Thursday, October 6, 2022

MENU

RV Manufacturer Warranty, Part 1: RV repair shop owner laments, “Why I would love to honor RV manufacturers’ warranties but can’t!”

My name is Dustin Simpson and I am the owner and operator of California RV Specialists, an independent RV repair shop located in Lodi, CA.  A few years ago my wife quit her job elsewhere and joined me at the shop full-time. Working with your spouse is rewarding; however, it comes with its challenges too—especially when you don’t agree on certain operations of the business. For us, the crux has been and will always be an RV manufacturer warranty. I want to offer it; she is vehemently against it.

While it’s my name in the author field, this upcoming five-part series certainly comes with a lot of Ashley’s input. During this series, we want to share our honest perspectives on this hot topic. The series will include:

  • The reasons I would love to offer RV manufacturer warranty service at my independent RV repair shop.
  • Why we refuse to do it.
  • Why you are getting the runaround at your RV dealership.
  • What I believe RV manufacturers can do to make it better.
  • My advice to the consumer.

Why I would love to offer an RV manufacturer warranty

Opportunities and new customers

This post specifically focuses on why I would love to offer an RV manufacturer warranty at our shop. My first reason is opportunity. The RVIA estimates that more than 600,000 consumers purchased a new RV in 2021. Whether it’s people that are brand-new to the industry, or a camper that simply traded their old unit for a new one, that’s a large customer base that will be needing service. That includes either back at their dealership or if they seek assistance from an independent repair facility like mine.

Offering an RV manufacturer warranty is an easy way to obtain a new customer. We all know that a selling dealership’s focus is to do just that, sell—that’s their bread and butter. In my eyes, offering service is just a necessary evil for a selling dealership. They have to offer service in order to sell the product. There are far more people on payroll dedicated to selling units compared to the staff dedicated to fixing what was already sold.

After a consumer experiences the runaround from the service department at their dealership, they will likely contact their RV manufacturer to see where else they can seek service. That manufacturer would LOVE to refer them to an independent repair facility like mine. I would gain new customers through this avenue without having to lift a finger. No advertising, no schmoozing local campgrounds and no spending time being “the social media king,” as my wife likes to call me. (I put most of my time into our Facebook page and YouTube channel.) The manufacturer would send me new customers consistently.

We’ve all heard horror stories before, so there certainly are some outliers. But generally speaking, most RV manufacturer warranty repairs are simple. After your first couple of uses, it’s normal for items to come loose and need to be resecured or resealed. My technicians would be far more eager to get a job where items need to be resecured, resealed or reinforced on a new unit over a unit that is 10 years old and having issues with the black tank.

An easy way to upsell

Offering an RV manufacturer warranty also opens the door for me to upsell the customer. When someone has a new unit and they’ve used it a few times, they commonly want to accessorize or upgrade something on their unit while they have the unit in the shop for repairs. So, not only would I be getting a manufacturer warranty payment, but possibly be paid by the customer to do some additional work.

Finally, while I don’t want to “toot my own horn,” I do attempt to be a good, decent human being and I run my business that way. We love to help people. Do you know how many times the phone rings and it’s a desperate consumer on the other end of that line begging us to fix their new unit? When you have the skill and ability to help someone with a specific need, it makes it hard to say, “I am sorry, but no.”

So why don’t we offer it?

I think I make a pretty good argument as to why I would love to offer an RV manufacturer warranty at my shop, but I can see the wheels turning in my wife’s head already. She’s getting ready to push me away from the keyboard so she can take over for part two of the series. Make sure you subscribe to RVtravel.com so you don’t miss Ashley’s rebuttal in next Saturday’s issue. She has a lot to say as to why we refuse to offer RV manufacturer warranty service at our shop, even with all the opportunities in the world to do it.

Read more from Dustin and Ashley here, and, as mentioned above, please be sure to visit their Facebook and YouTube pages.

##RVT1068

Comments

Subscribe
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

21 Comments
Newest
Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Kory S.
1 month ago

Was service manager for RV rental business in New England. Listen to your wife. Most RV’s have no blueprints or parts ordering catalogs. RV warranty work hrs are always short the actual time needed. Many are built using overstock or “out of business” parts. ie=no oem replacements. They don’t pay for the time spent chasing parts or writing warranty. Only way to recover $ is to write warranty for numerous adjustments (door fit, strikers, cabinets,catches,etc.) Had to reorder parts numerous times from revolving door of personel at warranty part division of MFR, only to have to tell customer after 3 months that part is no longer available. (This on an RV that is only 4 months old). Can tell you several horror stories of finally diagnosing problem (MFR defect), only to be given 15 minutes warranty time for repair on job that takes no less than 3 to fix, much less find the root cause. $ is made at the sale and on add-ons. NOT WARRANTY !

Dennis G.
1 month ago

Sadly, our coach is a 1996 model, so ‘I am the Warranty’.
Luckily, I’m a retired mechanic and can do almost every job on our vintage coach.
To date we have replaced all the springs, steering tie rods, did the alignment (yes I also own those tools). Replaced the rubber roof, welded the gray tank with LDPE rods and a hot air gun.
Would love for someone to help us occasionally, but 99% of shops do not want to take our money. So, I am the warranty.

Neal Davis
1 month ago

Are all warranties the same, or are manufacturer warranties a bigger pain and extended warranties a smaller pain? I guess it must be the former if you do no warranty work at all. We use an independent service company for all the “house” work on the RV. They typically charge us less than our deductible to do small repairs (and avoid dealing with our extended warranty company). We also use the service company to reseal our roof, etc., so we have had a relationship with them for a few years already. We intend to continue that relationship for a very long time.

MattD
1 month ago

Thank you Dustin, looking forward to your articles!

Dustin Simpson
1 month ago
Reply to  MattD

Thank you Matt, hope you like upcoming articles. Maybe industry leaders will see it and help make changes going forward.

Steve Murray
1 month ago

Independent RV Shops are the way to go.
Work the Dealer hard. Get your Deal or Walk. Don’t buy the Extended Warranty. Use that money and the money you save to Support and Create a “Relationship” with your Independent RV Repair Shop.
Nobody needs an RV. Get your Deal and Walk Away. A Better Deal is out there always.

Dustin Simpson
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Thank you, sir. We don’t sell, just fix. We hope you enjoy the article and be on the lookout for the information to come. We hope it helps everyone.

friz
1 month ago

Interesting but “stay tuned” is click bait.

Dustin Simpson
1 month ago
Reply to  friz

Hope you like it, you know what they say. Happy wife, happy life, and she will explain more. Lots of good information coming and we hope it helps everyone.

Admin
RV Staff(@rvstaff)
1 month ago
Reply to  friz

Soooo? We can’t publish a 5-part (or whatever) report in one newsletter. Way too long. So it has to be broken up among several newsletters. What’s wrong with saying “stay tuned” or “more to come” or “check back for part 2 next week” or something similar? Sheesh, friz. If you don’t like it, don’t “stay tuned” for the next chapter. We certainly don’t want you succumbing to any nasty “click bait.” Just sayin’. Have a good day. 🙂 –Diane

Ken
1 month ago
Reply to  friz

Get used to this kind of “click bait stuff”. The old saying “There is one in every crowd” is multiplied here. Don’t take it personal as the rest of us eagerly await the series. Much thanks to you and your yet to be “heard” from wife and business partner.

Donald N Wright
1 month ago

Even at Doctors offices. leaving your Medicare card and Advantage card on the desk, they still want your Visa card for the upfront fees. Medicare and Advantage companies take a long time to pay, if ever. Visa, right now. My independent RV repair shop recommends Good Sam, but to get started, Visa or MC, please.

Dustin Simpson
1 month ago

Thank you for sharing with us, we get it…

sally
1 month ago

Welcome to RV Travel Newsletter. I will enjoy reading what both you and Ashley have to say and hopefully learn a bit as well! I read the newsletter every morning and enjoy it very much.

Dustin Simpson
1 month ago
Reply to  sally

Thank you so much, we hope you enjoy the articles.

Admin
RV Staff(@rvstaff)
1 month ago
Reply to  sally

Thank you for your kind words, Sally. We appreciate them, and YOU, very much! Have a great day! 😀 –Diane

Ray
1 month ago

Let me guess the major reason why you don’t take work under a manufacturer’s warranty. The hassle.

Bob p
1 month ago

I know from my son’s experience in working for car dealerships is that warranty work pays considerably less than customer pay. The work is the same no matter what but the pay sucks. It takes just as long to repair something whether it’s customer pay or warranty, but the hourly rate is much less for warranty.

Dustin Simpson
1 month ago
Reply to  Bob p

Thank you for sharing with us.

Tom
1 month ago

Please discuss technician quality.