Living the Van Life…by Renting Them Out During the Pandemic | Westword – Westword

Living the Van Life…by Renting Them Out During the Pandemic | Westword – Westword

Emerging service Outdoorsy allows owners to rent out their RVs and campers so that people can try the van life for a few days. During the pandemic, some Denver residents have turned the rental website into an economic engine for their families.

Around six years ago, Jarom and Katie Walz bought and restored a 1960s Airstream trailer because Jarom wanted to spend more time camping. “Katie was not a fan of tent camping at all, so in order for me to get her to go out with me, she had to have a real bed,” he recalls. Over the next few years, the couple redid the trailer several times, making improvements based on their traveling experiences.

Some of their friends went to Iceland in 2019 and rented a camper van. Talking over dinner with their friends, the Walzes decided to bring the idea to Colorado and registered their website, Discover Campervans, right there at the table even before they bought a camper van to restore and then rent. The couple decided to use Outdoorsy, which handles bookings and some business systems, to start the business.

Lance Bohannan and his extended family in the Denver area bought an RV together in 2017 because they knew no one family member would keep it busy, much less cover its cost. When Bohannan learned about Outdoorsy in 2019, the family decided to register the RV with the service and make some money on weekends when none of them were using it. “It also gave us a great platform to build to share something we enjoy and play a small role in significant memories that others would make utilizing our RV, so it was very gratifying and something we enjoyed,” Bohannan says.

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Lance Bohannan owns Trailhead RV Rentals, which boasts five RVs and plans to add more.

Lance Bohannan

During the first six months, Bohannan estimates the family made between $20,000 and $30,000 renting the one RV, so they used that money for the down payment on a second RV and started Trailhead RV Rentals. Although the company has its own website where people can book directly, those bookings are supported by Outdoorsy; Bohannan credits that company with making Trailhead RV Rentals profitable so quickly because it helps with marketing, communication, insurance and taxes. Trailhead RV Rentals now has five RVs.

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