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Cash In With “Farm Camp” Rentals
Allen Easterly got into the campground rental business the easy way, using an online service called Hipcamp. Easterly rents out 6 camping sites on Rendezvous Farm, his 16-acre hobby farm in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. He also rents out his own RV, as well as Tiny Rose, a cabin he and his wife built on the frame of an old camper.
“We started renting sites out through Hipcamp 2 years ago,” says Easterly. “We’ve had nothing but good people rent and no problems at all.”
Easterly stumbled on Hipcamp when looking for campgrounds on the internet. Hipcamp and Tentrr (Vol. 43, No. 1) are 2 of a growing number of services that match those wanting to camp with private sites. An estimated 75 million U.S. households camp each year, up 58 percent from 2014.
“I thought it looked like a pretty good way to bring in a little extra inome,” he says. “While you can set up your own camping management system for your campground, you’ll have to manage bookings, buy insurance and deal with folks showing up unannounced. Organizations like Hipcamp handle bookings, cancellations, payments, refunds and listing your campground on their website.”
Landowners like Easterly submit their properties to the organization and set up an account. They establish the price they want to charge. Prices range from $40 to $250 per night, depending on amenities and nearby attractions. Hipcamp keeps 10 percent of the rental fee.
Easterly charges $30 for his campsites, $80 for the Tiny Rose trailer, and $110 for his Winnebago motor home. He provides technical camping support and firewood. Eggs, chicken and rabbit meat raised on the farm are extra.
“Since we are close to Washington, D.C., we get a lot of city folks who don’t know how to start a fire or use a camp stove,” says Easterly. “They love the idea of camping on a farm where the kids can interact with our animals and occasionally see wild animals. I was really surprised how amazed city folk are by a simple vegetable garden.”
Landowners are required to carry commercial insurance or qualify to be covered under the Hipcamp Insurance Policy. If the property is less than 20 acres, they are also required to have toilet facilities available to tent campers, but not RVs.
“We have really enjoyed meeting new people and helping them appreciate a nice escape from their everyday hectic lives,” says Easterly. “And the best part is we get paid for it.”
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Rendezvous Farm, 539 Job Lane, Basye, Va. 22810 (ph 540 856-9000; www.rendezvoushobbyfarm.com).

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2020 - Volume #44, Issue #2