Chad and Cherie Ball may be looking for a vacation after a summer of matching wannabe campers with RV rentals.
The Okotoks, Alta., couple is into their second season running Wheel Estate, a business that helps owners rent out their towable camping trailers in a style similar to that of Airbnb.
They got the idea for the business 10 years ago when they tried to rent a neighbour’s RV and discovered his insurance would be void once money changed hands.
“We were hit by the recession pretty bad back then and we just wanted an affordable getaway, trying to hit the reset button,” Cherie Ball told the Calgary Eyeopener on Monday.
It took the couple six years to secure an insurance policy to back their idea and launch the business, which they did last year.
Wheel Estate only offers trailers, not motorhomes. And I’m not sure how well they will be able to compete against these guys.
I had written about Outdoorsy before. When I jumped on their website, they took my location data and presented me with hundreds of options — all of them local to me — and everything from travel trailers to Class A, B and C motorhomes.
With Wheel Estate, I had to start a booking process to see what, if anything, might be available in my area, and, as mentioned, limited to just trailers.
I ran the same scenario across both sites: rent a travel trailer, 1 week in September, Kingston area.
Outdoorsy brought me 61 RV rental options. Wheel Estate only 2.
Whether this type of service really takes hold is anyone’s guess although there does seem to be some momentum behind Outdoorsy.
I do know that we would not ever consider renting out our Class A. Our coach is too complex and ad hoc rentals would simply invite mechanical issues through inexperience and/or neglect. Not to mention the wear and tear on the coach itself.
But, if Lorraine and I were in our thirties and we wanted to go out in a trailer for only a week or so a year, renting a trailer for a few hundred dollars a week would be a lot more affordable than buying one for tens of thousands of dollars along with the additional storage and maintenance costs.
And Millennials are the primary market for these sharing economy services, not an old guy like me. They might be jumping all over Wheel Estate and Outdoorsy.