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Owners renting out their RVs in San Diego County for extra income

Owners renting out their RVs in San Diego County for extra income
Posted at 5:33 PM, Nov 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-19 21:21:00-05

ESCONDIDO, Calif. (KGTV) - Some San Diegans in need of some extra money are turning to a resource in their driveway or backyard.

In 2018, Michael and Melissa Harlow sold their sailboat, bought a brand new 32-foot RV, and went on a dream adventure, an 11-month journey across the US and Canada.

"It was amazing,” said Michael Harlow.

“It was life-changing. It really was life-changing,” said Melissa Harlow.

After they returned to their lives in Escondido, they decided to turn to their RV to help generate extra income.

Both were in their 50s and had left well-paying jobs.

Enter, an "Airbnb" for RV rentals. The Harlows placed their RV on the site.

“We have a master bed and three other beds, so the RV sleeps 8,” said Michael.

For $175 a night, the minimum 3-day rental also includes a kitchen and dining area, a shower with hot water, and a generator., which requires the renter to purchase insurance, typically takes a 20% cut. The renter is also charged a service fee — typically 10 to 15% — based on the length of the reservation. The site offers discounts to owners and renters, including seasonal discounts and for putting multiple RVs up for rent.

For the Harlows, nearly 80 rentals in three years have turned into $90,000 in extra income. Michael now freelances as a writer, while Melissa is a voice-over artist.

"For us, because we don't need a lot, so it feels like full-time income,” said Melissa.

“Great to have that extra income. It’s huge,” said Michael.

The Harlows are one of more than 700 RV owners in the county that are offering up their RVs on the site.

“A recreational vehicle is a hotel room that gives you the freedom of mobility,” said Jeff Cavins, founder of Outdoorsy.

Cavins says during the pandemic, more and more people started eyeing their RVs — which typically sit idle 97% of the year — as an income source, especially in San Diego County.

“San Diego is the number one market for this company,” said Cavins.

The Harlows say they're booked for the next 3 months.

“It’s an extra piece of security, whatever happens with the economy … Financially, it just makes sense to us,” said Melissa.

The Harlows says they spend a few thousand dollars a year in upkeep and do qualify for several tax deductions.