Chelsea Gonzales
by Chelsea Gonzales
Posté September 20, 2022

“We personally love camping at Fort De Soto in St. Pete, Florida,” owner Joelle Konze tells us. “We have made many great family memories there from the beach, kayaking, local delicious food, boat excursions, snorkeling, the history of the Fort, and so much more in that area!”

Fort De Soto might be their favorite place, but it’s far from the only place this family has explored. In fact, they enjoyed exploring so much that they went out and bought an RV. “Our first camper was a hybrid trailer,” Joelle recalls. “It was lightweight but still provided lots of sleeping room.”

Still, this rig wasn’t quite what the family wanted. They set out to fix that, and with a bit of creativity, they found a way to make it work. “We chose to rent because we wanted to buy a C class, and the dealership didn’t want to give us adequate value for trade,” Joelle explains. “So we figured we could rent it out to make some side money.”

That first rental rig was just the beginning. Being near Disney World and Universal, the Konzes were in the perfect location to run an RV rental business. Since that first rig, Joelle and her husband Michael have grown their business into something much more. “We own five RVs ourselves; three C class motorhomes, a toy hauler, and a hybrid travel trailer,” Joelle says. “We also have 23 consignment units. We have 575 completed rentals in the books and 117 future reservations. We have one full-time employee and four part-time employees. Right now, we are morphing into a legitimate business from a side hustle.”

Of course, this kind of growth didn’t happen on its own. The Konzes had to find ways to stand out and bring in customers. “We have a super cute Mater [of Cars] golf cart,” Joelle tells us when asked how she goes about this. “We also provide all amenities for free. We don’t try to nickel-and-dime people. Our motto is, ‘Just bring your clothes and food!’

Another way the Konze family brings in customers? They actively promote their rental RVs. “I use Facebook groups (Disney, Universal, Florida travel groups, etc.),” Joelle explains. “I also try to attend local events like the Christmas parade, the Art Festival, etc. We sponsor a local high school sports team. We donate to the school. We also do cold calls to event organizers to offer our services. Campers have a vast array of usages, not just camping. They can be used as dressing rooms, waiting areas, extra bedrooms during holidays, transportation, etc. We once rented an A class to John Legend as a ‘hang out’ area after a performance. We rent to many race teams in the area as well.”

Would Joelle and Michael recommend Outdoory to others? “Yes,” Joelle says. “Whether you own a camper and want to offset the cost, or you want to camp but don’t already own a camper…it’s great all around!”

That said, Joelle gave some advice for those looking to start renting their trailer or motorhome. “It’s not easy money,” she shares. “You have to be prepared to earn it! Brush up on those customer service skills, and don’t let bad renters discourage you. Learn from your mistakes (because you will make them) and implement systems to prevent future problems. Take every bad situation as a catalyst to create better-operating procedures. Also, know the competition in your area!”

All About Joelle and Michael

Favorite morning beverage: “Coffee.”

Favorite campsite meal: “Campfire loaded fries.”

Music you like to play on the radio: “Anything but country.”

Best game to play on the road or at your campsite: “Spades.”

Favorite season: “Fall.”

Last photo you took: “A photo of Volcano Bay at Universal Resort Orlando.”

If you could travel anywhere in an RV, where would you go? “I’d love to take a trip from Florida to Alaska!”

Chelsea Gonzales

http://wonderwhereverwewander.wordpress.com/

 

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