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Old 01-08-2014, 11:04 AM   #1
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Rental Concept B&B Idea... Opinions

Hey there Airstream lovers.

I'm doing an informal survey that I would love your feedback on. I've got a business plan in motion for a new "Glamping" site in the NYC area. Essentially it's a B&B mixed with camping. I am considering purchasing 4 Airstream trailers to either refurbish or already in good condition that would be used as a 'cabin' type rental on the site. But, here's the idea that I think someone like yourselves might like.

Would some Airstream owners be interested in making some extra money while you aren't using your babies during whatever your prime season might be? I would handle all the rentals of the trailers, clean up, cosmetic maintenance, etc and share a portion of the rental fees with the owners. There wouldn't be any moving of the trailer once at the 'cabin' site. In order to keep a good flow to know what trailers I would have available on my property for rental, there would be a 2 or 3 month, contract in place that trailer owners would agree to keep the trailer there for rental purposes. Outside of that, if you need your trailer for a springtime run, just come pick her up.

I would love to hear your thoughts as I think this could be a great win-win situation for everyone.

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Old 01-08-2014, 11:07 AM   #2
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For extra context, the demographic of people that I would be trying to bring in to the site would be the creative class with cash. People who love great design. So, I would be choosing Airstreams that have a great look to them. But also, you would not need to concern yourself that your trailer is going to get trashed.


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Old 01-08-2014, 06:18 PM   #3
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There have been threads on loaning out Airstreams see below. I think that the only way for you to make this business happen would be to purchase the Airstreams yourself.

Most of us wouldn't even loan to family, much less strangers. The "cool ones" that you want are highly prized. I doubt very much that you will get any interest someone loaning you their Airstream, even for $$$$
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Old 01-08-2014, 06:57 PM   #4
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i applaud the creativity of the plan. It's an innovative way to avoid laying out the $160k it would cost to buy four late-model used Airstreams.

A few things I wonder about. When I look at this sort of lodging, I like seeing websites with all the details of each unit - you choose from the "Silver Bullet," or the "Shiny Shanty" or what have you.

I think the idea of owners being able to get their trailers for trips during the season will affect the predictability of what you have to offer. Yeah, it can all be scheduled ahead of time, but the spontaneously of going when you want is one of the big luxuries of ownership.

Also, you can come back from trips, knowing that you need repairs…you'd need a good mechanic basically on retainer, as well as an agreement of who would fix things when the break. Sure an owner will make some $ on the rental, but there is going to be considerable increased wear and tear; they're not quite as durable as a house in some aspects.

Like reinergirl said, having folks you don't know stay in your Airstream feels a bit like loaning out a sleeping bag. Going beyond serving as a guest house in the driveway is a big leap. (I know we wouldn't do it - we own the trailer to use it. When it stops getting used/loved, it gets sold.)

Finally, what makes an artsy-type want to stay in a trailer? Having lived in the NYC area for a while, it needs to be more than a trailer on a lot on (say) Yorktown Heights. Access to Metro North or lovely acreage for artsy retreat-like things would seem to be important too.

Stuff to think about.

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Old 01-08-2014, 07:01 PM   #5
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Personally speaking, I would not loan out our trailer. It's just too personal a possession, we have spent too much time and effort to make it ours and the money that could be made wouldn't be enough to help me over this emotional hurdle.

There are a bunch of glamping businesses in the UK that appear to be doing very well, using everything from retired buses to gypsy or shepperd's wagons. has a bunch of them featured. Maybe a place to look for inspiration.

I also don't think your initial outlay needs to be huge. Rather than buying late model trailer, perhaps buy older models that are in need of renovation. As they aren't required to travel, the renovation could be very basic, with perhaps even the bathroom removed and replaced by a centrally located convenience building.

The trailer could then house just a bed, a table and a sofa, a bit like this idea:
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Old 01-09-2014, 07:16 AM   #6
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Don't hold your breath. I'd never let my Airstream be rented out. I think your idea will probably fall into deaf ears for most owners. I probably even question how the owners insurance would cover the trailer in this situation if a loss occurs. I think your better course of action would be to buy your trailers.

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Old 01-09-2014, 07:48 AM   #7
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You asked for opinions, here's one, and you know what opinions are worth. I agree with some of the other owners, I don't loan, don't rent, just to much investment and damages are difficult and expensive to repair. That said, I would think about older airstreams that can be bought cheap, set them in place permanently. Rip out or by pass the holding tanks and put in house type plumbing. forget the 12 volt system, install 110 volt electrical including appliances. Go to all electric heat for simplicity or pipe in propane from a central source. Skirt them all the way around for energy efficiency, build permanent decks and awnings (very little maintenance). It doesn't have to be an Airstream, any of the cool old trailers would work as long as they are in good condition. The Airstreams just last so much longer that everything else.
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Old 01-09-2014, 08:37 AM   #8
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The Shooting Star Airstream Drive-In is for sale. You can move to UT or move the trailers to NY.
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Old 01-09-2014, 08:50 AM   #9
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This might put an explanation point on what the above A/S owners are saying: I would not even rent out my white box trailer, and it cost 1/3 what an A/S costs.
No way. Not a chance.
You need to realize that at least part of why many buy their own trailer is so they don't have to endure "other peoples dirt". If I wanted that, I could stay in Motel 6 for a lot less money.
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Old 01-09-2014, 08:51 AM   #10
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I agree with what others have said, I think you would have a tough time getting people to offer up their trailers for rental use.

A while back (before we bought our Airstream) I contemplated getting involved with a local RV dealer why runs a scheme where you buy a class A motor home, and when not using it, leave it with them and they rent it out. they look after all the marketing, cleaning, damage deposit, storage, etc etc. You just let them know in advance when you wish to use it yourself so they don't rent it out during that time.

Of course they take a substantial cut of the rental fees for the services they provide

It seemed to offer a lot of advantages to us, mainly as we use our RV primarily in the winter and not in the summer. Summer of course is the prime rental time here. Also there are apparently income tax opportunities as you run this as a business and can write off certain costs, maintenance, depreciation, etc.

I came very close to signing up for the deal, but in the end, decided that despite all the possible advantages, I just wouldn't be comfortable with having it rented out to people despite assurances from the company that they are very vigilant to repair any minor damage caused and take the expense out of the substantial deposit that the renter must leave!

Also we would not have the ability to decide on taking a spur of the moment trip as we would need to let them know well in advance of planned use of the RV.

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Old 01-09-2014, 10:51 AM   #11
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You might want to check with the former Thor president to find out if he has any of his rental units for sale.

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Old 01-09-2014, 12:11 PM   #12
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I bet some people would do it. There's a guy in Virginia that does it with his. Not a plan we'd do; we use ours a lot and like to leave our personal stuff in it (including some supplies in the fridge) when we aren't using it.
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Old 01-09-2014, 02:33 PM   #13
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You can have my trailer.... when you pry it from my cold, dead fingertips...

There are a few out there with different ideas on how to manage it. Here is one closer to you: Kate's Lazy Meadow - Home
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Old 01-09-2014, 02:39 PM   #14
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14.5K cash and my trailer is your trailer or 1K a week rental with a 14 week minimum contract paid up front.

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