It’s been just over one year since Chad and Cherie Ball launched WheelEstate, a website that matches campers with RV owners who want to rent out their trailers on a short-term basis. Think Airbnb for RV trailers.
Since then, the Alberta couple has seen their business grow 1,900 per cent.
“I think when we spoke (last year) we had about 35 trailers signed up to the site, just trying to get the word out,” Chad said. “We have over 700 trailers signed up at this point.
“I think we had about 1,000 members and that’s grown to well over 6,000 rent-ready people looking to rent trailers right across Canada.”
The couple hoped for such a positive response but never imagined this.
“The people that we’re attracting to the site are just so wonderful,” Cherie said. “The owners have really adopted it as their own and really embraced it… They’re providing the awesome experiences and the connections with their guests so their guests are coming back this year.”
WheelEstate is a proud Alberta-based company but it’s expanding to other provinces as demand spreads, including RV-popular Ontario and B.C.
Chad thinks the appeal lies in the way the site has benefits for both the RV owners and the renters.
“There’s the affordability aspect,” he said. “We’ve made camping more accessible to people. And the other side, we’re helping empower people on an individual level to put more money back in their pockets.
“Just for the average, everyday person that just has one maybe sitting in their driveway, it’s a great opportunity to put money back in their hands and then spend the money on what’s meaningful for them. Maybe it’s paying for their kids’ college tuition, or hockey, just everyday bills.”
Watch below: An Alberta couple has launched a website that connects travel trailer owners with people who’d like to rent them. On April 19, 2017, Emily Mertz reported on the latest edition to the sharing economy.
Trailer owners have made over half a million dollars through WheelEstate since last year’s launch. It’s one of the things Chad is most proud of.
They’re also seeing individual clients seize the opportunity to increase their profits.
“We even have one trailer owner who has four trailers on the site,” Chad said.
“They’re looking at a micro-business. We call those people ‘rentrepreneurs.’ They just take it to the next level.”
The WheelEstate team has also grown. It started with just Chad and Cherie. Now the business is 10-strong. Chad and Cherie say they focus on customer service and attracting good people to the site.
“We fact check every single piece of communication that goes through the site,” Chad said. “Our trusted safety team, we review every message, weed out any bad actors and I’m happy to say there hasn’t really been any bad actors, which is a testament to the community.”
While the numbers are impressive, what the couple values most is that community of members.
“We wouldn’t be here without them. They’re our partners,” Cherie said.
“The guests were messaging the owners, saying how excited they were to go on their trip that’s coming up,” she said. “They put a photo of the owner’s trailer on their fridge so the kids can see the picture of the trailer and get so excited to have their first camping experience.”
The traffic to the site is up 120 per cent over last year. The average rental duration is six nights. The average cost for a rental is $107 per night, but range from $40 for a tent trailer to $250 for a luxury fifth wheel.