Owning an RV is an awesome adventure and if I don’t blame you for wanting the freedom that comes with having an RV. The only problem is that it can be expensive, especially to buy a new RV – they can cost more than a house.
If you are on a budget but dream of life on the open road in your RV then there are a few ways that you can find an RV for free.
Most free RVs will need a complete makeover, but you can do this on a budget. It also allows you to design the RV to best suit your needs, and restorations can be done for less money if you get creative.
So you may be wondering, how on earth do I get a free RV? Well, I will show you the numerous ways in this article. The 8 best ways to get a free RV
- Relocate an RV for Free
- Enlist the help of your local garages
- Use Facebook
- Use Craigslist
- Look Through RV Classifieds
- Spread the Word
- Negotiate your time for an RV
- Win an RV
1. Relocate RVs for Free
If you want to try an RV for free before you own one then this is a great way to give an RV a test run.
RV rentals is a booming industry in the US and although most people rent an RV for a round trip, lots of people rent an RV for a one way trip. This means that thousands of RVs end up across the country from where they were first hired.
Transporting RVs is an expensive business so the rental companies let volunteers drive the RV back to its original location. This means that you can bag yourself a free RV road trip.
The terms of this will vary from company to company, but volunteers are expected to drive for at least 2-3 hours per day. This gives you plenty of time to camp and enjoy the trip and see if owning an RV is a good fit for you, or a great way for a free holiday.
You can find RV relocations from all over the world here, a quick internet search will also throw up lots of results. You can also try any local RV hire companies and see if they have any transportation needs.
There are a few catches though and you will usually be required to put down a deposit for insurance, you will get this back provided there is no damage to the RV. You will also have to:
- Be at least 21 years old
- Have a full driving license
- No pets or smoking allowed
- Drive within the required dates
2. Enlist the help of local garages
If you would rather have a free RV to own then you could talk to your local garage that sells and services used RVs. If you build up a good relationship with them they can tip you off if any RVs come up that are free to a good home.
Don’t be afraid to ask and butter them up a bit, they’ll remember you if you take them a box of donuts or a cake in.
If they do get in touch with a potential RV, be prepared to roll your sleeves up and get to work renovating it as it is probably going to be in a run down state.
3. Use Facebook to Find a Free RV
You can also try Facebook to hunt down a free RV, the best group to join is FREE/CHEAP Campers and Mobile Homes. There are a few more groups out there so have a search for any in your area.
Once you’ve joined your Facebook group make sure that you check in regularly for any updates. People will post free and cheap RVs that they just want taking off their hands, so there are some great deals out there if you are lucky.
You can also use the Facebook marketplace to find cheap RVs so make sure you check there regularly too. You might even get lucky and find a free one.
4. Use Craigslist to Find a Free RV
There are a couple of ways you can find a free RV on Craigslist, advertise for one or find one listed.
You might get lucky searching your local Craigslist ads but most likely you will have to travel further afield to find a free RV you can search nationwide for motorhomes or RVs via those links.
Keep checking in every day for any new adverts and be quick to move when you see something.
Alternatively, you can place an advert on Craigslist for any free RVs, state that you will remove the RV from the owner’s property and anything else that you think will be helpful.
Again, any free RVs found this way will probably be in need of a renovation and may need to be towed to your property so bear these costs in mind.
5. Search RV Classifieds
Along with your Facebook and Craigslist daily searches, add the RV classifieds to the list. It is rare that any free RVs are advertised here but again you may get lucky.
Sign up to RVTrader, RVUSA, and RVT and check their classified regularly, there are lots of other RV classified to check as well as your local paper. Some others are:
Try an internet search to see if there are any local ones for you.
6. Spread the Word for a Free RV
One of the best ways to bag yourself a free RV is to spread the word that you are looking for one.
Tell your friends, family, and acquaintances that you are looking for an RV, and do they know anyone who wants to get rid of one for free.
You’d be amazed at how many people have RVs that are sitting unused in their yard, they would jump at the chance for someone to take it off their hands.
Keep an eye out when you are driving around for any RVs that look unused, you will be able to tell easily enough as they will usually be dirty and have flat tires, grass, and weeds growing around them. If you see one just knock on the door and speak to the owner. Tell them that you are looking for an RV and ask them if they’d let you have it in exchange for removing it off their property.
When you are spreading the word make sure that people know that you are looking for a free RV to renovate in exchange for removing it from their property.
RVs found this way may be in the worst state of dilapidation and may need a lot of money spent on them to make them roadworthy again.
7. Negotiate Trading A Skill, Time or Goods For An RV
If you have a skill or a trade or something to trade you can try and negotiate to trade these for an RV. This could be anything from free haircuts, yardwork, computer training, or even a car. Have a think as to what you can offer in exchange.
This is a great addition to add to any advert that you put up and might help you to get more bites.
Make sure that you barter a good deal though and know what your time is worth, you don’t want to end up owing years of your life to someone for an RV.
8. Win an RV
Another way of getting your hands on a free RV is to win one. The odds are stacked against you with this one, but the more competitions you enter the better the odds.
A good way to find the competitions is make a google alert for RV competitions or win an RV, then you will get an email alert every time these phrases are mentioned.
There are also companies that specialise in competitions like UltraContest where they regularly update with new ones.
Just be sure that you don’t part with any money to enter as these competitions may be scams.
Renovating A Dilapidated RV
If you do manage to get a free RV then the chances are that it is in a dilapidated state and you will have to get your hands dirty and do some repairs and renovations.
Luckily there is a lot of free information and YouTube videos out there to help you do the repairs yourself. You never know you might enjoy it and start flipping RVs and turn this into a business.
Fixing a leaky roof and updating the interior are jobs that you can do yourself, it may take time and hard work but it is achievable. Just be wary of engine repairs, if you are not experienced then it might be best to let a professional do this as you could end up doing more harm than good.
Red Flags To Look Out For When Hunting For A Free RV
Getting a dilapidated RV that you can renovate yourself is expected, but there are some red flags to look out for and you should avoid free RVs that:
- Have been in a hurricane
- Have been in a flood
- Have Mold (Health hazard)
- Decomposing floor, walls etc
- Have no paperwork
Make sure that the RV doesn’t have any of the above, as these are major hazards and it’s likely that the RV is not roadworthy (or ever will be). You also want to get the paperwork for the RV so that you are the legal owner. Imagine spending months renovating the RV only to find out that you don’t actually own it.
Persistence pays off, keep checking the ads and groups every day and you will eventually find a free RV. Just be prepared to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty once you get it, as there is likely to be a lot of renovation needed.