Uniquely situated between a sagging economy and dropping gas prices, Dave Zentgraf’s RV rental business in Wichita Falls, Texas, is at the right place and the right time.
D&D Enterprises is in the midst of its fourth summer vacation season. Having started out with only three recreational vehicles, Zentgraf now has a stable of 12 travel trailers and one motorhome, few of which remained on the lot Friday morning (July 17), according to the Wichita Falls Times-Record.
“Three left yesterday and two went out early this morning,” said Zentgraf, who also owns Moonlight Limousine Service. “Bookings are up about 70% from last year and our customers are very satisfied.”
Zentgraf points to lower gas prices as one reason for increased interest in RV use.
“Most people only have a couple of times a year when they can get away, so maintaining, insuring and storing an RV for the rest of the year doesn’t make sense to them,” he said. “This way they have all the fun without the upkeep and other responsibilities. It also lets people who are thinking about buying a chance to see how they like different styles.”
The Internet has also made a big difference for D&D. Customers shopping prices quickly discover Zentgraf’s biggest trailers rent for $395 as opposed to $795 from similar Metroplex businesses. Trips planned for points north or west make it easy to stop and hitch one up, he said.
“We’ve had people headed to Quartz Mountain and Waurika Lake in Oklahoma. One fellow was on his way to a powwow in Walters. Using them for family reunions and out-of-town guests is also getting popular,” Zentgraf said. “We’ve even had a family rent an RV to do medical transport. They were moving their 82-year-old mother and this was more practical and comfortable than paying $6,000 for an ambulance.”
Most of the D&D lineup has been booked for Hotter’N Hell cycling race held each August since last year. Zentgraf sets up the trailers, which sleep from four to eight people, at the campsite, turns on the air-conditioning and makes sure the refrigerators are stocked with plenty of cold water.
“It’s just been amazing this year, but what it tells me is that people still like the idea of family camping,” said Zentgraf. “If you can do it this comfortably, why not?”