With 175 rentals in the books, you’d think Justin and Shelly Southerland’s RV rental business, Pampered Pioneer, was something they planned for years in advance. The funny thing? It most certainly wasn’t.
No, the Southerlands got their first RV to do some traveling of their own. “We lived overseas for seven years and moved back to the US due to COVID, but we still needed to travel, so we decided to get a travel trailer to explore the US,” Shelly explains. “After our first month-long, eight-state, 2,500-mile journey in our 30-foot Pioneer unit, we wanted to take a break for a month or so.”
“During this time, we decided on a whim to look into renting out our RV. Honestly, when we bought the RV, we didn’t even know about rental platforms or think about the rental business opportunity. After reading the reviews on Outdoorsy, we decided to give renting a try, and we are so thankful we did!”
“Outdoorsy’s platform is so user-friendly for the renter and the owner,” Shelly continues, “and their customer service has been amazing. We love the convenience of the app, as well as their Wheelbase program, which was a game changer for us as business owners with multiple units. The sheer size and audience of Outdoorsy made it a no-brainer.”
Before they started renting RVs, Justin and Shelly were both in aviation. Now, they get to make an income sharing what they love with others. “We have been able to turn a hobby into a full-time business,” Shelly says. “We have grown from one to nine units in 18 months. Outdoorsy has made it possible to manage our business more efficiently and keep more of our profits.”
Renting RVs might be fun for the Southerlands, but they take what they do seriously, and always go above and beyond to make their customers happy. Shelly shares a great example of this: “We had a couple needing a camper way up in the West Virginia mountains for a wedding they were attending on their friend’s large mountaintop property,” she recalls. “Most of the attendees were bringing campers from across the US to stay in, but I managed to get there early before the other guests, and got my folks set up in the premium spot overlooking the lake.
“The fun part was getting the camper there,” Shelly goes on. “The mountain road to the top was winding and at times one lane, with no guard rail and a long drop straight down, and it was raining! Once I got on the property, I had to back the camper up a steep and muddy incline that was curved with nowhere to turn around. I locked my truck into four-wheel drive and backed it up probably 300 yards to where they wanted it. After chocking all four tires and getting it level and set up, I took in the view, which was amazing and well worth it. I did all of this in a half-ton pickup truck, but now we have a ¾-ton diesel, thankfully!”
Clearly, Shelly and Justin love their customers, and they made sure to mention how much they appreciate the connections they have made through Outdoorsy. “There are so many wonderful people via the Outdoorsy community,” Shelly tells us. “We have been so blessed to have had so many amazing guests and have made many friends. We love watching the families see the camper for the first time and taking that deep sigh of relief that it’s clean and beautiful and the stress of the real world melts away—or watching the kids fight over who gets the top bunk.”
All About Shelly and Justin
Favorite morning beverage: “Coffee, definitely.”
Favorite campsite meal: “Steak on the Blackstone [griddle].”
Music you like to play on the radio: “We like a variety—Halsey, Chainsmokers, country.”
Best game to play on the road or at your campsite: “Mafia and card games.”
Favorite season: “We love all the seasons, but definitely prefer warm weather. As long as it’s warm enough to go tubing and to the beach!”
If you could travel anywhere in an RV, where would you go? “We have yet to visit New Zealand, but we look forward to returning to Greece.”