Owners Rachel and Raphael Konforti were first inspired to purchase an RV during a cross-country move. “We moved from Florida to California a few years ago and discovered how many amazing and diverse weekend and week-long trips you can take,” Raphael recalls. “Beaches, mountains, deserts, and secluded towns are all within reach from San Diego. We wanted a chance to see all of those amazing state and national parks while taking advantage of the comfort of the van.”
The problem? Converted vans can be expensive. “We had been thinking about getting the van for a while to be able to travel, but we were a little leery of the financial commitment and how much we would be able to use it, as we both travel for work,” Raphael tells us. “One day we had the epiphany to rent it out. We put together a business plan by looking up rentals on Outdoorsy and realized we could easily cover the monthly cost of the van and then some by renting it out. We went all-in after that.”
The process of choosing the perfect van is never easy, and the Konfortis took extra pains to ensure they ended up with something awesome. “We did a lot of research, and after renting an actual RV to hit the national parks throughout Arizona and Utah, we quickly realized we wanted to convert a van,” Raphael explains.
“We had BOHO Vans out of Phoenix (which had been invested in on Shark Tank) build out a Promaster. We love how easy it is to drive, park, and not look like an obvious tourist. The quality of the build and the simplicity to maintain and operate it were also important to us. We loved the natural wood look and off-the-grid capabilities.”
The next step? Listing the van as a rental of course! “When we did our research about turning the van into a business, it was really obvious Outdoorsy was the place to list it,” Raphael shares. “The functionality for owners is easy and robust, and we felt confident we would quickly get bookings on Outdoorsy. Having insurance through Outdoorsy is a huge stress relief. We wouldn’t rent the van without it. The process of reviewing the van before and after rentals is very thorough and Outdoorsy has a great customer service team that communicates quickly.”
Rental requests started coming in almost immediately. “We had our first renter within a week of listing it,” Raphael says. “ At this point, the van has been listed for just over a year and we’ve earned over $10K. There are also big tax advantages when renting out your van.”
One of the things the Konfortis have done to ensure their van stands out while also helping to give back is to create a unique partnership. “We’ve partnered up with Generous Coffee as ambassadors through the van,” Raphael tells us. “Their coffee is sustainably grown and provides local farmers with fair wages so they can grow their businesses and protect their lands in third-world countries. We always include their coffee in every rental. It’s perfect for the van because you can simply drop coffee bags into hot water instead of having to brew it.”
Of course, the couple also uses good old-fashioned customer service to keep renters happy. “We take a lot of pride in making sure our renters have the best experience possible. We always offer to review their itinerary and provide suggestions based on feedback from other renters and our own,” Raphael explains. “It makes us so happy when they follow a recommendation they would have never known about and it becomes a highlight of their trip. Just last week we told a renter about a small town up the coast of California they loved but everyone drives past on the highway.”
A big benefit of taking the time to ensure each rental goes off without a hitch? New connections and the friendships they form. “We’ve met all sorts of people,” Raphael says. “It’s what makes the process of renting out the van interesting. You meet so many cool people you likely would never have met.
“There have been the classic California surfers, couples looking to escape the craziness of L.A., locals looking to get a taste of van life, couples from the east coast celebrating anniversaries, and father/daughter camping trips. Some love the outdoors and others are dipping their toe into it by renting a van instead of tent camping.”
One such person was the very first renter the Konfortis ever did business with. “Our very first rental still stands out,” Raphael recalls. “We did a drop-off at the renter’s home and he came out with a clipboard writing down every little detail that we explained to him about the van. While picking the van back up he invited us into his house—which is a historical monument filled with all kinds of unique art—and he also gave us free passes to join his yoga studio.”
Raphael then goes on to describe another fantastic rental experience. “A father and daughter came from Hawaii and went out to Joshua Tree for hiking and rock climbing,” he tells us. “They were so nice and even turned us onto some amazing campsites we now recommend to renters. The part that stood out is you could feel the love and know that you were allowing them to have a memory they will never forget. They told us it was one of the best trips of their life and something they will always cherish.”
This kind of experience is what the Konfortis always aim for. “Our hope is for people to be able to disconnect from technology and the everyday hustle and connect with nature,” they say. “We believe that people who spend time in nature find time to be present and come home happier, making the world a better place.
All About Rachel and Raphael
Favorite morning beverage: “Bee Stinger (coffee, honey and milk).”
Favorite campsite meal: “Pizza on a log.”
Music you like to play on the radio: “Our ‘Van Jams’ playlist on Spotify.”
Best game to play on the road or at your campsite: “Catan!”
Favorite season: “Summer.”
Last photo you took: “Laying in the bed with the doors open to the beach while ‘working.’”
What’s your Outdoorsy spirit animal? “Mallard.”
If you could travel anywhere in an RV, where would you go? “Up the Pacific Coast through Oregon, Washington, and Canada to Alaska.”