Today I will be speaking with a couple from the Los Angeles area who had been RVing for more than 40 years before building one of the largest RV inspection firms on the west coast.
When COVID took away Brad Siedschlag’s job at a large-format printing company in early 2020, the 60-year-old debated retirement, but knew he still desired to work.
After stumbling upon an opportunity to become an RV inspector and doing more research, Brad realized his experience with hydraulics and electronics would help him in his new career. He started taking an online class offered during the COVID lockdowns by the National RV Training Academy (NRVTA). By doing so, Brad knew he would learn more skills to be able to fix his own RV as well as repair units owned by other people.
About half-way through the online class, Brad and his wife, Eileen, decided he should jump in with both feet, so he enrolled in a live class at his earliest opportunity.
One month later, Brad returned home to California and turned on his pin locator on the National RV Inspectors Association (NRVIA) website.
He wondered if anyone would ever call, but wound up getting three calls that first day. In fact, he drove about 150 miles to do his first inspection because Brad was so nervous. He didn’t want to make a mistake in his own backyard, so he figured if he traveled that far and messed up, nobody would know about it.
But, Brad didn’t mess up. He completed that first inspection and got a great review at the end. His business soon exploded.
Originally hoping to get just three inspections a month to help cover his bills so the family wouldn’t go backward financially, today Brad is one of the busiest inspectors on the west coast. He makes more money from inspections than he did as a general manager for the printing business.
I was very interested to hear Brad and Eileen Siedschlag’s story about becoming RV inspectors. They started small by focusing on developing Brad’s profile with the National RV Inspector’s Association. Then they added some Google advertising to gain traction, and ordered magnetic signs for his truck that displayed his business name and phone number wherever he travels.
Today, most of Brad’s inspections come from word-of-mouth advertising to the point he has traveled to Phoenix and San Diego to complete inspections.
Although Brad inspects RVs of all types, he specializes in premium inspections that can take seven hours or longer to complete his 600-point evaluation. He has already completed more than 150 premium inspections alone.
Brad’s previous job estimating the cost of print jobs has helped him develop a unique way of pricing his inspections. It involves looking up an RV’s floorplan to see what comes with the coach, how many bathrooms are in it, and what type of appliances may be included, such as a washer, dryer, dishwasher or satellite equipment.
Although Eileen still works at a job she loves, she helps the inspection business with accounting and scheduling. She also maintains the website and Google listings, and proofreads final reports, as well as sends out invoices, processes payments and helps with research upon occasion.
Eileen has even helped Brad with some inspections. Eventually, she plans to retire so the couple can hit the road in their RV working together to do inspections wherever they travel.
Brad’s passion for RV inspections is reflected in his attitude toward helping people evaluate what is likely a major purchase for them. Consequently, Brad said his customers don’t just leave reviews of his inspection services, they leave love letters.
RV inspectors must truly enjoy helping people first and foremost, Brad explained. They must take their jobs seriously because people are relying on inspectors to identify issues upfront to ensure safe travel and memorable experiences.
This 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 a mobile service technician from Kentucky who truly believes in empowering RV owners to understand how to use and maintain their own recreation vehicles. I’ll have that interview on the next episode of RV Tech Talk. Thank you for listening.