Are you interested in renovating Airstreams? Whether you want to learn how to become an Airstream renovator as a career or just to renovate one for yourself, this is the article for you.
There are many things that go into renovating any type of RV or travel trailer, let alone an Airstream. If you become very good at renovating Airstreams, you can earn a very nice living.
Before you decide this is the career for you, it’s important to know what you’re getting into. Let’s look at what an Airstream renovator does and how to become one.
Job Duties of an Airstream Renovator
Most expert Airstream renovators will have a background in carpentry, construction, or something mechanical. It’s necessary to be a very handy person as the job duties require you to know how to work with all the things within an Airstream.
- Your job duties can vary quite a bit, but will likely include:
- Meeting with clients to figure out what they want their Airstream to look like
- Performing demolition to remove all the things unnecessary within the Airstream
- Fabricating custom items during the renovation of the Airstream
- Installing/Repairing electrical, plumbing, solar, and other systems within the Airstream
- Laying new flooring in the Airstream
- Using interior design skills to pull together the design for your client
As an Airstream renovator, you will need to understand many things about Airstream. You will need to know this type of travel trailer inside and out, from the flooring to the showers to the lighting.
How To Become an Airstream Renovator in 4 Steps
Step #1 – Complete High School
While it’s certainly not a requirement, it’s very helpful if you complete high school before you become an Airstream renovator. Most companies won’t hire you without at least a high school diploma. Plus, you will likely need a high school diploma to go into any field that could help you become an Airstream renovator.
Since you will likely need to become an RV technician, carpenter, or even a handyman before you become an Airstream renovator, it’s important to complete high school.
Step #2 – Gain the Necessary Skills/Certifications
You will need to gain skills in carpentry, plumbing, electrical, and other areas if you want to renovate Airstreams. A complete understanding of Airstreams and how they work is necessary. Most Airstream renovators will start by doing something mechanical first. You might work as an RV technician before you go into renovating Airstreams.
Step #3 – Learn How to Run a Business
Most Airstream renovators will work as self-employed individuals. You will likely buy old airstreams, renovate them, and flip them for a profit. You may also renovate Airstreams for those looking for an expert.
Either way, it’s very common for Airstream renovators to go into business for themselves. Learning how to run a business can help. It can be very helpful to get an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree in business, marketing, or a related field. Of course, you can also just take a few business courses or teach yourself through online courses.
Step #4 – Renovate an Airstream for Yourself
Once you have the skills, or you think you do, it can be beneficial to buy an Airstream and renovate it for yourself. It’s hard to find clients when you don’t have anything to show them that you have done. You can start with non-airstream RVs and travel trailers, but it’s best to have an Airstream you’ve renovated in your portfolio.
Airstream owners invest quite a bit to buy their travel trailers. They are not afraid to spend money to renovate it, but they will be looking for an expert. If you have an airstream you have renovated for yourself, it gives you a great example of your work. Plus, you can learn the ins and outs as you work on your own Airstream.
Common Things You Must Know as an Airstream Renovator
There are many things to know as an Airstream renovator. If you plan to go into this type of career, you should understand all of the following:
- The Airstream Crowd – This is a very specific niche market found within campers/RVers. Airstream owners are very proud of their Airstream and they want it to look amazing. Make sure you understand this crowd if you want to become an Airstream renovator.
- Showers/Plumbing – RV plumbing and showers are not the same as those found in a regular house. You should understand these systems, along with how to create a custom shower enclosure for an Airstream.
- Flooring – Most renovations will include replacing the flooring. Make sure you know how to work with planks or sheet vinyl flooring, as it’s the most common flooring used.
- Furniture – You will need to know how to install, mount, and select the right furniture for an Airstream. It’s possible you will need to build custom furniture, too.
- Lighting – RV lighting is different from home lighting. You will need to understand how it works and how to install upgraded lights in an Airstream.
- RV Structures – Airstreams are not the same as other travel trailers and RVs. You will need to understand how they are built, how they work, what water damage looks like, and more.
- Materials – Airstream renovations will require specific materials to keep the Airstream at the right weight. Make sure you understand the commonly used materials.
- Tools – Becoming competent with the right tools will make a big difference.
There are many things you will need to learn. Working on an Airstream of your own is one of the best ways to learn Airstreams inside and out. Of course, you will also need to do research as you work on different models, from different years.
Frequently Asked Questions About Airstream Renovators
How much can I make as an Airstream renovator?
The amount you make will depend on what you decide to charge, in most cases. This is likely a career where you will work for yourself. According to air-streaming.com, the cost of an Airstream expert in California was $112 per hour, for the labor. Of course, they may have paid an upcharge for parts and materials, too.
When you run your own business as an Airstream renovator, you can make a very nice living. You may only need to renovate a few Airstreams each year to make a good living. The labor for one renovation may put more than $50K into your pocket.
How will I make money as an Airstream renovator?
There are a few ways you can make your living as an Airstream renovator. While you might work for an employer, this is rare. Most Airstream renovators work for themselves as renovators only or as flippers and renovators.
It’s common for Airstream renovators to purchase old Airstreams and turn them into something amazing. This is known as flipping. You will pay a small price for an Airstream, invest in the renovation yourself, and sell it for a much higher price.
If you decide to flip Airstreams, you can earn a profit on each one you flip. However, you can also take on renovation projects on the side. Many Airstream owners want large or small renovation projects done.
It’s also possible, if you’re an Airstream expert, to provide repair services. This can help you make a living and also gain customers that own Airstreams. By offering repair services, you might be able to find more customers for the renovation side of your business.
Can I renovate more than just Airstreams?
Of course, you can. Airstreams are luxury travel trailers that are very popular. However, you can renovate any type of RV, travel trailer, or 5th wheel, if you understand how to do it properly. Motorhomes may be a bit more difficult, since they have an engine, however.
Do I need a degree to become an Airstream renovator?
No. You don’t need any type of formal education to get into this career. However, without the right skills and knowledge, you might not become successful. Since most Airstream renovators work for themselves, it’s smart to gain an understanding of how a business works.
You might want to take courses in business, marketing, finance, and other business topics. It’s also helpful to learn skills, such as carpentry, mechanical skills, solar system installation, electrical, and plumbing. These skills can be learned through getting a degree, experience, or in other ways.
While it’s not a typical job where you will apply and work for someone else, becoming an Airstream renovator can be very rewarding. This is a career perfect for someone that is very handy. If you love Airstreams, that’s a huge bonus.
Airstream owners are a bit like Jeep owners. They are a special type of person that simply love their Airstream travel trailers. Working with this crowd to make their Airstreams look amazing can be very rewarding. Not only can you make a nice living as an Airstream renovator, but you can also make dreams come true.