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Top tips every static caravan owner should know before hiring out their caravan

Thursday 20th July 2017
By Kay Knight
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By Kay Knight
Hiring out your caravan home away from home to people you’ve never met before can be a daunting thought, however it can help offset some of the running costs of your caravan and make it worth your while.

As you’ll already know, buying a static caravan is not an investment, it’s a lifestyle choice! It gives you that space you need to escape to when everyday life is just too much. Giving others a chance to do the same, whilst earning a bit of extra cash, can be rewarding in more ways than one. So, where do you start? We’ve pulled together some of our top tips on things you’ll need to consider if you want to hire out your caravan.

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1. Does the park where your caravan is sited allow you to hire it out?

Although it’s YOUR caravan, and you should be able to do with it as you wish, some park operators don’t allow you to hire out your caravan full stop. Others will only let you if you use their own subletting service for a fee but in most cases you’ll have the choice to hire out privately too. You’ll need to take a look at your contract to see if you even have the option first, and then go from there. If you happen to be on a park where you aren’t allowed to hire out your caravan you may want to consider moving to another one – often companies will offer to move you for free just to get you on board so make sure you do your research to find the right one.

2. ‘Must have’ insurance

The likelihood is that you’ll have needed to get your caravan insured as part of the deal with the park operator. You’ll also need to make sure that you’re covered for hiring out your caravan if you wish to do so. Some basic caravan insurance policies don’t cover this so you’ll need to do your homework and discover whether it was an optional extra that you just didn’t take. If that’s the case, adding it to you policy may bring up your premiums but it will be worth it in the long run.

Public Liability Insurance is something you’ll absolutely need to have. This is to cover yourself and your guests for any damages, physical injury and death arising from accidents relating to your caravan or lodge so make sure you’ve got it included in you policy.

3. Safety Requirements

It’s important to make sure that all verification checks have been carried out before you hire out to anyone (let alone before you stay in it yourself!). This means getting your all your gas and electricity safety certificates, setting up regular inspections and providing sufficient maintenance for your static caravan, especially if it’s going to be used a lot.

Hiring out your caravan to the general public means it’s ultimately your responsibility to meet any legal requirements surrounding the safety of you and your guests. So you’ll need to make sure you have the following:

- Gas Safety  

Your gas appliances need to have been installed in accordance with up to date gas safety requirements and in line with the manufacturer’s instructions provided. If these requirements aren’t met and something happens, you may not be covered by your insurance. Display a copy of the passed inspection certificate in your caravan and don’t forget to set a reminder to get your certificate updated each year.

- Electrical Safety

- A fixed electrical installation certificate will be required to prove that your fixed wiring is safe and fit for purpose. You should think about getting this renewed every 2-3 years.

- If you’ve got any appliances older than 1 year they must be P.A.T. tested (Portable Appliance Test) annually. You’ll receive a certificate for this too so display in your caravan.

- Carbon Monoxide Safety

- It’s colourless, odourless and tasteless but also extremely dangerous. Symptoms can include headaches, nausea and sickness, dizziness and even heart disease.  In extreme cases where people have been exposed for prolonged periods or when levels are high enough, death can be a reality. If your caravan or lodge using gas appliances, you must, by law, have one of these. You can pick up a decent CO detector online for between £10 and £50 and you’ll need to test regularly to ensure it’s working correctly.

- General Safety Advice

- Display clear and concise details of what someone should do if there’s an emergency - i.e. How they raise the fire alarm, who to contact on and off the park, the nearest fire points to your caravan, exit points etc.

- Make sure your caravan has a fire extinguisher that’s easily accessible and in date.

- By law you’ll to have at least one fire alarm fitted and test it regularly.

- Make sure you’ve got a copy of the Fire Risk Assessment that your park operator will have had to complete by law.

Find a registered engineer near you.

4. Managing your holidaymaker bookings

Who do you trust to look after your holidaymaker bookings for your second home? Many owners like to have as much control as possible when accepting guests. If you just don’t have the time to put in, you may go down the route of the park subletting services that we mentioned earlier. To avoid any issues and the high commission rates, working with an external partner like Camplify could be the perfect solution. It gives you the opportunity to connect with your guests directly so that you can choose whether to accept the booking or not. This free to list, peer to peer hiring platform has everything you need to set up your listings, take payments and arrange things like cleaning and key exchange to make your life easier.

5. What should you charge?

This all depends on the make, model, age and location of your caravan, how many people it can accommodate, what’s included in terms of appliances, utensils or soft furnishings, how long and when you plan on hiring it out – check out our pricing calculator to help guide you towards choosing prices that are reasonable for both the holidaymaker and for you. You could be earning up to £10.000 per year for your caravan.

6. Who’s going to clean your caravan after your guests leave?

You may already have someone in mind that can do this for you. Either another owner that you know, family or friends in the area that can do this for you but if not, check out our list of recommended cleaning companies that operate all over the UK.

7. How to advertise that your caravan is available for hire

If you’re relying on a park operator to market your caravan, you may want to reconsider. Their priorities for marketing will no doubt be focused on the earning potential for them using their own stock. That’s where a dedicated holiday home hiring platform comes into play.  Their main aim is to connect you with your customers. You’ll pay a small commission in comparison but it’s free to list your caravan and they’ll bring the holidaymakers to you.

8. Is the rental income taxable?

The short answer is yes, you’ll need to inform the HMRC for self-assessment tax purposes, regardless of whether you have a job or even if you’re retired. Any rent taken for your caravan hires will be considered as income. But good news is you’d most likely be eligible for certain forms of tax relief relating to Furnished Holiday Lets (FHL). You’re hiring schedule and static caravan itself would need to meet strict conditions connected to occupancy, availability and letting but if they do, it means you could class A LOT of costs as expenses. Find out what you claim for when you hire yours out.

9. Request a deposit to cover any damage from your guests

Just to ensure you’re covered in the short term for any damages to your caravan or its contents most owners will ask for a security deposit before confirming the booking. It helps to cover any excess you may have to pay on insurance claims too.

10. When to hire out your caravan or lodge

For the highest income potential you’re better off hiring out your static caravan during peak times if you can. Demand is always higher during school holiday periods so you can afford to raise your prices here. If it’s possible for you to use your caravan during off-peak periods, that’s probably your best option.

11. Make sure your static caravan is well stocked

As you’re going to get a lot of use out your caravan and its contents, it may mean that you’ll find yourself having to replace things more than you’d expect. But you really don’t have to spend a lot of money on things that can make it easier for your guests to be stress free on their family holiday. Firstly, the more ‘useful stuff’ you have available to you customers, ensuring there is enough to accommodate the maximum occupancy, the better their experience will be - and the feedback! Make it clear to your guests what is NOT INCLUDED – i.e. bedding. All this can also help with pricing up your holidays.

12. Lastly, don’t forget your TV License!

The rules around TV licensing and static caravans can be a bit confusing and in theory, as long as you aren’t using your TV at home at the same time as the TV in your caravan, you don’t need a license. But to avoid receiving a fine it’s worth purchasing one at (just to be safe).

If you’ve decided that hiring out is the right thing for you, we can help. Camplify provides you with the platform you need to connect to holidaymakers all over the UK wishing to make holiday memories in your beloved caravan or lodge. From start to finish, Camplify will guide you towards everything you’ll need in order to successfully hire out your caravan. You can manage your listings and bookings in one place and we’ll just keep bring the customers to you!  

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.

Find out how much your caravan can earn you

To find out how Camplify can work with you and your RV, register today here.

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