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