How to Afford a Sprinter Van Conversion
The world of camper vans has something for everyone, with older used options ranging from just a couple thousand dollars, to brand new 4×4 Sprinter conversions that clock in well over $200,000. Investing in a high-end, new Mercedes Sprinter van build with a custom conversion is a big financial step for most people.
So how is this trend growing at such a fast rate? How are people affording Sprinter cargo vans and builds from van conversion companies, with total costs upwards of $200,000? The fact is, there are several ways to fit a high-end Sprinter van conversion cost into your budget. Ready for all the tips on how to afford a Sprinter camper van? Keep reading!
Get Financing (Not Available for DIY Van Conversions)
If you don’t have six figures of cash to buy a converted Sprinter van upfront, you’re certainly not alone. Many people choose to finance their camper van conversions.
If you’re purchasing a new Sprinter van from a Mercedes dealership, and you’re working with an approved builder, like Muse & Co. Outdoors, they’re often able to roll the price of the van conversion together with the price of the van chassis, and finance up to 75% of the total cost (van + conversion).
RV loans are offered by a variety of lenders, including some credit unions. Interest rates vary widely based on the terms of the loan, but APRs below 5% are not unheard of. Depending on the lender, an RV loan may cover all or part of the van itself, the conversion, or both. You may also be able to get a vehicle loan for the van itself, and a separate RV loan for the conversion.
If you have good credit and a steady income, a financing loan is a fantastic way to get the van you want right now. For example, Muse & Co. Outdoors offers financing through Hearth. Hearth makes it easy for you to find monthly payment options for your van conversion, with:
Loan amounts up to $100,000
Terms from 2 – 12 years
Direct funding in days from application
No penalty for early payment
Home equity not required to qualify
An important note: Those looking to do a DIY van conversion to avoid the extra costs associated with buying a converted van will not be able to get a traditional RV loan. Costs for DIY camper vans are many, and include components like electrical systems with solar panels and inverters, propane systems, water tanks and water heaters, vent fans, and various components like countertops, flooring, etc. Financing companies don’t want to sort through the value of these items, and they don’t trust DIY builders to turn these components into something worth as much or more than the individual parts.
Take an Extended Road Trip
Of course, there are more creative ways to make buying a camper conversion a financial reality. You are, after all, investing in a tiny home on wheels – so one path that many vanlifers take is to move into their vans for a period of time to the cost of the van by avoiding rent and mortgage payments. While this is not an option for some individuals and families, others may have the flexibility to make a nomadic lifestyle work, even if just for a period of time. High roof vans like Mercedes and Dodge Sprinters, Ford Transits, and Ram Promasters have enough room for many people to live comfortably full-time.
For those who can make it work, living out of a camper van comes with many major benefits. First and foremost, of course, is the fact that you get to spend your time in the places you love the most. And, as thousands of people who have moved into their camper vans across the U.S. are learning, there are many valuable life lessons to be learned by simplifying and living a minimalist lifestyle.
This option will especially appeal to those who are able to work remotely. With off-grid electric systems powered by deep-cycle lithium batteries, vans now serve as functional mobile offices for many people. You can pull out your laptop and clock in wherever you have cell service. Plus, for people working remotely and living in their vans full-time, it’s possible to save a huge amount of money on taxes by legally writing off the van and conversion as a business expense.
Living rent and mortgage-free, even if just for a few months, can go a long ways towards paying for your own van—especially if you are able to work remotely. This option isn’t for everyone, but for those with the freedom and flexibility to hit the road for a few months, the potential for amazing adventures and major savings is hard to pass up.
Let Your Camper Van Work for You
Many van owners across the U.S. are taking advantage of the fact that Sprinter camper vans are in high demand, and they depreciate very slowly. Many people buy converted Sprinter vans, use them for one or two long road trips, and then sell them for the same amount or slightly less than they paid for them.
But there’s another option, for people who aren’t interested in selling their van, and still want to capitalize on their new asset. Now, van owners can rent their vans to others who are looking to get a taste of the #vanlife! Outdoorsy is a fast-growing platform that allows owners of Sprinter camper vans to advertise and rent their rigs to others. GoCamp is another great option if you own a top notch van – they’re a boutique rental company that only offers the cream of the crop to their picky clientele.
And the best part? Rentals aren’t cheap – with professionally converted Sprinters routinely going for upwards of $300 per night! With minimal effort, you can pay for a significant portion of your camper van by renting it just a handful of times per year. Outdoorsy and GoCamp take a small percentage of each rental transaction in exchange for listing on their platforms, but they also help you out by offering insurance and screening drivers before allowing them to rent your van.
You can set your calendar to make your van available as often or as infrequently as you’d like. If you take your van on trips 2 weekends out of every month, you could easily make $1200 or more per month, just by renting it out the other two weekends! It’s no wonder why Outdoorsy and GoCamp are fast-growing platforms—this is both a great way for van owners to make money and pay for their conversion, as well as an awesome opportunity for people looking to get away and taste the van life!
There’s no getting around it: A Sprinter camper van is a major investment, and you should definitely consider whether this is a dream that’s worth chasing for you and your family. Fortunately, these tips can make it easier to fit a conversion van into your budget. If a new Sprinter is in the cards for you, make sure you protect your investment by purchasing an insurance policy that covers both the van and the buildout itself.
As Sprinter van conversion experts and vanlife lovers we understand how daunting it can be to figure out the best financing option to make your dream van a reality. If you’ve got any questions we’re here and happy to help.
~ Your friends at Muse & Co. Outdoors
What would be the required amount I would need to put down for the RV loan? Or can I just apply for one?
Hi Johnny, if you are buying a brand new Mercedes sprinter van from a dealer, they can finance your build and our upfitting together in one package. Their terms are 25% down, and they will finance the remaining 75%. If you aren’t buying a new van, or want to shop around, your local credit union is often a good source of loans.