If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that an RV is a major purchase that requires a lot of upkeep. Most of the time, we don’t really get to use them as often as we’d hope. That’s why so many RV owners mull over the possibility of renting them out while they’re not in use.
Is it worth renting out your RV or can you make money with your RV? Yes, renting out your RV can be worth it, you can generate an additional income, but you need to know what you’re getting into and mitigate risks before you start. The viability of this all depends on a variety of different factors, including:
- Upkeep and Maintenance
- Business Work
- The Price Per Day You’re Charging
- Accidents and Damage
- Contract Contents
Renting out an RV is not a decision to be made lightly. That RV probably cost you at least $40,000, if not more. Wondering whether becoming an owner-renter is a good idea? This guide will reveal the perks and pitfalls you should expect to see.
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Is Renting Your RV Out Actually Worth It?
Like with most other types of “rent your property” arrangements, the choice to rent an RV is a decision that can be worth it, but only with the right amount of work and in the right situation. Your RV is a wildly expensive vehicle that can cost a ton of money to fix. However, it can make sense if you know how to mitigate risks and need extra cash.
In most cases, renting out your RV is a good idea if:
- You are willing to work harder to maintain it. The amount of money you’re going to have to put into keeping up your RV’s functionality will go up alongside the wear and tear it receives.
- You are willing to purchase extra insurance to make sure you’re covered. A single accident in your rented RV can ruin your life with lawsuits, RV damage, medical bills and more. Making sure you’re properly ensured is important.
- You don’t need your RV. If it’s only used once in a blue moon, you should be okay. If you use your RV almost year-round, choosing to rent it out might not make much sense at all.
- You are okay with trusting strangers with your RV. Obviously, your RV will be insured for damages, but still, it can be hard for some people to be okay with others using their stuff. If you are open to it, RV rental can be a wise decision.
Understanding RV Rentals
Renting an RV isn’t something that most people do in their lifetimes. Or, if they do, they do it for special occasions. In order to understand what you’re getting into you need to understand the whole process and why people would rent your RV.
Learn More About RV rentals – Here, you can find an article I wrote about: How Do RV Rentals Work: 7 Expert Tips
Renting An RV Vs. Staying At A Hotel
In order to figure out a lot of the perks and pitfalls, it’s important to remember who rents RVs and why. People who are looking for an RV do so because it’s not a hotel. They want a different experience. To understand how that plays into your experience, here’s what you need to remember:
- RVs are mobile, unlike hotels. They are mostly used for large trips. You won’t be expected to pay for gas, but you will have to deal with wear and tear from the actual transit.
- Hotels have cleaning and room service, RVs don’t. This means that you won’t be expected to clean your RV until it’s returned to you. People are open to the DIY vibe of RVing.
- RVs are used for camping and festivals. Expect to have a little outdoors tracked in, as well as a little extra mess.
- Hotels and RVs are both paid by the day. The daily rates you make depend on costs, how long the person is renting them, and other factors. You may also get to charge more if you will need to pick up your RV elsewhere.
- You can book hotels by phone, while RV rental is almost strictly platform based. If you’re not using an app like Outdoorsy or RVshare, you shouldn’t rent. It’s just too risky!
I recently wrote an article on this site called “Is RV Rental Worth It? 11 Things To Consider“. In it, I mentioned everything you need to take in consideration before you make a decision.
How Do You Rent Out An RV?
The basic gist of renting out an RV is that you are going to need to sign up with at least one rental platform to do so. It’s a fairly straightforward process.
Once you sign up, you will have to fill out a profile with pictures, driving license requirements for renters, as well as photos. The majority of renting platforms come with some way to allow you to put any renting stipulations you need, if there are any special instructions you have for your renters.
When a renter books the car, they can come to your home (or designated pickup area) and they drive off. After they’re done, they bring the car to you.
Is Renting An RV Risky?
While we could try to mince words, the truth is that sugar coating wouldn’t do anyone good. Renting an RV can be risky to your personal finances and your RV. It only takes one car accident or one very bad renter to be left without an RV. On a similar note, using the wrong platform can lead to serious problems.
Thankfully, there are ways to make things less risky. These risk-cutting measures include using a good platform, having a good insurance policy, and vetting your clients. The more work you put into protecting your interests, the better off you’ll be.
Do You Have to Allow Renters the Use Of Your RV?
Here’s the amazing thing about being an RV owner: you don’t have to rent to anyone you don’t feel comfortable with. No RV rental platform worth its salt would ever try to force you to rent out your RV to someone you don’t like.
Are All RVs Rentable?
Yes, but on a technicality, no. In order for your RV to be rented, the following have to be true:
- It has to be in decent shape. No one will want to rent an RV that is crawling with bugs or that has been gutted from the inside. The better your RV’s shape, the more likely it is you’ll get a good customer base.
- It has to be street legal. You cannot rent an RV that is not deemed safe for use on the road.
- You have to rent it to someone who has the right license to drive it. Each state has different RV driving license requirements. It’s important to remember that your RV isn’t rentable to people who are not legally allowed to drive it.
Which RVs Have the Best Resale Value?
RVs depreciate over time. Well, everything does. Now, let’s talk more about how and why depreciation happens. When we talk about depreciation, we’re almost always referring to ‘market-value’ depreciation
Which RVs have the best resale value? we have listed some of them below:
- Palomino Puma 25 Series
- Jayco Jay Feather 17 Series Travel Trailer
- Winnebago Vista
- Class B Airstream Interstate
- Class C Winnebago RV
This is basically how the RV market feels towards a certain RV brand. The market will then determine what this RV’s worth will be after a certain amount of time passes.
When looking to buy a used RV, it’s better to choose the one with mileage and a decent maintenance log. Also, get a professional to inspect it from the outside and inside.
Don’t be fooled by the false promise that an RV that has been sitting in someone’s driveway is better because of its low mileage. The truth is that when an RV sits idle for a long time, its parts will start to deteriorate and dry out. Rust and cracks will also start to appear over time.
How to Increase the Resale Value of Your RV?
Before renting or reselling your RV, you can do a bunch of steps to rejuvenate it.
- Give it a rigorous cleaning session, preferably by a professional.
- Make sure you steam its interior if you can’t afford a professional.
- Change the coat of the interior walls or install new panels.
- Remove your possessions.
- Feature built-in USB ports if you can. Chargers rule our lives now.
- Get rid of overused appliances. Maybe replace them with used ones in better condition.
- Upgrade your smoke detectors if possible.
RVs with the Best Resale Value
Here are a few RV brands with the best resale value.
|Price (after 3 Years)
|Lost In Value
|Jayco Jay Feather 17 Series Travel Trailer
|Palomino Puma 25 Series
|Class B Airstream Interstate
|Class C Winnebago RV
The Jayco Jay Feather 17 Series Travel Trailer is sold for $20,000. Let’s say you bought it 3 years ago, you’d be able to sell it for only $12,000. In other words, it lost 40% of its value.
The Palomino Puma 25 Series is sold for $24,000. If you’ve had it for 3 years, you can sell it for around $15,000. That’s a 38% loss in value.
The Winnebago Vista is sold for more than $150,000. The price is steep because it’s one of the popular class A RVs available. If you’d like to sell it after 3 years, it can sell for about $65,000. This is a loss in value of more than 50%.
The class B Airstream Interstate is sold for over $150,000. After 3 years, you’d probably sell it for about $100,000. That’s a drop in the value of about a third of its original price.
A class C Winnebago RV costs around $120,000. Yet, if you were looking to sell it after 3 years of ownership, it’ll be worth $77,000. That’s a 26% loss in value.
So, after looking at these numbers, it’s clear that class C RVs have the best resale value. They depreciate the lowest, followed by class B RVs.
Class A RVs depreciate the fastest even though they’re the most expensive, which is a bit of a head-scratcher.
When buying used, you avoid the depreciation pit that comes from buying a new RV. This way, you can focus on what’s more important than your RV’s depreciating value. Use your recreational vehicle to create exciting, unforgettable memories with those you love.
If you’re the RV owner and given that you only use your RV occasionally, rental seems like a reasonable idea. You’ll get a decent passive income stream and you’ll cover its insurance and maintenance costs. Besides, if you trust whom you rent it too, it’ll stay in good shape for resale afterward.
The General Overview of RV Renting: The Pros And Cons
Before we get to talking about the right decision for your RV, it’s a good idea to understand what benefits you should expect—and what to watch out for.
The Perks of Renting Your RV
The reason that so many RV owners choose to rent out their gear is actually fairly straightforward. There are a ton of good reasons why you should rent out your RV to other travelers. Some of the most noteworthy perks include:
- Extra Spending Cash. Right now, your RV is probably sitting on your lot, doing nothing but collecting dust. If someone was renting it right now, your RV could be making you as much as $300 per night. If you rent it for a week straight, that’s enough to give you a nice vacation!
- A Way to Fund Your RV. RVs are expensive. Renting them out is a fast way to help recover the cost of maintenance as well as the monthly payments one would have to do.
- More Lot Room. There’s something to be said about having a little extra space in your lot or parking area. Sometimes, you just don’t want to have to see your RV blocking your view of nature!
- Networking. Believe it or not, there is an entire subculture devoted to RV usage. They even have social networking sites for it. You never know whether you’ll meet your new best friend this way.
- Financial Cushioning. The extra cash is good when times are great, but when you’re dealing with financial hardship, that RV rental business you’re considering starting up could help prevent you from having to sell your home. It can be an easy way to get a good side gig going on.
The Pitfalls of Renting Your RV
Though the perks are amazing, it’s important to realize that there are problems associated with RV rentals as well. The biggest detractors include:
- Maintenance. Oh no! Your renter broke the toilet. Those repairs wouldn’t have happened if you didn’t have an RV renter, would they? It’s true. The cost of maintenance and repairs will increase if you rent yours out, especially over time.
- Accident Risk. A single clumsy driver is all it takes to have your RV totaled, or at least require thousands of dollars in repair. It doesn’t even have to be a bad driver, either. A mudslide or bad pothole can be enough. Getting it out of the lot means you will face that risk.
- More Work. If you want to rent your RV, you will need to advertise it on platforms, answer customers’ questions, and also be available to answer other requests they have. It can be a little too much for some people to handle.
- Difficult Customers. Have you ever met someone who couldn’t be pleased, no matter what you do? This can drag anyone’s spirits down, and when money is on the line, can turn into a nightmare. If you aren’t willing to work with these types of people, you shouldn’t rent your RV.
- Stress. Is your RV okay? Do those renters really look trustworthy? The fear of seeing people drive off with your home can be nerve-wracking at first.
- The Business Learning Curve. Though it seems like a simple side gig, the truth is that having your RV rented out is a small business endeavor. You will have to advertise, learn how to insure your RV, and file taxes on the business it attracts. It can be a bit much!
Is RV Rental Right For You?
The situation with RV renting is different for everyone, so before you make your own decision, it’s best to take a look at what major hurdles you should expect—and whether the renting would suit you.
The majority of issues that become a cause for concern among RV owners can be summed up in this small list of “umbrella terms:”
- Upkeep and Maintenance
- Business Work
- Income/Price You’re Setting
- Potential Losses
- Current Use
Let’s be honest. Your RV is a home of yours. Literally. Watching people drive off with it is not going to be easy for everyone and can lead to serious bouts of anxiety. After all, you can’t control what people do when they rent your RV!
The Fix: Take time to think if this is right for you.
While it’d be great if we could say there’s a quick fix, the truth is that there isn’t. This is one of the very few factors that “make or break” a person’s decision to rent their RV out. If the idea of renting your RV sends chills up your spine or makes you sick to your stomach, don’t do it.
Upkeep and Maintenance
For the most part, one should expect to do upkeep and regular maintenance on their RV every time it’s rented out—and that includes cleaning. If you end up renting your RV very frequently, doing things like oil changes and mechanical repairs may cause you to forcibly space out rental sessions significantly depending on the quality of your RV.
The Fix: Outsource and space out rentals.
If you aren’t up to clean it yourself, hiring a cleaner using some of the money from your last renter can help. This rarely ever costs more than $100 for a large RV, especially if you go the cheap route. To deter frequent fixes, space out your RV rentals at your discretion.
Worried about fixing stuff? Most RVs will not need repairs and oil changes every rental, so while there should be funding put aside for it, you shouldn’t expect it to be that big a deal. You would have to do maintenance on your RV either way, so getting extra money to make it happen is usually a great thing.
Related reading: Can You Rent RV Space on Your Property? [Is This Legal?]
Along with maintaining your RV and cleaning it, renting your RV requires you to do a little extra work. For example, you will need to advertise your RV on platforms, do taxes involving income, and maybe also drop your RV off at specific points.
This can be a hassle and can eat up some of your free time.
The Fix: Decide if it’s worth it.
Most RV owners don’t have to do much in terms of their rental upkeep or the business side of things. In most cases, you won’t have to deal with more than three hours of work per quarter—and that’s fairly low considering the income potential.
The Price You’re Setting
Renting your RV out can require some tedious work and effort. How much you’re getting paid will make a huge difference in whether or not it’s worth putting in all that effort, time, and money. A typical rental can range from $80 to $350 a night when it comes to the rental fee alone.
Gas mileage is another factor to consider when you’re figuring out your income. On typical rental sites, most RV owners can charge a small fee for gas after renters hit a certain daily mileage limit. Some also allow owners to offer “free mileage rates,” if you’re going to be generous.
Smaller RVs get lower prices, while larger “house busses” tend to go for $250 or more. Most renters will also rent your RV for more than one day. Some may rent them for weeks at a time. Your primary concern should be that your RV’s income should be able to cover cleaning, an oil change, and provide income for you.
Related reading: Do RV Rentals Include Mileage? (Free Unlimited Miles)
The Fix: Use a platform with suggested pricing or lean on the pricier side.
Platforms that specialize in rentals (like RVshare or Outdoorsy) are great when it comes to pricing. They often come with suggestions that are meant for models identical to (or similar to) your own. This takes out the guesswork you might have to do and gives you a baseline of what to expect.
If you don’t use a platform that has that feature, don’t worry. You can always figure out a reasonable price by looking at what others charge. If you’re worried that the rentals won’t be worth the hassle, having a minimum number of days can improve your outcome.
The worst nightmare that an RV owner has is to lose their RV, especially if it has sentimental value to them. When you’re renting out an RV, you’re trusting that the stranger you rented your RV to will treat your property well. Unfortunately, things don’t always happen that way.
In the past, renters have:
- Trashed RVs. Rowdy campers have been known to purposefully break RVs and destroy property inside them. If you’ve ever seen the remains of an RV after a crazy party, you already know that this can turn your RV completely uninhabitable.
- Stolen Them. This is a far rarer issue than trashed or misused RVs, but it’s still a possibility.
- Gotten in Accidents. Accidents are the most common cause of RV loss and damage out there and they aren’t always preventable. It’s not always your renter’s fault!
- Had Breakdowns. Though this is no one’s fault, breakdowns can be a serious drag for RV owners. Thankfully, most platforms offer some sort of assistance with this matter.
The Fix: Use a good platform, screen your clients, and insure your RV.
Using the right RV rental service makes a lot of these issues go away, simply because of the policies and tech they use to keep transactions clean. RV rental platforms pre-screen your potential clients to ensure they have the right licenses to rent your RV, reducing your need to screen them.
Insurance, though, is the bigger topic you should be looking into if you want to rent your RV. Most major RV rental platforms will offer some amount of insurance coverage for your RV as a way to ensure your safety. Outdoorsy, for example, offers up to $1 million in coverage!
Though platforms do offer some level of security, you shouldn’t rely on them exclusively. It’s a good idea for shop for RV rental insurance with your insurance company before you start renting it to anyone.
Related reading: Is Good Sam RV Insurance Any Good? An Honest Review
The cool thing about renting out your RV is that you’re the one in control. You get to be the one to decide what goes and what doesn’t. This comes into play when you’re creating the RV rental contract. You get to choose the stipulations that you want to add, including fees that may come for cleaning extra dirty RVs.
The thing is, having contracts is a tedious part of your RV rental business. It can be annoying and may also take some time. Even so, it’s an aspect that’s there for your convenience.
The Fix: Be careful with your wording and have a lawyer check it over.
Drafting a contract can be difficult if you’re new to it. The good news is that you don’t have to go at it alone. Seeing other sample RV rental contracts can help guide you on what you should say, any special stipulations you should add.
If you want to make your contract (or ad, depending on platform) really solid, we suggest adding these notes:
- Minimum Rental Days. Do you have a two-day minimum? A three-day minimum? If you want to ensure that you get a certain amount of money each time someone rents your RV, having a minimum rental length is a good choice.
- Add-Ons. A lot of renters add additional products and services as a way to get even more income. If you are willing to drop off the RV, pick it up, include blankets, or give guests food, add those options to your contract and let them choose what they want.
With each add-on you want to offer up, label a very clear price tag for it. If any special rules go with your add-on, be clear about them too!
- Security Deposits. Many platforms allow RV owners to require a refundable security deposit as an added safety measure. If you feel you need this, now is the time to request one.
- Fees. RV owners also have the right to sue for fees in the event of egregious lack of care on the part of renters. Mentioning cleaning fees for smoking inside the RV, for example, is well within reason.
You should also be aware that most RV rental platforms have their own fees associated with them. They will be added on and you shouldn’t worry about them.
- Rules. Some RV owners will allow renters to bring pets along with them for the ride or camping sessions. Others won’t. Stipulating your preferences is a good way to ensure you don’t have a problem later on.
Prior to having any renter sign your contract, make sure to have a lawyer or paralegal look it over for you to ensure it holds up in court.
Sometimes, you might be a great candidate for RV rentals except for one small issue: you’re using yours almost daily. If you live in your RV most of the year, chances are that you have a lot more to lose from renting than others.
It’s not always feasible to try to rent an RV, especially if you use it frequently. That being said, renting it a couple of days a year can still net you some income.
The Fix: Have a hard look at feasibility.
Though renting an RV might be a good way to earn money, you have to be honest with yourself about feasibility. If any of the following are true, you may have to scale back or completely close the idea of renting yours out:
- You use it heavily or year-round.
- The job you have may require the use of your RV or camper.
- Your RV is in a serious state of disrepair.
- You will not be able to financially cope if you lose your RV.
- There’s a chance that you may need to use your RV on short notice.
So, is it Worth it?
Renting out the RV you own can be a potentially lucrative endeavor, not to mention an emotionally rewarding one. However, it’s not for everyone. There are tons of factors that you should think about when you’re figuring out if it’s a viable option in your situation—required work, the stress, contracts, potential losses, etc.
Though there are plenty of pitfalls that come with this method of moneymaking, the truth is that almost all of them can be mitigated or even eliminated if you take the right steps. So, for the most part, renting out your RV is a worthwhile thing to look into. Whether or not you’re ready to take the step, though, is a whole different story!
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