In a recent survey, 19% of our blog readers said they already hired out or are considering hiring out their static caravan or holiday lodge. Hiring out your holiday caravan could give you a welcome income boost but there are a number of important things to consider, not least making sure your caravan is properly insured:
Does your park allow hiring out?
First and foremost you must ensure that hiring out is allowed on your park. Many holiday park agreements will restrict or forbid letting holiday caravans so before you start thinking about how you’re going to spend the extra income, always check with your park operator first.
Does my existing insurance policy cover my caravan whilst being let out?
You should always contact your insurance provider if you’re thinking of hiring your holiday caravan. This is because hiring out cover may not be standard on your static caravan or holiday lodge insurance policy, although it can be available as an optional cover.
Once you’ve added insurance for hiring out your caravan to your policy you may be able to take advantage of loss of rental income cover which reimburses you the money you would have received for pre-arranged bookings if your holiday caravan becomes uninhabitable as a result of damage.
You can also get cover for hirers and their families need to be rehoused should the holiday caravan become uninhabitable during their stay. Damage by the hirer is another useful cover feature, especially as you never fully know who you’re letting out to. Loss of rental income, guest emergency alternative accommodation and damage by hirer insurance cover options are now available from Leisuredays for a small premium increase.
Note – if your static caravan or lodge is being used by family and friends for ‘no financial reward’, i.e. no money is exchanged, you may not need to notify your insurer, as is the case for Leisuredays insurance customers.
Specialist policies such as ours, also includes public liablility cover, which will cover both yourself and hiring guests for damages and costs if death, physical injury or damage to the public or third party property arises from an accident involving the static caravan or lodge.
Who will manage the letting out of your holiday caravan?
If your park does allow hiring out it may also be able to facilitate in the marketing, booking management and upkeep of the caravan for letting too. You would most likely be expected to part with a percentage of rental fees in return for these services. If you decide or are forced to manage the letting yourself there’s a few things to consider, we’ve got plenty of tips further down.
Complying with laws and legislation
If you are renting out your static caravan or lodge you must comply with certain regulations that apply to landlords to ensure guests are kept safe.
You must have gas appliances tested annually and display a ‘Landlord’s Gas Safety Certificate’ inside the caravan. Regular Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) is recommended for electrical items that you have plugged into your caravan such as TV’s, DVD players, Kettles and toasters to protect hirers from faulty electrical equipment. Your caravan’s electrical wiring system will need to be tested every three years to receive a fixed electrical installation certificate. Again your park operator should be able to recommend a Gas Safe engineer or qualified electrician to complete these tests.
How can I keep the caravan looking its best?
Maintaining a high standard of presentation and cleanliness is crucial if you want to keep customers coming back. If you are busy, live too far away or are out of the country between lettings, it’s important that you arrange for the caravan to be cleaned by a third party. Consider employing a local cleaning company or check with the park operator, it may be that you can pay to have the park’s cleaning team to do the work.
Make sure you leave guests with the right items or equipment needed for a pleasant stay. Things like clean towels, fresh linen, duvets and pillows are often provided as part of the hire charge, even though some guests may prefer to bring their own.
You will probably be expected to leave guests basic kitchen appliances, cutlery, crockery and cooking utensils.
It’s also worth ensuring you have reliable contacts to handle little emergencies such as if something in the caravan stops working like the heating or electrics. Again, your park operator will probably be in the best position to handle these situations for you or to put you in touch with local tradesmen whom they have experience of using.
How do I organise handing the keys over?
If you live locally to your park you should have no problem handing keys over from guest to guest. Those who live further away might find this a bit more difficult. Again the park may be able to manage keys on your behalf. If not you may have to entrust someone local such as your cleaner to meet guests upon arrival with keys.
What should I charge?
Always do your homework; have a look online, check the local papers or speak to your neighbours on the park. The more research you do the better idea you’ll have as to what’s a competitive price for charge people for holidays in your caravan or lodge.
Remember to take into account the condition and size of your holiday caravan – number of berths is a big factor of course. You could obviously expect to charge more for a newer, more modern caravan or lodge sited within a short distance of local amenities and attractions, but older caravans with fewer amenities nearby are obviously priced cheaper. The facilities and location of your park will inevitably influence prices charged.
If you’re hiring out during peak season, i.e. school holidays, Bank Holiday weekends, you should be prepared to increase your prices in line with increased demand. Likewise be prepared to drop your price at the start or end of the season. It’s always possible to search for school term dates and bank holiday dates online to help your plan your seasonal pricing strategy.
If demand to hire your unit is good, it’s a good idea to be quite strict in the length of time you allow bookings rather than allowing hirers choose whatever days they want so as to minimise periods where your caravan is left empty. You could offer full week stays, or Monday to Thursday mid week getaways complemented by Friday to Sunday short weekend breaks. You’ll need to factor in some time for cleaning, so your conditions on hiring will probably need to stipulate that guests have to be out of the caravan by 12pm on the day of departure to allow cleaners to prepare it for the next guests.
Whilst on the subject of financials, it’s also worth bearing in mind that the income you derive from hiring out your caravan can be taxable by the HMRC. We’d recommend discussing this with a qualified accountant.
How do I market my letting?
Fortunately you can attract customers to hire your holiday caravan without spending large sums of money. Word of mouth is key; tell your friends, tell other people on your park and ask that they spread the word.
Social media is another great way to bring in business and it’s free! Upload details of your letting, tag or tweet local businesses, organisations or groups on Facebook and Twitter and you should begin to see a significant increase in enquiries.
Advertising in a local paper could also work, so too could uploading a post to any of the popular static caravan or holiday lodge forums.
There are of course websites where you can list your holiday caravan for hire in exchange for a small fee. They may even manage bookings for you.
It’s worth checking out how other owners have described their units in adverts to ensure your advert or listing contains all necessary information but also stands out from the crowd; good quality photos of the caravan inside and out, a list of key features of the caravan and equipment provided and details of amenities in the surrounding area, are often included.
For more advice…
We recommend speaking to your park operator for more information on hiring out. They should be able to answer any question you may have.
What’s your experience of hiring out?
Would you recommend it to other holiday caravan owners? Share your story in the comment box below.
To get a quote for your static caravan or holiday lodge insurance click here.