Michael and Sarah Grant have learned a lot from their experience listing their RV with RVshare. From how to camp with the RV to working with potential renters, the process has been eye-opening for them. Here they share how they’ve used this experience to create an effective rental business.
Since you’re new to RVing, what were some things you had to learn to become an effective rental business?
Michael: We had to learn several things, and it was basically trial and error. We would not do things right, so we would just have to practice at it. Once we understood how to go camping, we were able to explain it to our renters a lot easier. That what was so great was about [this business]; we were able to accomplish something.
Sarah: Being new to the RV industry and just being around RVs in general, the very first thing I had to learn was to dump the black and grey tanks. It’s not as bad as it sounds, but it’s just something every RVer has to know. Aside from that, you don’t realize how many similarities there are between RVs and boats or RVs and your house. If you’ve done any boating, you will definitely understand the inner workings of an RV. Many of the auxiliary components are the same. Even dumping the tanks is pretty similar. You may have more knowledge than you realize if you have done any boating. If you’ve lived in a mobile home — these are houses on wheels — so a lot of things are really similar. In fact, Fleetwood, the manufacturer of this motorhome, also makes mobile homes, trailers — the kind you live in — so i think, a lot of people know more than they think they do, so just transferring that knowledge.
I also had to learn when I first was getting into RVs how to switch the power around. What runs off of what type of fuel? What does the generator run? What do you need to be plugged into a 30 amp for? What is the propane used for? Things like that.
Also, driving it, the Quest can be very deceiving when you’re driving because again, you forget you’re driving a big vehicle. You have to totally stroke the pedal when you take off. You have to do the same when you brake. You’ll shake the house. You’ll learn right away how much you have to tenderly touch the pedals and operate it a lot more tenderly than a regular vehicle.
What is the most common question you get from renters?
Sarah: The biggest concern new RVers have is usually where can I drive it? Am I going to get stuck in any situation? How do I put fuel in it? This is diesel, so it can be even trickier. Gas stations can be hard to find. And then, really the biggest concern most RVers have is: How do I dump the black and grey tanks? And do I have to dump the black and grey tanks? Or, can I just let it go until I bring it back? And to that my answer is: would you really want to drive around with 30 gallons of your own feces? So my answer is no. You’ll know when you need to dump the tanks. But oddly, most of the time, it’s the biggest concern that people have.
Has anything surprised you about your renters?
Sarah: Generally, what we have found is that the people who want to rent RVs have a very adventurous spirit. And we have just absolutely been blown away by the planning and execution a lot of our renters have made with their trips — planning months in advance and actually carrying them out. We’ve learned a lot from our renters as to where to go and there is so much to learn and see.
We had a family come check out the Quest back in October of 2016. They actually had confirmed the booking months earlier; but they wanted to come see it so they could get an idea as to how they pack this thing. And that’s always an option for us, too. As long as it’s not on the road, we’re more than happy to let somebody come look at [the RV], check it out. But [this specific family] came with their mom and dad; it was kind of a bucket list trip for the parents who were of retirement age. So these renters had their campsites booked months in advance, and when they carried it out, it went down just like they planned. They had the prime spots, so there is definitely something to be said for advanced planning. At state parks, the prime spots fill up really quickly.
What do you look for in potential renters?
Sarah: I answer every email and respond to every inquiry, but I am going to heavily scrutinize someone who sends me a grammatically-off email. If you’re going to rent an RV, please proofread your email before you submit.
What advice do you have for those looking to rent an RV?
Sarah: Don’t limit your search to a particular geographic location. Keep in mind, for example, we have a place for people to leave their vehicle. So if you’re coming from Cleveland and you’re going to the Grand Canyon, just stop in Fostoria, pick up the Quest and put your stuff in it and keep on going west. Any direction, logistically you can make it work. We have had renters come from Columbus, Cleveland, Detroit, Indianapolis. We’ve had people come off airplanes. There’s really no limit. Logistically you can make it happen. And we’re so flexible as far as pickup and delivery. We’ll work with you on that. So don’t rule out an RV because it’s located kind of off the beaten path. Maybe there is a second-hand store or an antique store in that town. Start your adventure there.