Real estate developer Mike Braeuer first downloaded RVshare in 2018 to sell his $8,800 Jayco Jay Flight trailer.
What he didn’t expect was an overwhelming interest in the rental of his trailer, leading him and his wife Christin to earn $3,600 in their first 90 days — almost half the value of the unit he intended to sell.
In two-and-a-half years, Braeuer has gone from renting one unit to four, and he’s racked up more than 100 reservations for families of all sizes in need of a memorable and affordable vacation.
Getting to share his love of the open road with others is the real bonus for Braeuer, though earning thousands per month isn’t too shabby either.
How Mike Braeuer Earned $50,000 in Two Years With RVshare
Because Braeuer, his wife, and their four kids are a big family, they always look for ways to cut back on their expenses. In fact, they stumbled upon the financial benefits of RV life after taking an RV trip to Disney World. They found that what would have been a $10,000 trip cost about 80% less.
At first, Braeuer wasn’t interested in renting out his RV. He wanted to sell it. It was his research into finding the best place to sell an RV that led him to renting it with RVshare instead. Once he learned RV renting could be a profitable side gig, Braeuer set off to help others see the great outdoors at a fraction of the cost. To do that, he makes calculated decisions about their investments.
Instead of Class A RVs, Braeuer buys more affordable options and pays them off quickly to turn a profit.
Before you purchase a new or expensive RV, he advises you research four critical factors: which models people like to rent, how often they rent them and for how much, and how much you could purchase that model for.
When you list your RV, scan the market, and offer competitive pricing. While you don’t want to go too low or high, it’s up to you to decide what you’ll charge.
Related: How to Make Money Renting Out Your Car with Getaround
5 Tips to Make the Most Money Renting an RV on RVShare
As you consider whether the RV rental side hustle is worth your investment, keep these tips in mind.
1. Master the art of letting go.
If the thought of strangers in your bed or bathroom is unbearable, even after a cleaning service, renting out your space may not be your calling.
Having people in your space is “probably the biggest hurdle RV owners need to get over,” says Braeuer. Because ultimately, there are solutions like cleaning services and bed covers, or even a new mattress, if you need them.
Another harsh reality is that things will break, and you should practice patience when they do. Instead of getting angry, work quickly to replace or fix the broken items, or coordinate with your insurance company.
After 112 reservations, Braeuer has only filed four “semi-major” insurance claims, with the highest one amounting to $12,000 after a renter drove his 15-foot RV under a 14-and-a-half-foot bridge and scraped the AC unit off the roof.
Though frustrating, Braeuer quickly received an insurance check for $12,800 to cover the damage.
Almost three years in, he has a new outlook: “Early on, we would have been more sensitive to those RV nuances that we’ve gotten used to because someone who’s doing it for the first time won’t even know to ask [a certain] question.”
It’s easy to blame a renter who doesn’t know how to light the stove or the water heater, but these tasks aren’t second nature for first-timers.
To empower your renters and avoid small (or big) hiccups, Braeuer recommends clear communication from the start and to point people to helpful resources, like instructional videos or guides.
Related: 7 Ways to Make Passive Income with Your Car
2. Secure the right insurance coverage.
Although Braeuer had to file an insurance claim by his second reservation, RVshare’s effectiveness through the process encouraged him to keep renting.
Besides their professionalism, Mike was impressed by their assistance with paperwork and their willingness to help maintain smooth communication between all parties. They took care of everything; the only thing Braeuer had to do himself was file the claim.
Not all repairs require a claim, but when they do, use RVshare Rental Insurance:
- It provides up to $1 million in liability coverage and $200,000 for comprehensive and collision coverage through MBA Insurance.
- Rental coverage is activated for free after you list and book your RV.
- When your RV is covered by RVshare’s insurance, standard coverage is automatically included in your booking quote.
- If your RV is more than 15 years old, you only qualify for liability coverage.
Rates vary for RV models, but Braeuer says RVshare negotiated a fair rate on his behalf, and it helped him choose a policy that best fits his needs.
You’re welcome to secure your own coverage if you don’t want to use RVshare’s insurance. Howver, you can’t use them both at the same time.
And since you can’t fill in coverage gaps in your policy with RVshare’s insurance, be sure to choose the insurer that provides the best, most comprehensive insurance that will make you and your renters feel the safest in any situation.
Related: 38 Creative Ways to Make Money Fast
3. Hold up your end of the bargain: Maintain good customer service.
From documenting every transaction and vetting each customer to providing roadside assistance and not charging upfront costs, RVshare’s platform is a passive income paradise for owners.
But despite its effortlessness, your rental business won’t thrive without attentive customer service. You still need to be available to answer questions and concerns, as Braeuer does. He makes sure he talks with renters through their concerns as well as supports their vision about their dream RV trip.
And make sure you respond quickly. “If you don’t respond to someone when they hit the ‘book now’ button, you’re not going to get that reservation,” warns Braeuer.
Good customer service is a win-win: Renters will appreciate your thoughtfulness, and it’s a good tactic to beat out your competitors.
Related: How to Get Started with Real Estate Investing for Beginners
4. Anticipate these costs and get creative to keep them down.
Braeuer’s maintenance costs increased with four units, but he says, “Most of the residential aspects [of RVs] aren’t too costly to maintain.”
Many repairs are simple and only need a trip to the hardware store and a YouTube tutorial or two. Braeuer estimates he spends $30 to $50 on repairs per reservation. And every fourth or fifth trip, he might have to buy a $100 part.
Cleaning services cost $60 per reservation, but Braeuer saved money and did the cleaning himself when he had fewer units. Additionally, he stores his units on a small lot he has access to from a previous employer. This saves on the cost of RV storage lots.
Even with rising costs, Braeuer has been able to pay off an RV, purchase more, and take paid vacations by doing a lot of the maintenance work himself.
To have the same experience, follow in Braeuer’s footsteps. Be open to new skills that require less service from others, and be ready to get your hands dirty. You can save on expenses by doing maintenance work yourself or bartering within your network.
It might also help to prioritize maintenance expenses in your budget. Allocate a portion of your earnings to them each month before you pay yourself.
Related: 16 Fun Hobbies That Can Make You Money
5. Note the highs and lows of seasons.
Typically, Braeuer’s units earn him an average of $1,500 to $2,000 per unit per month in his city of Austin, Texas. The most popular seasons are spring, summer, and fall.
In fact, he recently experienced his most successful months yet after he earned nearly $20,000 in May, $26,000 in June, and $28,000 in July after buying his fourth unit.
But Braeuer isn’t just in it for the money.
Although it was shocking to experience at first, their first winter lull reminded him and his wife that slow months give them the chance to use their own RV.
Before you buy an RV to rent out, accept all the possibilities. Sure, you might make money right away like Braeuer. But it might also take some time to turn a profit, especially if you’re not in a popular destination like Austin.
Either way, enjoy what comes of the process. At the very least, it doesn’t hurt to know that all you need for a vacation is to pack up and drive.
Renting Out Your RV: A Side Hustle Worth Exploring
Braeuer says his life is one experiment after the other, and he just waits to see what works.
RVshare definitely works. He eventually sold his Jayco Jay Flight RV trailer for $7,700. Combined with what he earned from renting it, he made out with more than the unit was worth.
Besides the financial gains, Braeuer’s journey with RVshare has been filled with positive experiences. He loves introducing first-timers to the world of RVing, and it’s rewarding to help people while managing a side hustle that pays for itself.
You can’t quit your job renting one RV, but it’s a great side hustle that can help pay for your vacations and put some extra money in your pocket.