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By camping fans for camping fans – sharing with “Paul Camper”.

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The sharing service “Paul Camper” redefines camping. The founder, Dirk Fehse, talks about the secret of his success and what makes his start-up unique.

Solving a life crisis with a start-up.

Dirk Fehse came up with the idea of “Paul Camper” at just the right moment. The man from Brandenburg had just returned from a long camping trip in the Australian outback. Back in Germany, he was aimless and searched for a new vision. “Yes, I think you could say that I was having a crisis”, says the 35-year-old. “I was searching for something which I could use to build myself up again.” Then Dirk found “his own Paul” – as he calls his camper van. He wanted to discover Europe with his trusty companion. The same time, the adventurer finished his studies and began to work as an auditor. However, working in an office became more and more frustrating for him. The job was costing more energy than it gave him joy, explains Dirk Fehse. The memories of Australia helped get him through the crisis. “I asked myself questions like: Who am I? What truly makes me happy?”

A man stands in front of a V-Class outdoors

In 2013, Dirk Fehse founded the “Paul Camper” start-up.

The camper van Paul is a loyal companion.

Then he thought about “his Paul”. From the very beginning, he shared his camper van with friends and acquaintances. The idea was born: What would happen if he offered his vehicle on the Internet as a type of mobile hotel? Or even better: He could create a community in which private camper van owners rented their vehicles to other like-minded people?
Fehse did not hesitate for long and soon founded the “Paul Camper” start-up. That was in 2013. The van community immediately welcomed the idea. Today “Paul Camper” has more than 10,000 customers and 1,500 van providers. “We are the first and the largest platform and community for private camper van sharing in Germany”, reports Fehse with a broad grin. His motivation: sharing the spirit of a camping journey that once shaped him. “We want to offer other people a fantastic time with an affordable camper van”, says the young entrepreneur. “But the most important thing is that the whole process is secure, personal and uncomplicated – from equipping the camper van to the rental process to the pricing. I never liked additional costs.” That is why “Paul Camper” uses fixed prices. The keys are handed over in person. The Berlin start-up now has 30 employees who handle the organization.

A man sits at a laptop with a website open on the screen

Everything is child’s play and takes place online: The van charterers agree on an offer with the van owners. The process is handled via “Paul Camper”.

Personal contact is important for Dirk Fehse.

The founder, Dirk Fehse, describes the secret behind the success of “Paul Camper” with three words: passion, personality and authenticity. “We place great value in personality and service: We talk with our community in person and support both our van owners and charterers via telephone and e-mail. We also meet our van owners in person at our community events.” For the employees at “Paul Camper”, it is important for the charterers and the owners to meet before concluding the rental agreement. “This is the only way to give both parties a sense of security”, explains Fehse.

We want to offer other people a fantastic time with an affordable camper van.

Camper sharing without hidden costs.

The booking process is child’s play: First, the charterer searches for the desired vehicle on the website and sends an enquiry to the owner. The enquiry should include a few words about the planned travel route. Then the charterer and the owner get to know each other in person or over the telephone. Only then is the payment processed via Paul Camper. Thanks to the “Paul Camper” promise, the charterer can be certain that there will be no additional costs. Everything is included in the rental price, from the complete insurance coverage to the breakdown cover and, naturally, the camping equipment. This makes the sharing process as simple as possible for charterers and owners. “We are very happy that the “Paul Camper“ idea has been such a success in Germany. The Netherlands and Austria are also developing. That is why Dirk Fehse would like to expand his successful concept throughout Europe. “We intend to completely merge Europe on our platform.”

A woman leans against a Mercedes-Benz 609 D, another man and a woman listen to her

“Paul Camper” is a sharing platform for camper vans. Although the basic organization takes place over the Internet, the actual exchange takes place in person. The start-up place great importance in this.

A red Mercedes-Benz 609 D parked on a field

The red Mercedes-Benz 609 D is popular among charterers.

Three people inside a camper van

The vehicles that “Paul Camper” offers are as unique as the charterers and owners themselves. The offers range from spacious cubicles to fully integrated mobile homes.

Three people examine the luggage compartment of a camper van from Mercedes-Benz

The owner familiarizes the charterers with the camper van so that the travelers are perfectly prepared for their trip.

A red Mercedes-Benz 609 D drives across a red field

Any more questions? Then it’s time to go! “Paul Camper” has already provided more than 10,000 charterers with a wonderful travel adventure.

Photos: Paul Camper

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