Campervan rental company chooses Phoenix for first new market in four years

Native Campervans is getting ready to launch in Phoenix. The company already operates in Denver, Salt Lake City and Las Vegas. (Courtesy Indigenous Campervans)

The Denver-based camper company wanted a less snowy location for its fourth location — and first new location in four years.

Native Campervans, which is headquartered at 2919 E. 42nd Ave. In Elyria-Swansea, currently rents vans in Denver, Salt Lake City and Las vigas. The company will add Phoenix to that list next month.

While Las Vegas — the company’s third market, added in 2019 — provides a warm destination, the company needs another destination to keep business going through the colder months, said Ryan McNutt, chief operating officer.

“Last winter, a large portion of our fleet was sitting,” McNutt said. “We needed another warm-weather location to help offset our winter business.”

The company, which rents vans outfitted for camping and road trips, has a fleet of 100 trucks, roughly 25 more vans than last year, McNutt said.

“We have now reached a point where we cannot meet the utilization needs of our fleet with just the three locations,” McNutt said.

Most customers rent minivans to travel to national parks, such as Rocky Mountain or Yellowstone. With Phoenix, McNutt said Native will reach a whole new customer base because of the Grand Canyon.

“There’s a dedicated group of travelers every year who just want to see the Grand Canyon — I think it’s the five most visited national parks,” he said.

McNutt said he expects Phoenix and access to the Grand Canyon to grow the company’s international clientele, which represents about 10 percent of the business.

Native generated $3 million to $4 million in revenue last year, renting vans to about 1,500 customers, according to McNutt. Depending on the length of the trip, which averages about eight days, McNutt said a typical rental will cost between $1,500 and $5,000.

Native has seen a rise in competition as the trucking industry has surged during the pandemic, causing daily revenue to decline slightly, he said.

“When COVID hit, the first month was tough, because no one was traveling, and then jet fuel spilled on our industry and everyone wanted to get out and camp,” McNutt said.

Native was founded by Dillon Hansen and John Moran in 2015 and has 13 employees. The company rents out three types of minivans for rent; Biggie and The Smalls each sleep two people, while The Squad can sleep four people.

Native Campervans is looking to expand into California and the Pacific Northwest next, with hopes of opening in three more cities in the next five years, McNutt said.

“Denver has been our bread and butter, and that’s where we were founded in 2015, and we’ve really delved into and saturated that market well,” McNutt said.

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