Starting an RV Rental Business: Are Small Business Loans an Option?

By Guest Author June from; she’s a new blogger who took an interest in the RV Rental Business!

If you’ve ever stiffly crawled out of a tent while on a camping trip only to wish you owned a recreational vehicle (RV), you’re not alone. While only 11% of middle-aged Americans own an RV, the number of people who use RVs each year is growing due to a novel concept: the RV rental business. More and more people are starting an RV rental business.

The RV rental business has exploded in the United States and is currently a $350 million industry that’s growing each year. If you’re part of a dynamic entrepreneur couple looking to jump into the RV rental industry, you might be wondering how to get started or whether a small business loan is a good idea.

Can an RV Rental Business Make Money?

The short answer is yes—if done correctly. Most families who own an RV don’t live in them; in fact, since they’re primarily vacation vehicles, they sit unused for nearly 11 out of 12 months on average. During that time, they’re not making money, but the owner is probably having to make a payment on it.Green Motorhome

If you own an RV and rent it out for more than it costs you to make any payments and cover maintenance costs, then you’ll make a profit. An RV rental business doesn’t have to employ a fleet of RVs or have a big facility. Anyone can rent out their RV when they aren’t using it.

RV Rental Business: How Can You Get Started?

There are two basic ways to get started renting RVs. If you have a lot of friends who own RVs, you might be able to set up a rental pool; that’s where you are allowed to act as an agent/manager while renting out their RVs and making them income—in return for a bit of the profit. You might end up having to pay for maintenance and licensing for the RVs, but each rental agreement can be worked out with the individual owner. Learn more about RV Vacation Rental management.

Most aspiring RV rental moguls, however, start out by renting just one RV—their own. That means they need to purchase an RV themselves, which can run from $10,000 to well over $150,000 depending on options, size, quality, and amenities. Add on to that the maintenance required to keep it in running shape. This could amount to a serious expense; for instance, new tires could cost $2,500 alone. Suddenly buying that first RV could end up seeming like a sinkhole; well, it’s definitely a risk.

Average rentals per night for an RV can be anywhere from $110 to $400 and up; even if you only rent out your RV out for half of an average month, you could be looking at bringing in over $6000 per month. Suddenly letting other people pay to use your RV sounds like a pretty good idea—if you can get one.

Business Loan? Or Pay Out of Pocket?

The next logical step is deciding whether to pay out of pocket for your new investment, or if a small bus

iness loan is a better option.

If you have the money to buy a small starter RV, such as a tow-behind that sleeps 2, that could be your best option.Being able to own the RV free and clear means the money you make from renting it out can get to your pocket faster. The downside of a small start, however, is a lower rental fee. Instead of that $6,000 per month discussed above, you’d be looking at possibly as little as $1200-1500 per month for renting the same half-month. Whether that amount is worth it to you depends on what your business goals were and how much it will cost you to maintain the RV between renters.

If you choose the small business loan route and are approved, you could start out a bit bigger, with a pull-behind or even a motorhome that sleeps 6 or 8. The much higher rental fees—especially if you can rent to groups instead of families—mean you’ll be able to not only make the loan payment but take in a solid profit as well.

Woman presenting

The drawback, of course, is that you’ll have a monthly payment—and a finance company or lender will be the lienholder on the property you’re using to make money. Also, you’ll be charged interest on the loan which can range anywhere from 4.99% to as much as 99%. That can feel a bit uncomfortable, because if your business doesn’t make enough to keep the payments on time, you could eventually lose the RV—and there goes your ability to keep your business going.


The question of whether a small business loan or out-of-pocket investment is best can’t be settled with a fast answer. It depends on the goals of the business, the amount of capital available to start, how big you want to go initially, and even you, the entrepreneur. Whichever road you choose, you’ll see benefits and drawbacks. Do the research, think smart, and consider all your options before deciding.

Why RV Rental Companies Should List their RV’s on RVPlusYou

RV Rental set up at Pismo Coast Village
RV Rental set up in Pismo Beach, CA

Why should smaller privately owned RV rental companies rent out their RV’s to customers who want an RV that is already set up and ready?  Why rent through online peer to peer RV rental websites like RVPlusYou

There are a lot of reasons why it doesn’t make sense for Cruise America, Road Bear, Apollo, and El Monte, all big corporate RV rental companies, to rent through online travel agencies like RVPlusYou. The biggest reason is they don’t need to.  Their model is a niche vehicle rental business, as opposed to RVPlusYou which is a niche inside the vacation rental market. It focuses on the “Delivered RV Rental” model.

So, what about the smaller mom and pop RV rental companies? Why should they list their inventory on a peer to peer website? What’s the downside? The short answer is that there is very little downside and a lot of upside. Let’s go through the list.

On the upside:

  • Marketing – Simply put, RVPlusYou does a lot of marketing and buys a lot of ads. While RV rental companies are in the business of renting RV’s, and hopefully good at it, they’re typically not very good at marketing.
  • Seasonality – RV rentals are typically a seasonal business for most companies. So what if you could get a few more weeks out of your season? RVPlusYou helps fill in cancellations and broadens the shoulders of your season.
  • Delivered vs. Driving Rentals – Because renters don’t drive or tow, there is less damage when a professional backs that beast into the campsite. Renters cause damage, period. They also chew up the miles and cause depreciation of inventory faster than delivered rentals do.
  • Target market – Most RV rental companies attract those who want to drive. RVPlusYou targets those renters who want a comfortable camping experience, need some extra space for family at their home, or they’re attending a wedding or an event. RV rental companies don’t typically spend marketing dollars on these markets.
  • Cost of Service – Because RVPlusYou charges only a 3% “Host Service Fee”, the cost of a credit card transaction, there is no affect on your business model. All services effectively are free of charge because RVPlusYou charges the renter, “found” customers that are either members of their site, or that they find.
  • RV Rental Fees – All fees and cancellation policies are set by the RV owner, or rental company when they set their listing. This way, there is no confusion and both parties know what to expect.
  • Service – The following services are provided at no extra cost for all RV owners and rental companies when they sign up and list:
    • Customer support – Toll free service, online chat, and email support 24/7.
    • Online Booking Engine – Cuts down on operational time and expenses for most rental operations.
    • Reservation and booking software – Maintained and supported by RVPlusYou, used by RV owners.
    • Protection Policy – $5,000 supplemental damage, and $300,000 liability

On the downside:

  • Booking – Renters must book on RVPlusYou.  Most see this as a positive, but if you have a unique booking system, other than a phone and a fax, then this might require a work-around for your operation.
  • Rental Fees – Because the credit card transaction is handled by RVPlusYou, rental fees are not dispersed until the rental period ends. For some, cash flow is sited as problem. But since most of our rentals are last minute “found” revenue, it’s not an issue.


It’s free to list and there is no obligation to rent to anyone who inquires. You can activate and deactivate anytime with no long-term commitments. With all this upside and very little downside, why not give it a try? Click here to sign up and list!

All You Need to Know About Starting an RV Rental Business

Hands molding clay

Alex Jones Photo – Molding the perfect business opportunity takes dedication and hard work.

Starting your own business isn’t hard to do. It’s turning your business into a productive entity that takes time, money, hard work, and patience.  Anyone who’s raised a child to become a functioning and productive productive member of society knows that making the baby wasn’t the hard part, it was raising the child to adulthood that was the challenge.

RV Rental at Wine Country ResortStarting an RV Rental business is the easy part. It’s the “making it produce” that will take hard work. Fortunately RVPlusYou can help by providing all the information you need to investigate and get started.

Looking for the right business opportunity to mold into a thriving business? Click the photo on the right to download our start up guide, then read on..