Blog/Starting Your Business/8 Steps to Starting an RV Rental Business

Starting an RV rental business can be an exciting and lucrative venture, but it requires careful planning and consideration to ensure its success. From finding the right location to setting rental rules and procedures, there are many steps involved in starting an RV rental business. In this blog post, we'll provide a detailed breakdown of the eight essential steps you need to take to start your own RV rental business.

FORM YOUR BUSINESS

Starting an RV rental business can be a great opportunity for entrepreneurs who are passionate about travel and adventure. However, it's important to take the necessary steps to ensure that your business is set up properly to protect your personal assets and finances.

One of the first steps in starting an RV rental business is to establish a legal entity, such as a limited liability company (LLC). This is important because it separates your personal assets from the business, which means that if something goes wrong with the business, your personal assets will not be at risk. An LLC also provides you with flexibility in terms of taxation, as you can choose to be taxed as a sole proprietor, partnership, or corporation.

When choosing a business name for your RV rental business, it's important to choose a name that is unique and appealing to potential customers. Your business name should be easy to remember and easy to spell, as well as reflect the nature of your business. You should also check if the name is available for use and register it with the appropriate authorities.

SET UP SYSTEMS

Email Management: As your business grows, you will receive more emails from customers, vendors, and partners. It's important to set up an email management system to ensure that all messages are organized and responded to in a timely manner. Consider using an email management tool such as Gmail, Outlook, or Thunderbird to help manage your inbox.

Social Media Management: Social media is a powerful tool for marketing and engaging with customers. Set up a social media management system to help you manage your accounts, create content, and respond to customer inquiries. You can use social media management tools such as Hootsuite, Buffer, or Sprout Social to help manage your accounts.

Website Management: Your website is the face of your business and it's important to keep it updated and running smoothly. Set up a website management system to help you maintain your website, make updates, and troubleshoot issues. Consider using a website management tool such as WordPress, Wix, or Squarespace to help manage your website.

Rental Platform Management: There are several platforms available for renting out your RV, such as Outdoorsy, RVshare, and Campanda. Decide on which platforms you will use and set up accounts with those platforms. If you have several units, you can use rental platform management tools such as Wheelbase or RVRentPro to help manage your rentals and reservations.

Bookkeeping Software: Bookkeeping software is essential for tracking your income, expenses, and mileage. Set up a bookkeeping system to help you manage your finances and stay organized come tax time. Consider using bookkeeping software such as QuickBooks, Xero, or Wave to help manage your finances.

RV TRAINING

RV training is an important aspect of running an RV rental business. As an owner, it's your responsibility to ensure that your renters know how to properly operate and maintain the RV, to ensure that the rental experience is safe and enjoyable for everyone involved. Here are some key considerations when it comes to RV training:

Experience: If you already own an RV, you may have the necessary knowledge and experience to train your renters on how to use and maintain it. However, if you are new to RV ownership, you may need to learn about RV systems and maintenance, so that you can effectively train your renters

RV Systems: RVs are complex vehicles, and it's important to understand how all of the systems work, such as the electrical, plumbing, and heating systems. You should be able to demonstrate how to properly use each system, as well as troubleshoot common problems that may arise.

Safety: Safety is a top priority when it comes to RV rental. You should be able to demonstrate how to properly secure the RV for travel, as well as how to properly set up camp, including leveling the RV and connecting to utilities.

Maintenance: RVs require regular maintenance to ensure that they are in good working order. You should be able to provide renters with instructions on how to maintain the RV, such as checking the fluid levels, changing the oil, and inspecting the tires.

Professional Help: If you don't have the necessary knowledge or experience to train your renters, you may need to hire a professional to help you. Consider hiring a certified RV technician or mechanic to help you train your renters and provide ongoing support.

SET UP YOUR SITE

When setting up your RV rental business, one of the most important steps is to find a secure location to store your RVs when they are not in use. This location should be large enough to accommodate all of your RVs and provide ample space for maneuvering them in and out of storage. Additionally, the location should be secure, with a fenced-in area and perhaps even 24-hour security.

In addition to storage, you'll also need a designated area to conduct walkthroughs with renters. This area should be large enough to accommodate the RV, and it should be clean and well-lit. You may also want to consider investing in some basic safety equipment, such as smoke detectors and fire extinguishers, to help keep your renters safe.

Finally, you should have a dedicated office space to stay organized. This office space should be equipped with a computer, printer, phone, and other necessary office equipment. It should also have plenty of storage space for paperwork, contracts, and other important documents.

RULES & PROCEDURES

Pets and Smoking Policies: Decide on whether you will allow renters to bring their pets or smoke inside the RV. If you allow pets, you should establish clear rules regarding pet size, breed, and the number of pets allowed. Additionally, consider requiring renters to provide proof of pet vaccinations to protect your RV from any damages or odors. If you allow smoking, be sure to communicate that to your renters, and make sure that they understand the consequences of smoking inside the RV, such as additional cleaning fees.

Cleaning or Prep Fee: Consider implementing a cleaning or prep fee to ensure that your RV is clean and well-maintained before and after each rental. This fee can cover cleaning supplies, laundry services, and other necessary expenses to keep your RV in top condition.

Pick-Up and Drop-Off Times: Set specific pick-up and drop-off times to ensure that your renters have ample time to prepare for their trip and return the RV on time. Make sure that your renters are aware of these times in advance and communicate any additional fees that may apply if they return the RV late.

PROTECT YOURSELF & YOUR BUSINESS 

As the owner of an RV rental business, protecting yourself and your business from potential losses is essential. One way to do this is to obtain proper insurance coverage.  Here are some key considerations when looking into insurance for your RV rental business:

Liability Insurance: Liability insurance covers you if your renters are involved in an accident that causes damage to property or injuries to other people. Liability insurance is a must-have for any RV rental business to protect you from any legal claims that may arise as a result of a renter's actions.

Collision Insurance: Collision insurance covers any damage to your RV caused by an accident, regardless of who is at fault. This type of insurance is especially important since RVs can be expensive to repair or replace.

Comprehensive Insurance: Comprehensive insurance covers damage to your RV from non-collision events, such as theft, vandalism, or natural disasters. This coverage is crucial to protect your RV from any unforeseen events that may occur while it is rented out.

Rental Insurance: Rental insurance can provide additional protection for your renters during their rental period. This type of insurance can cover them for any damages or losses that may occur during their rental, protecting them from significant financial losses.

CUSTOMER SERVICE

Customer service is an essential part of running a successful RV rental business. Providing excellent customer service can help you build a positive reputation, earn repeat customers, and generate positive word-of-mouth recommendations.

To provide excellent customer service, you should respond promptly to inquiries and reservation requests via phone or email. Make sure to answer any questions renters may have and be transparent about your rental policies and procedures.

During the rental period, be available to answer any questions or concerns that may arise. Provide renters with a way to contact you if they have any issues or emergencies. Ensure that they have all the information they need to properly use and maintain the RV, including a checklist of essential items to pack, and any necessary instructions for driving, setting up, and breaking down the RV.

If any problems arise, be sure to address them promptly and professionally. This can help minimize any negative impact on the renter's experience and help prevent negative reviews or feedback.

Finally, follow up with renters after their rental period has ended. Send a thank-you note or email, asking for feedback on their experience and offering any discounts or incentives for future rentals. By taking the time to build positive relationships with renters, you can help grow your business and generate more revenue.

SALES & MARKETING

To have a successful RV rental business, you need to attract renters to your business. One way to do that is through effective sales and marketing strategies. Here are some key considerations when it comes to sales and marketing for an RV rental business:

Create an appealing website: A well-designed website is crucial for any business, including an RV rental business. Your website should have a clean and attractive design, be easy to navigate, and provide all the necessary information for potential renters. This includes information about the RVs you offer, pricing, rental policies, and availability.

Professional photos and detailed descriptions: When it comes to attracting renters, high-quality photos and detailed descriptions of your RVs are essential. Consider hiring a professional photographer to take photos of your RVs to showcase their features and amenities. Additionally, write detailed descriptions of each RV, highlighting their unique features and amenities.

Utilize social media: Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter can be powerful tools for promoting your RV rental business. You can use these platforms to post photos of your RVs, share information about promotions and discounts, and engage with potential renters.

In conclusion, starting an RV rental business can be a rewarding and profitable venture. However, it requires careful planning, organization, and attention to detail to ensure its success. By considering the key factors discussed in this blog post, such as, forming your business, setting up systems, RV training, setting up your site, establishing rules and procedures, protecting your business with insurance, and effective sales and marketing strategies, you can create a thriving RV rental business. Remember to always prioritize safety, customer service, and maintaining your RVs in top condition to build a strong reputation and attract repeat business. With dedication and hard work, you can establish a successful and fulfilling RV rental business.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Stacy Maxon is a Co-Founder of RV Rental Business Accelerator.  Her and her husband, Garth owned an operated an RV Rental Business in upstate in NY for 4 years before selling it to focus on educating other RV rental business owners on how to start and grow their own RV rental business. In their free time they love to travel in their Grand Design with their 3 kids and 2 beagles.  So far they have camped in 18 states and counting! 

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