RVshare provides a way to rent out your RV when you’re not using it — creating an opportunity to earn thousands of dollars a year. Conversely, rentals available through RVshare provide a vacation alternative for people who want to hit the road but don’t necessarily want to own an RV themselves.
If you have a recreational vehicle that doesn’t get as much use as you planned, you are not alone. There are more than 15 million recreational vehicles in the United States, but most of them are used only two to four weeks a year, according to RVshare CEO Jon Gray.
“RVshare created a platform that connects owners wanting to rent out their RVs with travelers who are looking to book,” Gray says.
The ease and flexibility of booking through an online platform is driving an RV resurgence. RVshare recently announced a major milestone — its 1 millionth day of rentals. That translates into some serious cash for RVshare owners.
RV owners have registered more than 100,000 vehicles on the online portal for rental across the country — everything from pop-ups to luxury motor homes.
“The average RV owner can earn more than $10,000 per year in extra income renting their RV,” and some earn as much as $30,000, Gray says.
Growing a business
One successful RV owner registered on RVshare is Cornelius Garner, who now rents out not just one but two RVs on the platform. Garner says he and his wife bought an RV in 2008 for a trip from their Louisiana home to North Carolina. After their return, it just sat and sat.
“We thought that we would use it a lot more,” Garner says. So they rented it out through a consignment shop, which took half the rental fee and passed along credit card charges to Garner. “It was a good deal for them, a horrible deal for me,” Garner says.
After moving to San Antonio, Garner found RVshare. He swiftly booked his RV for an entire summer, mostly in Houston, and soon decided to buy a second RV just to rent out. He tested the waters by listing the second RV on RVshare before buying it. He says he got enough bookings to make payments for two years, so he bought it. He bases one in Houston; the other in San Antonio.
“They stay extremely busy; they’re out every weekend,” Garner says.
He and his wife are using the rental income to get her new franchise business off the ground.
Reasons to rent an RV
On the other side of the equation are people who want to use an RV for an awesome road trip, but aren’t prepared to take on the expense of buying the vehicle. The typical renter, Gray says, is a nuclear family, with parents age 35 to 45 looking to take their kids on vacation.
Mark and Jennifer Fadden of Colleyville, Texas, turned to RVshare for their maiden RV adventure. They rented a 25-foot motor home to drive up the scenic California coast with their two sons, Grant and Jack, during a recent Thanksgiving break.
Driving and RV park setup were easy, Mark Fadden says. While an RV is expensive to buy, he says, “if you just want to rent one for a trip, maybe a couple of times a year, or maybe just to try it out to see if you want to buy one, RVshare is a great way to do it.”
“It’s a beach house; it’s a ski lodge; it’s a perfect vacation home on wheels, and that’s what we wanted,” he says.
Gray, RVshare’s CEO, says travelers during summer months typically visit Western national parks.
“That’s the bread and butter of road trips,” he says.
In the fall, RVs are often rented for tailgating at football games.
While renters typically pick up their RVs, RVshare also can arrange to deliver a vehicle to the renter.
“For example, if you’re going to a music festival, and you want the RV just set up so when you get there, it’s like having a hotel room but right where you want to be. We offer that service as well,” Gray says.
For RV owners, RVshare’s platform provides access to income opportunities and security for transactions. Owners set their own rates and availability and decide who can rent their RVs. RVshare securely handles and deposits payments directly into owners’ bank accounts.
RVshare offers rental insurance for collision and comprehensive coverage. Motor home owners and renters also get liability coverage when activating the insurance option. Every RVshare booking also includes 24/7 roadside assistance.
Listing your rig on RVshare is free. You pay RVshare a commission when your rig is booked. RVshare calculates its commission as a percentage of the rental price and fees. Other charges such as overage and dumping fees may also affect what owners pay.
Family bonding business
Mark Chamberlain and his wife, Marcy, turned their first RVshare listing, begun in January 2017, into a side family business that now includes four travel trailers in the Columbus, Ohio, area.
Delivering RVs to renters is rewarding, especially when the destination is the nearby Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts, where Marcy had often gone camping while growing up.
“It’s become a really great bonding time with the kids,” Mark Chamberlain says.
The Chamberlain kids accompany their dad delivering a camper and help set it up.
“Some of the renters just go, ‘Wow!'” he says. The kids also see places they want to come back to.
“That’s been a wonderful thing,” Chamberlain says.
Do you have an idle RV or want to try one out for a road trip? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.