If you’ve ever gone on a caravanning holiday, you will probably be well aware of the many benefits these mobile homes hold.
It’s more comfortable than a tent or a shared hostel and less restrictive than a hotel room or a rented holiday home. Plus, campervan/caravan holidays are all the rage right now! (Just search #vanlife on Instagram for proof.)
Of course, it’s also cheaper than the latter. However, have you ever considered the fact that owning a caravan can make you money too?
Let’s take a look at the ways in which you can make and save money with a caravan:
- Save money on holidays
- Rent out your caravan
- Turn your caravan into a food truck
- Become a #vanlife influencer
While the initial cost of buying a caravan may seem rather steep (usually between £6,000 and £14,000), it has the potential to save you up to £80k in the long run, according to Yours Magazine.
For this return on investment to happen, you would – of course – need to make use of your caravan on a regular basis. Instead of heading away on package vacations with your family (which could easily cost up to £1,000 per person), you would consistently pack your caravan and hit the road.
Now that doesn’t sound too bad to us, but it probably wouldn’t work so well for everyone.
That’s not to say investing in a caravan would be an absolute waste for the globetrotters amongst us.
If you fancy the idea of going on #vanlife type road trips once in a while, but also enjoy the prospect of jetting off overseas ever so often, you could always rent your caravan out.
There are two main ways of going about this:
As the name suggests, these caravans stay put on a single plot. Because of their stationary nature, these caravans can be kitted out to be as convenient as a bricks and mortar holiday home.
Static caravans start at different prices, depending on their age, model and location. At Haven Holidays you can buy a used static caravan for around £13,495. Or you can pay over £100,000 for luxury models. Their deposits are £3,000 or 20% (whichever is greater). And you’ll need to factor in your site fees too.
So, when you rent it out, be sure that the price covers all your own costs and that you make a little something out of it too.
Read more about buying and renting out a static caravan.
Up until recently, the rental of static caravans was far more common than doing the same with mobile ones. However, with the rise of the sharing economy, people have realised that the caravan sitting pretty in the garage for most of the year, could actually make them some money while being towed by someone else.
One way of doing this is to rent your caravan out privately. Advertise on a site like Gumtree or just spread the word among friends and family. This can prove to be somewhat time-consuming, however, as you will need to sort out all the admin – from getting the proper insurance to establishing the correct fees – yourself.
If this sounds like a bit of a mission, there’s a pretty great solution: Yescapa.
- Caravan sharing economy
Built on the same principle as Airbnb, Yescapa is a platform that helps you rent out your caravan/campervan as simply and securely as possible.
Since its launch in 2012, Yescapa has generated €10 million (£8.8 million) in income for over 3,800 vehicle owners across Europe.
In a survey of its users, they also found that 38% of holidaymakers have the intention to buy their own motorhome or campervan in the future.
What’s more, 65% said they were willing to rent out their vehicle once they had acquired it, creating a virtuous circle for motorhome manufacturers, owners, renters and holidaymakers.
- What are the costs?
Joining the Yescapa community and placing an advertisement on the site is entirely free. The price of the insurance is included in the price the renter pays.
The only thing required by you is a clean vehicle that is in good working order, with all of your up to date documents.
So, how do they make money, you might wonder? Yescapa places a service fee of 10% – 15% on top of the fee you’re charging for your caravan (with a minimum of £30). So, basically, you receive your payment in full.
- What is the average rental price on Yescapa?
Well, if you’re looking at renting out a caravan, they go for anything between €20 and €80 per day.
Campervans, on the other hand, can reach up to €250 per day, depending on how kitted out/classic it is.
Currently, the most expensive rental on the site is a shiny yellow, 1964 split-window VW Combi.
Perhaps you feel like doing something a little more creative with your caravan. If you love cooking and feel like making a gradual career change, why not consider turning it into a food truck?
While you may have to spend some money on refitting it, your overheads after this will be relatively low – especially since you already own the vehicle and don’t need to buy one for the purpose.
If you can’t afford to run a food truck full-time, you could always start off by doing it as a side hustle over weekends. You can sell food at:
- Music festivals
- Weekend markets
- Night markets
- Birthday parties
A good way of advertising your services and spreading the word is to get people sharing pictures and writing reviews on social media. So, have your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram details displayed clearly for customers and even consider having a special hashtag they can use.
Just remember that there are quite a few rules and regulations regarding business registration, health and safety.
Read all about them in our article about making money with a food truck.
Finally, if you’re hip, beautiful, free-spirited and highly entrepreneurial, you could always convert your caravan into a comfortable semi-permanent home, save money on rent/mortgage and become a #vanlife influencer.
Anyone with an interest in travel and the outdoors, may have noticed the rise in popularity of caravans/camper among millennials over the past few years. This is an interesting change in target market from the more traditional family holidays/retired couples.
If you search the hashtag on Instagram, millions of beautiful photos will pop up. Normally the van will be parked in breathtaking natural scenery, there might be a few fairy lights strung up and, almost always, a gorgeous couple and their dog will be (pretending to) go about their business as the camera snaps away.
Trend or truly cost-saving way of life?
Although many have laughed it off as a passing trend, most of those living #vanlife say it’s a conscious pursuit of a life that is more affordable (no or mortgages) and flexible than that of generations before.
In an interview with The Debrief, one UK vanlifer named Abby (25) shared her story about how she saved £26,000 living in a van for 18 months.
Instead of paying an exorbitant amount of money on rent, Abby opted to work remotely from her van, living on roughly £10 a day. Her biggest cost was paying £3,000 for the van itself which she went on to sell 2 years later for around the same price.
As the article points out: “When you compare that to house prices, the volatile market, and the instability of pretty much everything post-Brexit, van life suddenly seems much less like a kind of hippy-dippy dream and actually potentially a sensible lifestyle choice.”
Making money from #vanlife
More than just saving money, living in your caravan could also actually make you money.
As mentioned earlier, there are a huge number of young people tapping into this trend to become online travel influencers.
Although it may seem as easy as loading pictures onto Instagram, just be warned: it’s actually really hard work!
- What you need
Firstly, you’ll have to invest good quality camera equipment and an editing suite to create the kinds of photos that can compete with those of existing influencers.
Secondly, while they may seem effortless sitting there on your Instagram feed, these types of photos take a lot of set-up time, props and retakes. You’ll need patience!
Thirdly, it would probably take some time to establish yourself before brands would want to offer you opportunities to work together.
However, once you’ve gotten your first opportunity, many more may follow.
- How to start
The best way to do this, would probably be to continue doing remote work and posting about your #vanlife on Instagram as a hobby.
As soon as you’ve gained between 1,000 and 10,000 followers, you’d be considered a micro influencer and if your content is good (and your followers aren’t bots), you could start reaching out to brands who you’d like to work with campaign suggestions. You might be surprised how willing they’d be to come on board!
Read more about how to make money as an online influencer.