Renting Out a Campervan or Motorhome: Considerations and Tips
- Why rent out a campervan or motorhome?
- What type of campervan or motorhome should I buy to rent out?
- Things to look out for when purchasing a used campervan or motorhome
- What to consider when buying a brand-new campervan or motorhome
- How do I rent out a campervan or motorhome?
- How much money can I make from renting out my campervan or motorhome?
- What insurance do I need to rent out my campervan or motorhome?
- Is your campervan or motorhome safe and secure?
- Will your campervan or motorhome be taken abroad?
Why rent out a campervan or motorhome?
The thought of jumping into a campervan or motorhome and hitting the open road has always been an attractive proposition for many people, and the sales have seen a significant increase recently, with figures from the National Caravan Council (NCC) showing record numbers of motorhomes and campervans purchased in the UK in recent years.
The DVLA registered a total of 16,608 new motorhomes in the 12 months from the 1st July 2020 to the end of June 2021, representing an 8.25% increase on the previous record of 15,342 during the same period between 2018 to 2019. Staycations and travel restrictions during Covid-19 has been a major contributor to the demand.
Although campervans and motorhomes are a big investment, both in terms of the initial purchase and ongoing maintenance, many owners won’t use them all-year round. Renting your vehicle out to other drivers when you’re not using it is a great way to help cover your costs while giving others the chance to experience the excitement and freedom that a campervan holiday can provide.
However, there are a few things to keep in mind before you take that step.
What type of campervan or motorhome should I buy to rent out?
Campervans are generally a van that has been adapted so that people can eat and sleep in it and can broadly be subdivided into fixed roof, high roof and elevating roof models.
Motorhomes are more like a home-from-home and will have been purpose built to a much higher specification, with more space and an increased level of comfort. Motorhomes tend to have a longer wheelbase and are grouped into over-cab, low profile and A-class models. There are many differences between a motorhome and campervan and drivers may need to pass an additional test to drive a motorhome, you can check the details and licence requirements on the government website.
As with any big purchase you’re likely to find yourself wondering whether to go for a new or used campervan or motorhome and each option has pros and cons.
Buying new provides a range of benefits including the peace of mind that a warranty brings, along with the latest technology. You can also customise everything to your exact requirements, which will be a big selling point to some people. However, they will cost more to purchase and insure than a used model and will suffer from depreciation, typically losing 10% of their value when you drive them off the lot. Currently, motorhome manufacturers are experiencing delays building new vehicles and meeting demand for increased sales over the last two years so buying new motorhomes is taking longer and costing more. It’s also important to note that your new vehicle’s warranty may not extend to include hirers and if purchased on finance, the finance company may prohibit you hiring out the vehicle.
The other option is to go for a used campervan or motorhome which will set you back less in terms of the initial purchase price, as well as for insurance. While you’ll find a wide range of vehicles for sale from dealers and private sellers, you may have to sacrifice knowledge of the vehicle’s full history, as well as a full warranty. Additionally, you’d expect the vehicle to have less life left in it and you may have to put up with some cosmetic damage, although it’s worth remembering that a solid engine can run to 300,000+ miles if it’s been well maintained.
Things to look out for when purchasing a used campervan or motorhome:
- Can you afford it? Do you have savings to pay for it or do you need to arrange finance? Don’t forget about the ongoing costs such as insurance as well – we can help with that of course.
- Take it out for a test drive to make sure you’re happy with how it handles. This will also give you the chance to spot any obvious issues such as a bad clutch or strange noises. Don’t rush into buying the first one you see, taking the time to explore a range of options is worth it in the long run.
- Check for leaks both internally and externally. This is especially relevant with campervans due to the level of modifications that will have been made.
- Ask the seller if a habitation test has been carried out recently by an approved specialist. If not, make sure to ask for one to be completed as this will help ensure that aspects of the vehicle that relate to camping have been checked, such as the appliances, ventilation and the safety equipment.
- As with any vehicle you’ll need to consider if you prefer a petrol or diesel engine as well as a manual or automatic transmission.
- Consider carrying out HPI and vehicle safety checks.
What to consider when buying a brand-new campervan or motorhome:
- Do your research. There are a lot of options out there so make sure you take an in-depth look at the market and make a short list of the models you want to explore in more detail.
- Think about what layout works best for you and what features you’d like.
- If you plan on renting out your vehicle, do your research into the market beforehand. Check the going rates for the size, number of berths and facilities that your intended purchase has to make sure you’re happy with the return on your investment.
- As with used models, it’s important to think about how you plan to pay for your vehicle. Consider all the financing options available and make sure you allow for the ongoing maintenance costs, including insurance.
- If you’re buying a campervan or motorhome over 3,500kg you’ll need a C1 driving licence or have obtained your driving licence prior to 1997 and retain grandfather rights, information can be found here. Check the size of your vehicle if you don’t have this license already or reconsider the vehicle size if you don’t want to apply for one.
How do I rent out my motorhome or campervan?
There are a number of options to explore if you’re thinking of renting out your campervan or motorhome.
Are you thinking of setting up a self-drive hire business?
Setting up your own self-drive hire business can be daunting when you consider the multinational players that dominate the market. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for smaller, niche operators to flourish. For the full lowdown on this route check out our handy guide.
Promote your van yourself
If you want to go directly to the customer there are a range of options. The first thing to do is take some enticing photos or your campervan or motorhome. Then write a description that includes all the key features and a sales pitch detailing why people should rent your vehicle over the others available. Testimonials from previous customers can be a great addition to your listing and really help it stand out.
Social media represents a great free route to get your van to market so you could post your listing and even set up a separate account for it. Don’t forget to include relevant hashtags to help people find your vehicle when they’re searching for their ideal holiday rental. You could also consider testing some paid advertising on social media channels to help spread the word if you find you aren’t getting enough interest from people searching organically.
Alternatively, you may want to consider placing adverts in local publications or websites. This can be a cost-effective approach and will ensure that you’re targeting people in the local area.
You could also consider setting up a website, but this can become quite time consuming and potentially costly. Plus, you still have to get people to the site in the first place so be careful not to over commit.
Peer-to-peer rental platforms
If you want to benefit from working with an established online provider, then peer-to-peer rental sites offer a fantastic opportunity to rent out your campervan or motorhome. The benefits include –
- A well-established platform will have a process for you to list your vehicle quickly and easily.
- You’ll benefit from their marketing spend and the audience that brings.
- There will be someone to act as a mediator between you and your customers should you experience any problems with a renter.
- They will also offer a payment system, allowing renters to pay you in a safe and secure way.
Listing your van
You’ll need to compile a range of information before you’re in a position to list your van.
Each platform will have its own requirements, but you’ll likely need to provide the following:
- Provide your V5 Certificate to prove you own your campervan or motorhome.
- The latest MOT certificate is a must.
- Proof of appropriate self-drive hire insurance or make arrangements with the website for them to facilitate it for you.
- Personal identification documents.
- You’ll need to provide your bank details so that the site can pay you for rentals. You could consider setting up a separate bank account if you want to easily keep track of the income that your vehicle is making.
- It’s worth having a habitation check done prior to listing your campervan or motorhome as well as having up to date gas and electricity safety certificates.
- Don’t forget a great set of photos to showcase the features of your vehicle, as well as a compelling description that clearly explains why people should rent your vehicle.
- You’ll also need to include a range of standard details such as the make, model, number of berths, and facilities to complete your listing.
How much money can I make from renting out my campervan or motorhome?
There is no set answer to this question.
How much you can charge people to rent your vehicle will depend on a range of factors such as its style, size, age, condition, and the number of berths.
How much you want to use it will also play an important role as this will influence the amount of time you can rent it out for. The time of year can also be an important factor because, as with all holiday accommodation, people are willing to pay a premium at certain times. Location also comes into play as certain parts of the country will be more attractive than others.
Remember that you’ll need to pay for your ongoing maintenance and associated costs out of your income.
What insurance do I need to rent out my campervan or motorhome?
Whether you have a campervan or motorhome you’ll need to make sure you have the appropriate insurance cover. Even if you’re renting out your campervan to close friends or family members on an informal basis, you still need to have comprehensive insurance.
This type of insurance is often referred to as self-drive hire insurance and can be purchased on an annual basis. You should factor in the cost of this when deciding how much to charge your renters as a small increase in your fees can help to cover it.
Alan Boswell Group specialises in self-drive hire insurance for motorhomes and campervans and can provide you with a full package of cover at best-value rates. Our annual cover allows you and other specified drivers to use the vehicle alongside an unlimited number of hires by members of the public. We also offer a range of additional covers to add to your policy including Public Liability, RAC Breakdown Cover and Commercial Legal Expenses.
Is your campervan or motorhome safe and secure?
You need to be certain that your vehicle is safe to drive before hiring it out. With campervans and motorhomes, you also need to be sure that it’s safe to live in. Because mobile homes include cooking and heating equipment, there is an extra risk of fire. Alan Boswell Group’s campervan hire insurance includes, as standard, fire damage cover caused by cooking and heating equipment, but of course, every preventative measure should also be taken. A Public Liability policy would offer you protection against risks that are not covered by a standard self-drive hire policy.
You’ll also want to make sure your campervan is adequately protected against the risk of theft or being broken into. Our insurance package includes cover for theft by hirer, but motorhomes or campervans worth more than £50,000 should be fitted with a Thatcham Category 5S Tracker.
Always hand over the keys to your renters in person so that you can run through all the key information they need before they head off, including things that might seem obvious but are worth mentioning such as not leaving the vehicle unattended with the keys in the ignition as this is likely to invalidate the insurance.
Will your campervan or motorhome be taken abroad?
As the mercury begins to rise, so too does the demand for campervan and motorhome rentals, with the open road calling and the opportunity to explore new landscapes under blue skies and blazing sunshine.
Of course, if they want guaranteed sunshine, your customers may need to head further afield than the rolling hills of the British countryside. While your self-drive hire insurance will cover your vehicle for the risks of EU travel, there are some points to make your clients aware of before they set off on their journey.
It’s important to be aware of other countries’ laws and regulations when a vehicle is taken abroad to ensure that it complies with their requirements.
Here are our top tips to help your customers have a smooth motorhome holiday abroad:
Some countries may require you to carry additional items in your vehicle such as a hi-vis jacket or a breathalyser. Full guidance can be found here.
Pick your pitch wisely
Stay on campsites or Aires (motorhome stopovers on the Continent) that are both secure and monitored.
It might sound like common sense, but it’s worth reminding people to avoid parking in poorly lit areas. Not only will this help them stay safe when returning to the campervan, but it deters thieves too.
People trafficking has become more common in recent years, and we have seen cases of motorhomes being impounded as a result. Any UK-registered vehicle is a target for people who want to cross the Channel so make sure your customers are aware this is possible.
Maintenance for my campervan or motorhome
Carrying out a regular programme of maintenance on your vehicle will ensure it’s always in tip top condition and provide you with a reliable route to holiday fun all year round. It also means that your customers will have a hassle-free experience and be more likely to leave you positive reviews and testimonials, increasing your chances of getting bookings in the future.