While the RV industry is thriving, there is a concern about the impact this sales surge will have on the support systems for maintaining and repairing RVs.
According to a recent study by the salary comparison site PayScale, RV service technician is the third-fastest-growing job—proving that the need for RV service is growing at a much faster pace than the supply of new technicians. This trend will certainly create a bigger challenge and longer lead times when the time comes to service all these new RVs.
It takes years for a new RV technician to receive full training on the different components and systems of an RV—they need to be an electrician, plumber, carpenter, and appliance repair tech in one. The RV Industry Association (RVIA) became aware of the technician shortage a few years ago and funded the RV Technical Institute (RVTI) training center, which opened in September 2019. The program had barely started when the pandemic severely slowed its progress, so it could be years before this tech shortage is resolved.
What to Ask When Finding RV Service
Quality RV service is still available, but harder to find and has longer wait times. If you’re fairly handy and familiar with your rig, YouTube has useful how-to videos that may save you a trip for repairs. But if the task is bigger than you wish to tackle, here is a list of suggestions and questions to consider before you hand over the keys to an RV repair shop.
"DO YOU CHARGE A FLAT RATE OR AN HOURLY RATE?"
Most shops use a flat-rate guide that tells them the average time a job takes, so they should be able to quote you a price. Many times, there are jobs that cannot be flat-rate, such as an electrical problem or water leak, but in these cases, they should quote you a diagnostic or estimated time. Ask them to call you for approval should it exceed the expected time. This also prevents you from getting overcharged when a less experienced technician is assigned to your RV.
"CAN I SPEAK WITH THE TECHNICIAN WHO WILL BE WORKING ON MY RV?"
You may prefer to meet the person who will be working on your rig to make sure you’re comfortable with them. Be wary of any shop that tells you they’re not sure who will be working on your rig or doesn’t allow you to speak with the tech to discuss specific problems and possible solutions. A good service tech will want to speak with you and can often save hours on a job by asking you the right questions to help determine the specific problem. Also, ask to talk to the business owner or general manager to gauge your level of comfort with the repair shop.
"HOW MUCH EXPERIENCE DOES THE TECHNICIAN HAVE WITH MY SPECIFIC PROBLEM?"
Most RV repair shops have technicians who have training and proficiencies in different areas, such as appliances or cabinet repair. Ask them specific questions like “Have you seen something like this before?” or “What do you think might be causing this problem?” and you’ll quickly get a feel for their comfort (or discomfort) level with your specific problem.
Where to Look for RV Service Repairs
THE RVING COMMUNITY
The RVing community is a solid place to start, but don’t wait until you have a problem to ask around. Use every opportunity to find out where your fellow campers get their repairs done and what their experience is like. A great place to start is joining RV related Facebook groups. There are public and private facebook groups so some may ask you to request to join. Typically if you request to join a Facebook group you will be admitted within a couple days. Then simply create a post within the group and watch the comments flow in!
TOGO RV APP
Use the service locator in the Togo RV app and search for service. Togo RV has a large database of RV repair centers and allows you to search for all types of RV services in your area. It also lets you search by location, so you can search the area where you plan to camp next. Given the longer lead times, you’ll need to plan ahead, and Togo RV’s search allows you to move the pin to any location to find service providers.
While it can be difficult to find quality RV service quickly on the road, you shouldn’t skimp on getting repairs done to your rig when needed. With a bit of knowledge, research, and asking the right questions, you can confidently find reliable service for your rig, even if you’re far from home.