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As RV travel becomes increasingly popular, RV sales have skyrocketed. For many potential RVers, however, purchasing an RV is a daunting investment, and the demand for RV rentals has also experienced unprecedented growth. Renting an RV can have many advantages, and the recent boom creates plenty of new opportunities.
Why Rent an RV?
There are many great reasons to rent an RV. If you are new to the RV world, renting gives you a chance to give it a try and learn what you like and dislike before purchasing.
Take the opportunity to spend time in different types of RVs and test out different sizes, floor plans, and features. You can walk through different models at an RV show, but spending a few days staying in a particular rig gives you the best idea of what you really need and want.
Another reason many people choose to rent RVs is that they only use them once or twice each year, and the cost of ownership is too great to make it worth it for such limited use. Renting also gives the flexibility to choose a different type of rig for each different type of trip you take. There are many circumstances when renting an RV is the best option.
RV rental opportunities have existed for decades, typically through commercial rental companies such as Cruise America or El Monte. These companies offered a very limited selection when it came to types of RVs, which had to be picked up and dropped off at a very limited number of locations, but there was security in renting from an established chain.
Private rentals were also available, and while this increased your selection and location options, it came with increased risks and few protections. In recent years, advances in technology have given rise to peer-to-peer platforms such as Outdoorsy, which truly offer the best of both worlds when it comes to RV rentals.
What is Outdoorsy?
Outdoorsy is a peer-to-peer RV rental platform that connects potential RV renters with RV owners seeking to rent out their rigs. Owners create listings with all the details of their RVs, and renters can search according to a variety of criteria in order to find the rig that best suits their needs. Once a renter finds an RV he or she is interested in, Outdoorsy provides a secure platform for the renter and the owner to communicate to discuss details.
From beginning to end, Outdoorsy provides safety and protection for both parties in the form of payment protection, communication channels, insurance, and a third-party mediator should disputes arise. Outdoorsy combines the rich variety of private rentals with the reliability and protection of a well-established commercial agency.
Outdoorsy for Renters
How It Works
Get started at Outdoorsy.com, where you can search for RVs according to a variety of criteria. Use the search feature to search by location and date or scroll down to search according to a variety of other criteria, including a specific type of RV.
Choose from rigs that are perfect for families, pet friendly, or festival-friendly. If you’re looking for a vintage RV or a budget rental, you can search for that too. If you’re heading to a specific city or national park, just click on it to find RVs within a reasonable distance, many of which can be delivered to you.
Once you find your RV, communicate with the owners to arrange all the details, and then make your reservation. Whether you pick up your rental or have it delivered to a campground, you’ll have the opportunity to walk through it, ask questions, and make sure you know how everything works.
Then sit back and enjoy your trip, knowing that if anything goes wrong, you’re covered by roadside assistance and great insurance. Most likely, you’ll enjoy a worry-free vacation, then return the RV according to your agreement with the owner.
Reasons to Rent from Outdoorsy
Outdoorsy is a leader and innovator in the peer-to-peer RV rental industry, and there are many advantages to using this service to plan your next vacation.
- Location, Location, Location. Paris anyone? Rome? London? Outdoorsy has listings in nearly 5,000 different cities, and they are not limited to North America. If you’ve ever dreamed of an RV adventure in Europe, Outdoorsy can help you find a rental in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK, and several more European countries. Simplify your international experience by renting through an American company, but rent from a local who can give you insider tips for the area.
- Simplify Your Vacation. Outdoorsy’s website provides you with lists of the top RV parks and campgrounds in each US state and many popular destination cities across the United States. You can then find a great RV that is local to your campground, including many that can be delivered to the campground and set up for you prior to your arrival. Keep scrolling their webpage for links to hikes and activities that are in the area. Thanks to a partnership between Outdoorsy and KOA, if you select a KOA campground, you can often manage your RV rental and campground reservation in one easy booking. Eliminating complicated details is the key to a relaxing vacation!
- Peace of Mind. Outdoorsy is your go-between with the RV owner and makes sure you get what you paid for. Customer service is available to you 24/7 via phone, email, and online live chat, and while you’re traveling, you have access to 24-hour roadside assistance. Insurance is covered by Liberty Mutual or Lloyd’s of London, and you can choose your level of coverage. Outdoorsy gives you a worry-free process before, during, and after your trip.
Things to Watch out for
While most Outdoorsy customers have a wonderful experience and are satisfied with the process from beginning to end, like any business, they have dissatisfied customers as well.
To make sure everything goes smoothly, be sure you understand the risks involved with peer-to-peer RV rentals in general. Always read the rental agreement carefully and make sure you are comfortable with it before any money changes hands.
Outdoorsy expects the RV owners in its community to accurately represent their rig in their listing. They trust that the pictures are accurate, that registration is kept up to date, and that high standards are kept when it comes to maintenance and repairs.
Naturally, the staff cannot personally inspect the thousands of RVs listed, and occasionally a renter is disappointed that reality does not match their expectations. If you have concerns, or if anything about your contact with an owner doesn’t seem right, follow up with Outdoorsy directly and consider choosing another rig to rent.
Be aware of the additional charges that may apply in addition to your rental fee. Insurance fees will depend on which level of coverage you choose. Outdoorsy charges renters a service fee based on your total reservation fee.
Individual owners can establish extra fees for services such as delivery, refueling, dumping waste tanks, use of a generator, late return, or extra mileage. You will also leave a security deposit that will be returned to you as long as you return the rig in the condition you received it and according to the rental agreement.
Be sure you understand Outdoorsy’s policies regarding cancellations, security deposits, insurance coverage, and other key points. The majority of complaints and negative reviews of the company are related to misunderstandings in these areas.
Outdoorsy for Owners
How It Works
If you are an RV owner, you can create a profile on Outdoorsy by answering a few basic questions about yourself and your RV. Make sure you take some great photos to help potential renters imagine themselves spending their precious vacation time in your rig. Create a listing and get ready to respond to requests from interested renters.
Make sure you understand all of Outdoorsy’s policies for owners and take some time to think through what your policies will be for renters in your rig. Are you willing to deliver it, and if so, within what radius and for what price? Will you allow pets? Will you require a minimum number of nights on your rental?
Browse through some currently successful listings to get an idea of what other owners have decided, and take advantage of Outdoorsy’s resources for creating an eye-catching listing.
Your RV and your listing are your responsibility. Be sure to keep everything updated on your listing. You always have the right to refuse a request from a renter if you are uncomfortable for any reason.
Once you have approved a rental, agree on a place and time to meet. Give the renter a brief orientation, so they know what they need to know to make sure they have a wonderful vacation, and you get your rig back in great condition.
When the rental period ends, receive your RV back according to your agreement, then do any cleaning and maintenance that’s necessary to get ready for your next renter.
Reasons to List your RV on Outdoorsy
Renting out your RV when you’re not using it can be a smart way to make RV ownership more affordable. The income from rentals can help pay for monthly payments and insurance. Often storage fees are reduced since the RV is in use and doesn’t need to be stored.
A smaller number of RV owners are also choosing to create small businesses through Outdoorsy, often owning and renting more than one RV (referred to as a fleet). Whichever category you find yourself in, Outdoorsy is a great choice for many reasons.
- Join a Community. Outdoorsy refers to its owners as a community and works hard to build that atmosphere. As an owner, you have access to an Outdoorsy Owners Facebook group where you can get encouragement and support from other owners. Share your experiences, ask questions, learn from others, and find support in a closed, private forum.
- Administrative Help and Support. Outdoorsy simplifies the administrative side of things, and either does the paperwork for you or walks you through what needs to be done. You don’t have to worry about processing payments or become an insurance expert. For the tasks that have to be done by you, Outdoorsy offers helpful instructions and checklists to make sure you don’t miss any details. Put Outdoorsy’s experienced and knowledgeable staff to work for you.
- Peace of Mind. As you watch a renter drive away in your investment, you can rest easy knowing that his or her identity has been verified, and his or her driving record has been checked. A risk assessment has been completed, and Outdoorsy only allows the rental to proceed if no red flags have been raised throughout the process. You also know that you are guaranteed to receive payment for the rental within 24 hours of your rig being returned. Outdoorsy knows it can be hard to hand your RV over to a stranger, and they do everything they can to ease your mind throughout the process.
Things to Watch out for
Take the time to thoroughly read all of Outdoorsy’s policies and procedures and ask any questions you have before you agree to a rental. Be sure you understand your options when it comes to different types of cancellation policies, usage restrictions, and services you’ll provide for an additional fee.
Decide if you are comfortable with the Instant Book feature, which allows renters to reserve and make their first payment on your rig without your prior approval. Sometimes owners have this option enabled without realizing it and end up with a reservation they didn’t have the opportunity to approve or deny.
Talk to your insurance provider to make sure you understand your coverage and how it will be affected by renting out your rig. Outdoorsy offers complete insurance coverage while your RV is rented, but you’ll need to have your own coverage for the times when it isn’t.
Make sure you know what Outdoorsy’s insurance covers and what it doesn’t, and consider carrying supplemental insurance policy to protect your investment. Be upfront with your insurance company about your plans to rent out your RV since this can invalidate some insurance policies. Don’t find that out the hard way.
Outdoorsy does not guarantee that your RV will be selected and booked by renters. To increase your chance of receiving more bookings, consider also listing your RV on another peer-to-peer platform, such as RVshare. Just pay close attention to your calendar in order to avoid double-booking your rig. Be especially careful using the Instant Book feature.
Be realistic about the work involved with renting out your RV. Outdoorsy takes care of many administrative tasks for you, but that does not allow you to be a passive owner.
It takes time to keep your listing up-to-date, respond to questions and messages from potential renters, meet with renters at the beginning and end of each trip, and to make sure your rig is cleaned and maintained between rentals.
It is your responsibility to manage all of this, and also to keep registrations and inspections current according to the laws of your state. Be prepared to engage in every stage of the process.
A: Yes. Outdoorsy has spent years building a solid reputation and is one of the top companies in the peer-to-peer RV rental industry for good reasons. It is not a scam, but a stable and innovative company.
A: The cost of RV rentals varies significantly depending on the type of RV and the size of the RV. Generally, towable RVs such as travel trailers, pop-ups, and fifth wheels are cheaper than drivable RVs such as Class A, B, or C motorhomes. On average, you can find an RV that costs between $100-200 per night, but with insurance and extra fees, you should budget for at least $1,000 for a week.
A: Outdoorsy takes a fee of 20-25% from the rental rates paid to RV owners. The fee for renters depends on the overall cost of the reservation but is set at a minimum of $10 per day for towable RVs and $15 per day for drivable RVs. More information on Outdoorsy’s fee structure.
A: Yes! Depending on the type of RV you own and the popularity of your location, you can make a decent income by renting through Outdoorsy. You determine your rental fees, so be sure you can cover your overhead costs while keeping the fees reasonable enough to attract renters. The industry is booming right now, so there is money to be made. Just be aware that renting out your RV requires work and can require you to be available during evenings and weekends.
The Bottom Line on Outdoorsy
When everything works as it should, peer-to-peer RV rental offers great benefits to both renters and owners. Outdoorsy is one of the leading companies in the industry, and it has earned its great reputation.
By nature, there are no guarantees that everything will run smoothly, or that you will agree with the way Outdoorsy settles any disputes that arise. That said, the majority of Outdoorsy renters and owners are very satisfied with their experiences.
If you are searching for a solid peer-to-peer RV rental company, look no further. Outdoorsy is highly recommended.