Renting Your Teardrop
RV ownership is at a record high with over 11 million people in the United States owning an RV in 2021. During the pandemic, demand for RVs soared; labor and part shortages resulted in lead times of one to two years and the price of raw materials became unmanageable for many DIY teardrop or squaredrop trailer builders. So, with everything stacked against a wanna-be teardrop trailer camper, how can one get outside and explore? Rent!
In January 2022, Cool Tears and Tiny Campers Magazine surveyed over 1000 people around the world regarding the habits of teardrop and squaredrop trailer owners. Nearly 7% of the respondents reported owning more than one tiny camper, but less than 1% of respondents rent their tiny camper when it’s not being used by the family.
Why rent out your teardrop?
There are many reasons why someone may want to rent your teardrop trailer. To see if it’s actually a good fit for how they like to camp, teardrops are not for everybody and it’s nice to try before you buy. Some people are afraid they will feel claustrophobic or won’t fit inside? Offer them the opportunity to rent one for a weekend and find out. Some want to get into the RV lifestyle but don’t have a large tow vehicle? Rent a teardrop trailer, most small SUVs and crossovers can easily tow a teardrop with no issues. Going on a cross country camping trip and don’t want to sleep on the ground? Rent a teardrop trailer and sleep in a comfortable bed. For those wanting to buy and know a teardrop is right for them but not sure which company to go with. Rent the models you are interested in and see if one suits your style and needs. Have you already placed an order for a teardrop trailer but you won’t get it for another two years?! You guessed it, rent one for your camping trips before your new shiny teardrop is ready for you.
You get the idea, renting a teardrop if you don’t already own one is a great, cost effective way to explore options as a future RVer and an income stream for owners.
Renting your teardrop
Cool Tears interviewed four people that rent their teardrop or squaredrop trailers from across the United States to get a feel for what it’s like from the owner’s perspective. Two of the people that rent their tiny campers are located in the upper midwest; one in Colorado and the last one is located in the Pacific Northwest. Each of the four people interviewed were asked the same questions.
The intent of this article is to share the good, the bad, and the ugly about renting a teardrop or squaredrop trailer and to help dispel any myths about it.
Rental companies and insurance
Each of the respondents use a third party to rent their teardrop or squaredrop trailers. Outdoorsy and RVShare are the two main companies that are used and they are similar to AirBnB, except these beds are on wheels. There are owner benefits to using a third party like these. First, they help to put your tiny camper in front of people that are looking for what you have listed. For example, if I live in city “x” and I want to rent a teardrop, it is easy to search for the trailers near where I live that are available for the dates that I want. So as an owner, there is no need to do extra marketing to try to rent the trailer. The second benefit is that these companies take care of the insurance with the renter.
The insurance is paid upfront when the renter reserves the teardrop. It should also be noted that most of the owners also charge a security deposit that is refundable if the teardrop is brought back undamaged. One of the people interviewed rents out three trailers and stated that “out of hundreds of rentals, we have not had any damage which rose to the level a claim had to be filled.” Two of the other people interviewed did have damage to their trailers, but one could be repaired with the money from the security deposit. One of the people interviewed had their teardrop rear-ended at the height of the pandemic in 2020 (during the summer) and it took two months for the trailer to be repaired. Not only did Outdoorsy cover the cost of the repair, but they were also able to recover the two months of lost rental income as well.
Are extras necessary?
If you’re considering renting your teardrop or squaredrop trailer know that you can offer as many or as few extra amenities as you want and you can choose to either include them in the rental price or the extras can be additional charges. Cool Tears specifically asked if the owners provided a wash tub, water jugs, camp stove, and cooler or fridge. The answers varied. A few of them provide everything except food while others provide no extras. A few of the owners interviewed provide a lot of the basics, but do charge a price for more pricey amenities such as generators, solar panels, an extra tent, etc.
Location, Location, Location. Does it matter?
Cool Tears was curious if the location of the rental would make a difference in the number of days the teardrop or squaredrop would be rented. Our theory was that people that lived near national parks would have more success. That myth was busted! None of the owners interviewed limit the mileage during the rental period and several stated that people are renting their tiny campers to take on cross country camping trips. In their experience, an owner in the upper midwest stated that they have a number of renters that pickup one of their campers and go on extended trips to Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, or Glacier National Parks.
Do you recommend renting your teardrop?
The answers to this question did vary a little by respondent, but overall the consensus was yes, they would recommend renting out your tiny camper. Some of the owners who were interviewed run this as a part-time family business and said it helps defray the cost of their trailers since it’s an asset that you can’t use all of the time. Most of the owners also stated that they love hearing the stories when their renters return from their trips.
It is recommended that you be intimately familiar with your trailer and how it works if you plan to rent your trailer so you can answer any questions the renters may have while on a trip.
The people that were interviewed have had mostly positive experiences with renting their teardrop or squaredrop trailers, but do caution that it’s important to remember that the trailer is replaceable. If the thought of seeing your tiny trailer come back dirty or damaged makes you sick to your stomach, then maybe renting is not for you.
It is important to remember that if you choose to rent your teardrop trailer, you are enabling someone else to have an experience that otherwise would not be possible. As teardrop or squaredrop owners, we love talking about our camping experiences, so it’s only natural that we love to help others have similar experiences.
If you have any questions, comments, or experiences about either renting a teardrop or renting your own teardrop that you’d like to share with Cool Tears and Tiny Campers let us know! We’d love to hear from you at Anne@cooltears.com