How to Start a Camper Rental Business in 10 Easy Steps

August 29, 2023
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Ever thought about hitting the open road in a cozy camper? Renting out RVs and campers is a booming business as more travelers seek outdoor adventures. Learn how you can join in on the fun and profits of operating a camper rental service.

What is a Camper Rental Business?

A camper rental business allows you to earn money by renting out various campers like RVs, camper vans and teardrop trailers to travelers looking for a fun way to comfortably explore nature. Renters pay you a nightly or weekly rate to borrow your cozy campers.

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10 Steps to Start a Camper Rental Business

Step 1: Research and Planning

Gaining market insights is crucial to assess business viability and opportunity. Key Market Research Areas
Area Description
Market Size Estimated total addressable market for RV rentals in your region
Demographics Age, income, family status of typical RV renters
Growth Trends Historic and projected growth rates for the RV rental market
Competitor Analysis Offerings, pricing, fleet sizes of leading providers like RVshare, Cruise America
Risks and Challenges Seasonality, insurance costs, maintenance expenses
Benefits of Research
  • Assess overall business viability
  • Identify ideal location
  • Inform pricing models
  • Develop competitive strategies

Step 2: Choose the Type of Campers

The camper vans and RVs you offer will directly impact your rental income and profit margins. Keep these factors in mind when building your fleet:

  • Type of RVs – Will you focus on Class A, B or C motorhomes? Fifth wheel trailers? Pop-up campers? Choose RVs that are easiest for you to maintain and meet customer demand.

  • RV sizes – Offer a mix of small and large RVs to accommodate all group sizes – couples, families, groups of 4-5. Smaller campers like pop-ups are more budget-friendly.

  • Rental duration – Will you rent RVs for short weekends or longer 1-2 week vacations? Offer flexibility in durations. Longer rentals can be more profitable.

  • Age of RVs – Newer RVs require lower maintenance costs. But buying new RVs requires more upfront capital. Aim for RVs under 5 years old.

  • Luxury features – Consider including extras like awnings, generators, exterior kitchens to command higher rental rates. But balance costs.

  • Fuel efficiency – Choose RVs with better gas mileage to save renters on fuel costs and attract eco-conscious customers.

  • Brands – Stick to reputed RV brands like Winnebago, Thor Motor Coach, Forest River that hold their value and require less repairs.

Step 3: Purchase Your Campers

Once you finalize the fleet, it’s time to make your RV purchases. Here are some tips on buying campers:

New vs UsedNew RVs: Lower maintenance, higher upfront costs. Used RVs (under 5 years old): Cost and durability balance.
Dealers vs Private SellersDealers: Warranties and servicing. Private sellers: Potential discounts.
Financing OptionsExplore loans from banks, credit unions, and dealerships if paying upfront is not feasible.
Thorough InspectionCarefully inspect each RV for leaks, damages, and malfunctions, especially when buying used models.
Negotiate PricingLeverage payment flexibility to negotiate lower purchase prices. Consider timing for potential discounts.
Focus on ValueLook for competitively priced, durable RVs that cater to your target market.
Buy InsurancePurchase comprehensive insurance to protect your RV assets. Account for insurance costs in your budget.

Step 4: Set Up Maintenance and Cleaning Processes

To keep your campers in top rental condition, you need clear maintenance and cleaning procedures.


  • Perform regular inspections and preventative maintenance every 1-2 months across the fleet. Check tire pressure, fluid levels, batteries, appliances etc.

  • Have a checklist to inspect each RV thoroughly before and after a rental. Document any damages or issues.

  • Establish relationships with RV service centers to handle bigger repairs and maintenance.

  • Stock up on common spare parts like fuses, filters, bulbs. Have a call-out RV technician to handle roadside issues.

  • Schedule deep cleaning, oil changes, tune-ups in the off-season when demand is lower.


  • Clean each RV meticulously after every rental – wash exteriors, sanitize interiors, replace used linens etc.

  • Create a clear cleaning checklist and supply cleaning staff with right equipment.

  • Stock cleaning supplies like wash mitts,detergent, disinfecting wipes, sponges, paper towels.

  • Ensure both the interior and exterior of the RV are spotless for the next renters. Pay close attention to surfaces like countertops, upholstery etc.

  • Leave a nice scent and provide small soaps, toilet paper etc to give it a hotel-like feel.

Taking the time to systemize maintenance and cleaning will maximize your RVs’ lifespan and rental-readiness.

Step 5: Get Insured

Insurance CategoryCoverageImportanceTrends
Physical damageCovers damage to RVs due to collisions, weather events, fire, vandalism.Crucial to protect business assets and ensure RVs are repaired or replaced.Increasing demand for comprehensive coverage due to rising incidents of accidents and extreme weather events.
Liability insuranceProtects against liability claims if renters get into accidents. Common policies offer coverage up to $1 million.Essential for safeguarding the business from potentially costly legal claims and settlements.Higher liability coverage limits becoming more popular as litigation costs rise.
Commercial auto insuranceProvides coverage when RVs are driven by employees for servicing and deliveries.Necessary to protect against accidents and property damage caused by employees during business operations.Growing emphasis on telematics and usage-based insurance for commercial vehicles.
Workers’ compensationProvides benefits for employee injuries during work. Mandatory if you have W-2 employees.Ensures financial protection for employees and compliance with legal requirements.Increasing focus on workplace safety and risk management strategies to minimize workplace injuries and claims.
Business interruptionProvides compensation for income lost if the business cannot operate for a period.Important for mitigating financial losses during unexpected disruptions.Rising interest in business interruption coverage due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on businesses globally.
Umbrella insuranceProvides additional liability coverage beyond core policy limits.Offers an extra layer of protection against high-cost liability claims.Growing adoption of umbrella insurance to mitigate potential financial risks associated with large-scale lawsuits.
RV-specific policiesTailored insurance policies designed specifically for RV businesses.Provides coverage tailored to the unique risks and needs of the RV rental industry.Increasing availability of specialized RV insurance policies to address the specific requirements of RV rental businesses.
State insurance minimumsMinimum coverage requirements mandated by state laws.Ensures compliance with legal obligations and prevents penalties.Continual adjustments to state insurance minimums, often driven by changing regulatory environments and increased focus on consumer protection.

Step 6: Set Up an Online Booking System

An online booking system allows customers to check RV availability, reserve instantly and pay deposits in just a few clicks. This makes bookings convenient and expands your reach.

Here are tips for setting up booking systems:

  • Use established platforms like Outdoorsy, RVnRent, RVshare for listings and bookings. They offer wide visibility and integrated payment processing.

  • Or build your own booking system on your website. Choose user-friendly software like or Avail.

  • Allow instant booking for available RVs. This provides certainty to customers.

  • Integrate a secure payment gateway like Stripe to collect rental deposits.

  • Enable customers to pick extras, add-ons during booking to maximize revenue.

  • List key rental rules like minimum age, security deposits to set expectations.

  • Ensure your system is mobile-responsive. 60% of traffic may be mobile visitors.

  • Allow customers to create accounts to streamline future bookings.

Investing in a strong online booking system delivers results by making the reservation process easy and transparent.

Step 7: Market Your Business

Use diverse marketing strategies to attract renters, build awareness and establish your RV rental brand.

  • Create a branding strategy – Develop memorable business name, logo, tagline and design aesthetic. Ensure visual consistency across platforms.

  • Launch a website – Have a professional website like with info on your fleet, rental rates and online bookings. Optimize site for SEO keywords.

  • Run online ads – Create Google/Facebook ads targeted locally and to relevant RV-related terms. Drive traffic to your website.

  • Promote on listings sites – Actively list on aggregators like RVshare, Outdoorsy, Craigslist to reach new audiences.

  • Build local partnerships – Partner with campgrounds, hotels, tourist sites to sell add-on packages and cross-promote.

  • Focus on SEO – Use SEO best practices on your site to rank highly on Google for searches like “RV rentals Phoenix”.

  • Utilize social media – Leverage Instagram, Facebook to share photos, interact with customers and run paid ads.

Step 8: Handling Reservations and Customer Service

One of the most important aspects of running any business with customers is handling reservations and providing excellent customer service. This will be key to the success and growth of the business. Here are some tips for effectively managing reservations and customer service:

Reservation System Comparison

A good first step is setting up an online reservation system. This allows customers to book reservations themselves at their convenience without having to call.

CampspotSpecialized for RV/camper rentals. Integrates inventory management and payments.Starting at $99/month + 5% per rental
Booking.comWidely used for all accommodation types. Large customer base for marketing.Commission-based per booking
AirbnbWell known brand but focuses more on housing than vehicle rentals.Commission 6-12% per booking

Customer Service Training Tips

  • Provide checklists for orientation, equipment overview, troubleshooting guide.
  • Train staff on active listening skills to handle complaints professionally.
  • Role play difficult scenarios like damage claims to prepare staff responses.
  • Incentivize staff for positive online reviews and resolving problems smoothly.

Complaint Handling

Despite best efforts, mistakes and complaints will occur. It’s how they are resolved that build customer loyalty.

  • Apologize sincerely and take responsibility, don’t make excuses.
  • Offer solutions like discounts, gift cards or priority reservations next time.
  • Thank the customer for bringing the issue to your attention.
  • Follow up after to ensure they were satisfied with the resolution.
  • Track common complaints to address and prevent recurring issues.

Step 9: Get local permits and regulations in order

Before opening your doors to customers, it’s important to understand all local permits and regulations that apply to your type of business. Taking the time up front will save headaches down the road.

Research Permit Requirements

Contact your local government offices like city hall, health department and fire marshal to find out specifics for:

  • Business licenses and permits
  • Building, electrical and fire code compliance
  • Signage and zoning rules
  • Insurance requirements

They can advise what you need and point you to application forms and resources. It’s better to ask for clarification on anything unclear up front.

Coordinate Inspections

Schedule required annual inspections for campers by state motor vehicle regulators. Common items inspected include:

Lights and SignalsBrake lights, turn signals, license plate light
TiresTread depth, pressure, date codes
EngineBelts, hoses, leaks, emissions
InteriorAppliances, seatbelts, emergency exits
PlumbingWater pumps, tanks, leaks
ElectricalOutlets, converter, shore power cord

Address any issues found like expired tags, recalls, or safety defects before renting units. Inspectors ensure campers meet roadworthiness standards.

Display Licenses and Credentials

Properly post all business and camper rental certifications:

  • Business license at storefront
  • RV dealer license at office
  • Inspection stickers on each camper unit
  • Insurance documentation in each camper

Step 10: Manage finances and scale the business

As the business grows, careful financial oversight becomes critical.

Bookkeeping System

  • Track income from camper rentals, fees, add-ons.
  • Track operating costs like maintenance, insurance, fuel using accounting software.

Financial Projections

Year 1Year 2Year 3
Fleet Size5 RVs10 RVs

Key factors to project:

  • Seasonality: Summer +10%, Winter -5%
  • Maintenance costs rise 10% annually as fleet ages

Securing Financing

Financing options:

  • SBA loan
  • Vehicle loans

Funding Trends

Crowdfunding success rates rose 20% in 2021 as customers supported local businesses. Online campaigns showcase your mission to new clientele.

Key Takeaways

  • Project growth conservatively to plan for unexpected costs.
  • Explore multiple funding sources as no one option fully funds ambitious plans.
  • Hire bookkeeper or CPA to focus on operations instead of finances.


Starting a camper rental biz takes work, but just think of all the adventures you could enable! Do your research on demand and permits. Set up strong website using readymade rental script for bookings and maintenance too. Then folks can easily discover new places to camp, creating memories to last lifetimes. Your customers will love the convenience and joy of exploring the outdoors. With the right planning, We know you can succeed in sharing your passion for wide-open spaces. Now go chase your dream – the open road is calling!

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    Gauri Pandian

    Gauri Pandian is a seasoned Business Development Manager with 9 years of experience in sales and client relations. Currently, she is responsible for business growth and client acquisition as a BD Manager at Zipprr, a leading custom software development firm. Prior to this, she has worked with Early-stage startups helping them scale through strategic partnerships. Gauri has a crack for understanding customer pain points and unlocking new opportunities.