RV & Camping Equipment Rentals are Red Hot

09 Jul

As COVID-19 continues to spread across the country, many vacationers are still skeptical of airlines and hotels which has led many of them to rent an RV to get in their vacation time this year. It turns out they are not alone, RV rentals are booming this year and National Geographic recently dubbed 2020 “the year of the camper.”

“Acknowledging the pent-up desire to leave the house, but to do so safely, an RV rental becomes the best solution to get out quickly and not have to worry about crowds, confinement, or going stir-crazy,” says Jen Young, co-founder of RV rental marketplace Outdoorsy in a recent LA Times article.

If you have an RV or camper you are not using or even camping equipment such as camp stoves, tents, or cots you may be able to put a few bucks in your pocket by renting your RV or equipment out.

RV and Camping Equipment Rentals are Red Hot

There are currently three sites that offer peer to peer rentals for recreational vehicles. Outdoorsy, RVshare and RVnGo all allow RV and camper owners to list their vehicle for free and set the rental rates they feel is fair. The RV owners then pay a commission if their RV rents.

Over the last three months, bookings have jumped 4,300% at Outdoorsy according to the company. RVshare is also booming with a reported an 81% rise in Fourth of July reservations.

“Travelers are choosing the freedom and inherent safety of social distancing in a fully self-contained rig in pursuit of outdoor adventures,” said David Kosofsky, co-founder of GoRVRentals in the LA Times article.

It’s not just individual RV owners who have seen an uptick in business. Cruise America, one of the major RV rental companies has seen a dramatic increase in rentals with many of the new rentals coming from government agencies and medical facilities fighting the virus.  

Camping equipment can also be rented out on sites such as Loanables, RentNotBuy and FriendWithA. On these sites you can list your camping equipment such as sleeping bags, tents, lanterns and camp tables.

How Much Can I make?

The answer to this question can vary dramatically depending on the location of your RV as well as the age and condition of it. 

If you are looking to rent out your camping equipment don’t expect a huge payday but it can put a bit of money in your pocket. Tents and camp stoves will often bring in between $4 and $25 a day. You may want to consider putting together a bundle or package of camping gear which can result in a bigger daily fee. Professional rental companies such as OutdoorsGeek typically rent one-person camping packages which includes a tent, sleeping bag and lamp for about $69 a day.

If you have a more complete package that includes cooking equipment and an air mattress, you can charge even more, OutdoorsGeek charges up to $268 per night for this kind of gear.

Rental rates for RV’s, campers, trailers and pop-ups are much higher than for equipment and if your RV stays busy over the summer you could make some decent money. The average daily rates for Class A RV rentals typically range from about $225 to $300, depending on where the RV is located. Pop-ups and travel trailers can rent for between $50 and $120 a day.

What Fees Do These Sites Charge?

In most cases, both owners and renters pay fees to the website that put them together. 

The biggest RV rental platforms, Outdoorsy and RVshare both charge owners about 20% to 25% of the total rental amount. This means that if you rent your RV for $200 a day, you would clear about $150.

With reward there is always risk. Renting out your RV always comes with some risk, drivers not used to a large vehicle may manage to hit something or the renters could end up damaging something on the inside of the RV or even manage to blow a tire. RV repairs tend to be expensive and tires alone can run into the thousands of dollars each. 

Your standard insurance on a RV will not cover damage if the RV is rented. Almost all RV/Auto policies exclude “commercial use” of the vehicle so renting it out basically invalidates your coverage. If you lend your RV to a friend or family member your policy will be in force but as soon as money and a stranger are involved, all claims would be denied. 

This issue should not be a problem if you rent your RV through one of the RV rental platforms we mentioned here as they require renters to buy insurance coverage before they can rent an RV. However, if you are going it alone and renting your RV on Craigslist or through word of mouth, you will need to ensure anyone that rents it has some insurance in place. 

In addition, the policies RV platforms insist on do have exclusions for “normal wear and tear” and come with deductibles you will have to pay before your claim is processed. There have been owner complaints against the insurance companies that RV rental companies use in regard to multiple deductibles for each claim, pushing up owner costs if there is an incident. Always read reviews before signing up with a RV rental platform and pay particular attention to any complaints regarding insurance. 

It is always a good idea to set a security deposit with your rental as well. While renters are supposed to pay for any damage that is not covered by insurance, it may be difficult to collect that money if you don’t have a deposit in hand. On the sites mentioned here, owners are able to set their own security deposit amount. 

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