Charles R. Goulding and Preeti Sulibhavi examine a few ways 3D printing can come into play for the RV rental lifestyle.
In October 2020, KKR, the large private equity firm, led a more than $100 million investment into RVshare. RVshare has more than 100,000 vehicles on its website and functions as an Airbnb type platform. The average one-week rental costs about $1,000.
RVshare is benefiting from the situation this pandemic has put many in, just as new boat-sharing platforms are growing. RVshares’ CEO, Jon Gray, stated that this year’s summer bookings nearly tripled from the previous summer.
RVs are expensive capital items to purchase and their on-the-road driving, parking and living challenges are not for everyone. A rental RV sharing program provides a literal opportunity to “kick the tires.” In our RV article, we described how RVs as mobile homes can make use of all of the 3D printed equipment items including kitchen appliances, furniture lighting and household items that a home can benefit from.
In fact, a lot of young people appear to be experimenting with the RV lifestyle or at least are willing to try it out temporarily. Even before the pandemic, people under the age of 45 years were the fastest-growing segment of the RV-purchasing population. The same demographic is also generally more technologically-savvy and may be more amenable to 3D printed equipment items in their RVs.
Federal tax incentives, such as the Research and Development Tax Credit, are available for RV companies that pursue 3D printing activities.
The Research & Development Tax Credit
Whether it’s used for creating and testing prototypes or for final production, 3D printing is a great indicator that R&D Credit eligible activities are taking place. Companies implementing this technology at any point should consider taking advantage of R&D Tax Credits.
Enacted in 1981, the now permanent Federal Research and Development (R&D) Tax Credit allows a credit that typically ranges from 4%-7% of eligible spending for new and improved products and processes. Qualified research must meet the following four criteria:
- Must be technological in nature
- Must be a component of the taxpayer’s business
- Must represent R&D in the experimental sense and generally includes all such costs related to the development or improvement of a product or process
- Must eliminate uncertainty through a process of experimentation that considers one or more alternatives
Eligible costs include US employee wages, cost of supplies consumed in the R&D process, cost of pre-production testing, US contract research expenses, and certain costs associated with developing a patent.
On December 18, 2015, President Obama signed the PATH Act, making the R&D Tax Credit permanent. Beginning in 2016, the R&D credit has been used to offset Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) for companies with revenue below $50MM and, startup businesses can obtain up to $250,000 per year in payroll tax cash rebates.
When one of the world’s largest private equity firms invests in a business you can be sure they see an opportunity. The 3D printing community should be able to benefit from this opportunity as well.