Five years ago, Jeff McSweeney bought a van because he was “tired of sleeping in a tent” when he went camping.
Little did he know that he had started a fantastic commercial adventure.
Five years later, McSweeney has a Vernon-based company called Vantastic Rentals that attracts clients from all over the world. McSweeney started renting out his first motorhome when he wasn’t using it in the summer of 2017, and business was so good he was able to buy two more before the schedule changed to 2018.
COVID-19 took its toll in 2020, but McSweeney was able to step back, assess the business, and slowly grow as a result. He now has four motorhomes in his fleet and business is booming.
Jeff McSweeney is the man behind Vantastic Rentals.
“They’re compact and practical and easy to drive and easy to park,” McSweeney says of the RV appeal. “And I think people just want to get away. They love the freedom. We’re all stuck in our nine-to-five jobs, our house, our mortgage, our kids, and house maintenance.
“And it’s like, you know, if I could just go away in a van for a year and sleep on the beach and ride my bike or hike or do nothing… pretty much everyone likes that. “
“Van life”, as it is known, became popular in other parts of the world before really taking hold in North America in the mid-2010s. The majority of Vantastic Rentals customers are from Europe , where they are used to “van life” and want to explore Canada.
The cool part about Vantastic Rentals is that it offers retro vans from the late 1970s and early 1980s that have modern parts. The exteriors are original, but McSweeney put new engines, transmissions, brakes, tires, shocks, exhausts and interiors into every ride.
In other words, pickup trucks are cool and reliable. Their names are also cool: Van Gogh, Josey Wales, Malakwa and Easy Rider.
McSweeney has also invested in each of the motorhomes to make them even more comfortable, replacing the contents with upgraded versions. Softer cushions, sturdier chairs, and softer duvets are just a few of the reasons its customer reviews continue to shine.
Two of the vans have beds in the back, while the other two have sofa beds on the side for sleeping. One of the vans can accommodate three people. McSweeney has produced YouTube videos that customers can watch to learn how to turn on the furnace, refrigerator or stove and fill gas and propane tanks.
Other than that, you just pick up the van and start exploring.
“It’s a fun business,” McSweeney says. “People come to me to go on vacation. I see them leave with smiles on their faces, but when they come back, the smiles are twice as wide, and I know they come back with memories of a lifetime.”
Visit the Vantastic Rentals website here to begin your adventure.
This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.