Have you heard of Outdoorsy? It’s basically the AirBnB of RVs, offering a platform for peer-to-peer RV rentals. Folks with RVs sitting in their driveways unused can rent to folks without RVs who want to camp. Sounds pretty cool, right?
And maybe also a bit crazy…
We’ve been completely intrigued by this growing trend and decided to check it out for ourselves. On the one hand, it seems a bit scary to rent your RV to a complete stranger and just hope for the best. On the other hand, making some scratch when you aren’t using your RV is kinda genius.
So we tried out both sides of the coin over the past six months, renting out our own Penny the Pop Up Camper and renting someone else’s rig for a road trip through South Dakota.
Now let’s get some terminology cleared up from the get-go. Outdoorsy calls the people who list their RVs for rent “owners” and people who borrow those RVs “renters”. Got it? Good.
We are now Outdoorsy owners and renters, so we figured we’d share all the things we’ve learned along the way. You can listen to the RV Atlas podcast (press play on the medial player above) to hear us discuss all these tips in more detail.
5 Things We Learned as Outdoorsy Owners
Listing your RV on the Outdoorsy platform is incredibly easy and intuitive.
I actually listed Penny the Pop Up on Outdoorsy while Jeremy emptied the tanks at the campground dump station. I was able to enter all the necessary information, write the description, and upload pictures right from my phone. They give you all the prompts you need, and offer suggestions to build the best listing possible.
Frontload as much detail and information about your RV as possible to enhance the owner/rental experience.
After answering a lot of questions from my first renter, I realized that I needed to include a lot more details and information in my listing. I ended up making a complete checklist for setup and breakdown. I also created a tips sheet with information about the refrigerator and leveling. Having a couple of videos on YouTube would have been even better. That’s our plan for the future.
Completely stock your rental.
The owner we rented from this summer had her RV so well stocked. Every cooking utensil or supply we searched for over the course of eight days was there. From spatulas to cork screws to all-purpose cleaner, she had thought of everything. I realized that this made a big difference in our rental experience. You don’t have to get fancy, but make sure the basics are in your RV.
Create packages for your renters.
Outdoorsy allows you to create packages or services for an additional charge. This is a fantastic part of the platform. I created a delivery and set up package for an additional $125 that was very popular with my renters. I also created a camp gear package for $75 that included camp chairs, a cook stove, propane, lanterns, and s’mores kit. Every one of my renters chose at least one add-on option. You might offer other packages like linens, bikes, or inflatable kayaks.
Charge enough to provide exceptional service.
Renting an RV is an experience that may require answering a lot of questions before and during the rental period. I listed Penny the Pop Up at too low of a price for the time that goes into managing a rental. You live and learn. Luckily, it’s easy to adjust your rental price if need be.
5 Things We Learned as Outdoorsy Renters
Look into delivery options if you are destination camping.
So many owners offer delivery and set up options for their RVs. We used this option during one of our trips to Disney and it was fantastic to just show up and walk right into the rental RV. If you are visiting a popular camping destination, think about getting the RV delivered. It will remove a lot of the hassle from the process–and you don’t have to worry about whether your truck or SUV can tow the trailer. That’s the owner’s job.
Double and triple check that you can safely and comfortably tow or drive the rig you are renting.
If this is your first time towing or driving an RV, keep it easy on yourself and stay small. Make sure you can tow the weight of the RV with your tow vehicle. Also think about logistics such as getting gas. If you are driving a motorhome for the first time, you may want to stay under 30 feet.
Communicate with the owner about the details.
Make sure you know exactly what tow equipment and supplies they provide, and what ones you will need to provide yourself. It’s also a good idea to double check on the rig supplies. You don’t want to end with without a coffee maker (gasp!) or the wrong sized bedding.
Keep the plan simple if you are a newbie.
We did not keep the plan simple for our road trip to South Dakota. In fact, we towed the rental RV over 1,200 miles. But we have a ton of towing experience and have owned four travel trailers. If this is your first time towing and you are just exploring the RV lifestyle, we recommend staying close to home and maybe just picking one campground for your trip.
Get the roadside assistance if your personal roadside assistance doesn’t cover a rental RV.
Things happen. Even if you are an incredibly safe driver and the RV is in tip top condition, you might need roadside assistance. Being stranded on the side of the road is no way to spend a vacation. Don’t skimp on this expense.
What’s the bottom line?
We think Outdoorsy is a fantastic option for both owners and renters. Not everyone is going to feel comfortable renting out their RV. For some folks, it’s practically a member of the family. But for many of us, the possibility of paying for family vacations or covering the cost of the RV payment is quite a tempting idea.
Outdoorsy is also not the only show in town. RV Share also has a very good reputation and many owners list their rigs on both.
We’ll see you at the campground,
Stephanie + Jeremy