There may be a few concerns when you are first considering renting out your Toy Hauler Trailer. I know I had a few questions from the Mrs the first time I brought it up.
“That’s our home! What about this, and what about that? Aren’t they going to destroy it?”
And a few hundred or so more. You get the idea….
After a few deep breaths and a big cup of tea, we started talking casually about what the actual major concerns were with those other “Toy Hauler Renters.”
At the top of the list was: “Things can get damaged.” This is the most captain-obvious-knee-jerk response in the world of renting anything. Houses, equipment, cars, and yes – even RV’s and Toy Hauler’s.
Underneath that concern of damage, is really the amount of access that a person has to be able to potentially damage something. And let’s not get all malicious and negative. These can be simple accidents from beginner RV enthusiasts that do no know exactly what to do with a utility that they may not be familiar with. Or kids. Things just seem to “happen” when there are kids around, you know what I mean?
How do you fix the access problem? LOCKS.
There are 2 types of damage problems that we identified. Cosmetic Damage and Utility Damage. While this can vary from trailer to trailer, we tried to capture the essential upgrades needed to rent out a Toy Hauler, and not worry about the potential damage possibilities while it’s away from home.
1 – Fuel Station:
Most TH’s have an onboard full station. Mine has a 25-gallon fuel tank that has a gas pump so I can fill up my toys and run the generator. But the gas cap and the fuel door are easy to access and open to potential damage.
Should a foreign object or substance enter this fuel tank, I may not know about it until weeks or months later when that ‘bad gas’ destroys something. Better to have a lock on it. And while you are at it, should the fuel station pump get turned on (even by accident) and left on – it will burn out. So install a locking gas cap, and a lockable cover on your fuel station control panel.
Most Toy Hauler Renters are after the space to haul a toy with, not the ability to bring extra gas. So you can easily add this into your own listing as I do mine; “If it leaves with a full tank, it returns with a full tank” – just like a vehicle would and should. (Or you can surcharge up to $5-6/gallon if returned below full)
2 – Generator:
The most expensive item on the list is the genny. A new Onan Generator can cost $3,000-5,000!
While the generator is only needed when dry camping or boondocking, it can be easily damaged. I can start mine from inside the trailer and outside and the control panel is located at the perfect height for a curious kid. All the buttons in there can be flicked and mashed with full fun and enjoyment and not cause any harm to the lights or radio – except that one button…. The generator start button. 🙁
Can someone please tell me why that control panel with all the awesome flashing lights is located at the perfect height for a 6-year-old!?!?!? – Every Camping-Dad Ever.
Tapping that button and and engaging the starter on the generator without the intention of starting and running it is not good. It’ll quickly flood, and then wear out the starter. The fix hear is a “Locking Rocker Switch” which is essentially the easiest way to child-proof that single button and not have to lock out the entire control panel. But if your kids are really small (or the renters kids are), that might not be a bad idea either.
Also, starting a generator and running it for 2 minutes and turning it off is just not good for it either. You would have to ask a mechanic about this, as I am far from one. But if you want to avoid the concern of it altogether, go ahead and lock it up from the outside of the trailer too.
3 – BackUp Camera – Bluetooth to smartphone type.
Can you backup a 28’ long camper that is nearly 2-3ft taller than the average trailer? I can, but I didn’t get the hang of it the first time around. Or the 2nd, or the 14th time. I think it was nearing the 20 or so mark that I finally felt “ok” about it.
If I would have had a backup camera on there, I probably would have felt a LOT more confident backing it up and not worrying about every tree, power pole, dog, and small child in the campground. Somehow when the truck goes into reverse, all these moving targets seem to get a lot closer.
Also I should note, that having a spotter is great too. Just don’t take anything to serious besides the word STOP. There’s a popular phrase in the RV camping world “I’m sorry for what I said when we were backing up the trailer.” And if you haven’t experienced it for yourself, you’ll get it when you do.
Pro Tip: Summon your inner ‘super-dad’ and set up camp a day early so everyone can come up and relax like I do sometimes. I can decompress by myself from a long week if I need to, and the family loves coming up to a campsite that is all setup and ready for some fun!
4 – Electric Tongue Jack:
This upgrade applies to more than just the average Toy Hauler Renter. Toy Haulers are heavy, and some manufacturers must think that they are funny by putting a hand crank on the front. You only have to raise it and lower 3 times at every hookup and unhook!
Not to brag, but I am in shape. When it’s 84°F and I have to hand crank the trailer up and down several times (yes, with a good weight distribution setup) I start to sweat! Let’s not talk about what this looks like after 2-3 days of camping/partying-outdoors.
This upgrade can actually make your trailer stand out and be more desirable to rent that one that does not have it. And with the growing popularity of Outdoorsy every year, you are going to want to take full advantage of every opportunity that you can.
5 – Propane Monitor & Lock:
Any idea how much propane is in that 30# tank on the left? How about the right? Let’s not argue about it then. We both know that “feels like full” or “sounds like half-full” is not an accurate way to measure how much liquid is in a steel bottle. And when the temperature is outside of running the AC unit all weekend weather, the furnace consumes some gas.
The fridge not so much, but if it doesn’t get plugged in and switched over to electric than it can be a drain on the propane over a few days.
Unless you would like to know the full replacement cost of (2) full 30# propane tanks? Don’t ask me how I know 🙂
6 – Battery Lock:
These are just too easy to walk off with in the middle of the night. Again, not saying that renters will knowingly tamper with your battery. But the neighbors, you can never trust ‘those guys.’
A simple bracket or chain will do the trick. If you have more components for setting up your solar system, then it’s a good idea to pickup a tongue utility box and put your expensive electronics in there. And lock it up of course!
7 – Extra Wheel Chock:
Motorcycle wheel chock that is. When I was shopping for a Toy Hauler, I wanted one that I could haul a Golf Cart + Motorcycle in. Most TH’s have a rear garage where you can fit 2 bikes side by side or 1 golf cart.
I had to have one of each (Golf Cart + Motorcycle), and I also wanted a bumper-pull 1/2ton towable trailer.
This only happened by adding an extra wheel chock for the motorcycle between the fridge and the front door. So the bike goes in first in the kitchen, and the cart goes in behind it under the bed. Motorcycle Rally here we come!
Putting it all together
The first weekend you rent your trailer will easily cover the cost of these additions. And with these simple and low cost upgrades, you can rest a little easier when your home-away-from-home is,….. away from home.