Photo courtesy of McBride’s RV Storage
If you have bought an RV, then you are well versed in finding storage for every little thing you own. But what about storage for the actual RV? It can’t always just live outside your home, sadly, even if it feels like a major part of the family. So, we should talk about the details, but most importantly:
What is the average cost for RV storage? The average cost for all types of RV storage is $30 to $450 per month. Outdoor RV storage rental averages about $50 per month, indoor RV storage rental averages about $75 per month and covered RV storage rental cost about $60 per month in the U.S.
The lower prices in that price range cover the basics of outdoor and covered units, which we will go over a bit more in the article. There are some facilities that provide indoor storage with a lot of different services and amenities, so if we add those to the picture, you are looking at the tip top of the price range provided.
Luckily, you are in complete control of which type of storage unit you choose, so the price really is up to you. There are some people that really do consider the RV as a second home and therefore want to keep it as nice, clean, and protected as possible. Then there are others, who might love it but see it in less sentimental ways, and just store it in a place with only the basics.
In any case, it does not matter what everyone else is doing. You might feel pressured into renting a bigger space or paying extra for a cooled or heated unit, for instance, but if you really think you do not need the extras, then do what is best for you.
Below, I will talk about different types of storage for different types of RVs, different prices for RV storage throughout the United States of America, different services offered at different storage units, and what it might cost if you were in a place where you could build your own storage unit.
Ah, if only we all had a big enough driveway or yard space for our RVs! If you are one of the lucky ones with enough room, you might consider just keeping the RV right where you can see it.
While driveway storage is one of the cheapest options as it is basically free, it has its share of difficulties. To be completely transparent, we can start by talking about the disadvantages to this option: weather, upkeep, and thievery.
Weather can affect your RV over long periods of time by creating rust over moving parts, causing mold on the inside or on the outside of the RV, and allowing for pests to get in (because pests always find a way in basically anywhere). These different disturbances depend on what climate you live in–excessive rain can cause rust and mold, and hot, wet areas usually have pests all year round.
The upkeep of the RV is another thing to consider. You will want to wash the RV regularly, lubricate the moving parts, cover the tires, cover the body with a breathable tarp, disconnect propane tanks, spray the RV with pest control, and remove any valuable items you may have inside.
Removing valuables is especially important as stealing from RVs has become quite prevalent in both campgrounds and neighborhoods. If you really want to protect all of your assets, consider emptying the RV before storing it–even if it is sitting on your own property.
Remember to consult your neighborhood rules as well as city and county rules when it comes to parking the RV in your driveway. Many cities have rules about RVs length and width. In general, the RV should not extend over the sidewalk.
Make sure, also, that the slope of your driveway can hold the RV in such a way that it will not get damaged or drag on the ground.
You should always talk to your neighbors before storing on your driveway, as the RV could come too close to their property and obstruct their views. If driveway storage is annoying to your neighbors, you could consider renting out your RV so that it is not always around when you are not using it, which will help you and the neighbors feel more comfortable.
So, overall, while storing an RV in your driveway is a very cheap option, it comes with a lot of things to consider–most importantly, how it is affecting other people around you. If you think this option will not work in your neighborhood, you might want to consider a different type of RV storage.
RV Classes and Storage Needs
Before we get into rental prices for storage, it will help to go over the different classes of RVs, what size of storage they need, and what type of storage they can usually have.
The chart shows you the basics–what the different classes look like, and what storage units you should consider for each–but I will go into a little more information on each class, so we really get to know the specifics.
Class A RV Storage
large and in charge. These RVs are big–they can be up to about 45 or 50 feet long! They will hold six to eight people, if we are counting bed, couch, and chair room. These RVs actually feel like a home. They have full kitchens, bathroom, sleeping space, driving space, and even dining space.
So, while they have it all on the inside, it can be difficult to find a way to store something this big. Typically, Class A RVs are stored on a driveway, covered, or outdoor spaces. They are usually just a little too long for indoor storage units.
There are special indoor RV storage facilities where you can find units long enough for Class A RVs, but they are not as common as might be necessary. Class A storage will be outdoor or covered storage.
Class B RV Storage
These are the little guys–the renovated vans and airstreams. They usually hold about one to two people, depending on how big the sleeping area is. Since they are so small, they can be stored in all the places. And since they are generally less expensive than Class A RVs, splurging for an indoor storage facility might feel like more of an option.
Class B will be indoor, outdoor or covered storage.
Class C RV Storage
These are the in between models. You will often see Class C RVs attached to the back of pickup trucks. They are large trailers, but not as large as Class A RVs. They typically hold anywhere from one to four people, again, depending on the style.
These are anything in between Class A and Class B, you will find a variety of sizes, meaning storage unit size will also vary! You will always have outdoor and covered storage options, but the indoor may be available if the size permits.
Now that we know a little bit more about which RV types can fit where, let’s get into the specifics of what outdoor, covered, and indoor storage units have to offer.
Outdoor Storage Units
Outdoor storage is usually the most affordable option compared to covered and indoor units. Since the storage is outside, the size of the RV should not be a huge issue. That is why you will see lots of Class A RVs at outdoor units–they can fit!
Outdoor storage units can hold any size trailer, though, and that is another reason they are so popular.
Depending on the facility, the storage can be either a specific parking spot reserved for RVs, or your RV will be out on an open lot with all the other stored RVs. While it will still be vulnerable to weather, being surrounded by other large vehicles will help protect them from at least part of any storms they may encounter.
As for security, outdoor storage units are generally kept very safe. There will be high walls, security cameras, key-pad entry gates, and so on. You can expect your RV to be very safe against pretty much anything except the weather.
If you live in a state where extreme weather is not an issue, outdoor storage units should work great for you. Even if you live in a state where it rains periodically, you should be fine. If you live in the Pacific Northwest…perhaps outdoor storage is not the greatest option for you.
Rain is something you should really be aware of–nothing makes an RV deteriorate faster than rain. Water damage claims a lot of RV lives. But if outdoor storage is all you can afford even in a rainy climate, make sure to check in on the RV regularly–check your rig for leaks, and check your seams and seals to see if they have come loose.
As for price, outdoor RV storage units are averaged anywhere from $30-$230. There is such a high price range because the rent depends on your RV’s size. Smaller will be cheaper and larger will be more expensive.
The price also varies because you may encounter a gravel lot or a paved lot–both of which are completely fine for RVs, but one might be a smoother ride than the other. The price is all in the details.
Covered Storage Units
Depending on the area, of course, covered storage units are often around the same price as outdoor storage units, but they do offer a bit more protection from the elements. In any case, they are definitely cheaper than indoor units!
You will typically see either a standalone canopy style–basically a roof supported by poles–or a three-sided walled canopy, meaning a roof and three walls around the RV. These covered spots are actually more common than just plain outdoor storage.
And the great news is, covered storage units usually offer enough room for any size RV. You should find the same security measures in these units as well–high fences, security cameras, and key-pad entry.
The con is, even though your RV is protected better from the weather here than it would be without cover, extreme weather like heavy winds, high temperatures, extreme cold, and humidity can still affect the RV. So again, take your local weather into account and figure out if this option is best for you.
The average price for covered RV storage units will be anywhere from $40-$230. Again, the price varies based on your RV size.
Indoor Storage Units
As you have probably inferred from the other storage explanations, indoor storage units are the costliest option. However, they do offer the best protection for your RV! If you are in a place financially where this option is viable, the pros probably outweigh the cons.
With indoor units, you will not have to worry about the weather. In fact, some indoor units offer temperature-controlled rooms. And as for security, the building will have all the precautions you are used to, along with your own key-pad to get in to your individual unit.
The downfall of indoor storage units is the size. Most often, they offer smaller units, meaning Class A RVs usually will not fit.
While the price varies, especially depending on if you get a climate-controlled unit, which is significantly more expensive, you are looking at an average price range of about $53-$500 for an indoor RV storage unit.
Remember, that in all cases of RV storage, the size of your RV will affect the cost.
Average Prices Throughout the United States of America
Remember to check each option–outdoor, covered, and indoor–in whatever state you are in, because this map only covers the average cost. There will probably be some cheaper options, and there will most likely be some more expensive options as well.
Some states only store RVs seasonally, usually through the winter, so keep that in mind as you look around. They will have options for shorter rentals–about six to eight months–and options to renew should be available.
The fact is, though, RV storage can get expensive. The $30 options do exist, but you have to really try to find them. Below is a map that shows you the average for each state in the United States of America, and with these average numbers, you will be able to tell which state will probably have the cheapest options–which would be below the average–available.
RV storage cost by state map
https://www.worldatlas.com/webimage/countrys/namerica/usstates/usa50out.htm (map credit)
https://www.goldeagle.com/tips-tools/averaging-rv-storage-rates-across-all-fifty-states/ (price credit)
Though only one state (Utah) is labeled with a “C” for Covered, most of the other “O” specific states offer covered and outdoor storage–just for the chart’s sake, the O encompassed all. “C” is specified in Utah because it seems that there are not very many indoor storage facilities available.
These states all have more specific options available as well, like heated and underground units, so this table will help you to get you the most specific average information:
|Outdoor heated units||New Jersey and South Dakota|
|Indoor heated units||Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, and Wyoming|
|Climate Controlled Units||Florida, New Hampshire, Ohio, and West Virginia|
|Specified Covered Areas||North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah, and Virginia|
Even though these are the average facilities you will encounter per state, it is probably safe to assume that every state has a variety of all three storage styles and different amenity options. Now that you have the average prices, you can search for the specifics and make a decision.
Services Storage Units Offer
Different services provided at individual storage units affect the cost directly. Here are a couple of different amenities you can expect to see at some regular and upgraded storage facilities.
- Most storage units offer a variety of ways to pay–checks, cash, direct deposit, and sometimes credit cards–and they also might offer to send you emails to remind you of monthly payment. These different options work for almost anyone in any circumstance. It is not often that you see this versatility in renting situations.
- Some storage units offer 24-hour access to your unit–usually with administrator’s approval. This feature is perfect for if you get back from a long trip at two in the morning but need to put the RV back in storage. You will not have to worry about stalling or finding parking for just a couple of hours until the unit opens.
- Occasionally, there is an option for truck rental to help you get the RV to and from your location, or even people that will come get the RV for you. I have not seen this option in many places–be sure to check if one near you offers such a helpful amenity.
- If not a truck rental, there is also often valet parking. You bring your RV, and an employee will park it for you, so you don’t have to navigate the storage unit roads. Of course, the roads will be smooth and big enough to maneuver easily, but it is always nice to have someone who has practiced the route many times to help out.
- A lot of the time, managers live on site, so you have the added protection of a person you trust watching the storage unit. You will always have tall walls, and video surveillance, but it helps to know someone is there actually keeping track of the surveillance in real time.
- Some RV storage units offer discounts–most often a military or senior citizen discount, though I have seen student discounts also available at select facilities. These discounts range from about 5% to 15%, but you never know! Maybe the one near you has an even better percentage.
- Some indoor facilities are heated, though not overwhelmingly so, just so that the RV doesn’t get too cold inside its garage-like unit during the winter months. There are even some outdoor heated units, so you might end up with the best of both worlds price wise.
- I’ve seen deals for $1 for the first month on more expensive units, and I am sure other deals like this exist. Before you decide on a storage unit, be sure you have seen all the deals in your area!
- Some facilities will have battery charging stations for your RV, which helps keep the electricity running throughout your motor home. It is always good to keep the RV functioning, so when you are ready to take it out, it is ready as well.
- Another similar amenity is sewage dumps at the storage units, for the same reasons as the electricity. Better to have the RV charged and emptied and ready to go as soon as you are ready to go.
So, as you can see, some of the services save you money, and others might ask for more money. The choice of whether or not you want to use the services is up to you. If the convenience and protection is worth it, you have more options.
In any case, it is good to keep the RV functioning, so if the storage unit provides extra charging and dumping and protection, it really is something you should seriously consider when picking a storage unit.
These services will also improve the running life of your RV, for which I am sure no one would complain about!
This photo is outside GOC content manager’s Rick Arms house.
Build Your Own Storage?
This might seem crazy, but if you have enough room on your property, you have the option to build your own storage. Of course, you will have to check with your HOA (if you have one), or the city rules, but you might be able to tuck your RV away within a stone’s throw.
There are many guides for building your own carport, and with that, many choices for materials. I’ve seen anything from steel rods holding a canopy to a wooden shelter.
In general, shelters are easy for anyone to build, even if you have limited woodworking or steel working experience. When it comes to wood, you should buy weather resistant lumber, as the whole point is for your RV to resist the weather. Aside from wood, you will also need plywood and tarps for the roof and floor.
Most often, you only need a few tools: safety gloves and glasses, miter saw, jigsaw, chalk line, spirit level, tape measurer, carpentry pencil, and drill machinery with drill bits. If you do not own these materials, chances are you know somebody who does, or you can rent tools for pretty affordable prices at somewhere like Home Depot.
All in all, if you are able to borrow machinery or rent tools and buy the wood or steel, the price should be pretty inexpensive considering the cost per wear. The total should come out to anywhere from $2,600-$6,000 if you do it yourself.
If you choose to buy an already made carport, you are looking at a couple thousand more than if you built it–anywhere from $2,200 to $12,000. But again, if you consider how much renting a storage unit will amount to in the end, you might be saving money by spending more up front.
Even though rent prices should be as advertised, there are usually some extra fees that pop up when you secure a unit. For instance, the administration fee.
Most RV storage facilities that I researched showed a $20-$30 administration fee, which is not that bad considering the market is small and they could charge more if they wanted. This fee should only be a one-time fee as well, so be wary if they want to charge extra every month.
Maintenance…Even in Storage
Another cost to consider, even while your RV is in storage, is maintenance. While these are not necessarily storage costs, they are costs you might face because you have put your RV in storage.
The fact is, RVs are motorized vehicles, which means if the batteries are not used, they could just stop working altogether. Even if you plan on keeping your RV in storage long term, try to visit it at least every other month and take it out for a spin. If you don’t give the battery a little life, you will pay for it later.
Just in case, it is always smart to keep an eye on the generator. You need to change and filter the oil regularly, and even if it is in storage, you will want to check out what is going on inside the RV to make sure it won’t cost you any money down the road.
Making storage decisions for your RV are so dependent on your location, your financial situation, your housing situation, and your preferences. There are usually several facilities nearby if you do a quick Google search, so look through for specifics and decide what will work for you.
RVs require a lot of care and they travel with you on so many important and possibly life changing trips. They start to feel like part of your family, just like a regular home does as well. And just like family and home, we have to take care of the RV to our best ability.
Again, that ability is personal. But you know what you can afford and what you want, and with this information, I hope you find it.