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  • Jimmy Sutjak

Make money with your camper van, $20,000 or more annually

The Covid-19 outbreak has brought travel and work to a screeching halt. As a result, people have looked for new ways to travel, vacation, and live their lives. For many people, the alternative lifestyle of VanLife has become the go-to method to fill all of their adventure needs. Camper vans offer the unique opportunity to travel, cook, sleep, and work, all from the comfort of your own home on wheels. While some people are using this time to take a leap into living the full van life, others are just looking for a safer and more convenient way to get away. Those going into vanlife fulltime already know the many benefits of living the nomadic life. Now, with camper vans in short supply and such high demand, part-time van lifers can take advatage of the situation in order to put away thousands of dollars in nearly passive income by renting out their vans.

The camper van industry has absolutely exploded over the last few months. Much like here at Alpinvan, companies are working day and night in order to scale their manufacturing as quickly and efficiently as possible. This is in an attempt to keep up with the nearly unending demand for new camper vans. Alpinvan and other van builders are not the only people benefiting from this higher demand. Those individuals who are lucky enough to get a spot on the build schedule of a van builder can recuperate the full cost of the build within just a few years. This can easily be accomplished through renting out your van part-time.


How to rent your van?


Companies such as Outdoorsy have made it fast and easy, safe and secure to rent out your own camper van. Vans such as our Andes Build can make on average $200 per night, with prices only going up depending on the time of year and location. Outdoorsy allows you to list your van for free, with only a small fee whenever someone books. Through their user friendly website you can also block off any days or times of the year when you want to keep the van available for your own adventures. Their website lets your set your own price for the van, charge for any add-ons such as adventure equipment, toilets, pets, and more. You can even set the amount of miles that are permitted each day and charge extra for any miles above and beyond the allocated amount.

I am sure that you are thinking, "wait, what about wear and tear on the vehicle, insurance, trusting the driver with my car, etc.?" We are getting to that part. This is where renting through Outdoorsy truly shines and allows for huge benefits to be passed off onto you as the owner of the van. Wear and tear on the vehicle as a result of renting will always be a personal choice, but the math supports the fact that the benefits far outweigh the cost.

In order to illustrate this cost-to-benefit we will look at a brand new 2020 Ram Promaster 2500 159" that you can pickup for around $35,000. Add to that our Andes Build, which starts at $20,000 resulting the total cost of the vehicle and build being $55,000. The van would start with nearly no miles. You can then take the van and list it directly on Outdoorsy for just over $200 per night (high enough so that the fees bring the final payout to $200 even). On the listing you can allow the client to go up to 200 miles per day. This is a generous amount of miles for any roadtrip. Typically, someone would not spend their entire time driving, so the actual used mileage would be much lower.

In this scenario you would earn 1$ of revenue per every mile that the van is used. ($200 per night / 200 miles per day) If the person uses less than the alotted amount of miles for each day, then the amount of money that you make per mile would only increase. (For example $200 per night / 150 miles used per day = $1.34 per mile) This difference may seem minuscule, but when projected out over the life of the vehicle can result in tens of thousands of dollars.

Now, a 2020 Ram Promaster can easily handle 150,000 miles or more when properly maintained. Suppose that you use the van for a few months at a time, adding another 25,000-50,000 miles to the car. This leave a van that is less than ten years old with about 150,000 miles. This means $100,000 of revenue over this estimated life of the vehicle from rentals alone. Then, with a simple google search, you will notice that resale value of a van ten year old Promaster camper van with this mileage would still get you $25,000 of the absolute low end of the spectrum, with many vans going into the upper $30,000 range.


Expenses and Time


$125,000 is a wonderful return on a $55,000 investment, particularly from an adventure rig that could have lived its life being a burden and expense to its owner. Before we start counting our money, we first have to factor in expenses and time. These are two factors that can erode any great investment.

First, we have to factor in maintenance. These costs go up throughout the life of the vehicle. As a result, the first few years you may only have to pay $500-$600 in general maintenance, but by year ten, this cost can be over $2,000 per year. On average you can expect to pay about $1,500 per year on maintenance.


Next, we have to look at the rental market. Again, depending on where you live there may be more or less demand for camper van rentals. With people avoiding flying, we can only predict that demand will grow throughout the USA. In lower demand markets you may only be able to rent your van for a few weeks. Five weeks of rentals, for example, would only add 7,000 miles or less to the van each year, while also bringing in $7,000 in revenues. Enough money to cover car payments for the year. With the right exposure in the right markets a van can easily rent for 20 or more weeks per year. This would add 28,000 miles to the vehicle each year, but would also net you as the owner $28,000 annually.


Conclusion- RENT YOUR VAN!


There is no doubt that we see the rental market right now and for the foreseable future being primed for camper van rentals. Instead of having your camper van sitting around for months while you are waiting for your next crazy adventure, rent it out and make some money. The amount of time and effort equates to washing your van every few weeks, keeping up with a few more emails, and making sure that the van gets into the garage for regular maintenance. If you can do these things, then you can make the van work for you, bringing in at least enough money to pay your insurance with the potential to make enough to payoff your entire van in just a few years.

Are you ready for your own camper van yet? Whether you are looking for fulltime van life or fulltime rentals, you can get your build started here at Alpinvan.

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