.This week we learn all about RV Renting School, which is a way to earn money with your RV –  so much money, in fact that your RV can actually pay for itself. We’ll talk about the ins and outs of renting your RV, choosing insurance, wear and tear and why this option is a great choice for many.

Show Notes for Episode #261 Sept. 25, 2019 of The RV Podcast:

WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK

This episode of the podcast was recorded on location at RV Dealer Open House in Elkhart Indiana.

We shared the background of the event, the things we’ve seen and how, once it ends on Thursday, RV dealer Open House will have seen almost $2 billion worth of business written for the 2020 season.

Our Opening segment is sponsored by Dish Outdoors, which lets you take HD satellite TV in your RV. To get more information and a special discount, go to our special link – https://rvlifestyle.com/dish

RV LIFESTYLE NEWS OF THE WEEK

JENNIFER
If you’re planning to camp this fall during peak color, be sure to check out this website
Fall has officially arrived, and so has fall color in parts of the country. Several websites exist to help you track fall color nationally, so you can plan your fall camping during the times when color is at its peak. Several places in the country are already starting to see substantial color such as Michigan’s upper peninsula, northern New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, and certain pockets of Idaho, Colorado, and other high altitude locations out west. Click the link in the headline above.
MIKE
Check out this list of “can’t miss” hikes at each of the 61 U.S. national parks
For those of you who love to hike in the national parks, an article out last week highlighted one author’s “can’t miss” hikes in all 61 of the U.S. national parks. Some of the hikes are a simple 1.5 mile loop, like the one suggested for Badlands National Park, or two miles recommended at Canyonlands, but others are much more intense. For example, the article recommends a 23-mile one way hike at Bryce Canyon in Utah, or a 11.5 mile loop at Yosemite. Jennifer and I have favorite hikes at some of national parks that did not make this list. Here is our favorite hike at Yellowstone. 
JENNIFER
South Dakota considering raising its state campground costs to bring in new revenue to repair state parks damaged by flooding
South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission is considering raising the fees it charges for camping and entering its parks as it faces $8 million in flood damage costs. Floods have ravaged the state this year, and its parks system has needed to down trees, fix shorted electrical pedestals and washed out roads and campsites. Under the proposed changes, the daily park entrance fee would rise from $6 to $8, and camping fees would increase to $20 per night for modern campgrounds, $15 for tent only sites. The fees are among several increased costs under consideration that state officials estimate would bring in about $3 million in additional revenue annually. A decision on the proposal is expected by early October.

MKE
Visit a national park for free this Saturday, and maybe join a volunteer project 
If you find yourself near a national park this Saturday, Sept. 28, be sure to drop in because the price of admission is free. Every fourth Saturday in September the national parks waive admission in honor of National Public Lands Day. Many of the national parks will also have volunteer projects going on that day, though the price of admission is waived whether you are entering to volunteer or just enjoy the land.
JENNIFER
Tour bus filled with Chinese tourists crashes outside Utah’s Bryce Canyon National Park, causing 4 fatalities

A bus full of tourists from China crashed outside Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah last weekend, killing four and critically injuring five others. The bus crash happened about 3.5 miles outside the park, and apparently the bus driver may have over corrected, after drifting a bit, causing the bus to roll. Early reports told of other drivers stopping, offering help, as first responders and volunteers arrived from all over the 4,500 resident community.

 This part of the podcast is brought to you by RadPower Bikes,an electric bike manufacturer offering direct to consumer pricing on powerful premium electric bikes. Now with free shipping  

LISTENER QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK

I was curious if you had CB radio installed it and what kind you got the location that it was mounted and also the antenna mounts if you could cover some of that.

Yes Mike, this is Jack Condrey. I live in Charleston, South Carolina. I’m answering your question about what you like about your RV. I have a 2018 team Pleasure-Way Lexor. It’s about 21 feet long. I think it’s 20 ft 11 inches. I like the size of the RV. It’s very Park Abuja. I like the gas generator. It’s not propane. So I never have to worry about refilling the propane to run the generator. I like the solar panels at 5 p.m. Batteries. I’ve never had trouble with running out of battery. I like the comfortable couch. It makes a very comfortable bed. I’m six foot to the couch is six foot three inches long so I can fit in it without having to bend my legs. It has a large refrigerator fiv- foot cubic inches are 5 whatever i v e Or not five feet five cubic feet I believe is the size and then the pleasure right quality is is very good. The thing I don’t like about it is the driver’s seat, I’m not able to scoot it back far enough for my comfort and the it’s to erect it’s to the the back part of the seat on the driver’s seat doesn’t allow me to recline and that’s because the cabinets are pushed forward. They fix that now in the 2019 version where they’ve scooted all the the bathroom and wash everything back but mine is not that way so it’s not comfortable in the driver’s seat. But I do also frustrated with the refrigerator. It’s a three-way. It doesn’t always keep it as cool as I like. We’re in a very hot climate, but the overall I’m very satisfied with the pleasure way Lex or basically because it’s driveable I use it as a second vehicle wage. To work. I take a nap in it at lunch. So anyway, hope this helps you and thank you for your podcast and your I love watching you on YouTube. So I hope this helps. Thank you, bye-bye.

Do you have a question you’d like us to answer, or a comment on the things we’re discussing. If so, we invite you to leave us that question or comment on the special voicemail number we have for the podcast – it’s 586-372-6990.  If you are driving and can’t write it down right now, just go to the RV Lifestyle travel blog at rvlifestyle.com and scroll down the page. You’ll see that number prominently posted on the blog.

This part of the RV Podcast is brought to you by Battle Born Batteries, maker of quality, safe and reliable lithium batteries that can be installed in just about every RV. Get in touch with Battle Born to find out what lithium batteries and an upgraded energy management system can add to your RV Lifestyle. Check them out at https://rvlifestyle.com/lithium

RV INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK

This week we learn all about RV Renting School, which is a way to earn money with your RV… so much money, in fact that your RV can actually pay for itself. We’ll talk about the ins and outs of renting your RV, choosing insurance, wear and tear and why this option is a great choice for many,

Our guest is Josh Whitford, part of our RV Lifestyle marketing team, and he has a lot to say, including a case study on what happened this summer when he and his wife bought a brand new Winnebago Travato RV and started renting it out.

We welcome Josh to the program as he shares his experience and the exciting way RV Renting School can help others to earn some extra money and help pay for the RV lifestyle they want to enjoy

Mike Wendland:
So, let’s learn all about RV Renting School. Joining us now from our RV Lifestyle Community is Josh Whitford, and Josh, this is a pretty exciting thing to talk about for people who are in the RV Lifestyle Community.

Josh Whitford:
Yeah. Excited to be here, excited to talk about renting RVs.

Mike Wendland:
Now, there’s lots of places where people can rent them and rent through them, but this is the first, as I can find out anywhere, the first renting school aimed solely at RVers who have an RV or maybe they’re going to buy one RV and they want to have some help. Who is this for? Let’s talk about that. I identified a couple of audiences there, but who is this a renting school, RV Renting School, for?

Josh Whitford:
I think there’s really two types of people that could benefit from the RV Renting School. One is people who already have an RV and maybe they’re not full-timers or they don’t get to travel as much as they would like or get to use their unit, and it kind of sits there idly for a few weeks or few months out of the year. This is a great way for people in that scenario to earn some additional revenue and cover some payments, if not a lot of the payments that they might have on the unit if they do have payments, and if they don’t, maybe just generate a little extra revenue in general.

Josh Whitford:
Then I would say where this could be of great value is somebody who’s looking to get into an RV. Maybe the timing isn’t right because they haven’t retired yet and they’re planning on picking one up closer to retirement, or maybe finances are little bit more of a concern than they would like or feel comfortable with. In that scenario, this is really helpful and opening up some additional options or people looking to get into an RV and go, “How could I cover some of the payments so I’m not completely eating the full cost of this, or how could I get into a unit that’s maybe a little bit better than I want to stretch for at this moment?”

Josh and Lindsay in front of their rental Travato

Josh Whitford:
Through renting in general, you’d be able to pick up some additional revenue, and the course is really designed to help you optimize that. How can you get the most out of the days you do want to rent it and what are the common issues that would arise and how do you avoid those? We could go on and on down that, maybe you want to talk about the course in a second, but in general, those are the two types of people I think can benefit. Those who already have it and maybe not full-timing, and then those who are looking to get into it maybe a little earlier or maybe with a little less capital investment.

To learn more about RV Renting School. click HERE

Mike Wendland:
So it actually can help pay for that RV that you’re buying. Let’s get right to the question I think a lot of people have, is how much money can somebody make renting their RV out?

Josh Whitford:
Yeah, I mean I think there’s a few factors involved. I could give you a case study for ourselves personally and then we can throw in the other variables, such as where you’re located and what type of RV you are actually renting out, because those are factors involved with it.

Mike Wendland:
Well, let’s do the case study, because you have proven this out by actually buying an RV and renting it out. I think if you can share the numbers on that, that might be pretty surprising to a lot of people, about how renting your RV out can really pay for it and you still have an RV to use.

Josh Whitford:
Absolutely. So this summer my wife and I decided, hey, let’s get into an RV with the intent of renting it out on the side. We both work full time and we are busy, but there are weekends and holidays and 4th of July and labor days, things like that where we do go out and enjoy an RV. We went and bought a 2020 Winnebago Travato 59G, and our intent with that was to use it ourselves, but then also we looked at that particular unit as a unit that had a lot of options that would be attractive to more renters, such as a second bed, a larger refrigerator or two of those primary options, seat belts, two additional seat belts, so it could seat four and sleep for maybe. Not for full sized football players, but a normal family of four.

Josh Whitford:
We spent a month with the unit ourselves, enjoying it and having our friends borrow it to understand what people who have no experience with an RV might have questions about and to do some practice run-throughs. We listed it on the typical third party booking sites such as RV Share and Outdoorsy, and through the middle of July to the middle of September, and we still have bookings after that, but for that two months we rented it out for a total of 35 days out of 60 days. The total bookings were just a little under 11,000 for the two months.

Josh Whitford:
When you subtract out the fees the site takes, is just a little under 8,000 that we collected ourselves, and that gave us an average nightly rate of $225 a night collected. It lists on the site for a little over 300, and with the fees and everything else these sites take, it drops that down a little bit. But at the end of the day, in the two months, 35 days that we booked it, we were able to bank roughly nine months of payments when you factor in insurance and other things. So effectively, until may of next year we don’t have to make a payment on it if we were to quit renting now, which of course we’re not.

Mike Wendland:
Now, if you had not been renting in the 60 days you have owned it, you would have used it 30 days and it would have sat idle for 30 days. Just sitting there, right? The sun beating down.

Josh Whitford:
Yeah, absolutely.

To learn more about RV Renting School. click HERE

Mike Wendland:
The other question people ask is did any of these people who rented it from you, did any of them do any damage? Were there any problems with the unit? Any horror stories that came back from irresponsible owners? I think people worry about that.

Josh Whitford:
Yeah, and it is a valid concern. You know, like rental cars at an airport, they’re going to get used, and now it is being used 30 more days than if it were just sitting in your driveway, that is a consideration and 100% a valid one. For us, we had, I would say two pretty minor things. Somebody brushed up against a tree and scratch the side of it, which I was able to buff out with buffer off the shelf.

Josh Whitford:
It took two hours and a little bit of elbow grease and it seems to be pretty good. We did charge them extra for that, called it additional cleaning, and then the very first rental, and I’m glad it almost was, somebody actually ran into the back bumper and chipped the paint, if you will. That was about it, didn’t really do much damage, just added a scuff to the back bumper. I was happy that happened on the first one, because it then kind of just got it out of the way. There’s a possibility this is going to happen and now we know it.

Mike Wendland:
Well, that’s a pretty good case history, and being able to make nine months of your payments in just the first two months and using it a month yourself. So really in one month, in one month of use, you made all the payments for the next nine months, and as you said, you still got some others.

Mike Wendland:
All right, so that’s the case history. In terms of this RV Renting School that we are announcing, let’s talk about what is in that school. It’s all online, and this is a pretty extensive course. The only one of its kind. Walk us through, Josh Whitford, how this works. What are the elements of this renting school and what will people be able to do after they go through it? Let’s start with how long it lasts.

Josh Whitford:
Yeah, so we started this because like you said, there’s not much out there. Each rental site, or maybe even insurance site, might have their own renting school or information, but it’s very biased. It’s their site, their platform, they want you to use it and they’re going to only talk about the good things about their site and platform and things. We approached this from across the board as a way of, doesn’t matter what site, we want to get the information out of exactly what to look out for. How does it affect insurance, what are common problems, how can you vet people, what are issues with claims and things like that?

Josh Whitford:
We approached this from a very high level across the board of understanding what this is. It’s not, I want to be clear, it’s not just a course, but it’s actually a course, a community, and then additional content that’s coming where we bring on additional, not influencers, but experts in insurance, marketing, people who are currently renting RVs as full time business. We do a webinar with them each quarter, and that will continue to be added to the site.

Mike Wendland:
So continuing education.

Josh Whitford:
So there is a course.

Mike Wendland:
Yeah, continuing education.

Josh Whitford:
Correct.

To learn more about RV Renting School. click HERE

Mike Wendland:
This is good. Yeah, and a community of other people, other people in that community. It’s a closed group, as I understand, and so you get support from other people who are learning. You can run questions by them, if maybe one person in your area is all booked up and has somebody who wants to rent, they can refer it to you. There’s a lot of expert advice. That’s worth a lot right there.

Mike Wendland:
Walk through the course. Once they sign up, and we’ll send them to rvlifestyle.com/rentingschool. So they go to that and they enroll, what happens from there?

Josh Whitford:
The main course content is broken into three sections. Before you begin renting, what are things to consider, questions you should be asking yourself, are you okay with these types of things? Questions about insurance, how much money you can make, and we go through and go different class types of RVs and different locations and actually scrape 600 listings to pull together average prices. It’s much more, in our opinion, honest than if you were to go to some of these other sites and plug it in. Then go through if it makes sense for you to rent this out, and that’s the beginning. You get that immediately, and with that you get the community portion immediately as well.

Josh Whitford:
Then after a week, the second portion of the course opens up, and that’s optimizing, or I’m sorry, once you’ve committed to having that, and that covers everything. Like how to stock your RV, how to vet potential renters, how to communicate with renters, standard operating procedures on renters and rentals and whether or not you should register as an LLC. Things of that nature. How to dummy proof your RV, all that kind of content, once you’ve committed to moving forward, and then we have optimizing is the third section which releases 14 days after joining. That’s RV rental marketing, how to fill your calendar with bookings, ways to smooth out your check in and checkout process. These aren’t without work, it does require cleaning and turning of linens and lots of little things, and there’s a way to expedite that and make sure that, as many days as possible that you are able to book it out, you can.

Josh Whitford:
That’s the main three components of the course. Over time, as we get more community feedback from the community section, we will continue to add course topics to these different sections. So this will continue to grow over time as we encounter more and more questions that the community has and wants answered.

Mike Wendland:
One of the reasons I would assume that it’s divided into three different segments and 14 days apart, is you want people to take the time and really make this a course, go through each lesson and grow from there. I know there’s also a bonus on here as well. You’re throwing in our How To Buy an RV, because somebody may be actually buying an RV to rent specifically for this, and I know we can help them with that course, that book that we’ve put out. That’s pretty good value right there, and that’s thrown in as well.

Josh Whitford:
Yeah, that’s correct. This course is designed to really go through and help educate you through the process. It’s hard in one day or two days to fully make an educated decision on whether or not this is the right choice for you, to rent out your RV or to buy an RV to rent out. We want people to engage with the community, get involved, ask questions, learn from others that are doing it or find from renters or experts that are also in the course, be able to ask them questions and better understand what’s right for them.

Josh Whitford:
Then like you said, anybody who does sign up to the course will automatically get the RV Lifestyle Buying Guide, which I personally used when we bought the RV this summer for this exact purpose. That is also included, and that includes pre-delivery inspection checklists and buying check lists and questions to ask. It’s a fully designed 75 page guide on what to look out for when buying a new or used RV.

Mike Wendland:
Now, I’ve had the benefit of being able to look at this course, and it really is solid. There’s a full course outline, all the information people need. If we again send them, and we’ll put a link in the show notes for the podcast and we’ll have it on the rvlifestyle.com blog as well, but it’s just rvlifestyle.com/rentingschool. Renting school, all one word, and they can look at the course outline.

Mike Wendland:
One of the things that you talk about right upfront in this course, and I think it’s the big question that a lot of people have, is the ins and outs of RV insurance. Talk about that, Josh, a little bit and what do we teach them in this course?

Josh Whitford:
Yeah, so that section is pretty meaty. It’s a long section and when we first went down this path we were like, “Oh, this will be easy. All these sites have insurance, nothing to worry about,” and as we dug deeper and deeper and got more involved in this process, we realized there’s a lot to this subject that they don’t really disclose on their sites when you go to sign up. To us, we wanted to take a lot of time and elaborate on some of those things, like what is or isn’t covered and how that can affect your RV rentals. I’ll give you just a for instance, because there’s many for instances, but one big thing that most insurance providers such as Progressive, State Farm, those types that you would have personally on your RV, come with what’s known as gap coverage.

Josh Whitford:
If you’re familiar with gap coverage, that is if you have a $50,000 loan on your RV and it is in an accident, the real market value might be $40,000, and that’s what the insurance company will pay for the value of that RV because they pay the market value. Gap coverage, insurance policies that have gap coverage, will cover that difference between what the market value of your RV is and what the note or the loan left on your RV actually is, and so instead of them giving you a $40,000 check when you still owe 50, they’ll actually give you the $50,000 check. What we learned is that all of these sites, none of them offer gap coverage. You go, “Well, I still have it on my Progressive or State Farm.” That’s true, but if you’re renting it out, they will not give you that gap coverage, because you are using RV outside of their policy terms.

Josh Whitford:
So then you’re stuck with just your traditional claim through those third party sites. That was pretty eye opening to go, “Oh wow, you don’t have gap coverage anymore.” That’s one factor to take into account, and if you have no loan on your RV and you’re renting it out, there’s no problem there. If you do, then that’s something to consider, and I believe there are third party providers that will do gap coverage for a rental, but it definitely is more expensive and not included with any of these sites in their insurance policies. So that’s one big one.

To learn more about RV Renting School. click HERE

Mike Wendland:
You’ve talked to a lot of other renters out there, and there are now people, RVers, who’ve made a business out of this, right? They’ve bought multiple RVs and they run it as a business, and of course they always have one that they can use. Tell us about that.

Josh Whitford:
Yeah, absolutely. Especially in higher, call it tourist areas. We’re outside of Yellow Stone here in Bozeman, Montana, and the opportunity for high tourist areas is very clear. For instance, at the Glacier National Park in Montana, the demand is so high that people are actually flying in and renting U-Hauls just to have a vehicle to go into the park with, because there’s not even enough rental cars or rental vans. Depending on the location, yeah, you could rent it out almost every conceivable booking day possible. Weather wise, you know, we’re in Montana, it snows, so you wouldn’t be renting much in the winter, but you know, Southern Florida or Southern California, the rental period is almost your year round. Depending on where it is and what destination, yeah, you could easily make a business out of it, and many people are.

Mike Wendland:
Yeah, if you’re near a national park, and most of us are within a half a day’s drive of a national park, that’s a big draw. Of course as you said, Florida and Arizona and Texas, the East Coast, up in New England you’ve got Acadia National Park, all the, you know the Adirondacks. Most of us are within a half a day drive of some strong tourist areas, and I’m sure you’d help them with the marketing and tell them what to promote.

Mike Wendland:
I’m pretty excited about it and I’m really interested. The case study of Josh and his wife Lindsay on their rental is up on that information center that we told you about, rvlifestyle.com/rentingschool and it’s all laid out for you, how many times they rented it, how many days. The last thing I wanted to touch on is I think it probably stopped a lot of people, they said, “Wow, are they really that expensive?” And the average rate for your Winnebago Travado was $329, and nobody balks at that, because that’s how many people want to rent these things. Isn’t that right?

Josh Whitford:
Yeah, we could have easily charged much more, but because we wanted as many experiences as possible, we set it at a very reasonable market rate, and I mean, nobody balked at it. It’s actually booked up for the next three weeks as I sit here talking to you.

Mike Wendland:
Last question. If somebody doesn’t like this, what are their options? If they get in this course and they say, “Oh, this isn’t for me,” there is a guarantee, is there not?

Josh Whitford:
Yeah, absolutely, and we would encourage people to get in there interact with the community, dive through the content and get a real feel and understanding. If it’s not a good fit, or it doesn’t make sense to have this community at your fingertips, then yeah, there’s a 60 day money back guarantee and we will refund you and help [inaudible 00:21:58].

Mike Wendland:
Let’s get them to that site, rvlifestyle.com/rentingschool, and they can find out all about it before the price goes back to its normal course value. Josh Whitford, thank you for sharing your experience in renting out an RV, and thank you for all the work that you do for the RV Lifestyle community, and especially for overseeing this course, the first of its kind. RV Rental School is now available, rvlifestyle.com/rentingschool. Josh, thanks for being our guests on the podcast.

Josh Whitford:
You’re welcome.

To learn more about RV Renting School. click HERE

The interview of the week is brought to you by SunshinestateRVs.com, where every new  motorhome is delivered to the customer free, anywhere in the country

OFF THE BEATEN PATH REPORT   

By Tom & Patti Burkett

In the first of the new Star Trek film series, starring Chris Pine, Captain Kirk gets his start in Starfleet by taking a few too many punches in his neighborhood bar.  The bar, it turns out, is just down the road from the shipyard where the starship Enterprise is being built, among the cornfields of Iowa.  Yep, Iowa.  Any good trekker will tell you without hesitation that the cornhusker state produced the man who took us “where no one has gone before.”  So, in a patch of grass behind a beauty shop on the semi-shuttered main street you’ll find a marker for the future birthplace of James T. Kirk, March 22, 2228.

Back in 1985, when this town of about a thousand was looking for a new theme for its annual festival, a local fan and city council member suggested the idea and, after getting approval from creator Gene Roddenberry, work began in earnest to make its so.  A single-story building with a gravel parking lot that might once have been a pizza shop and dry cleaners is now the Voyage Home Riverside History Center, affectionately known as the Star Trek Museum.  Ensign Chekov came to town to cut the ribbon opening the center, which includes a Star Trek bathroom, an exhibit highlighting the women of the series, and a variety of other artifacts.

Each year, the last weekend in June marks TrekFest.  The USS Riverside, an Enterprise class starship, which usually hangs out in the lot in front of the museum, joins many other space vehicles and aliens in the annual parade.  Romulans, Klingons, and members of even more exotic races can bee seen strolling the streets enroute to the movie marathon or the trivia contest.  In 2018 John and Maria Jose Tenutos, renowned Star Trek historians from the community college in Grayslake, Illinois were the keynote speakers.

Riverside isn’t the only place to go for a hit of Star Trek nostalgia.  Hobbyist James Cawley used original blueprints from the series to create an exact replica of the bridge, sick bay, and engine room from the original series in his home in Ticonderoga, New York.  For the price of admission you can sit in the command chair and push the all hail button for an important ship-wide announcement.  Or visit Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park near Agua Dulce, California and, if you a faithful fan, you’ll recognize the settings for several episodes in the original series.  Farther north, in Vulcan, Alberta, you can see a commemorative bust of Mr. Spock, get your photo taken aboard the shuttle craft Khan, and enjoy a variety of well crafted exhibits in the UFO-themed visitor center.

Little towns, once the heartbeat of our national life, are looking for and finding ways to keep themselves and their residents vibrant in these days of instant global communications and living an online lifestyle.  We salute them for being creative and enterprising, and we delight in discovering something new just a few miles down the next blue highway.  Next time you communicator is in your hand, call down to the transporter room and ask Scotty to beam you out here, off the beaten path. 

RV CALENDAR OF EVENTS