New Idea: Peer-to-Peer RV Rentals
Something has shifted the image of the American Dream. From tiny houses to #vanlife, people of all ages are trading in their oversized homes for a more simple, down to earth lifestyle. Financial freedom and the ability to travel are the new priorities, and the RV industry is seeing a historic growth spurt. In fact, the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association reported an 8.6% growth in the beginning of 2017 for the eighth consecutive year. Now, more than 9 million families own RVs in the United States.
People own RVs for a variety of reasons. Some people use them for vacations. Some use them for tailgating. Some people even live full-time in their RVs. Sadly, though, the vast majority of RV owners aren’t able to use their RVs as much as they’d like to. On the other side of the coin are those who want to own an RV but can’t, whether due to financial or spatial constraints. That’s where peer-to-peer RV rentals come in – and they’re changing the way we travel.
What is Peer-to-Peer?
Peer-to-Peer (P2P) is the concept of selling goods or services on an individual level. So, for example, instead of buying vintage wares from a store, you can hop on Etsy and buy hand-picked pieces from your fashionista friend in New York. The same concept works for rentals, too. Airbnb changed the landscape of vacation rentals and hotel stays when it gave homeowners the ability (and the tools) to rent out their homes to travelers. It’s an online marketplace that makes the connection between supply and demand, without the middleman. And everyone knows that when you cut out the middleman, things tend to get a lot easier and a lot less expensive.
P2P RV rentals work just like Airbnb – except for RVs, of course. Owners can list their RVs for rent using a site like RVshare, and renters can find available rigs using the site’s location search. Owner and renter work together throughout the process to negotiate rental rates and terms. The RV industry is one of the more recent ones to join the ranks of P2P markets, and so far, it’s making life better for everyone involved.
Why Rent from a P2P Site versus a Dealership?
RV rentals are a great way to experience the lifestyle without having to commit to buying an RV. Traditionally, the only way to rent an RV was through a big chain dealership or a local small business. This worked for a while, but customers quickly grew weary of shady practices like hidden fees and absurd restrictions. P2P disrupted the industry, and now P2P RV rentals number in the millions. Here are just a few reasons why they’re so popular with renters:
- No middleman + a competitive marketplace = lower rates. P2P rentals are, for the most part, less expensive than renting from a dealership. Dealers often only stocker newer models of RVs, and new RVs are expensive to buy. That, plus the overhead costs of having employees and a business to run means that dealerships need to increase their rental rates. Most individual RV owners are simply trying to offset the cost of ownership, so their prices tend to be lower.
- A diverse inventory. It would be impractical for an RV dealership to stock thousands of different types of RVs, and as such, they rarely have more than a dozen different makes and models. P2P marketplaces, on the other hand, have just about any type of RV you can imagine, including unique vintage finds. It’s perfect if you’re looking for a specific RV or something that will turn heads.
- Better service and more transparency. Working with an individual or a small, local business is always a treat, and renting an RV from its owner is no different. No more crowded showrooms, apathetic sales reps, or long lines to fill out paperwork. Plus, with P2P rentals, all the applicable charges are disclosed right in the listing – surprise expenses don’t happen often.
- Full-sized coverage. P2P RV rental sites can offer the same amount of protection as a chain rental company, and sometimes even more. Liability insurance and free, 24/7 roadside assistance are included. Some rentals also offer collision and comprehensive coverage for a small fee, so you don’t have to buy it from a third-party.
Why RV Owners Love P2P Rentals, Too
Let’s not forget about the RV owners who make P2P RV rentals possible. After all, they’re the reason that P2P RV rental marketplaces have grown substantially over the last several years. Owners can enjoy just as many benefits as renters, like:
- The potential for supplemental income. Owning an RV is expensive. Depending on what rates you set, you can make anywhere from just enough to offset the costs of ownership, to a nice little chunk of change. Some owners have reportedly made up to $30,000 in one year.
- Lower commission fees. P2P RV rental sites take a small commission when your RV rents, but it’s significantly lower than what dealerships charge. Dealers usually take between 40 to 60% commission, while P2P sites take around 20% or less.
- You make the rules. When RV owners consign their RVs to dealerships, they have to store the RV on the dealer’s lot. It can be a real pain if you want to take your RV out for a trip. It can also mean you might get stuck paying for said storage if your RV doesn’t rent that month. With P2P rentals, you can keep your RV right in your driveway and rent it out when it’s convenient for you.
- Full-service support. P2P sites offer support from the background. They give you all the features you need to rent your RV, like screening tools and paperwork templates, before letting you take center stage. Of course, if you have questions, there will always be someone there to lend a helping hand.
Renting an RV for your next Vacation
Peer-to-Peer renting is a new sector of commerce and is now changing how people can rent an RV as a vacation alternative or to give the RV life style a test run prior to buying an RV. It’s given owners the opportunity to offset the maintenance costs of keeping their beloved RVs and even make some extra money. It’s given thousands of customers the opportunity to experience the RV life without having to buy an RV. Most importantly, though, it’s made it possible for everyone to share the joy of RVing.