Greg Johnson (author of Zero Down Your Debt) talks about family traveling and how to rent an RV from Outdoorsy.
Outdoorsy is a martketplace that connects RV owners with those who want to rent an RV. Learn how it works for both renters and owners in this Outdoorsy review.
Do you want to rent an RV for an epic summer road trip? Or, do you own an RV that sits unused for much of the year? Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way for people in both situations to connect?
Actually, there is. It’s called Outdoorsy, and it’s kind of like Airbnb for RVs.
In this Outdoorsy review, we’ll explain how Outdoorsy works for both renters and owners, what kind of fees are involved, and the benefits and drawbacks of using the service.
Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
- What Is Outdoorsy?
- How to Rent an RV from Outdoorsy
- How to List an RV on Outdoorsy
- The Bottom Line
What Is Outdoorsy?
Outdoorsy is an online peer-to-peer marketplace that connects people who own RVs with people who want to rent them. You’ll also find campervans and trailers listed here.
Whether you’re an owner or a renter, the site can work for you. Outdoorsy provides a platform for owners to list their RVs for rent and for prospective renters to browse listings. Even better, you’ll know what to expect because both owners and renters have profiles that include reviews written by people they’ve rented to or from.
Additionally, Outdoorsy offers a private chat and secure payment system, enabling renters and owners to negotiate and finalize a deal on the platform. They also administer liability and optional travel insurance. It’s a complete one-stop shop experience for RV renters.
For owners, listing with Outdoorsy is akin to a landlord hiring a property manager. Owners set their rates and availability. Then they communicate with interested renters, but Outdoorsy handles the screening and payment collection, for a fee.
There are no membership fees for owner or renters – you can browse listings or place a listing for free. You don’t pay anything until you’re actually part of a rental deal.
How to Rent an RV from Outdoorsy
To rent an RV or camper from Outdoorsy’s thousands of listings, first, you’ll need to create a renter’s profile. You’ll need to be at least 25 years old, have a valid driver’s license, have at least 3 years of driving history, and pass a DMV check.
The DMV check is quick and automated. As long as your record doesn’t reveal the following red flags, you’ll pass:
- A suspended license
- A recent DUI
- Two 20 mph speeding tickets in the past 12 months
- Two negligent collisions in the past 12 months
You can browse RV listings through the Outdoorsy platform by date and location. You’ll only see cities and states, not street addresses.
When you find a camper or RV you like, you can contact the owner through the built-in messaging system with any questions. If you’re good to go, just click “Request Booking” and wait for the owner to approve your request (or not, it’s their call). Some owners enable a feature called Instant Book, which means your reservation request will be booked instantly.
Outdoorsy’s Cancellation Policy
Once the owner approves you, you’ll have to pay a deposit to hold the reservation. If the booking is within 14 days, you’ll pay the total cost. You’ll also have to choose the cancellation policy you want to be applied to your booking, which affects the deposit you pay. There are three options: flexible, moderate, and strict.
- Flexible – You pay 25% of the trip’s cost to book your reservation. If you cancel more than five days before the scheduled start date (and you’ve paid in full), you get a full refund, minus fees. If you cancel less than five days before, you forfeit your deposit.
- Moderate – The reservation deposit is 50%, but the deposit itself is non-refundable. If you’ve paid in full and cancel more than seven days before the start date, you’ll get back 75%, minus fees. With less than seven days’ notice, you’ll only get back 50% of the full cost, minus fees.
- Strict – As expected, this option is the least flexible. Your reservation deposit is 50% of the trip cost, and you need to cancel 14 days in advance to get back 50% of the total cost, minus fees. If you cancel and have only paid the deposit, you’re out that money. And, if you pay in full but cancel less than 14 days before the booking start date, you’re not eligible for a refund at all.
Once your reservation is confirmed, you’ll be able to see the owner’s exact address. You can contact them directly with questions and to arrange pickup.
You’ll pay the balance of your booking to Outdoorsy, who holds the funds until 24 hours after the rental period begins. At that point, they transfer your payment to the owner.
A security deposit may also be held on your credit card (amount varies at the owner’s discretion). As long as there are no damages or overages, you’ll get your security deposit back seven days after you return the rental.
Renter Service Fees
Although membership is free, renters pay up to a 20% service fee for each rental. This includes things like the cleaning fee, delivery fee, add-on fees, and more. The minimum per-day rental fee is $10 for towable RVs, camper vans, and truck campers. For Class A, B, and C RVs, it’s $15.
You can’t get out of service fees, but you want to make sure you don’t rack up any additional costs. You’ll be charged extra for returning an RV late, unreasonably dirty, or damaged. If the owner imposes a mileage restriction, you’ll have to pay for any extra miles you drive, as well.
Upon passing the DMV check, renters can choose between three different levels of insurance coverage. Depending on which level you select, coverage includes up to $1 million for liability and up to $1 million for comprehensive and collision. Deductibles run from $1,000 to $4,000 per loss, depending on the coverage you select and the type of camper you rent.
Coverage generally includes vandalism, stolen RV, storm damage, animal impacts, collisions, and more. Many damages, however, are not covered – especially when caused by the renter. If a renter causes uncovered damages, the owner can take the value from the security deposit. If the damages are worth more than the security deposit, the renter must pay the difference to Outdoorsy.
If it is not included in your protection package, Outdoorsy also offers optional roadside assistance. The cost of roadside assistance is $15 a day.
Advantages of Renting an RV from Outdoorsy
- Selection – Unlike some RV rental outfits that might have a few models to choose from, Outdoorsy’s inventory is diverse because they don’t actually own inventory. Like other peer-to-peer marketplaces, including Airbnb and Home Away, Outdoorsy connects RV owners with potential renters.
- Liability, Comprehensive, and Collision Insurance – Once a renter passes the DMV check, they can choose from three different insurance options. Depending on the plan you select, you’ll have up to $1 million in coverage for both liability and comprehensive/collision protection.
- Optional Travel Insurance – Outdoorsy offers the option of protecting your trip and your health by investing in their optional trip and emergency assistance insurance. The trip insurance protects you from losing prepaid RV rental booking costs if your plans change for a covered reason. The emergency assistance insurance covers emergency medical transportation and treatment of an injury sustained during your trip.
- Optional Roadside Assistance – For plans that do not include roadside assistance, you can pay just $15 a day for access to 24/7 roadside assistance.
Disadvantages of Renting an RV from Outdoorsy
- Might be More Expensive Than a Private Deal – Like I mentioned before, Outdoorsy makes money by charging renters a per-day service fee. The minimum fee is $10 or $15 a day, depending on vehicle type, and the total service fee is up to 20% of the reservation price. This fee means that renting through Outdoorsy might work out to be more expensive than finding someone to rent from on the private market. Of course, you’d likely have fewer options and have to invest more time, so maybe the cost is worth it.
- Renters May be Subject to Mileage Restrictions – RV owners can set mileage maximums, meaning you’ll have to pay extra if you exceed them. Depending on the maximum, it can feel restricting if you’re on an epic road trip. It could also get expensive.
- High Insurance Deductibles – The inclusion of liability, comprehensive, and collision coverage is one of the benefits of renting an RV through Outdoorsy. However, if anything happens, you – the renter – are on the hook for a deductible between $1,000-$4,000 per loss.
How to List an RV on Outdoorsy
If you own an RV and want to make some money, listing your RV on Outdoorsy might be a great solution for you.
Getting started is easy. Just compose the details of your listing, upload pics, and name your price. You’ll also need to decide if (and how much) you want to charge as a security deposit.
The security deposit covers damages that wouldn’t be covered by insurance (like damage to the interior). You’d also use it to cover mileage overages, if applicable. As long as your RV is returned in the same condition it left in, the renter gets their security deposit back seven days after the booking ends.List Your RV on Outdoorsy
Communication with Renters
When you list your RV, campervan, or trailer with Outdoorsy, you can enable a feature called Instant Book. This feature allows renters to instantly book your RV and submit payment, rather than waiting for you to confirm rental requests manually.
Many renters prefer the simplicity of booking instantly, which gives your listing an edge over those that won’t be approved on the spot. It also saves you time, since you won’t have to review every rental request.
Don’t worry, you can still cancel a request made through Instant Book if something about it doesn’t work for you.
You and the renter will communicate directly to go over ground rules, add-ons, and to arrange pickup. When they show up, you’ll both have to go through the RV Departure Form so you’re on the same page about the condition of the vehicle. (It’s similar to going through damages when you rent a car.) You’ll also go through the RV Return Form when they bring it back.
Outdoorsy handles the money side of things, so all you have to do on that front is wait for the money to hit your bank account. Once the renter picks up your RV, the money is released within 24 hours.
Service Fees for Owners
Outdoorsy charges up to a 20% fee for each booking. That covers the services that enable you to list your RV, enjoy staff support, and benefit from insurance.
Advantages of Listing an RV on Outdoorsy
- Income – Obviously, the #1 reason to rent out your RV, campervan, or trailer is to make money. Outdoorsy helps you do that by connecting you with thousands prospective renters. You’re in control of your rates and your RV’s availability; they’re in charge of getting you paid.
- Instant Book – Instant confirmation of rental requests saves you time and makes booking your RV simpler and more attractive to prospective renters.
- Vetted Renters – When you rent your RV through Outdoorsy, you’re renting to established renters. You can review their profiles and read reviews left from people they’ve rented from in the past. Outdoorsy also conducts DMV checks on all drivers, so you can have peace of mind knowing your RV is going to a driver with a clean driving record.
- Insurance Coverage – At Outdoorsy,renters select from protection plans which offer up to $1 million in liability insurance and $1 million in comprehensive and collision coverage. That way, you can breathe easy knowing your vehicle is covered if something goes awry during the rental period. Rental insurance is necessary because personal policies typically do not cover the commercialization of your RV. There are no premiums for you, and the renter is responsible for the deductible.
- Secure Payments – Outdoorsy handles the financial side of things for you. You set your rates, but Outdoorsy collects the money from the renter and transfers it to your bank account within 24 hours after the start of the rental period.
Disadvantages of Listing an RV on Outdoorsy
- Insurance Only Covers Damages Related to Collision – If the renter gets into an accident while operating your RV, you’re covered. But, if damages are sustained from other causes, you may not be. That said, you can file a claim for damages and have it come out of the security deposit. Just make sure you file within 48 hours of the RV’s return.
- Up to 20% in Service Fees – Outdoorsy charges owners up to 20% of the reservation total as a service fee. Some might consider that expensive.
- Extra Wear and Tear on Your RV – Extra use means extra wear and tear that can shorten the life of your RV.
The Bottom Line
If you’ve always wondered how to rent an RV, camper, or trailer, Outdoorsy is a convenient one-stop shop that can make your RV dreams come true.
If you own an RV that often sits empty, renting it out through Outdoorsy can help you earn some serious cash.
No matter which side of the fence you’re on, Outdoorsy’s online marketplace can help you reach your goals…for a fee, of course.
Reclaim Your Income and Build a Life You’ll Love
Co-author Holly Johnson appears on Fox Business News as a money expert. • Holly Johnson is a staff writer at Get Rich Slowly, The Simple Dollar, Frugal Travel Guy, and U.S. News and World Report Travel. Holly also landed her very own weekly column in the Indianapolis Star! She will cover a range of money and lifestyle topics aimed at helping middle class families stretch their dollars further. She’ll be answering questions and providing commentary every Sunday in the “Lifestyle” section of the paper. • Greg and Holly Johnson’s work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Fox News, Forbes, Lifehacker, Yahoo!, and many other online publications. • Club Thrifty is one of the most popular self-help budgeting sites with dozens of classes, tips, seminars, lessons and advice to help readers achieve financial freedom. • With over 20,000 subscribers to their blog, a well-trafficked website, the ClubThrifty brand is accruing thousands of loyal fans and followers in many social media platforms.