There are a few national chains that can provide you with a quality motorhome rental. These companies usually maintain their own fleet of rv rentals. These motorhomes and rv rentals are often specially designed rental units, equipped for the needs of the casual RV adventurer. Often these motorhome rentals fall on the smaller side (class C rather than Class A for example).
The advantage to renting from a national rv rental chain is that if you are primarily interested in a one way rv rental, they can usually accommodate you and of course you enjoy all the same benefits a nameless impersonal conglomerate can provide.
The disadvantages are similar to those one might experience when renting a car from a national car rental chain (high pressure sales, swapping the unit out on you at the last minute, a minutia of legal paperwork all to their own favor. Also, include the fact that you will most likely be renting a cookie cutter motorhome with most of the more elaborate options not available. The motorhome you rent is after all primarily a rental, a rental in how it is equipped, its size, appearance etc. Another disadvantage is that national chains rarely provide tent trailer or popup camper rentals, if this is more your style than you will need to consider other options.
An RV rental management company will rent privately owned motorhomes and RVs on behalf of their owners. An owner will often turn over the motor home to the rental company who will handle the rental arrangements on their behalf. You will negotiate the terms of the motorhome rental with the company not the owner. The company and the owner have a predetermined commission schedule which is between them.
The advantage to going through an RV rental management company is that you may receive more personalized service, and you may have a better variety of motor homes to choose from than if you rented from a national chain.
The disadvantage is that you may not be guaranteed a particular motorhome when it comes time to pick it up, often times the company will reserve the right to swap out a similar motorhome, and sometimes, not even in the same class. In short, more personalized service than the larger chains, perhaps more variety to choose from but all the same problems you might associate with renting a car from a car rental agency.
An RV rental referral service brings together individual motor home owners with prospective renters such as yourself. Typically your negotiations and contract will be between you and the referral service. The service will take a commission on the rental, while you work with the owner to pick up and rent the motorhome.
The advantage to renting from a referral service is that you often can benefit from the experience and expertise of the industry from the referral service, while enjoying the benefits of renting a unique motorhome and potentially save money while enjoying more personal attention from the owners.
Some RV Dealerships have respoinded to an explosion in demand for RV Rentals in recent years and have begun offering rentals themselves. Often time the rentals will be trade ins or inventory they have yet to move on their lot. This may be a great way to go, if the motorhome you rent is actually a motorhome you are thinking of buying.
Most RV owners take pride in their motorhome and are often reluctant to rent it out. An RV is a large expense, and with every mile, the depreciation adds up. However, there are many individuals who are willing to rent their motorhome out.
The advantages to renting from an individual owner are as follows: Variety, you will have the most to choose from. Pride, the motorhome you rent will most likely be the pride and joy of its owner, well maintained, and cared for. Often the owner if looking for a way to offset the expense of their hobby and share their hobby's passion so you can expect more individual attention and service, and finally, Price, because there are no middle men to get between you and the owner, and no commissions to be paid, the owner is at more liberty to offer a bargain.
The disadvantage of renting a motorhome directly from its owner comes from the challenge in locating these individual owners and without a company to provide assurance and warranties, it can be more of a risk.