How to Make Money Renting your RV

Have ever thought about renting your RV? Here’s what you need to know.

It was inevitable that with RVs in such massive demand for road trips and camping vacations, the same peer-to-peer businesses would arise that came in the vacation home rental industry. That demand has increased exponentially since people turned to RVing during the pandemic. No other way to vacation or getaway is as safe as RVing. RVers, as we used to say, were socially distant before it was cool.

An entire side industry has developed over the past few years: Rental companies that facilitate private RV owners who want to earn extra cash with their RVs. Those companies list the RV, help in providing insurance, and offer marketing to promote them.

RVers get to use their RVs when they want but when the RV is usually in storage or sitting in the driveway they then get to earn cash by renting it out. Some RVers even get to buy their RV with little out-of-pocket expenses because the rental fees more than cover their payments.

Private RV owners are sometimes making five-figure incomes a year just by renting out their RVs. Some have started their own businesses, buying multiple RVs and renting them all out.

The expanding rental market © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Pros and cons of renting your RV 

The path to renting out your RV can be a perilous one for many people. Whatever your motivation is for renting out your RV, there are some risks. There’s the additional wear and tear, extra maintenance, time spent dealing with customers, cleaning, and so on.

Of course, there are also numerous advantages to renting out your RV. Chief among them is that you’ll receive extra money to cover your RV payments which might help you afford a better unit. 

And it doesn’t matter if you have a Class A, B, or C motorhome, travel or fifth-wheel trailer, or a truck camper. Demand is unprecedented!

Reasons for renting your RV

Here are some reasons WHY YOU SHOULD rent out your RV.

1. Monetize the downtime

Unless you’re a snowbird or full-time RVer, the chances are high that you only get a few good days each month using your RV. Maybe even a full week or two each summer. And if you are a snowbird your rig may sit idle for six months or more. The rest of the time, the rig is sitting in storage or in your driveway.

Renting out your RV allows you to generate some additional revenue covering a large part if not the entire monthly payment. Knowing that your schedule (for now) doesn’t accommodate using your RV full-time, you can rent it out when it suits you. 

Have a week between trips this summer? Rent it out for an extra $500-$1,000. 

2. Buying and using a unit before retirement or going full-time

Many people are looking forward to retiring and hitting the road. But what can happen is that even when you’re dreaming from the office you don’t have the time or finances to fully commit to the RV lifestyle. 

Buying and renting out your RV before you retire is a great way to get involved without the full financial commitment. You can offset some, if not most, of the cost of your rig by renting it out. This allows you to start enjoying the lifestyle now!

Renting your RV will let you take the trips you want and rent out your unit the other times you’re busy. 

Now you can start enjoying the RV lifestyle before you sell your sticks and bricks home or start collecting pensions upon retirement. Buying an RV before you want to go full-time or on a longer trip will also help you get familiar with how all of the systems on your RV function and what features you like or dislike in a rig. 

3. Being able to afford that extra nice unit you’ve wanting

Due to having an extra rental income, you can offset between 25 and 100 percent of the cost of your RV depending on how often and how much you rent it for. That opens up additional options when deciding which unit to purchase.

Maybe you’d rather have a nicer motorhome or go for that Airstream you’ve always wanted. If the deciding factor was the monthly payment and whether or not you should stretch that far then renting out your rig for the first few years of ownership can be a great option.

With rentals, you can offset some of that cost if not the total difference between what you want and what you really want. Newer and nicer units will typically rent for a higher cost too. So you can get something a little nicer in the long run and know that it’ll offset some of the total cost of the RV.

The expanding rental market © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

4. Starting a business

There are enough tools to allow you to start a bonafide rental business especially if you are located within a short distance of major attractions, sporting events, entertainment destinations, or beautiful nature. 

Done properly, each rental unit can become a little profit center. It’s not uncommon for people to start with one unit and later add a couple more. Depending on the unit/location, each full-time rental can pull in between $30,000 and $60,000/year. Warmer climates with a longer rental period and can be rented year-round.

This can make your ROI on each RV roughly 3-4 years, if not sooner whether you keep it, trade it in, or sell it off. This can become a viable business for someone willing to manage all of the moving pieces. With business scale, you can also improve margins. Instead of all your booking coming from an online booking site with a 25 percent commission fee you can manage your own book of business and recover those margins. 

RVers get to use their RVs when they want but when the RV is usually in storage or sitting in the driveway they then get to earn cash by renting it out for extra money.

Private RV owners are sometimes making five-figure incomes a year just by renting out their RVs with these RV share programs. Some have actually started their own businesses doing so, buying multiple RVs and renting them all out.

Understanding the RV rental industry

The RV rental boom shows no signs of slowing. Besides, even if your potential customers wanted to buy a brand new RV or are maybe considering camper vans or some other type of RV, some manufacturers are still reporting six months to one year waits for new orders to be completed.

The bottom line—which is good for the RV rental business—is the only way some folks will be able to get out there and experience the RV lifestyle for the first time is by renting one. Tens of thousands of people are interested in the RV lifestyle and a good way to experience it before buying is to rent an RV for a camping getaway.

How much can you make renting your RV?

I went to two of the largest RV Rental marketplaces (RV Share and Outdoorsy) and looked at average RV rental prices across several different types of RVs in five different metropolitan areas across the US.  

These are the average rental prices for 75+ units across five locations (Atlanta, San Diego, Denver, Chicago, and Boston) within a 100-mile radius of each city.  

Class A motorhomes

  • Nightly rate – $266 (-25 percent for RV Share cut) = $200 net
  • Nightly rate – $266 (-20 percent for Outdoorsy Share cut) = $213 net

Class B motorhomes

  • Nightly rate – $222 (-25 percent for RV Share cut) = $167 net
  • Nightly rate – $222 (-20 percent for Outdoorsy Share cut) = $177 net

Class C motorhomes

  • Nightly rate – $205 (-25 percent for RV Share cut) = $154 net
  • Nightly rate – $205 (-20 percent for Outdoorsy Share cut) = $164 net

Travel trailer 

  • Nightly rate – $124 (-25 percent for RV Share cut) = $93 net 
  • Nightly rate – $124 (-20 percent for Outdoorsy Share cut) = $99 net

Toy hauler 

  • Nightly rate – $164 (-25 percent for RV Share cut) = $123 net
  • Nightly rate – $164 (-20 percent for Outdoorsy Share cut) = $131 net
The expanding rental market © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

How the seasons affect renting your RV

The number of rentable days you have each year is also largely dependent on your location. You can expect to rent your unit during peak summer months in the northern portion of the U.S. and the rental period is almost year-round in the south. 

Using a third-party platform like RV Share (25 percent commission) or Outdoorsy (20 percent commission) here is the maximum you could expect to make renting out your RV. 

Class A motorhomes

Warm climates – 175 days x $266/night average = $46,534 maximum revenue potential. 

With a 25 percent commission, the max revenue to you is $34,901.

With a 20 percent commission, the max revenue to you is $37,227. 

Cool climates – 120 days x $266/night average = $31,909 maximum revenue potential.  

With a 25 percent commission, the max revenue to you is $23,932.

With a 20 percent commission, the max revenue to you is $25,527.

Class B motorhomes

Warm climates – 175 days x $222/night average = $38,790 maximum revenue potential. 

With a 25 percent commission, the max revenue to you is $29,093.

With a 20 percent commission, the max revenue to you is $31,032.

Cool climates – 120 days x $222/night average = $26,599 maximum revenue potential.  

With a 25 percent commission, the max revenue to you is $19,949. 

With a 20 percent commission, the max revenue to you is $21,279.

Class C motorhomes

Warm climates – 175 days x $205/night average = $35,844 maximum revenue potential. 

With a 25 percent commission, the max revenue to you is $26,883.

With a 20 percent commission, the max revenue to you is $28,674.

Cool climates – 120 days x $205/night average = $24,578 maximum revenue potential.  

With a 25 percent commission, the max revenue to you is $18,434.

With a 20 percent commission, the max revenue to you is $19,662. 

The expanding rental market © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Travel trailers

Warm climates – 175 days x $124/night average = $21,678 maximum revenue potential. 

With a 25 percent commission, that max revenue to you is $16,258.

With a 20 percent commission the max revenue to you is $17,342.

Cool climates – 120 days x $124/night average = $14,865 maximum revenue potential.  

With a 25 percent commission, the max revenue to you is $11,148. 

With a 20 percent commission, the max revenue to you is $11,891.

Toy haulers

Warm climates – 175 days x $164/night average = $28,723 maximum revenue potential. 

With a 25 percent commission, the max revenue to you is $21,542.

With a 20 percent commission, the max revenue to you is $22,978.

Cool climates – 120 days x $164/night average = $19,696 maximum revenue potential.  

With a 25 percent commission, the max revenue to you is $14,772. 

With a 20 percent commission, the max revenue to you is $15,756.

Know ALL the details about renting your RV

The expanding rental market © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

At any price, renting out your RV is a win

Perhaps you’re not making the complete amount of the final booking cost with renting out your RV but it is a lot more than you would be making with just letting the RV sit in storage or your driveway and the extra coverage provided by the rental company is worth the cost.

Not only will you save on storage fees but you’ll have extra income for those upgrades you always wanted. Your RV will also run better when the components are used more frequently.

The expanding rental market © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Can you really trust those renters?

Now that I’ve gotten you all excited about making lots of money by renting out your RV, let’s talk about the less exciting topic: the renters. Peer-to-peer RV rental companies like RV Share and Outdoorsy not only vet the renters for you but have a massive insurance policy to protect you, at no extra cost to you.

You have the complete freedom to decline potential renters at any time and for any reason. Most of these rental sites will require the renter to make a profile first that will include some personal information and history that you can look through to decide if you think you can really trust them to treat your RV well.

In the off chance that something does end up happening to your RV, the renter’s security deposit and renters insurance can cover the cost of fixing it before you even have time to worry about it.

Worth Pondering…

Decide whether or not the goal is worth the risks involved. If it is, stop worrying.

―Amelia Earhart

Escape Winter in an RV: The How and Where

Hit the road and escape to warmer weather!

Winter is upon us and travelers looking to escape the cold are seeking new ways to travel this season after being mostly shut down last year. While looking for that sunny and warm getaway seems to be universal, many are still looking for ways of travel that avoid large, crowded airports and busy hotels with lots of small, shared spaces like elevators and hallways.

This is just one of the reasons RV travel has soared in popularity over the last year and throughout the pandemic.

Coachella Valley © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

According to a survey conducted by Lending Tree, “Interest in RVs was up 41 percent and 56 percent, respectively, in January and February 2021 compared to the year prior.” And when planning a getaway this winter, RVing checks many boxes: It’s a great way to travel safely in today’s COVID environment, it’s a quick and easy way to leave the expected bitter cold behind, and it also makes for a truly unique experience when visiting sunny hot spots like Southern Arizona and South Texas.

Colorado River Historic Park in Yuma © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

No RV? No problem!  

You’ve tried Airbnb or VRBO, now it’s time to try a peer-to-peer RV rental company to experience the RV trend! This is an easy way to explore the open road and get a taste of the RV lifestyle without the commitment of buying your own. Whether renting in a hometown location and hitting the road to your destination or securing an RV rental upon arrival at your destination, a rental makes it easy.

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

One of the most popular, Outdoorsy, offers hundreds of RVs in all shapes and sizes for rent across the country, perfect for your next getaway. Rentals start at $109/night.

Now where to RV? The southwest is home to some of the best winter RV resorts in the country. Here are some fantastic options to explore this winter and enjoy the sunshine and 70-plus degree weather.

Related Article: Why You Need to RV in the South This Winter

California

Palm Springs © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Located in the Coachella Valley with the snow-capped peaks of the San Jacinto Mountains for the backdrop, Palm Springs has long been an upscale escape for area visitors and famous figures. Movie stars and mob bosses ditched L.A. to vacation here during the town’s first boom in the 1920s, popularizing a Spanish-Mediterranean architectural style.

Today, the village has grown and attractions consist of much more than just hanging out poolside. Whether it’s golf, tennis, polo, taking the sun, hiking, or a trip up the aerial tram, Palm Springs is a winter desert paradise.

Palm Springs © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The Indian Canyons are one of the most beautiful attractions for any Palm Springs visitor, especially if you love to hike. You can hike Palm Canyon, Andreas Canyon, and Murray Canyon. Unlike other area trails, most of the trails in the Indian Canyons follow running streams. Washingtonia filifera (California Fan Palm), and indigenous flora and fauna are abundant.

Tahquitz Canyon © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The waterfalls of Tahquitz Canyon are truly astounding, flanked by lush greenery and picturesque wildlife. The crisp water rushing past you tumbles 60 feet from apex to completion.

Palm Springs and the San Jacinto Mountains © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The beautiful San Jacinto Mountains are the backdrop to Palm Springs. You can visit the top of the San Jacinto Mountain via the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. It’s the world’s largest rotating tramcar. It travels up over 2.5 miles along the breathtaking cliffs of Chino Canyon. The weather is about 30 degrees cooler so you can go from warm to cool weather in a 10-minute tram ride.

Related Article: A Dozen Amazing Spots to Visit with your RV during Winter

VillageFest rocks Palm Canyon Drive every week with a dazzling array of delightful fare. Fall hours are 6–10 pm. 

Coachella Valley Preserve

Downtown Palm Springs transforms into a diverse array of artists, artisans, entertainers, and purveyors of fresh fruits and veggies, flowers, jewelry, snacks, and sweets. Add all that to the great shops, restaurants, clubs, and entertainment venues located along World Famous Palm Canyon Drive—and the result is one of Southern California’s most popular weekly events: VillageFest!

Arizona

Yuma Date Festival © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

With the sun shining 360 days a year, Yuma is known as the sunniest place on Earth, averaging more than 4,000 hours of sun per year (out of 4,456 possible). Winter guests enjoy activities like the nationally recognized Medjool Date Festival (January 8, 2022) where thousands of visitors head to Yuma’s historic downtown to get a taste of the delicious southwest fruit from local and regional growers.

Yuma Territorial Prison © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Looking for some history? Touring the Yuma Territorial Prison, a famous Yuma landmark that was opened in 1876 and operated for 33 years is the city’s number one tourist attraction. Visitors can tour the prison, view the cells, get a feel for what 1800’s solitary confinement felt like, and get a mug shot memento to take home.

Downtown Yuma © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Visitors looking for more should head to the nearby Imperial Sand Dunes National Recreation Area. With sand dunes topping 300 feet, these massive dunes are perfect for all-terrain vehicle riding and also made the perfect backdrop for the scenes in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The sights and sounds of Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, an International Biosphere Reserve, reveal a thriving community of plants and animals. Thirty-One species of cactus have adapted themselves to the extreme temperatures and little rainfall including the park’s namesake and the giant saguaro.

Ajo Mountain Drive © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Ajo Mountain Drive is the most popular scenic drive in the monument. It is a 21 mile, mostly gravel road usually passable by a normal passenger car. RVs over 25 feet are prohibited due to the twisting and dipping nature of the road.

Related Article: National Parks at their Spectacular Best in Winter

Camping at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

You can camp in one of two campgrounds within the monument. They have different amenities and offer campers a choice between modern comforts and rustic wilderness. You may see the desert, dark sky subtlety illuminated by countless stars or shadows that are awakened under a full moon’s glow at either campground.

Texas

Padre Island National Seashore © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

During the winter, the seasonal warmth visitors enjoy from both the sun and the southern hospitality makes Texas the place to be when looking to escape the cold. With the Texas winter temperatures averaging in the mid-70s, visitors enjoy the sandy beaches of South Padre Island which is also the longest stretch of an undeveloped barrier island in the world. The water sports and the abundant fishing throughout the Gulf provide plenty of opportunities for fun in the Lower Rio Grande Valley.

Great kiskadee in the Rio Grande Valley © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

For travelers looking to develop a new hobby, it’s not only the human snowbirds that make the seasonal trek to South Texas, as there is a wide variety of migratory birds to spot throughout the area. The World Birding Center (WBC) has nine locations throughout the Rio Grande Valley that are suitable for first-timers or expert birders.

Altamira oriole in the Rio Grande Valley © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

At Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, headquarters for the WBC, the wildlife-viewing is nonstop. A plain chachalaca strolls the grounds while a green jay stops for a drink and an Altamira oriole takes a bite of an orange at the feeding station. Three different species of hummingbirds zoom in and out.

Plain chachalaca in the Rio Grande Valley © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

This is one of the best places in the country for bird-watching. It’s at a biological crossroads with two migratory flyways. The result is one of the most spectacular convergences of birds on Earth with more than 530 species documented in the Rio Grande Valley (including about 20 species found nowhere else in the U.S.) and 365 species at Bentsen itself.

Related Article: The Absolutely Most Amazing Winter Road Trips

The Alamo © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Of course, when thinking of Texas, one can’t forget The Alamo. The 300-year-old Spanish Mission is located in San Antonio where the Battle of San Jacinto took place on April 21, 1836. Visitors also enjoy the miles of dining, shopping, and museums along San Antonio’s well-known Riverwalk.

Worth Pondering…

As Anne Murray sings in the popular song, “Snowbird”:

“Spread your tiny wings and fly away

And take the snow back with you

Where it came from on that day

So, little snowbird, take me with you when you go

To that land of gentle breezes where the peaceful waters flow…”

How to Travel Safely As Restrictions Are Lifted?

Interest in RV travel has grown exponentially during the coronavirus pandemic

The travel industry has been profoundly impacted by the uncertainty and anxiety currently enveloping the country. Airlines, resorts, and hotels are now offering discounted prices in order to rejuvenate their bottom lines but thus far the public’s appetite for travel seems to be stuck in neutral. However, there is an alternative to traditional vacations that could ease your concerns about mingling with the masses.

Welcome to the world of RV travel.

RVs at Mount Rushmore National Memorial, South Dakota © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Since early April, RVShare.com, a company that arranges RV rentals between RV owners and the general public, has seen a 650 percent rise in bookings as “long periods of isolation and social distancing have halted most forms of travel” and left people anxious to be on the move again but with personal safety always in mind.

Fishing at Goose Island State Park, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

When planning a trip in the next three months, the overwhelming majority of respondents (93 percent) want to avoid crowds, according to RVShare. This wasn’t always the case. The importance of avoiding crowded places when traveling has increased by 70 percent since the pandemic started. Additionally, 84 percent plan to travel with their partner or immediate family instead of friends or extended family.

Along the Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

“RV travel has been a trend steadily on the rise for years due to RV rentals being more accessible than ever thanks to sites like RVshare,” said CEO Jon Gray. “We expect RVs to continue to gain traction as a preferred method of travel while consumers are seeking flexible options and a unique way to experience the outdoors.”

According to the company’s data, national parks are the preferred destination of 65 percent of their customers.

Alabama Gulf Coast © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

TurnKey Vacation Rentals reports that although summer bookings are down from 2019, they’ve seen spikes in bookings over the past two weeks as well as travelers booking beach and mountain retreats for trips. As destinations start to open, there’s increased interest in the Alabama and Texas Gulf Coast and in mountain areas like Asheville, North Carolina and Gatlinburg, Tennessee. It is worth noting that these locations are drive-to destinations as travelers now prefer to avoid air travel and stay closer to home.

Padre Island National Seashore, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Outdoorsy is a peer-to-peer marketplace that connects families, solo travelers, and travelers of all kinds with trusted RV owners so they can rent an RV to power their road adventures. Their selection spans easy-to-navigate campervans to vintage Airstreams to luxury Class A motorhomes.

Gatlinburg, Tennessee © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Travelers can personalize their trip, customize their itinerary, and choose the price point that fits their budget. In addition to RV rentals being a controlled environment where renters can choose how much or how little they are exposed to others, where they travel, and more. Outdoorsy owners are held to high cleanliness standards and provide clean, sanitized, and germ-free RVs to those new to the RV lifestyle and veteran road travelers alike.

North Beach at Corpus Christi, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A survey commissioned during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic shows that camping rates very high when Americans and Canadians are asked what they’re looking forward to once life regains some normalcy. Very strong majorities said it would be “reasonable” to have social distancing measures employed at campgrounds and on trails.

Terre Haute KOA, Indiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Performed on behalf of KOA, the “North American Camping and the Effects of Covid-19” survey reached out to 4,000 American and 500 Canadian households for their opinions on how the pandemic affects their plans for camping in the months ahead. The survey is bullish in saying “camping is well positioned to rebound earlier compared to other types of travel once travelers themselves deem it safe to travel again.”

Gila Bend KOA, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Nearly half (46 percent) of the campers surveyed said they view camping as the safest form of leisure travel in the post COVID-19 world. That percentage jumps to 72 percent when the question is posed to Baby Boomers. They also ranked camping as the safest type of trip, the survey found.

Camping in an Airstream at Lake Pleasant, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

At the same time, 90 percent of leisure travelers and 95 percent of experienced campers said there should be some measures in place to enforce social distancing. Forty-seven percent of campers and half of leisure travelers “agree that limiting the number of people on a trail is reasonable.” Nearly half (48 percent) of prospective campers thought limiting group sizes would be reasonable.

Stephen Foster State Park, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Twenty-one percent of the campers surveyed said they thought it was safe to camp right now while 54 percent said they thought another month or two should pass before it would be safe.

Bernheim Forest, Krntucky © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Worth Pondering…

The torment of precautions often exceeds the dangers to be avoided. Sometimes it is better to abandon one’s self to destiny.

—Napoleon Bonaparte