The smart way to upgrade, or purchase your next RV…

Kim's Airstream Rental, Palm Springs CA.
Kim’s Airstream Rental, Palm Springs CA.

You can fund your next upgrade or brand new RV without taxing the family budget. How is this possible? We all know how expensive it is to purchase, own and operate an RV-monthly payments, insurance, storage, fuel cost, maintenance and repairs. The list goes on, so how in the world can you upgrade or even buy a new RV without breaking the bank?

Answer: By sharing your RV with other families, for a fee, you can finance your next dream coach and all the associated costs that go with it.

Kim's typical party set up for his guests.
Kim’s typical party set up for his guests.

To be sure, it’s not for everyone. In fact only about 1 in 10 RV owners would actually consider renting their “baby” but without a doubt it is the smart way to purchase your next rig. And it’s not as hard as you think.

Peer to peer markets are blooming all over the world, and sharing your RV is just one way to make this happen. Example; RVPlusYou offers a turn-key solution for earning extra income from your RV, and it’s safe; your renters don’t drive or tow your RV!

In a recent blog post I outline the 5 key reasons why every family should own an RV. The first three reasons are a no brainer, and no doubt this audience already knows the benefits. However, reasons number 4 and 5 may surprise you: income, and tax benefits. I highly recommend that you read this post, and then visit RVPlusYou to learn more.

What about the RV rental business? The biggest difference between renting an RV from a private party on RVPlusYou, and renting from one of the big 3 RV rental companies (besides price) is amenities and service.

The big RV rental companies will find it difficult to compete with you on either price or amenities. So, do it right and you’ll be able to rent your rig all season long, or if you prefer, just a few times a year. Earn enough for your next trip, your next mortgage payment, or enough to cover your kid’s living expenses for college next month. Just make sure you do it right. After all, this is a well established, professional industry so treat your business as such and get the details right.

Speaking of details, nothing is more important than getting the details right when renting your RV to someone, especially a novice camper. By including those little things such as coffee, sugar, paper plates, or trash bags, you have just set yourself apart from all the other rental companies out there.

Kim's rental delivered, ready for check-in
Kim’s rental delivered, ready for check-in

By truly hosting your guests with an RV rental that is delivered and setup in advance of arrival, you not only greatly reduce the risk of damage, you create the opportunity for new RV’ers to get outdoors!

RVPlusYou has great information and a checklist that will help you think about what to include with your RV rental. Remember, it’s the experience that you are providing and the amenities that you include may make all the difference between just an okay experience for your guest and a truly fantastic one.

Attention to detail, impeccable service
Attention to detail, impeccable service

What does a great listing look like? One of our newer RV Hosts, Kim, recently posted this listing. From profile, to pictures, description and details, Kim knows what it takes to satisfy his guests. There is complete support from the team at RVPlusYou along with helpful hints and their RV Rental Playbook.

Want to rent, earn extra income, reap tax benefits but don’t want to do the work? RVPlusYou has a solution for you: Concierge Service Providers (CSPs). All across North America folks who have experience as hosts are learning about the opportunity to become CSP’s, individuals who, for a fee, will deliver your RV rental, check in your guests, provide maintenance/cleaning, etc.

A turn-key solution to your next RV upgrade or new RV purchase is out there, and who knows, a new business opportunity may be born from your passion and willingness to explore more than just the open road.

America, land of the free… Are we really free?

freedom_quoteI recently read a blog post that inspired this one: True independence – Does it exist? The author poses a good question which I applied to my own long held opinion that freedom rings a bit hollow if you’re saddled with a mountain of debt. I’m not bagging on capitalism by any means. A free market system is an absolute requirement for any hope at freedom anywhere, and there is no better role model to the world, or place to live, than the United States. I’m simply asking how free can one be if we are working like a dog night and day just to pay the bills each month?

My major was business economics so my perspective on freedom tends to come from a financial viewpoint, which I believe drives most of the major decisions we make in life. At the age of 18 I made my first credit card payment for a motorcycle that I couldn’t afford? What in the world was I thinking? Why didn’t I know better? Why didn’t someone stop me? Oh yeah, I didn’t know better and I was free to make that dumb decision.

That was then and I’ve since recovered from youth, learning along the way, observing our nation’s debt pile up and incomes stagnate. Not only is our national debt growing out of control, each citizen owes an estimated $56,660 (1) thanks to our free spending representatives, but families too have racked up so much personal debt that a dual income home is now a requirement just to eek by. Whew, what a downer and I haven’t even gotten to the student loans!

Speaking of student loans, WHAT THE!!!!? The ave household owes $32,264 (2) in student loans and this figure is growing out of control. So, question: Should we as a nation be encouraging this much debt for our kids, many of whom haven’t even settled on what the want to do? Our government makes it so easy to take out enormous student loans, over $1 Trillion (3), more and more to acquire low level or unmarketable degrees. Are we asking any tough questions here?

I’m not knocking education, or even questioning the value of getting your degree, but I am questioning the cost/benefit equation and why we make it so simple for kids to borrow and sometimes party their way through their college years only to end up with a near worthless degree, a mountain of debt, and a low paying job to facilitate the monthly payments? Where is our government? Where is our education system? Parents? Why is society encouraging this behavior? Shouldn’t we be teaching some basics on finances, interest rates, predatory lending, late payment fees, etc? Shouldn’t we be teaching economics 101 to our kids in high school and demand that they graduate with some basic understanding of the way money works, how credit works, and how they stand the best chance to maintain financial control of their lives?

But here we are. The hole has been dug and we find ourselves or our kids or both of us in it. We must stop digging. We must stop borrowing. We must stop buying crap that we don’t need. No matter how deep we find ourselves into that hole of debt, realize that we are all free to stop digging. We are free to make decisions that will one day free us from the the bonds of debt.

Never before has there been so much opportunity to create, to grow, to learn, to change, to improve. Technology has completely changed the old paradigms of capitalism and given each of us the ability to create value from our time, from our skills, from our assets, and from our minds. Conversely, we have the ability to buy only that which we need; a ride to the store, a neighbors help assembling an Ikea desk, or even an RV camping trip. It’s time that we look for ways out of the race.

Knowing that you're actually in it is half the battle.
Knowing that you’re actually in it is half the battle…

A new ‘Shared Economy‘ is evolving and developing right before our eyes and it may very well hold the answer to how we all truly regain our financial freedom. RVPlusYou is but one of many possible exit plans, Uber is another. You can even make extra income doing some side work or by renting your stuff. A great way to explore options is at Peers.

I believe that we have to start educating our kids and ourselves about money and how it works. We must talk about what credit is for and how we can use it responsibly to better our lives, not enslave ourselves to it. We must demand that our government do a better job asking questions about how a student loan will be used in terms of cost/benefit, not borrow/benefit I deserve it now.

We recently had a new customer named Jason sign up and list his brand new 30 foot Coachman Freelander for rent in Sonoma Valley and Bodega Bay campgrounds. Jason is a young professional, in the tech industry, has a wife and two kids. He and his wife decided that camping was the family activity for them, but they didn’t just run out and buy this $60,000 rig without thinking it through. Jason worked out a business plan that included renting this new family activity. He researched his options, looked at insurance requirements, and foretasted revenues and expenses before he pulled the trigger.

Jason did it right and now has a tax write off against his income producing asset. He runs a legitimate RV rental business and enjoys the outdoors with his family when his schedule allows.

I say, way to go Jason, and to you I say go explore…. find the exit!

Do you know Peer to Peer? Time for an introduction.

Why is peer to peer marketing and the shared economy important for us to understand? Why is this concept exploding right in front of us and how will it impact our lives?

peer-to-peer

The ‘Peer to Peer’ marketing concept encourages customers to market to each other. Instead of the norm, or established ‘top down corporate approach’ of company selling to consumer, peer to peer sidesteps production, advertising, and distribution and gets straight to the point. I have an RV, you want to camp, let’s do a deal. In this shared economy, efficiency rules and the savings is passed between the peers. I love it! There is no greater disruptive market condition going on right now than this, which is why you need to know about it and understand how to take advantage of it.

This Peer to Peer article about Airbnb does a great job of explaining the pros and cons of this recent market dynamic. I encourage you to take a look because it’s not going away. Technology is exploding and with it comes opportunity. Recent advances in tech; broadband, wireless, software, apps, smart phones, etc. all enable peer to to peer: I have an RV, want to use it this weekend? I have a car, need a ride? I’m not using my lawnmower today, want to mow your grass neighbor, please? I have time this week, want me to watch your dogs?

Of course I’m biased. My partners and I have launched RVPlusYou; a peer to peer RV lending site, and it works great because we target those campers who really don’t want to drive it, they just want to camp in it or they want the extra space parked at their house for the big family reunion this weekend.

RV rental set up: Avila Beach, CA
RV rental set up: Avila Beach, CA

So start thinking about what you need and what you have to share, then go online and find the application or website (technology) that will facilitate some savings, or extra income. It’s not going away and it can make a huge difference in your life!

5 good reasons why your family should buy an RV

It has often been said that the happiest days of a boat owners life is the day they buy and the day they sell. We’ve all hear this saying, and many of us have heard this same expression applied to RV ownership… and for good reason I might add. So, how can I make the argument that you should buy an RV, and at the same time agree that RV ownership is a kin to a boat anchor?

I’ll give you 5 good reasons why more and more smart buyers are employing this vacation rental strategy for their families.

Reason #1 – Camping is fun!

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It’s always at the top of the ‘fond memories’ list when you ask anyone, young or old, about their most favorite vacation. The bond that families develop while camping is very powerful, especially when you limit the electronic distractions and focus on each other.

Reason #2 – State and National Parks

There is no better way to see and experience our national treasures than to camp and hike them. And if you’ve ever been hiking or tent camping, you know how restful sleeping on the ground can be. Try a high tech memory foam mattress inside a warm camper. It won’t disappoint. You’ll be rested and ready for that hike to half dome if you’re camping in comfort.

Half_Dome_Yosemite144

Reason # 3 – Vacation savings

Not only will you and your family experience the best vacations of your lives, but it can also be the least expensive. Most RV vacations include steep savings over hotel stays, eating out at restaurants, and those high cost tours and amusement parks. Compare the cost of fishing, hiking, boating, or a campfire to your average resort or theme park activity.

Reason #4 – Extra Income

The smart money is on turning your new purchase into a revenue producing cash cow. For most of us, vacation time is limited given jobs and normal demands on time. So instead of letting the RV sit idle while you’re at work and the kids are at school, put that asset to work and share it! Peer to peer sharing sites such as RVPlusYou are amazingly simple, effective, and make RV rental easy, safe, and profitable for any RV owner. From the do-it-yourself RV owner who wants to handle each rental transaction to the hands off owner who wants someone else to manage the process, there is a solution for all.

Reason #5 – Tax Benefits

Most RV’s are vacation rentals on wheels in the eyes of the IRS, they certainly cost as much, and by renting your RV you are essentially engaging in a business activity that allows significant deductions. Some great information can be found in this article on vacation rental deductions. Do your own research and consult with your tax professional, but even a casual glance at the possible deductions will reveal major tax benefits that deserve serious consideration.

Tax-Deduction Pic

Be a smart RV buyer and owner. Do your research and planning, then execute on starting your RV Rental business!

The responsible and professional RV rental

Okay, you’ve secured your first booking and your guest is just days away from arriving. What should you be thinking about to insure a smooth rental and a happy guest?

The biggest difference between renting an RV from a private party, and renting from one of the big 3 RV rental companies (besides price) has to be the amenities that come with the RV. You know, those little things like salt and pepper, a trash can, a decent knife that will actually cut through a tomato!

Nothing is more important that getting the details right when renting your RV to someone, especially a novice camper who may not think about bringing the beach chairs. By including those little things such as coffee, sugar, paper plates, or trash bags, you have just set yourself apart from all the other rental companies out there. If you really want to set yourself apart, why not include your BBQ? You’ve made your guest’s vacation that much easier when you share some of your stuff, which translates to, “Wow, we had a blast and we’ll be back soon!”. You’ve just stacked the deck against your competition.

Avila Beach listing at RVPlusYou.com
Avila Beach listing at RVPlusYou.com

RVPlusYou has great information and a checklist that will help you think about what to include with your RV. Remember, it’s the experience that you are providing and the amenities that you include may make all the difference between just an okay experience for your guest and a truly fantastic one.

As your check in date approaches and you’re preparing your RV to accommodate your guests think about the following:

  • Is your RV clean and in complete working condition? A/C, furnace, lights, batteries, smoke alarm, appliances, shower, toilet, etc.
  • Are your tanks ready? Emptied the grey and black tanks? Are the water and propane tanks full?
  • Are the locks working properly?
  • Any repairs or maintenance needed?
  • Smoke, propane, and Carbon Monoxide alarms working? Batteries fresh?

Remember that in many cases you’ll be renting to a novice camper. Think about all of the things that they might forget and anticipate their needs. You’ll be glad you did!

Share your stuff

So, my wife and I decided to share our stuff. More precisely, our camping stuff and our RV. We rented it to a stranger who is now a friend. It was a strange road we traveled to this point where we began sharing our stuff, but as I look back on the journey I’m really glad we did it. So many positives and tangible benefits for us as well as our community.

What am I talking about? Well, in a picture, this is our stuff that we share and this is but one of the places we share it; a beach campground in California.

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Those tangible benefits? Well, the first tangible is some extra income. Not just a few bucks but the worthwhile kind that can really make a difference. Example: We rented this set up 3 times, 3 days each just before our trip across the country all in the month of July. We netted over $1,250 tangible dollars! That’s the kind that helps pay the mortgage, or tuition, or helps you say yes to the lobster instead of the chicken. It can make a real difference.

The second is less tangible but more powerful because it will stay with you forever. When a dad says, “Hey, thank you. No, really, thanks. Never will I ever own an RV or all this camping gear and “stuff”. I just won’t, but you renting us your ‘stuff’ made it possible for me and my family to have an unforgettable experience; my daughter saw dolphin every morning, we cooked fresh fish on the BBQ, campfire under the stars. Thank you”. Okay, enough said on that. You get the point.

By sharing what would otherwise be sitting in storage, you not only make a few bucks and keep your RV’s water pump from corroding, you can make a difference in the lives of others by providing a cost effective vacation. That guy and his family from San Francisco didn’t have to go out and buy and bunch of stuff to get that experience. They drove 5 hours in their fuel efficient car and used our stuff, then went home and shared pics of the dolphins. Very cool.

So, instead of letting your RV sit and rot in your driveway, think about sharing it and make the world a better place. Oh, and make a deposit in your kids college fund too while your at it.