avatar Andrew Burgess August 26, 2021

How to reduce the cost of ownership by sharing or renting out your campervan

What to consider if you want to share the joys of #vanlife with like-minded adventurers

If you see your campervan as a vehicle that’s exclusively for your own fun-filled adventures, it may be time to think again. The increasing popularity of campers means it could also offer a second income from renting it out when you’re not using it. Renting could even be a way to justify your investment in the first place. Many people buy campervans, motorhomes or caravans as both a business proposition and for their own holiday excursions.

Perhaps the idea of renting out your campervan makes you feel anxious – and certainly, there are some risks to consider. In this short article, we’ll explore a few ideas to help you decide if going down the road of sharing or renting your campervan is a worthy proposition.

Why rent out your campervan?

With demand for staycations and campervans at an all-time peak, there couldn’t be a better time to consider sharing your camper. Volkswagen campers are some of the most popular to rent, so letting someone else experience the lifestyle is a great way of generating some extra cash to help you with the costs of ownership.

The rise of platforms like Airbnb has popularised the concept of sharing property and renting directly from owners. Similar online platforms now offer the same proposition for campervans. Instead of renting a room or a property, you’re renting out your home on wheels.

Would sharing your campervan work better?

Before we dig deeper into the idea of renting, it’s worth considering a sharing setup. After all, most campervan owners probably can’t travel every weekend out of the month. Sharing the overall purchase price or payments with local family and/or friends could be a good way to help with the annual running costs. Of course, you’d still need to have an agreement in place regarding any damages and mileage allowances, and the vehicle must be fully insured at all times.

How do you rent out your campervan?

If a sharing arrangement isn’t practical, you should definitely explore renting your vehicle out. You can either advertise your campervan for hire and manage the whole process yourself, or use an online platform designed to connect campervan owners with renters. Some of these include: Camplify, gobooney, PaulCamper, indiecamper, camptoo, and yescapa. Make sure to look closely at how they work, including the terms and conditions as well as any fees they charge.

A number of these companies have succeeded in Europe and Australia for a few years, while others have launched in the UK more recently. That being said, they all seem to work pretty much the same way. To start, you simply create a listing (usually for free) about your vehicle. Each site will help manage communication between the potential renter and the campervan owner, at least initially. The majority also act as an intermediary when it comes to collecting the deposit and final rental payment from the customer. Most importantly, they can usually arrange special insurance for the hiring of the vehicle, as well as conducting driving licence and ID checks.

Important things to consider

Before you begin renting out your campervan, you might want to answer some questions for yourself.

How much will you charge?

Some people claim to earn many thousands of pounds a year from renting their campervan. But keep in mind that the amount you can charge will depend on the age of your vehicle, its specification, your location, and the time of year. Do some research into the rental market to see what rates are being charged, and what’s included in that price. For instance, what can you charge if you offer options like bedding, an awning, or a BBQ? Make sure you include high-quality, appealing photos in your advert listing so your camper looks its best against all the others available.

Will renting affect my insurance?

Insurance is obviously essential, and normal vehicle insurance won’t cover renting for commercial gain. You’ll need special insurance, either as an annual policy or flexible, short-trip cover for each separate rental period. This can include breakdown cover, but will obviously cost more than a standard policy.

Premiums vary according to the value of your campervan. Make sure you work out the costs and look closely at the small print for all parties, which should include what to do in the event of a road accident or any damage to the vehicle. All this information needs to be agreed and stated clearly in the rental document.

What documentation do I need?

Anyone who is going to drive the campervan will need their licence and ID checked and verified. One key advantage of using a rental platform is that they typically help facilitate this for you. Platforms will also likely need evidence that your campervan has been serviced and maintained properly, including an up-to-date MOT.

Can I trust the person renting my campervan?

It’s always a good idea to vet your renters. Some owners even ask renters to come and inspect the vehicle so they can meet them ahead of the rental period. You’ll need to prepare a handover to show the renter how everything works. And if they’re not local to you, there’s a strong chance they might need to leave their car with you while they’re away.

Summary

There is certainly a lot to consider when deciding whether or not renting out your campervan is a worthwhile venture.

Rental platforms and online forums post testimonials from owners outlining pros, cons and potential pitfalls, so there’s no shortage of first-hand information available. Plus, there are an ever-increasing number of campervan rentals listed all over the world, so these owners have presumably worked out how to make the process both manageable and profitable.

There’s no doubt that the upsides of renting or sharing your vehicle are plentiful – the main one being the opportunity to keep ownership costs in check. And although you’ll have to get comfortable with someone else driving, sleeping, and cooking in your campervan, the benefits of joining a like-minded community of entrepreneurial camper enthusiasts are hard to ignore.

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