Saturday, October 13, 2018 – We received this message from our current renters last night.
“Made it to the race track safe and sound! Dora was great, no issues at all!! Thanks again for the great tutorial and driving lesson. ………………….Thanks again and enjoy the weekend!!”
What a wonderful message to get. I had to share it after what we shared in the last five posts!
Here they are during their training on Friday.
There is so much that goes into renting out Dora. To give you an idea of the effort, time, work involved, here goes!
There a lot of “back office” work involved. Every time a potential renter shows interest in Dora we communicate with them. I usually communicate through my laptop but I’ve gotten pretty good at doing this from my phone when we’re away from home so they are responded to very promptly which counts. I don’t want them going on to the next RV to rent it without me giving it my best try!
If they don’t actually book her we may only have 2-3 contacts. We ask them lots of questions to get a feel for if we want to rent to them or decline. If they do book and pay, we communicate with them no less than four times before they come to pick her up. We have a lot of information to pass along to them plus we send them the website contract, our personal contract with them, a form we all fill out when they pick Dora up and a form we all fill out when they return Dora. We also ask them to read one of our blog posts about driving big motor homes like Dora. We feel that the more educated our renters are the better their experience will be, and the safer Dora will be!!
I communicate or am doing paperwork with either an interested possible renter on Facebook, RVShare.com or Outdoorsy , or a new renter or an upcoming renter at least some time out of every day. Some Monday mornings I am doing rental related work a couple of hours or more.
We also have the 3 hour in person training where they learn all about Dora. That’s usually before the pick up date. They also get a refresher and they learn to drive Dora the pick up day. We go over every aspect of every system and feature in Dora in depth, from front to back, inside and outside. My portion of this training is much shorter than Roy’s portion. When he finishes every time we have a rental he is exhausted, mostly from all the talking and answering questions! Of all the things involved in renting Dora I think the training is the part we do the best.
In the early days of the renting adventure we spent two solid weeks creating an instruction manual for the renters on all things Dora! It’s been updated after just about every rental with lessons learned and is always on the dashboard when the renters come to pick Dora up. They and all adult members of their traveling party receive a .pdf version of the instruction manual as soon as they book and then a couple of weeks before they pick her up.
Sometimes we have a “come check out Dora” day or two when we open her for viewing by anyone that may be interested. Appointments are needed. It always helps interested folks make up their mind about Dora when they walk in and see how spacious she is with the slides out and how pretty our big girl is!
Here’s where the next big work come in –
When Dora returns from a rental the big job of cleaning her begins. All the bath towels, wash clothes, kitchen towels, sheets, pillow cases and bedspreads from three beds are collected and taken inside our house for a sanitizing hot washing, drying and folding. The pillows are sprayed with disinfectant and aired out. The bath mat and front floor mat are taken out and sanitized in the house. They are all kept inside the house until the day before the next rental when they are taken out to the motor home and the beds, etc. all made up for the next renters. All of the utensils, silverware, pots and pans, glass pans, metal pans are washed, dried and put back in the drawers, shelves after the many drawers and bathroom cabinets have been sanitized and the cabinet shelves have been vacuumed. The shower and bathroom are high priority for sanitizing and airing out! The kitchen appliances get a good scrubbing and cleaning. Even if they aren’t used they accumulate dust, grime and need to shine again! The walls, windows, sofas, countertops and all wood surfaces are sanitized. All the mirrors (there are a lot) are cleaned and shine. We supply RV toilet paper, paper towels, plates, bowls, small plates, solo cups which all need to be refilled after each rental based on how long the next renters will be gone and how many people will be traveling in Dora. The dish washing detergent holders are refilled and the hand cleaning soap in the bathroom is filled.
I was almost finished this post and then realized I didn’t even mention that I mop and vacuum everything when she comes back.
We make sure that everything is working like it should. If something was broken during the rental, it needs to be addressed before the next rental. This includes, all the drains, all the faucets, all the appliances including the washer/dryer, the built in vacuum system, all the televisions, the satellite system, the awnings, the fold out beds, GPS system, rear back up camera, and more.
The outside is a whole different animal to get cleaned! It takes Roy several hours to clean the exterior, tires, roof, windows, etc. Inside all of the storage bins are checked, always require cleaning which is very difficult and requires a lot of bending over and inside the storage bins to do it. I do that part which between the interior cleaning and the bin cleaning takes me two half days to complete.
Before the next renter picks up Dora we work from the back in the bedroom to the front door getting her ready for pick up. All three bed sheets, pillows and bedspreads are put on all the beds. The bathroom and the shower are wiped down with Clorox wipes. All the kitchen surfaces, sofas, dining table, drivers and passenger front seats are all wiped down with the wipes. The entire drivers area dashboard and instrument panel is cleaned thoroughly. Moping and vacuuming is done again. There is more than this to take care of but I’m tired just writing all this so!
Roy always cleans anything on the exterior and tires that may have gotten dirty since the last rental. Since she’s been back and forth to Dixie RV in Hammond each time after she rents she always comes back with some dirty spots.
We’ve had things go missing over the course of the first rentals. Our really nice fold up stainless table left, just found out that the First Aid Kit left, a towel left also. We’ve found some little treasures (a new floor mat, kitchen utensils, basic tools, etc. ) left behind for us by renters as well so that’s cool!
When you see that we charge $150 for Prep and Sanitization I hope you can see it is well worth it.
I keep a folder on each rental with all of the forms, ready for them to sign when picking Dora up. That means monitoring the website for when the forms are ready, down loading them to save in a folder on my computer just for their rental, printing them out, and assembling them for the folder.
In addition to Dora being listed on RVShare.com and Outdoorsy.com, we now advertise her (for free) in several Facebook groups and on Facebook’s Marketplace. My son Chip helped me a lot setting up the Facebook groups. Now I just answer any questions that come in about it. It does require a little work every few days.
We’ve learned so much and feel that we have improved all we do taking care of Dora and having her ready for renters. We’ve learned more about what we need to teach them and what we need to emphasize to them in their training, and what we expect from them as renters. If we didn’t include so much “free” with a rental (sheets, towels, shampoo, kitchen utensils, small appliances, toilet paper/paper towels, dishes, cups, outside chairs and lots more) our work would be cut by a lot. However all that seems to appeal to a lot of the renters and was probably one of the deciding factors in their choosing Dora to rent.
We’ve started giving our renters a survey when they return. We want to get an idea of what attracted Dora to them in our listing, what they liked most about traveling with Dora and what they liked least, and some other questions. We give it to them in a stamped self addressed return envelope to encourage them to return it! We are definitely in the learning phase so this information has been helpful.
When we started this I thought what we were charging was awfully high but we now know that our rate at this time is low for renting out a big Class A motor home. When we have a little more experience we will adjust our rate so that this wild and crazy ride we are on becomes more profitable.
I never thought I’d ask for prayers for a motor home but Dora needs to behave and she seems to be turning in that direction. Please pray for Dora and for us! We love her and she’s loved us. This hasn’t started out quite like we hoped it would but we’ll keep trying!
That it for now folks on our experiences renting out Dora! I plan to share this with other folks thinking about or already renting out their RV (whatever type) to others. The young men who have her right now said they will send photos we can share of their time at the race track!
Ya’ll come back, now ya hear