For many adventurers, owning a travel trailer is a dream come true. The freedom to hit the open road and bring home with you wherever you go—what’s not to love about that concept?
If you’re willing to look beyond the obvious benefits, however, a travel trailer can represent a lucrative business opportunity as well.
We’ve put together this How to Rent out a Travel Trailer guide to show you how—and with any luck, smooth out any bumps you might encounter along the way.
Why Rent Out Your Travel Trailer?
People choose to rent out their RVs and travel trailers for many reasons. Some owners aren’t able to camp as often as they’d like, and don’t want the unit to deteriorate due to lack of use.
Others might be looking to earn back as much of their monthly payment as they can by allowing the travel trailer to do most of the work.
Similarly, full-timers who are spending time with friends or family could be looking for a way to get the unit off their hands for a while, without shelling out a fortune in storage fees.
No matter what your reasons, renting out your trailer can be a superb way to introduce others to the camping lifestyle. Who knows? You might even forge new friendships that will last far beyond the last transfer of the keys.
Of course, there are two sides to every story. Putting your hard-won investment in the hands of strangers can be a tricky proposition, and one that’s not without its risks. Before you decide to take the plunge, consider the following factors:
- Knowing the Market—If you’re renting out your RV, you’re essentially starting your own small business. Make sure you understand what that entails, and follow all of the inherent regulations to the letter. You should also do some research beforehand to determine how much you can reasonably charge, whether you’re offering rentals on a daily or weekly basis.
- Stress—If you’re a full-timer, your travel trailer is literally your home. Are you prepared to deal with the mental pressure that results from watching a stranger drive away in it? Even when any potential damage is covered by insurance, the situation can be nerve-racking to deal with.
- Practical Measures—When you rent out your RV, you’ll have to remove all of your personal items. This will not only increase the “curb appeal” of your unit by allowing renters to put their own stamp on it, it will decrease your overall damage risk.
- Finding Renters—Even if the market seems hot, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to attract renters right off the bat. To boost your prospects, list your unit on local message boards and websites like RVShare.
Understand that we’re not trying to be overly negative in providing you with this information. We simply feel that it’s important to weigh all the pros and cons before you decide to make your home-away-from-home available to the general public.
If you’re not prepared, the venture could turn out to be more trouble than it’s worth.
How To Rent Out A Travel Trailer Guide
Now that you’ve considered the issue from all angles, it’s time to polish up your trailer rental so that it shines like a star against the competition. Here are some tips to help it stand out. For a practical demonstration, check out this YouTube tutorial.
Write An Inviting Description
Start by listing all the details you can think of about your travel trailer. If you need help, you can consult the owner’s manual—there might be features listed that you’ve never even taken advantage of yourself.
Once you have this basic outline in place, it’s time to dress up the language. Use plenty of adjectives like “cozy,” “inviting,” “luxurious,” or any others that can be used to describe the unit.
You should make the space sound as appealing as possible without straying from the facts.
You can also include any relevant information about service and maintenance in your description, as long as it doesn’t get too technical.
Fortunately, travel trailers aren’t equipped with their own driving systems, so this isn’t as much of a concern as it would be with self-propelled RVs.
Consider The Setting
Potential renters will want to see plenty of photos. Make yours pop by putting the travel trailer against the most gorgeous backdrop you can find. If you’re a full-timer who enjoys getting off the beaten path, you should have no trouble encountering splendid photo opportunities for your exterior shots.
As a corollary, you might want to avoid putting your own towing vehicle in the shot. This could be distracting to potential renters and build up a false impression of the unit itself.
Make the camper the focal point of every image by unhitching the trailer and parking your vehicle a good distance away before your photo shoot.
Set The Stage
As we mentioned, you should remove all your personal items before allowing the renter to occupy the unit.
When you’re taking interior photos, however, you should leave the basics in place to make the living space appear more habitable. This includes bed linens, as well as simple dishes and flatware.
Use your discretion when it comes to extras like hand towels and wall hangings, especially if they have cutesy logos on them. Potential renters need to be able to visualize themselves in the space, and there’s no guarantee that their tastes will align with yours.
Allow Pets, If Possible
This kind of camping is especially appealing to empty nesters and retirees seeking a new hobby. Many people in this demographic are pet owners who would appreciate the opportunity to bring their furry friend along on their adventure.
To that end, you could make your rental more appealing by putting the words “pet-friendly” in your description.
If you decide to go this route, make sure to put your expectations in writing and ask the renters to sign this pet policy in advance. Here are some of the aspects to consider:
- What kind of pets you’ll allow, and how many.
- Any weight limits or breed restrictions.
- Age limits. This could apply to older dogs and cats, as well as puppies and kittens. Both age groups are likelier to cause damage than pets in their prime.
- Whether or not a pet may be allowed in the camper unattended.
- How much to charge for a pet deposit. This may vary depending on the length of the rental, but a flat rate of $50-$75 per pet is standard for rentals of up to two weeks.
We understand that not everyone is in a position to offer pet-friendly rentals. If this is the case, make sure to include this information in your advertisement and reiterate it in the rental agreement. People who want to avoid pet-friendly accommodations will be just as interested in the information as those who want to bring them.
Amenities, Amenities, Amenities
Now’s the time to outfit your travel trailer with as many bells and whistles as you can afford. Consider light-blocking curtains for the windows, a toaster oven for the kitchen, or a Wi-Fi booster to help renters stay connected throughout their travels.
Some renters also offer optional goodies for an additional price. These can include anything from bicycles and beach floats, to practical items like coolers and Hibachi grills. Don’t forget to mention any extras when you’re drafting your advertisement.
Renting out your travel trailer can be a rewarding prospect for both you and your future customers. You’ll be sharing an experience that you enjoy with other like-minded individuals, all while putting a little extra money in your own pocket.
Although the world of RV rentals is not without its risks, we think the rewards are well worth the effort. With the right preparation, you can make sure the venture is a successful one right off the bat.
Best of luck, and happy camping!