Launching a new publication or redesigning the format and editorial of an existing one is something In Good Company Communications is called upon to do quite often. Ronnie Wendt has launched or relaunched publications in every industry the company serves. The excerpts below are taken from a single publication of RV Daily Report’s special editions. The owners of the National RV Training Academy and National RV Inspectors Association hired Wendt to create these publications from the ground up. She developed the content, wrote the articles and aided in the design.
Just looking at the numbers, the RV industry has much to celebrate. RV wholesale shipments in 2017 hit 504,599 units, up 17.2 percent from 2016; the highest number since the industry tanked during the Great Recession.
The RV lifestyle is thriving and growing. In fact, Dr. Richard Curtin, RV industry analyst and director of consumer surveys at the University of Michigan, estimates the number of RV owners has swelled to 8.9 million households, up from 7.9 million in 2005.
But there is a dark side to this numbers’ game. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics puts the number of RV repair technicians at 13,520 techs, meaning the average technician is responsible for servicing an estimated 658 RVs, and industry experts say that is simply too many rigs per technician.
The problem is showing itself in longer repair event cycle times (RECT), which average four days per RV, states Tim Wegge, chairman of the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) and owner of Burlington RV Superstore in Sturtevant, Wisconsin. Though he stresses there are many things that factor into RECT, from the number of techs working in a shop, to the time it takes to perform a complicated repair, to the availability of parts, the shortage of techs is a growing consideration.
If you’re looking for an RV purchase gone wrong story, one doesn’t need to look far. Troll the Internet for a bit and you’ll find them. Watch the Angry RVer portion of The RV Show USA and you’ll hear them. Look at the comments on RV Daily Report articles, and you’ll see them. They are out there — and they are more plentiful than we would like them to be. It’s a Buyer Beware world.
But there is something available to help protect consumers. It’s called the National RV Inspectors Association (NRVIA). This association, launched by Terry Cooper of the National RV Training Academy, trains individuals to perform inspections similar in nature to those performed by home inspectors.
These inspectors follow an in-depth examination and look over an RV from top to bottom and inside and out. The NRVIA has developed standards for each component, appliance and structural element of an RV, and the inspection results are based off these. An inspection takes a minimum of three hours all the way up to eight to 10 hours, depending on the size of the rig and the depth of the inspection.
There’s an old saying that “All roads lead to Texas,” but in the RV industry all roads seem to lead to Terry Cooper, the RV professor.
Cooper is a recognized entity in the RVing world. The RVDA/RVIA master certified RV technician and professional instructor and trainer has made a name for himself in RV service and maintenance. He is currently the managing director of the National RV Training Academy (NRVTA) and president of the Mobile RV Academy. Previously, Cooper served as the director of service operations for Explore USA and as an online RV technician instructor for Northampton Community College.
This humble Texan man with a warm smile and an engaging presence keeps pressing on in his pursuit to improve the RV industry. In addition to his work to propel RV service and maintenance forward, Cooper is also credited with founding the National RV Inspectors Association (NRVIA).