Startup service lets people rent RVs from others

Jonathan Bloom Image
ByJonathan Bloom KGO logo
Friday, August 21, 2015
Startup service lets people rent RVs from others
EMBED <>More Videos

You can rent out a spare bedroom, your house, your car, so why not your RV too? One couple is focusing on just that.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- You can go online to rent out your house, your car or your spare bedroom and now, you can rent out the RV that's sitting in your driveway. ABC7 News took a look at a service that launched Thursday and spoke to the nomadic entrepreneurs making it happen.

When Jeff Cavins and Jennifer Young decided to start a business they hit the road to come up with ideas.

"As we were traveling around the country, we were meeting with people in the camping industry, the RV industry," said Cavins, Outdoorsy's co-founder.

They learned the process of buying or renting a travel trailer was every bit as retro as an Airstream's classic exterior.

"Lots of paper work, lots of faxing, lots of checks that you put in the mail. It felt like doing business in the 1970s," Cavins added.

But RV camping is on the rise, especially with young people.

"Taking a camper van down the coast or going to Napa Valley to vineyards instead of staying in the city and going to dinner," said Young, Outdoorsy's co-founder.

So they're launching a website called

"Where people can rent RV's directly from local RV owners," Young said.

Call it Airbnb for homes on wheels.

Young said you can rent, "Winnebagos, Jacos, Airstreams, folding trailers, fifth wheels."

Outdoorsy could help solve a problem they know all too well in the RV industry. The owners of an RV storage lot will tell you, some corners of the property are starting to look a little like a graveyard.

Dust on the windshield, moss on the roof.

"I grew up in this place, so yeah, I see RVs that have been here since I was a little kid and never have moved," Michael McCarty, from the Windy Flat RV Center.

In fact, Outdoorsy's founders say the average RV sits idle 11 months of the year. But in changing that, they'll also be competing with the McCarty family's other business -- traditional RV rentals through Cruise America.

"I really don't think it is going to affect us that much," Velma McCarty from Windy Flat RV Center said.

Velma McCarty says RV's are complicated. Theirs are meant to be rented with labels for everything and a detailed manual. Plus, there's cleanup.

"When we used to rent them out many years ago for people, they came back in very bad shape. Wrecked, messy, dirty," McCarty said.

But Cavins and Young think their idea's a winner. They've sold their home and plan to travel around in an RV meeting their customers.

"You can work now with high speed internet from virtually everywhere, except for the northern rim of the Grand Canyon," Cavins said.