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.