So, you just purchased your new or new-to-you RV. Congratulations! Unfortunately, on your very first trip, you experience a problem with your HVAC system, refrigeration unit or even a total breakdown. Who do you call when you’re miles from anywhere? If you can get back to your selling dealer, they can certainly repair your RV, but if you live in the unit full time, you may have to relocate during repairs. On the other hand, if you can’t even move the unit, your only option is to contact a mobile RV service technician. How, then, do you choose which mobile technician is the one for you?
Consider these seven tips when hiring someone to work on your rig.
Search for a trained technician rather than a so-called mechanic off the side of the road. The Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) and the Recreational Vehicle Dealer Association (RVDA) has a very structured training program for all of its credentialed technicians. Each would-be technician must attend classes and pass rigorous exams to earn the title of certified technician. From Registered Technician to Master Certified Technician, all levels of credentialing have continuing education requirements, including hands-on documented training in the RV industry. Keep in mind average RV technicians’ credentials only verify mastery in RVs, not necessarily motorhomes or chassis. Ask your technician if they’ve received training in either of these vehicle types before hiring.
Some states and municipalities require a contractor’s license to do business. Check with your local agencies for requirements, as these may vary state to state or county to county. In Arizona, for example, the only license required regards sales tax. Ask to see any potential technician’s documents before taking the leap.
Insurance is probably the most important thing to look for when hiring a mobile technician, aside from proper training. A true RV service technician business, as in almost any contractor service you require, will have business insurance to ensure their client isn’t on the hook should an injury or damage occur while they are working on your RV. Always ask to see their insurance certificate prior to allowing any work to be performed.
In the world of contract work, word of mouth is the best advertisement. Prior to calling a name in the phonebook or from an internet search, ask around either in-person or online. Many RV owners have already used a mobile technician and may refer you to “their guy”. Use resources on the internet. Yelp, Google and RV Service Reviews all offer outlets where people like you can write a review of their service technician. If you are staying in an RV park, check with the office. They will tell you if there have been bad technicians that have done work there or if they have banned any mobile technicians from working in their facility due to poor service. They may even have their own “guy” with whom they have an established relationship. Remember: a lot of negative reviews may be written by sour grapes with loud opinions, so take them with a grain of salt!
Branding relates to the technician’s company name, logo or presence. Do they have “real-looking” business cards? Do they have a professional-looking website? Do they have their name, phone number or company logo on their work truck? If they show up in a plain white van with no uniform and home printer business cards, they may not be a professional and may just as easily damage your unit or disappear before any repairs are made.
Businesses are always competing based upon price. Most mobile technicians charge roughly the same hourly and service call fees. As in all businesses, however, there are slight variations in quoted pricing. Technician terms may also be different. Some may credit the service call fee back to you if the work completed surpasses a certain dollar amount . If you’re tempted by a technician quoting way less than the competition, keep in mind, you get what you pay for in the contracting world!
When the time comes to pay for the services rendered, consider the payment options available to you. If it’s cash only, you may want to look elsewhere for a reliable mobile technician. A legitimate operator will accept credit cards with a mobile swipe device, checks or cash.
Training and Education
As mentioned earlier, education and training are important considerations when hiring a service technician. Don’t assume that if a technician claims automotive or truck experience, that they know the nuances of RV systems. Ask about formal and continuing education. While on the job training is common, they should have some sort of formal manufacturer training.
Staying Prepared on the Road
Enjoy your RV, first and foremost. Though, it never hurts to be prepared for the unexpected when you’re out on the road. When you’re ready to find a trustworthy and knowledgeable mobile RV service technician, make the search easier by applying these simple tips to save you aggravation and potentially worse problems down the road.