Practical things to consider about damage:
- If something does get damaged, have a quick chat with your hirer about it. How did it happen? How bad is it? How quickly can it be fixed? Do they admit fault?
- In the large majority of cases, the hirer will admit fault straight away. In any case of fault admission, it is best if you can obtain this admission in writing (text message, message on the Camplify system, email etc). Understandably, this helps to solidify the resolution. Without evidence, it's difficult for Camplify to act.
- Learn from the damage. Was there anything extra you could have done to help prevent the damage? Is the item/feature something that has a higher risk of being damaged? If so, take note of it for next time. A simple bit of communication, whether it be verbal or written, can prevent something from going wrong.
- If it's something that is very low cost and minor (e.g. a broken cup, missing fork, lost head torch etc), consider a few things before making a damage claim against the bond: Was it a decent size booking value? Was the customer good to deal with? Did everything else go ok? If so, we urge you to consider waiving these very minor damages as 'wear and tear'. Choosing to waive these tiny issues can then lead to receiving an outstanding review from your customer. An outstanding review is priceless, and could indeed lead to thousands of extra dollars in bookings anyway. At the end of the day, it's your call as the owner, but we believe that this can be a great approach when running a small business.
Here are some tips to reduce the risk of damage
We know you can't always prevent damage or accidents, but if there is anything you can do to reduce the risk, it's worth the effort.
1. Submit a comprehensive Pre - Hire Checklist every time
All owners are required to submit a Pre-hire checklist on every hire.
Without a pre-hire checklist submission, we will not pay you, we will not be able to process a damage claim.
The Pre- Hire Checklist asks for 4 + external images, 4 + internal images of the condition of the RV. Make sure you take well light landscape images, capturing a large area in one image. When you have used the four slots, there is an "Additional Information" section where you can upload more images. This will be the principal evidence if you make a claim.
External - Take a photo that includes your roof in case you get overhead damage, bike rack, towing equipment, external kitchen gear
Internal - Expensive equipment
2. List your Hiring Rules
The more specific you are, the better hirers you will attract.
3. Specify your Towing Requirements
List your Towing details, specify the license type required
What cars can tow this RV?
Specify if you have Electric Brakes available
Include Special Towing Information
4. Regular RV Maintenance
As with all vehicle insurance, there is no appropriate insurance cover in the case that an engine/mechanical aspect of an RV fails due to a lack of maintenance.
Your servicing/maintenance costs are tax-deductible. Keep all of the receipts!
Reinforce any breakable areas with stronger material
Regular mechanical servicing
Check tire condition, fluid level and any
Check lights, brakes
Provide extra (oil, coolant, brake fluid, etc)
Check wheel bearings
Check all electrical outlets and plumbing
Check all winding/sliding mechanisms are lubricated and functioning normally
4. Communicate with your Hirer
Vet the hirer thoroughly and be sure they are a good fit
Set your "Booking Message to Hirers", a set of questions asked to the hirer before they request a booking
If it seems off, trust your gut. There is no penalty for declining
5. Provide a comprehensive "Handover"
Don’t rush, demonstrate how to use equipment that is easily breakable. Leave time to answer questions. This handover is critical to prevent damage from common issues. Handovers should take at least 20 minutes, but your first handover could take up to 1 hour.
Send videos links or make a video to show them
Printed a handover guide for your specific van
Add instructional stickers to damage susceptible areas e.g. 'undo clips before winding'
Pay particular attention to the awning, get the hirer to do it with you
Be clear on the chronological order of setting up
6. Provide support information
Be available to receive a call to help the hirer during the trip
Send the hirer the instructions on who to call if they break down.
EMERGENCY - If any engine lights come on the dashboard, pull over immediately. If an accident occurs, get off the road, stay safe, call Camplify on 1300 416 133 - they call the NRMA. Then call me!
7. Develop a list of screening questions to ask each hirer at the time of booking, including age, driving experience, destination, intended route and who they'll be traveling with. Remember, you're in complete control of who you hire out to and when. If you're unsure, you can decline the booking or contact our support team for guidance;
8. During handover, ensure you do a walk-through of the van showing the hirer how to operate all functions;
9. Whilst holidaymakers agree to our Hirers Terms and Conditions, the handover could be a good time to verbally remind them to look after your cherished van, how the bond deposit works, and that they could be fully liable for damage if they are in breach of the Hirers Terms and Conditions;
10. During the handover, take a minimum of 4 photos inside and 4 outside of the van, including the roof where possible;
11. Leave a personalised manual in the van, including step-by-step photo instructions for operating the van;
12. Include a to-do list for packing away the van before driving off;
13. Make yourself available whilst your van is on hire for questions, perhaps with two contact numbers, and Camplify’s support number, this could save minor issues becoming major issues;
14. Regular servicing of your van;
15. Consider adding reminder stickers! Including for the correct fuel, vehicle height restrictions, and key contact numbers;
16. Finally, we ask our owners, don’t sweat the small stuff! Understandably there will be some unexpected costs whilst running a business, but it’s important to have a long-term view.