Today I will be speaking with a full-time RVer who not only inspects recreation vehicles, but he has developed a side business to help market other companies.
A few years ago, David Russell and his wife were contemplating buying an RV. So they sought advice in online forums where a few people recommended hiring someone to evaluate the unit they were considering. So, they hired an RV inspector. David quizzed him about his business before and after the evaluation took place.
David was intrigued by the idea of inspecting RVs because it was somewhat related to his naval career where he carried out inspections onboard a submarine. After the inspector David hired uncovered some potentially-expensive issues, he saw RV inspections as a business opportunity for him to help other people.
Eventually David and his wife purchased a 40-foot motorhome with four slideouts. They originally intended to travel full-time, but now simply live in their motorhome parked close to their oldest daughter in Vero Beach, Fla. David also knew it would be easier for him to market his business and establish a reputation by focusing on one local area.
He still travels, such as visiting his youngest daughter in Oklahoma City for two months when she was expecting her first child. They financed that excursion by completing several inspections in Oklahoma.
David specializes in Class A motorhomes, but still inspects fifth wheels and, occasionally, travel trailers as well. In his first year of business, David averaged one inspection every week.
Although his first inspection took nearly 20 hours to complete, as a self-described “process junkie,” David has fine-tuned his productivity to be able to get more done in much less time. It helps that his wife assists him with inspections by focusing on interiors while he evaluates an RV’s exterior.
When he first started out, David had a six-week gap between inspections. But, when he described his difficulty in the private Facebook group for inspectors, several seasoned business owners reached out to give him some valuable advice.
As a content creator, David has produced several YouTube videos to promote his business. But he thinks more can be done to promote the need for RV inspections. David noted that he and the other inspector in his area evaluate less than 5% of RVs being sold at two large local dealerships every month.
When he first started his business, David relyed on the locator service at the National RV Inspectors Association’s website to generate leads from potential RV buyers. By tapping into his Navy and ministry experience, David began marketing himself as well.
He improved the search engine optimization of his website, tweaked his Google business listing, and sought high-quality reviews from previous customers. Today, nearly 80% of his business comes directly from people searching Google for inspectors in his area.
David offered some excellent advice for inspectors who try to create inventive names for their companies. He explained it’s easier to get to the top of search results if the phrase people are looking for is incorporated into the business name. For that reason, he tweaked his business name on his Google listing from RV Shepherd to RV Shepherd – RV Inspection Services.
David addressed two challenges he faces. One comes from current owners who try to blame test equipment for anything that indicates an RV might not be perfect. The second challenge is from dealership technicians who tell buyers “that’s the way it’s supposed to be,” whenever David uncovers a problem. So, by calling the RV manufacturer for clarification, so far David has been right 100% of the time.
People who are interested in David’s inspection business, can connect with him at www.rvshepherd.com. RV inspectors or technicians who would like help marketing their businesses or setting up a website can contact David at www.greaterthanconsulting.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 for this week’s show. Next time, I will be interviewing a couple who are NRVIA master certified inspectors who also operate a business connecting inspectors and technicians with RV buyers and owners. I’ll have that interview on the next episode of RV Tech Talk. Thank you for listening!