Today I will be speaking with an RV inspector from Illinois who got into the career after buying an RV and seeking training on how to maintain it.
Henri Boodee was employed in the pharmaceutical industry for many years. When he retired, Henri and his wife had a dream to travel across the United States and Canada. Yet, when they bought their fifth wheel, he found it difficult to understand many of the instruction manuals that came with the unit. So, he enrolled in an RV Fundamentals course at the National RV Training Academy.
During that week-long class, Henri learned about the need for RV inspectors to evaluate recreation vehicles for customers who are about to make what is often the second-largest purchase of their lives. It required an additional two weeks of training to learn the skills needed before taking a test to become a certified RV inspector.
Henri talks about the training and the types of things he learned in classes, but also outlines the steps he took to launch his inspection business. He explains why certification is essential for consumers to have confidence in the people they hire to evaluate their RVs.
He discusses ways he marketed his business, which mostly centered around keeping his profile updated at the National RV Inspectors Association website. That way, when people are looking for inspectors in the greater Chicago area or southeast Wisconsin, Henri’s profile is visible to them. Potential clients can click on that to learn more about his company, and then contact him to arrange for an inspection.
Henri also talks about the mindset independent RV inspectors need in order to run successful businesses, and how that differs from a job mentality where people show up for work and get paid a set salary. For him, inspecting RVs has been a lucrative, but time-consuming business where a single inspection can take up to eight hours to complete, followed by several additional hours to compile a 100-plus page report.
In large market areas, like the one he services in northeast Illinois and southeast Wisconsin, it is not uncommon for inspectors to be able to schedule three to four inspections a week. Averaging $1,000 per inspection, that can add up to a sizeable monthly income.
The beauty is that inspectors can control their own schedules to determine how busy they want to be and how far away they want to travel to complete an inspection.
Henri also augments his income by doing minor maintenance for RV owners, such as helping them to winterize and dewinterize their RVs. In fact, Henri teaches RV owners how to complete the basic maintenance themselves by showing them how to go through the step-by-step process.
In addition to the locator feature on the RV Inspectors Association website at www.nrvia.org, Henri also developed his own website to promote his business. He does not rely upon online advertising because that can get very expensive, very quickly.
However, Henri does pass out business cards to RV salespeople whenever he is inspecting an RV at a dealership. That has resulted in several referrals from salespeople who find Henri to be honest and reliable.
I appreciated his description of why it is important to get an RV inspected whether buying it from a dealership or a private seller. Henri explained that many private sellers think there is nothing wrong with the RVs they’re trying to sell. Yet, they rarely climb on the roof to look for problems or for places where water could enter the RV.
He made a good point about having to test each appliance thoroughly to make sure it works so buyers can make informed decisions before proceeding with the purchase. For example, few people test a refrigerator to ensure it gets cold enough to properly store food, nor do they look at the age of tires to ensure the rubber is still sound.
Henri provided some great advice about ensuring that any purchase order signed with a dealer or contract signed with a private owner needs to include a clause making it conditional upon the buyer’s inspection and approval.
People can connect with Henri by visiting www.expertrvi.com.
Today’s episode is sponsored by the National RV Training Academy in Athens, Texas. The academy’s one-week live training or home study course will teach you everything you need to know to fix about 80 percent of the problems people experience with their RVs.
You can also sign up for additional training to become an RV inspector, campground technician or to provide mobile RV service. For more information, visit www.nrvta.com.
That’s all I have for this week’s show. Next time I will be speaking with someone who once worked for a large-format printing company before COVID ended his job. Today, he, too, makes a living as a full-time RV inspector. I’ll have that interview on the next episode of RV Tech Talk. Thanks for listening.