Today I am speaking with a man who has been full-time RVing with his wife and dog since 2016. Although he was working remotely for a corporation when he launched his RVing adventure, today Chris Ratcliff supports himself by fixing and inspecting RVs for other people.
He went through training in 2020 to learn more skills to be able to save money by fixing his own RV. After learning about additional training he could take, Chris became a certified RV inspector to give himself a Plan B.
When he was laid off from his job a short time later, Chris already had a business foundation in place to which he could devote his full attention.
As a result, the layoff was little more than a hiccup in the overall direction of their lives. Chris returned to the National RV Training Academy to complete advanced classes to become a certified RV technician as well.
That gave Chris and his wife even more flexibility to make money wherever they traveled, and they move to a new location every three to six weeks.
Chris’ business, RFactor RV, does some inspections, but not a lot. The majority of his work involves fixing RVs for people in whatever area he is in at the moment. But, he also provides training to new RVers as well to help them better understand how their equipment works.
Although Chris travels frequently, he often stays in an area long enough to get the word out about his business and to address some pressing needs for fellow RVers before moving on to a new place he and his wife want to visit.
Finding new clients is as easy as placing magnetic signs on his truck and driving through campgrounds. When the campgrounds he stays at allow it, Chris puts a sign in front of his RV advertising his services, as well.
He also leaves a stack of business cards at various campground offices, and that alone is often enough to bring in business for weeks.
For inspections, he simply updates his pin locator on the National RV Inspectors Association website. Inspections are a one-time type of business anyway, and his clients are often thrilled to know an actual RVer is evaluating their RV.
Chris has been in business long enough to have established some relationships with long-term customers who will reach out wondering if or when he will be in their area again. Chris has even had RVers plan their travel around where he might be just so he could work on their unit.
I found it interesting that many times Chris offers some type of discount on services he provides based on the situation. It’s a good marketing strategy because who doesn’t like to get a discount?
In making repairs, Chris identified an area that many seasonal RVers often overlook. They need to routinely sweep off the tops of their slideouts and clean out their air conditioners to keep bugs and rodents from building nests, especially mud daubers. They also need to maintain their slideout seals to ensure they work when needed.
If Chris had to start over, he said he would have sought technician training even earlier than he did. He found there was much more work available for people skilled in fixing RVs rather than in inspecting them, especially when Chris was traveling from place to place.
To connect with Chris, visit www.rfactorrv.com. You can also find him on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and TikTok.
Today’s episode was 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 for this week’s show. Next time, I will be speaking with another RV inspector and mobile service technician whose business supports his full-time RVing lifestyle. I’ll have that interview on the next episode of RV Tech Talk. Thank you for listening!