Supply of mobile RV technicians not keeping up with demand

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By Terri Nighswonger
With some nine million RVs on the road and even more expected in the near future, the need for RV mobile technicians is growing by leaps and bounds. Unfortunately, the supply of techs has yet to meet the demand.

Josh Gonzalez, vice president of operations for RV Force in Winter Haven, Florida, said owner Mark Gorrie started the business in 2018 because he had trouble finding service as he traveled across the country in his RV. Add to that, it was difficult to find a mobile tech who would deal with warranty issues. This sparked the idea of a mobile RV tech business.

“We got started in Texas and our plan was to spread throughout Texas. We quickly realized that finding qualified techs and honest techs was going to be a problem,” Gonzalez said.

The company also planned to take the business to Florida and Arizona.

“We got lucky and actually found a solid tech,” Gonzalez said. “He had worked at Camping World and came on board with us and he brought a couple more techs. They have been on board with us since then. We had to shut down the Texas operation because we couldn’t find technicians.”

The business plans for Arizona have been put on hold as well.

Currently the business has three mobile technicians in central Florida and an 18,000 sq. ft. service facility in Winter Haven.

“There’s really an issue with certified technicians in general, not even mobile ones,” Gonzalez said. “Someone that goes to a technical training school that doesn’t have any other experience…there’s no way they can start off on their own. We have hired some techs that have done that and quickly found out they need more experience.”

Gonzalez said there are plenty of training options, including a school in Clearwater, Florida.

“There are training options. I just don’t know how realistic they are for a lot of people. Even after the training, most of those guys need to go to a shop somewhere and work before they can go off on their own and be ready to be put into a van.”

Gonzalez said from his experience it is a national issue and finding a solution won’t be simple.

The future of someone who wants to get in the mobile tech business is bright, but Gonzalez said it’s a very different environment from the shop. “We had a couple of techs who came on board and they didn’t like that they had to drive three or four hours a day and they wanted to go back to the shop.”

For the RVer who is out there on the road, Gonzalez recommends finding a licensed and insured company.

“While there are techs out there that are very good that are not certified (one of our best techs is not certified) I would still recommend to find one that is,” he said. “The true answer to this question is that good trustworthy mobile RV techs/companies are rare and very hard to find.”

Training to be a certified RV technician can cost around $6,000. A certified tech can make between $25-$35 an hour.

Don’t miss Part 2 next week to learn about training and certification opportunities for those who would like to become a mobile RV tech.

##RVT957

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B W Odom
2 months ago

With the shortage in this field, I really don’t understand why local technical and community colleges don’t have these training courses. Most have electrical and HVAC courses, home construction, auto mechanics, etc. so it seems RV tech would fit right in, drawing from each of these areas. Not everyone can afford to attend out of state training since many are looking for a job change, have a job they can’t just give up or families they can’t leave. And local resources can supply a lot more job applicants than a few scattered training facilities.

I think the schools are missing an opportunity with this one!

Andrea Evans
2 months ago

Great article! I worked for Camping World for years & there was never a day when a customer didn’t call in frantically looking for mobile service. With so many folks full timing it just makes no sense for them to uproot their homes and bring to a dealers lot where the unit can sit for months before they are able to repair. For others camping in remote destinations it stops the vacation if you have to pack up and head to a dealer for repair. I opened my business in 2019. Called Phyxst Mobile Repair Network (pronounced FIXED). I have technicians positioned all over the state of Florida to help customers get their issues resolved quickly and on the spot. And I handle warranties! It is a great feeling to help people in need. Opening this mobile repair service has been the best decision I have ever made!

If your readers are ever in need of mobile repair we are here to help. 888-749-9781 (888-PHYXST1)

Marcus Brown
2 months ago

My experience is a bit different. Retired at 55 from National Weather Service and bought a Class C. Moved up to a 40 ft DP 2 years later. Lots of little problems! Have rebuilt houses and cars, so wife said “you are going to RV Technician School”. Did 9 weeks in Bowling Green, KY at Camping Worlds school. That was the Premier RV Tech School before CW Closed it. Camping World trained VERY FEW of their own Techs! Our class of 18 had ONE Camping World Tech. Anyway…..after graduating, and passing the RVIA Certification test, my wife and I decided to start a Seasonal Mobile RV Repair Service in Mission Texas. Loved it and had great, loyal customers for 7 years until I needed double hip replacement. I was a one man operation so didn’t do awnings, floor replacements or other Large projects.

Bob and Charlotte Champlin
2 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Brown

We winter in Mission. Hopefully we won’t need one but if we did, is there someone in the Mission area that you would recommend for us to call. Thank you.

Sharron
2 months ago

Well maybe there wouldn’t be a shortage if you treated your employees with the dignity and respect they deserve 🤷🏻‍♀️

Andrea Evans
2 months ago
Reply to  Sharron

Techs are some of the hardest working and most loyal people I have met. They should be given utmost respect.

Sharron
2 months ago
Reply to  Andrea Evans

From what I’ve seen this company isn’t treating their techs with dignity and respect unfortunately.

Ron
2 months ago

Very interesting article but I’d like to share my experience in trying to enter the RV technician profession. Years ago I retired from an major airline where I worked as an licensed aircraft mechanic and inspector. On my days off I also inspected and maintained general aviation airplanes. I have worked on everything from a 747 to a Cessna 140 (which I bought wrecked and rebuilt in my garage). After retirement I still wanted to work so I stopped by the local Camping World an talked to the service department about working for them and was told that I didn’t have RV experience and would have to serve a five year apprentice program. I suggested to the young service department employee that he research the education and qualifications to even take the test for an A&P license (Aircraft and Powerplant) and IA rating (Inspection Authorization). I left the facility with no desire to pursue RV maintenance as a paid profession. I work on our motorhome and friends RV’s for free now.

Last edited 2 months ago by Ron
Andrea Evans
2 months ago
Reply to  Ron

Take a look at us.

Ron
2 months ago
Reply to  Andrea Evans

Thanks Andrea that’s very nice of you and I’m sure you would be a great company to work for. I’m 75 yrs old now and I’m at the point in life where my biggest decision of the day is what type of cocktail I’m going to have at happy hour at our campsite. I live in Idaho and travel extensively in the Northwest (Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nevada) and I don’t know of many certified mobile RV tech in the area.

Carlos Esta
2 months ago

Talking from experience I guarantee RVSA in Palmetto will teach you the foundation to becoming a great RV technician.

Those who worked and only learned in a shop learn a lot of bad habits…. Great example would be overlaying on a rotten substrate. Incorrectly diagnosing a problem and getting the wrong parts. Etc.

Experience is great! Coming out of school you will find a lot of issues that you might have difficulty with. As a mobile technician unlike at a shop there isn’t three or four guys to hold your hand at any given moment. But you will become a better tech through problem solving and comprehension.

This article is very one sided to say the least. You can be so successful helping so many people and its simple… Get training… Build a base… AND CARRY PARTS ON YOUR TRUCK! Nobody wants to pay $200 for diagnostic and then wait three weeks to have their rig repaired. Same DAY service is what you should expect for small simple repairs and within days not weeks for others.

Don

Ray Leissner
2 months ago

Good timely article with all of the newbies coming on board with RVs of questionable quality. Yes technicians are in short supply and a technician can be absolutely critical for getting your RV mobile again and down the road to a shop or the next reservation. Slideouts can ruin your day and the guy’s day whose was to move into your spot if they don’t retract. Perhaps an article on what to do to manually retract a slideout would be informative. Salesmen have been known to gloss over such equipment without demonstration.

Admin
RV Staff (@rvstaff)
2 months ago
Reply to  Ray Leissner

Good idea, Ray. Since you mentioned it, here’s a link to an article that the beloved RV Doctor, Gary Bunzer, wrote awhile ago about manually retracting a slideout: https://www.rvtravel.com/manually-overriding-rvs-slideout-system/ I’ll put a link to it in an upcoming newsletter for anyone who may encounter a problem retracting a slideout. Thanks, Ray. Take care, and stay healthy. 😀 —Diane at RVtravel.com

Ran
2 months ago

Thanks Terri! YES, there needs to be 1 mechanic for every RV, (but that’s not reality). It’s nice to hear from someone who is starting in the right direction. As we get older and less able to work on our own RV’s, GOOD mechanics are at an all time low! I look forward to your next article.
The RV industry is going crazy right now, since the Covid-19 Pandemic. Too bad there is no place to go stay, unless you go from WallyMart to WallyMart! Those Newbies will find that out real soon! Let’s hope they all hook up with Chuck here on RVT, and learn all about RV ethics!