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Considering charging a fee for things like dirty dishes upon return - anyone else?


Initially I was fine with renters returning my van in a pretty messy state - I've roadtripped in a van and I get how quickly things can get messy. However, I've had a number of renters return with a pile of dirty dishes though and it feels a tad disrespectful to me to just leave a blatant mess like that.

I do pop everything in the dishwasher between rentals,  but I am considering a fee for returning it without cleaning the dishes or other big messes.

Anyone else doing something like this? Or am I overreacting?  What fees have you found make sense? Any? Thanks!



I’m trying to sort out this whole prep thing myself. I was actually surprised to read recently in the Outdoorsy rental contract, that the renter is supposed to return the RV as clean or cleaner than when they rented it. No one does this! No renter cleans the RV at all really. Sure they may wipe down the counters and do some sweeping but that’s about it. I have to clean mine every time, fill it with propane fill it up fresh water takes four hours. I think you should definitely charge for any mess at all, sink full of dishes and all that should be an additional $100 cleaning at least.

Weekend warrior

Create a simple list of tasks for your renter to do prior to returning - e.g. empty grey/black tanks, fill the fuel tank, sweep floors, wash and put away all dishes and such. Try and keep it to just a few important things (otherwise renters just won't do it), and mention that excess cleaning fees could be added if this isn't done at return. We also started hiring people from TaskRabbit to do some of the cleaning and prep tasks between each renter, and rolled the cost into the "Prep Fee" that each of your renters pay for a booking. Saved me a ton of time.


From my experience even the renters do clean they still don't bring the camper back as clean as they received it. I always remind them during hand off to bring it clean to avoid $150 charge and so far I haven't had dirty dishes or big messes. But on the other hand I pre-charge $100 for prepping, sanitizing, washing the sheets, towels and replenishing their toilet paper and cleaning supply. This method has been helping so far 🙂

Weekend warrior

I have a binder that lists exactly what's expected upon check-out and what will be charged per hour if there's additional cleaning to be done. We present a pristine rig that I take extra care in sanitizing per covid/flu/pet hair safety regulations-- the least a renter can do is do a quick sweep through and wash their dishes.

I've only had one set of renters not do the best they could (I don't expect perfection, just a little help from my renter-friends, lol), and that was because the campground they were staying in unexpectedly lost water for hours the morning of their check-out date. It was 100% not their fault.

Honestly, all of our renters so far (around 8 trips this season, I believe), have really appreciated how clean our RV is and want to leave it as clean as they've received it (barring deposit-charge-worthy accidents like melting stuff onto the stovetop, but that's a different issue altogether, lol).

Just leave a simple list of what you expect (for us, it's sweeping the floor, wiping down surfaces, washing/drying used dishes, and taking out trash and recycling), and they're more than happy to do it! They always go further by washing/rinsing out the coffee pot and quickly wiping out the fridge. Most people are awesome about stuff like this when they understand what's expected of them. When there aren't any lists or expectations, most people just assume it's a 'whatever' situation. I hope that makes sense? lol

If you try some of these suggestions (mine and others) and they're still not respecting your van, maybe consider a per-hour cleaning fee if your van isn't in respectable condition when it's brought home? 

You're not going to find the answer straight away- keep working and tweaking ideas until you find the right combination. I didn't laminate the pages of my binder until after renter #5 or 6. That's when I had a grasp of what needed to be covered and what I was willing to put up with and/or expect from my renters.(Keep in mind that my binder also includes all of the "how to" for the rig. Meaning- how to turn lights on, use the stove, put out/bring in the awning, etc, etc-- it's not just a "how to clean the RV" binder). 

Anyway, I hope any of this helps! 

Laminating the pages is a great idea, our "how-to" binder just has those plastic page sleeves, and they don't hold up very well. Thanks for the tip!

So glad I could help YOU this time! It's usually the other way around! lol