How to Start a Camper Rental Business

Campers have been a popular way for families to travel and see the sights this country has to offer since the 1960s. Until recently, however, recreational vehicle traveling was limited, due to the high costs associated with owning and maintaining a camper. With the dawn of peer-to-peer camper rental sites, such as RV Share and Outdoorsy, travelers are now able to rent the size and style camper that fits their needs, without the hefty price tag.

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Learn how to start your own Camper Rental Business and whether it is the right fit for you.

Start a Camper Rental Business by following these 10 steps:

You have found the perfect business idea, and now you are ready to take the next step. There is more to starting a business than just registering it with the state. We have put together this simple guide to starting your Camper Rental Business. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.

Check out our How to Start a Business page.

STEP 1: Plan your business

A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. It will help you map out the specifics of your business and discover some unknowns. A few important topics to consider are:

Luckily we have done a lot of this research for you.

What are the costs involved in opening a Camper Rental Business?

When developing your business plan, you will need to consider how many and what style(s) recreational vehicles you plan to offer. The bulk of your investment will go towards the purchase of those rentals. Depending upon age, type, size, and features, each unit can set you back anywhere from $20,000 to over $300,000. Additionally, you will need damage and liability insurance, marketing materials, an intuitive website, and a dedicated storage area for when your units are not in use.

What are the ongoing expenses for a Camper Rental Business?

What are the ongoing expenses for a camper rental business?

Your rental campers are the linchpin of your business. Therefore, maintenance and repair will represent a large part of your business’ ongoing budget. Your business plan should include the following ongoing expenses:

  • Preventative maintenance - inside and out
  • Cleaning in between rentals
  • Insurance
  • Storage
  • Advertising
  • Partnership fees

Who is the target market?

Your marketing efforts should focus on individuals and families who enjoy the outdoors and are looking for a more luxurious experience than what tent camping has to offer.

How does a Camper Rental Business make money?

A camper rental business generates revenue through rental fees collected from each client. Fees vary depending upon a number of factors, including size and type of camper and number of days rented.

How much can you charge customers?

Rental fees vary depending upon a variety of factors, including type, size, and style. Most organizations charge a nightly rate, with special packages for longer stays. RV rentals typically offer limited free mileage and an average of $0.35 per mile once the mileage limit has been met. Industry leaders encourage startups to research competitor pricing and carefully consider all ongoing expenses when setting their fees.

How much profit can a Camper Rental Business make?

The top platforms report an average weekly booking of $1,300. Rentals booked through those platforms pay camper owners 25%, yielding between $300 and $400 per week. Entrepreneurs venturing out on their own will need to work harder to reach potential customers but will earn 100% of all rental fees, minus ongoing expenses.

How can you make your business more profitable?

To maximize profits, business owners should continually look for new ways to improve their services and expand their rental fleet. Those looking for long-term growth would also benefit from launching and managing their own rental website that helps other camper owners with the rental of their units.

What will you name your business?

Choosing the right name is very important. Read our detailed guide on how to name your business. We recommend checking if the business name you choose is available as a web domain and securing it early so no one else can take it.

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STEP 2: Form a legal entity

The most common business structure types are the sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), and corporation.

Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC or corporation protects you from being held personally liable if your Camper Rental Business is sued.

Form Your LLC

Read our Guide to Form Your Own LLC

Have a Professional Service Form your LLC for You

Two such reliable services:

You can start an LLC yourself and pay only the minimal state LLC costs or hire one of the Best LLC Services for a small, additional fee.

Recommended: You will need to elect a registered agent for your LLC. LLC formation packages usually include a free year of registered agent services. You can choose to hire a registered agent or act as your own.

STEP 3: Register for taxes

You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.

In order to register for taxes you will need to apply for an EIN. It's really easy and free!

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You can acquire your EIN for free through the IRS website, via fax, or by mail. If you would like to learn more about EINs and how they can benefit your LLC, read our article, What is an EIN?.

Learn how to get an EIN in our What is an EIN guide or find your existing EIN using our EIN lookup guide.

Small Business Taxes

Depending on which business structure you choose, you might have different options for how your business will be taxed. For example, some LLCs could benefit from being taxed as an S corporation (S corp).

You can learn more about small business taxes in these guides:

There are specific state taxes that might apply to your business. Learn more about state sales tax and franchise taxes in our state sales tax guides.

STEP 4: Open a business bank account & credit card

Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection.

When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your business is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.

Additionally, learning how to build business credit can help you get credit cards and other financing in your business's name (instead of yours), better interest rates, higher lines of credit, and more.

Open a business bank account

  • This separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
  • It also makes accounting and tax filing easier.
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Recommended: Read our Best Banks for Small Business review to find the best national bank, credit union, business-loan friendly banks, one with many brick-and-mortar locations, and more.

Open net-30 accounts

When it comes to establishing your business credit, net-30 vendors are considered the way to go. The term "net-30," which is popular among vendors, refers to a business credit arrangement where the company pays the vendor within 30 days of receiving goods or services.

Net-30 credit terms are often used for businesses that need to obtain inventory quickly but do not have the cash on hand.

Besides establishing business relationships with vendors, net-30 credit accounts get reported to the major business credit bureaus (Dun & Bradstreet, Experian Business, and Equifax Business Credit). This is how businesses build business credit so they can qualify for credit cards and other lines of credit.

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Recommended: Read our guide on the best net-30 vendors so you can start building business credit now, so you never have to worry about cash flow in the future. Keep in mind that poor cash flow is the #1 reason businesses fail!

Get a business credit card

  • This helps you separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
  • It also builds your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise money and investment later on.

STEP 5: Set up business accounting

Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.

STEP 6: Obtain necessary permits and licenses

Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.

State & Local Business Licensing Requirements

Certain state permits and licenses may be needed to operate a 3D printing design business. Learn more about licensing requirements in your state by visiting SBA’s reference to state licenses and permits.

Most businesses are required to collect sales tax on the goods or services they provide. To learn more about how sales tax will affect your business, read our article, Sales Tax for Small Businesses.

For information about local licenses and permits:

STEP 7: Get business insurance

Just as with licenses and permits, your business needs insurance in order to operate safely and lawfully. Business Insurance protects your company’s financial wellbeing in the event of a covered loss.

There are several types of insurance policies created for different types of businesses with different risks. If you’re unsure of the types of risks that your business may face, begin with General Liability Insurance. This is the most common coverage that small businesses need, so it’s a great place to start for your business.

Learn more about General Liability Insurance.

Another notable insurance policy that many businesses need is Workers’ Compensation Insurance. If your business will have employees, it’s a good chance that your state will require you to carry Workers' Compensation Coverage.

STEP 8: Define your brand

Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.

If you aren't feeling confident about designing your small business logo, then check out our Design Guides for Beginners, we'll give you helpful tips and advice for creating the best unique logo for your business.
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Recommended: Get a logo using Truic's free logo Generator no email or sign up required, or use a Premium Logo Maker.

How to promote & market a Camper Rental Business

As previously mentioned, partnering with an RV share/rental platform is an effective way to reach a broader audience. While you will be required to pay your partner a portion of your rental fees, potential customers feel more comfortable renting from someone backed by a reputable company. Camper rental business owners are also encouraged to create a website, advertise on social media, and distribute their information at regional campgrounds and parks.

How to keep customers coming back

As with any business venture, it’s important that you offer quality service and products with every rental. Each unit should be clean, well-maintained, and stocked with the basics such as linens and kitchenware. Special offers such as a discount for long-term rentals and discounts for referrals and repeat customers will entice consumers who are considering several options. Additionally, positive reviews from past customers are an effective marketing strategy.

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Still unsure about what kind of business you want to start? Check out the latest Small Business Trends to help inspire you.

STEP 9: Create your business website

After defining your brand and creating your logo the next step is to create a website for your business.

While creating a website is an essential step, some may fear that it’s out of their reach because they don’t have any website-building experience. While this may have been a reasonable fear back in 2015, web technology has seen huge advancements in the past few years that makes the lives of small business owners much simpler.

Here are the main reasons why you shouldn’t delay building your website:

  • All legitimate businesses have websites - full stop. The size or industry of your business does not matter when it comes to getting your business online.
  • Social media accounts like Facebook pages or LinkedIn business profiles are not a replacement for a business website that you own.
  • Website builder tools like the GoDaddy Website Builder have made creating a basic website extremely simple. You don’t need to hire a web developer or designer to create a website that you can be proud of.

Using our website building guides, the process will be simple and painless and shouldn’t take you any longer than 2-3 hours to complete.

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Recommended: Get started today using our recommended website builder or check out our review of the Best Website Builders.

Other popular website builders are: WordPress, WIX, Weebly, Squarespace, and Shopify.

STEP 10: Set up your business phone system

Getting a phone set up for your business is one of the best ways to help keep your personal life and business life separate and private. That’s not the only benefit; it also helps you make your business more automated, gives your business legitimacy, and makes it easier for potential customers to find and contact you.

There are many services available to entrepreneurs who want to set up a business phone system. We’ve reviewed the top companies and rated them based on price, features, and ease of use.

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Recommended: Find the best phone system for your business; check out our review of the Best Business Phone Systems 2021.

Start A Camper Rental Business In Your State

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Select your state below for an in-depth guide on completing each of these steps in your home state.

Is this Business Right For You?

This type of business venture is ideal for the individual who owns or is considering purchasing a camper and would like to recoup a portion of associated costs. Owners should possess a basic knowledge of the mechanics of campers, as well as national and state park camping rules and regulations.

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Want to know if you are cut out to be an entrepreneur?

Take our Entrepreneurship Quiz to find out!

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What happens during a typical day at a Camper Rental Business?

As a camper rental business owner, your primary focus will be on customer service. Your day-to-day activities will include acquiring new clients, booking return customers, ensuring your rentals are maintained on online rental platforms, responding to inquiries, putting together quotes, finalizing booking details and contracts, and collecting payments. Additionally, you and your team are responsible for routine maintenance and addressing any issues that may arise while the renter is out on the road.

What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful Camper Rental Business?

The ability to communicate with individuals from varying backgrounds is critical to the success of a camper rental business. Customers will look to you for guidance regarding the type of rental that best fits their needs. Your customer service, however, does not stop once a contract is signed. Many will rely on your knowledge of camper traveling, state and national park regulations, best travel routes, and potential issues that could arise during their travels. Additionally, a basic knowledge of the mechanics of your camper would prove beneficial.

What is the growth potential for a Camper Rental Business?

According to a recent study, over 35 million people rent campers each year. This number is expected to increase significantly in the years to come, making this the ideal time to invest in this business venture. Entrepreneurs looking to expand will need to reinvest their earnings back into the business, purchasing additional camper options for potential customers.

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Take the Next Step

Find a business mentor

One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.

Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.

Learn from other business owners

Want to learn more about starting a business from entrepreneurs themselves? Visit Startup Savant’s startup founder series to gain entrepreneurial insights, lessons, and advice from founders themselves.

Resources to Help Women in Business

There are many resources out there specifically for women entrepreneurs. We’ve gathered necessary and useful information to help you succeed both professionally and personally:

  • Funding
  • Events
  • Guides
  • Support

If you’re a woman looking for some guidance in entrepreneurship, check out this great new series Women in Business created by the women of our partner Startup Savant.

What are some insider tips for jump starting a Camper Rental Business?

While camper rental is a fairly new trend, it’s important to remember that your unit is not the only option available to consumers. To realize long-term growth and success, entrepreneurs must show they have something to offer that sets them apart from the rest. Put yourself in their shoes and consider the novice RVer’s needs. What can you do to ensure they have a fun and relaxing experience?

Entrepreneurs who have realized success in this field recommend investing in a travel trailer or 5th wheel. While delivering and parking the camper may create additional work on your part, it will save you both time and money in the long run. Depreciation of your investment due to high mileage is limited and the inexperienced camper is less likely to cause significant damage stemming from towing/driving the unit. Startup entrepreneurs are also encouraged to enforce pet and cancellation policies and properly match maximum occupancy numbers.

How and when to build a team

Most startup camper rental businesses can be effectively managed by one or two people. Your customer service representative should possess strong communication skills and be enthusiastic about ensuring each renter has a positive experience. While it is not necessary to keep a technician on payroll, it is critical that you can call on experienced professionals for routine maintenance and repairs, particularly when a renter runs into an issue.

Next Steps

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