Owning a motorhome is a true joy, but it’s important to try a few out before deciding on the one for you. And once you own one, can you make the investment worthwhile? Claire Smith talks to Camplify about a recent merger that’s changing the face of the RV market.
The past couple of years has seen a dramatic increase in the number of Kiwis taking to the road in motorhomes, caravans and campers. It’s opened up a world of possibilities for many – and with our borders reopening, we’re seeing new faces from all over the world, including Australia, the UK, Sweden, South Africa, Canada and Israel. And the one common thread? They all want to travel our beautiful country in style.
Not everyone wants to own an RV though; there are many reasons to hire a vehicle. And if you do own one, but you don’t live in it, is it possible to earn some money from it rather than paying for it to sit in storage?
The answer, of course, is yes. Peer-to-peer (P2P) motorhome and caravan lending is a popular platform for RV owners who want to make a little extra income, for holidaymakers looking to hire an RV anywhere in New Zealand, and for potential vehicle owners to ‘try before they buy’.
If you’ve ever considered using a P2P platform – either to hire an RV, or to rent out your own – you’ve probably heard of Camplify, the fastest-growing motorhome, caravan and campervan sharing platform in Australia and New Zealand. The Australian-based business launched in New Zealand in 2019 and has since gone from strength to strength. The latest evolution in their impressive expansion is the recent acquisition of the other two major P2P lenders in New Zealand, SHAREaCAMPER and Mighway.
“Camplify is on a mission to become the world’s largest and most trusted campervan, caravan and motorhome sharing community, and to make ‘vanlife’ accessible to all,” says CEO and founder Justin Hales. “Welcoming Mighway and SHAREaCAMPER into our community has been an exciting step towards achieving that goal.” What is peer-to-peer lending? Very much like Airbnb, Camplify connects owners of RVs (caravans, motorhomes, camper trailers, 4WD campers and campervans) with people wanting to hire one for their holiday or road trip. The platform gives both parties the ability to transact safely and easily. Listings on Camplify’s site are owned by everyday RV owners who love camping and want to make money by sharing their van safely and securely. “Our community offers a unique range of RV holidays for families, couples, and groups of friends. We even have pet-friendly vans so you can bring your pets camping too.” says Camplify’s head of community, Luke Owen.
Another benefit of a peer-to-peer service is that many owners stock their RVs with all those handy holiday must-haves such as a table and chairs, BBQ, cleaning products, board games, linen – and in some cases, additional items like bikes, games for the kids, and car seats. “Our owners also love sharing their local knowledge of the area, tips on what to do and see, and where to find those hidden gems,” says Luke.
Try before you buy
Investing in an RV is a big decision and often a large investment. One of the best ways to get a feel for what is right for you in terms of size, layout, make and model etc., is to get out there and do it. P2P lending is the ideal way to do just that – with such a wide variety of vehicles available, hirers have a very good chance of testing out an RV that is a perfect match for them.
“Sometimes what you think you need can differ from what you actually need, and many families have discovered this after hiring and testing an RV first,” says Luke. “From bed length and bench space to bathroom size and storage options, finding the ideal layout starts with a few nights in a hired RV. It gives you the chance to figure out exactly what you do and don’t like. We have something for everyone. From quirky campervans to modern caravans and luxury motorhomes, we’ve got the largest variety of vans in New Zealand available for hire.”
Rent from the locals
Camplify’s purchase of SHAREaCAMPER and Mighway means that those looking to hire a motorhome can find their perfect RV from wherever they are. While traditional rental outlets generally only hire from the main cities, Camplify has RVs for hire in every pocket of the country.
“We have Angus and his family in Putāruru helping rural hirers get away; Kelsey and Ben in Nelson with two great caravans helping people explore the Tasman region, and Jason and Sally in Timaru helping people explore Southland and The Catlins,” says Luke. “We are also seeing great bookings in Wellington and The Bay of Plenty.”
Hiring out your RV
Listing your RV on Camplify is free. As an RV owner, you get to choose when you hire your vehicle out and who you hire it out to – meaning you have full control. Camplify handles almost everything, from comprehensive hire insurance, AA roadside assistance, and 24/7 customer support.
The income you’re likely to earn will depend on the daily rate you choose and how often your RV is rented out. That may mean a few hundred dollars here and there, or it could potentially be thousands of dollars, especially if you have more than one vehicle to rent out.
“We have Kiwis who are operating one vehicle as a side hustle, some operating up to five vehicles as a business, and others who use the income to upgrade their family vehicle, save for a house, or simply just use the funds for their own adventures,” says Luke.
Whether you’re a single-vehicle owner looking for a little extra, an entrepreneur in the making, or you simply want to find a van that suits your personality and start driving, Camplify has something for everyone. “We love being able to safely connect adventurers from far and near with our new and existing Kiwi van owners. Our community knows all the best hidden gems this country has to offer, and we are very excited to welcome more travellers than ever before.”
To get started, visit camplify.co.nz and follow the easy steps in the sign-up process – it’s quick and easy and the Camplify team is on hand if you have any questions.
Having grown up watching NZMCA rallies as a child, and watched others enjoy the many benefits of camping in a motorhome, Nikki had been considering the idea of buying an RV for a few years before she finally took the leap.
“I always thought motorhoming was for retired or wealthy people. I also thought – being a single 50-year-old woman – I wouldn’t be able to drive and manage it by myself. I was wrong, and have met so many women of all ages motorhoming alone.”
Nikki’s budget didn’t stretch to paying for a motorhome outright, but having heard about P2P lending, she realised it could be a good solution to help manage the finance payments.
“I researched the ins and outs of hiring out my motorhome – how it works, risks, responsibilities etc,” she says. “My initial phone call with Camplify was so informative, and their staff are so helpful and friendly – and made me feel I was in safe hands.
“Hiring out my van through Camplify was the best decision I have made in a while. It’s opened my world, I get to talk to and meet new people, and I get pleasure from playing a part in helping families have memorable holidays.
“Financially, I wouldn’t have been able to have a motorhome simply for myself and my family. How lucky am I, that other people are paying all my expenses and I get free holidays!
“The motorhome isn’t just about holidays to me either. It’s just as great for an afternoon out, a night away, a place to park up and read a book. I know the bed is comfortable for me, so I can stay at friends’ houses and be self-sufficient with everything I need. After we have dinner in the city and enjoy a couple of wines, I can just sleep over and there’s no need for taxi fares.
“Having a motorhome has given me a new life, and new adventures. I love being able to drive down random roads I normally drove past, having always stayed on main highways in the past. I have also learned how beautiful New Zealand is; simply parking up at a river, forest, lake, or beach and not being tied to any timeframes with accommodation check-outs is totally the way to go.”
Looking for motorhomes or caravans for sale in NZ? Browse our latest listings here.