Should you Sell or Hire out your Campervan?
Do you have a campervan that is sat around not being used much? Or you have got the bug for converting campervans and want to know what is the best way of using them as an investment?
We have first hand experience of both and want to try and present how both ways stack up as an investment but one will no doubt probably suit you more. We also want to demonstrate the pros and cons of both to help you decide which is the best for you both financially and emotionally.
Pros of Selling your Campervan
- Quick turnaround and a fast return on investment
- If you plan to do another conversion you can use the money to start another straight away
- No concerns over having your campervan damaged by hirers
- Less on-going costs such as maintenance, TAX, insurance etc
- Location isn't generally an issue - most people will travel a long way for the right campervan.
- Generally less hassle and less of a tie
Cons of Selling your Campervan
- The return on investment isn't has good as hiring
- No regular income stream once the van is sold (You just have a lump sum)
Pros of Hiring Out your Campervan
- Regular income stream
- Return on investment is much higher than most other forms of investment such as property or savings
- The depreciation on a campervan is much less than a normal vehicle
Cons of Hiring out your Campervan
- It's a tie - either you need to be available or have somebody you trust to be available to do handovers/cleaning and sort any issues.
- Ongoing costs such as insurance, tax, maintenance etc.
- Can be location dependent - vans in certain locations can perform better than vans in other locations.
How Much can you Sell your Campervan for?
We are not campervan valuers by any stretch but do have a good sense of what a campervan is worth based on the spec, style, age and mileage.
We have been absolutely astonished at the time of writing this blog (November 2020) at how much campervans have been selling for. We have seen self build campervans with a relatively good spec selling for between £30-£35k and those that have been done to a very high standard have been going for in excess of £40k.
We know exactly what it costs to convert a campervan having experience of having done one ourselves and by a professional. We wrote about this in our how much does cost to convert a campervan blog here.
The best way to value your campervan is to take a look at what others are going for, after all if you price yours at around the same figure as another van with a similar spec yours will get noticed by the same audience.
Where is the Best Place to Sell your Campervan?
If you are selling a self built or handmade made campervan then Quirky Campers wins hands down as a campervan selling platform. We have sold a van on the platform and we had phone calls and emails within 30 minutes of listing. We literally ended up having to keep a waiting list of people there were so many and the van sold to the first people that called up at the asking price.
It's not just us who have had great success - we have spoken to numerous other people who have said the same thing. They started by listing their vans on ebay or autotrader but had no joy - as soon as they listed on Quirky Campers they had enquiries straight away.
There are many other sites that you can use to sell your campervan. The main ones that spring to mind are Autotrader, eBay and Gumtree but none of them are a specific campervan selling platform.
Quirky Campers currently charge £29.99 for a standard listing or £39.99 for a premium listing which puts you at the top of the page (worth the extra pennies!).
You can list 'non handmade' campers on Quirky too and people have still had great success and there is definitely something on there for everyone.
How Much can you Hire Out your Campervan for?
This depends on a number of important factors:
- The location of the van (Scotland, North East & West, The West Midlands and London are all very good areas)
- How much you use it for your own use and when - If you want to use it a lot in the summer then this will drastically reduce the amount of bookings you get
- Number of berths - a 3 berth plus campervan will usually perform better than a 2 berth van as it can accommodate both couples and families/groups i.e. it can be used by a larger pool of hirers.
- Van Specification - It goes without saying that a campervan with better facilities such as off grid capacity, a toilet, shower and even hot water will perform better than a more basic build. You can charge more for a well spec'd van too.
- Van Photos - It's worth every penny it costs to hire a professional photographer to do photos of your van. It will make a huge difference.
Our experience of hiring out vans has only been with Quirky Campers but they are one of the leading campervan hire platforms out there with which to base our figures on.
They say the vans on their hire platform are rented out from anything between 60-150 nights per year and the average price per night is £91. Working on that basis your income could be somewhere between £5460 and £13650 per year gross.
Our personal experience with a 3 berth well spec'd campervan in a good location was at the top end of their figure.
What is the return on investment for Hiring out a Campervan?
So this brings us to the question of what the return on investment is for campervan hire. If you treat it just like you would a property this is very easy to work out. Based on our own experience here is a working example:
For a van that costs approx £26,000 and brings in £13500 per year on hire bookings the gross return on investment is whopping 52%. Compare that to a property where a good gross return is 5-8% and there is no comparison.
If you prefer to look at net return then you need to consider the following yearly expenditure:
- Self drive hire insurance: £1500 approx
- MOT - £50
- TAX - £250
- Gas safety certificate - £75
- Van maintenance: £500 (This could be higher with an older van or less with a newer one)
Therefore total expenditure is £2375. If you take that off the gross income amount of £13500 the return is still 42.8%.
Note: These working examples are based on a 3 berth well spec'd campervan that was available for hire all year round.
But what about Depreciation?
Most peoples argument with having a van on hire compared to a property being let is that a van is a depreciating asset whereas a house is hopefully an appreciating asset.
Our answer to this is - not necessarily. Yes a van is unlikely to go up in value if it's on hire but it does not depreciate like that of a normal vehicle. If you buy well (low mileage and not too old) you can have a van on hire for 2-3 years and still sell it for close to the same amount you bought it for as long as it is well maintained and any damage is put right.
With all this in mind - if you are looking at hiring campervans out as a business it is probably worth factoring selling them before they get to the stage that they would loose value i.e. high mileage or older age.
So which is it? Hire out or Sell your Campervan?
This is very definitely down to personal choice and probably your circumstances. If your van has been your pride and joy and you're likely to get upset if it gets the odd scuff or scrape then our advice is definitely sell - you will not enjoy the experience of hiring out!
If you have a base, plenty of free time for handovers and are able to be unemotional about it then you could potentially make some really good extra income by hiring out your campervan for a few years.
If you are still unsure after reading our blog then please do drop us an email and we can try and give more specific advise depending on your circumstances and van.