Legal Questions: Should You Run Your Business From Your RV?

If you're an independent contractor, you may find that selling your home and using your RV from a site like to travel to all of your clients may end up being more cost effective. Several RV's on the market today are spacious and accommodating-- providing all the comforts of home on wheels. Instead of paying for travel costs and home mortgage or rent, you could lump it all together, taking your home with you wherever you go. There are plenty of pros and cons for this type of lifestyle-- but is it the best idea for your business? Here are a few questions you should ask yourself before taking the plunge.

Do you actually own your own business?

Many people who see themselves as "their own bosses" still get paid by a company or corporation. If your tax statements record your earnings via W-2, with standard deductions, then you are employed by somebody else. This means that you will have a tougher time claiming a portion of your RV traveling costs as business expenses on your tax returns. 

However, if you have to check the "self-employed" box when filing your taxes, you really are your own boss. An RV is then a good fit for your work, because you are not reporting to anyone and you pay off your RV from a business account and list it as an asset to your business, if you want to. Having your RV as a business asset can help you to get other financing for future business expansion, if needed. There are upsides and downsides to claiming your RV as a business asset-- using it for tax refunds and collateral are upsides. 

Do you have employees?

If you're taking your home with you, will these people travel with you and your family, or will they work from home? Do you want to pay children or a spouse as employees? If you will have people traveling with you in a business capacity, you need to make sure your business is insured, and that your RV is also insured as part of that business. Your employee has the right to expect thing like worker's compensation if they are injured while traveling; insurance helps to cover those costs.

Also, having separate insurance for employees, even if they are family members, helps take some liability off of your own personal insurance if one of the employees driving the RV gets into an accident. Your personal car insurance rates won't be penalized if each employee is held accountable.

Do have a separate business entity?

If you are brokering services directly from you to a customer, it can be a risky endeavor should something go wrong. A legal entity, like a business name and title, helps to create a buffer zone between you and your clients. So, if you sell a faulty product or if someone is injured using your product, they can only sue the business entity, and not you personally as a proprietor. If your RV is listed as business property, it will be part of collected damages in a lawsuit. But, if you forgo the tax benefits and keep the RV as a personal asset, you will not lose it-- an upside if you view your RV as your home and not as a business asset. 

Creating a business entity, usually an LLC, also helps you to know that you are working fairly with customers. However, the state or states that you do business in have some strict laws to prevent you from avoiding paying sales tax, so make sure that you are registered correctly and legally before starting out. 

There are many things to consider before hitting the road as a consultant or freelancer in your RV. With employees, you'll need to sort out things like insurance and workspaces. However, if you are a one-man-band, the biggest thing you need to consider is protecting and using your home on wheels for the best possible financial advantage.