Hire Out Your Caravan Privately Or Through A Park Operator?
Thursday 17th August 2017
By Kay Knight
If you own a static caravan or lodge you might already be toying with the idea of hiring it out so you can claw back some of the costs involved in its upkeep. You may already be hiring out your caravan but questioning the route you’ve taken? Either way, here’s some advice for you to take on-board.
If it’s something you’re considering, we totally understand why! It’s a big decision to hire out your caravan but it can really help you out with all the extra costs that come along with being an owner. Pitch fees can be massive and will often increase each year on holiday parks, sometimes reaching as high as £12,000 each year. That of course depends on whether your park is in a more desirable part of the UK and the location of your pitch on park; premium spots can rack up pitch fees to quite a sum. Then you’ve got your insurance, water rates, gas, electricity and maintenance costs on top of that. So to be able to recoup at least some of it by hiring out can be a ‘no brainer’ for many owners.
If you definitely want to hire out your caravan but really don’t know where to start there are some options to consider. It really depends on your situation, how much you want to earn and of course, how much time you have to invest in the hiring out process but first you’ll need to check that you’ve got the option to hire it out and that you have the right insurance to cover you in any eventuality. Refer to your agreement with the park and your insurance company first so that you know where you stand.
Like anything, there are pros and cons of going through your park operator so make sure you know all the details and decide what’s best for you.
It’s convenient – the park will more or less take care of everything from start to finish. They’ll welcome your guests and hand over the keys to your holiday home with the normal cheeriness you’d expect at a holiday park. They’ll show the same levels of customer service to people staying in your caravan to those in their own fleet so you can rest assured if any problems arise, they’ll have someone on hand to deal with it.
They’ll advertise your caravan on their website, so depending on the availability you have agreed to, your holiday home will appear in searches for holidaymakers wanting to stay at the park at those times.
Cleaning is also taken care of for you; you shouldn’t have to worry about the level of cleanliness that your guests will experience as the park has an interest in keeping it to a satisfactory level so it isn’t highlighted on social networks and review sites. A high number of people use review sites and get advice from social networks when making a decision on where they go on holiday so they will want to keep customer complaints to a minimum.
The biggest disadvantage is the money you won’t get to see from your hires. Park operators will take from around 15% all the way up to 40% of all bookings made for your caravan holiday home even before VAT and most will be at the higher end. This is to cover all costs associated with key exchange, customer service, marketing and cleaning so if you can put in the time and arrange this yourself it might be a better option for you.
You don’t get a say in who stays in your caravan. As everything is managed by the park operator and bookings are often made online with no vetting process involved, you won’t have a clue who’ll be visiting your caravan or lodge. We don’t know about you but for every owner that said they wouldn’t consider hiring out their caravan or lodge; this was the biggest reason why. Trusting your friends and family that want to use your second home is one thing but putting your trust in a complete stranger is another altogether. Everyone we’ve spoken to said that they would prefer more control over who they hire out to before they’d even considered it.
Although the park’s offering will include marketing to their customers, there is no guarantee that there will be any focus on your caravan or lodge. Remember, they have an abundance of their own fleet to market (where they get all the profit), so the likelihood is that these will take priority over yours.
You’ll be limited to when you can visit your own caravan. Many operators will insist that you agree to a certain amount of peak and off-peak dates that they can have to hire out, and means you will be limited during those key school holiday periods where prices are higher so may not be as convenient for you after all.
Should you hire out privately?
The biggest advantage here is that every penny of your hires will come to you (as long as the park don’t charge you a fee for hiring out privately – check the fine print).
If you can put in the time to communicate with anyone that’s interested in hiring your caravan or lodge you’ll at least be able to decide for yourself whether you feel comfortable enough that they’d take good care of your second home. You’re in complete control here and you get set all the rules in terms of booking and payment, house rules that should be adhered to, whether you take a deposit and the terms attached to it, it’s all in your hands.
If you aren’t asking customers to self-clean, you’ll need to arrange for a cleaner to come after each hire or do it yourself if you are close by.
Someone will need to be there to exchange keys before and after a hire although you could get a coded key lock box and place it as discreetly as possible on your caravan but you’ll need to check that it doesn’t void your insurance.
If you don’t have a lot of spare time on your hands, advertising and dealing with customers might be an issue for you. You’ll need to make time for communicating with your guests and to chase any payments if necessary.
Unless you have enough park passes to give to your customers they may not be able to have access to the entertainment and facilities that the park offers but you can usually ask the park to provide you with these for a small fee. Better than people having to pay extra when they get there!
Is there a middle ground?
Yes there is, you’ve got a couple more options to consider that could work better for you than going fully on-board with the park or doing it all on your own.
You could pay the park operator to handle the key exchange, this will be a much smaller annual fee than getting them to do it all and you’ll often find that they will include park entertainment passes in this cost. This will all depend on the park and what they will and won’t be willing to do for you but it could go a long way towards easing any concerns you have over the on-site check in and check out process. The park may offer different levels of assistance so look into it and decide what’s best for you.
For those of you that want more control, you could opt for going through a trusted partner that provides you with platform you need to make everything that much more manageable. They will do all the marketing to advertise your caravan whilst also giving you the ability to communicate with your guests (already vetted) and the freedom to either approve or decline the booking. It’ll give you somewhere to list your accommodation, add all of your booking rules and allow payments to be made through the platform. You can set up your calendar to only advertise the weeks that you want to hire out and you can set the prices yourself. Some will allow you to list your caravan for free and only take a small percentage of each booking making it a much more affordable option.
If you feel that this is the way forward that you’d prefer, visit us at https://www.camplify.co.uk/or call us on 0330 808 1811 for further advice, we’d love to help you on your journey.
So what is Camplify?
We are the UK's fastest-growing peer-to-peer caravan hire and RV sharing community. Camplify is just like Airbnb, but for caravans, campervans, motorhomes, trailer tents and lodges. We connect RV owners with holidaymakers in a safe and secure sharing environment. It's free to list and we take care of insurance and breakdown cover while your RV is out on hire.
Curious to learn what you could earn hiring out your RV on Camplify? Try our free hire income calculator via the button below.