Today, I am interviewing a full-time RVer who spends his summers in the mountains of Arizona and his winters in the warm-weather of the Phoenix and Mesa valley.
Chad Bell, otherwise known as The RV Yogi, named his business in honor of his first grandchild. When she was born, Chad started calling her Boo Boo, which meant everyone started calling him Yogi, and the name stuck.
A former diving instructor and industrial maintenance technician, Chad started his business in September 2020. At first, he focused on RV inspections. However, he completed his advanced training classes in June 2021, to become a certified RV technician as well.
After working for a short time at an RV dealership to learn the ropes, Chad ventured out on his own. Soon, he discovered that he liked turning wrenches more than he liked using a computer to complete an inspection.
That’s because Chad likes the hands-on challenge of diagnosing a problem and following it back to the root source, then fixing it to get something to work again.
The most important decision he made was to go to work for an RV dealership for a short time to gain experience. He started doing pre-delivery inspections for the dealership. That helped Chad develop a process to evaluate RVs for customers.
It was also convenient for Chad to ask another technician for help or advice, which accelerated his learning curve. Add the benefit of learning how to process warranty repair claims, and Chad thinks being paid by the dealership for a while saved him a lot of time trying to figure things out on his own.
To find customers, Chad ensured that his profile was relevant and up-to-date on both the National RV Inspectors Association website as well as the RV Technician Association of America website.
When it came to creating signage for his work truck, Chad thought putting RV Yogi in big letters on his truck may cause people to think he provided yoga lessons. So, he ensured the words “RV repairs and inspection” was the focal point in big letters.
Chad said the $300 he spent for decals for his truck was the best money he spent on advertising. By keeping a box of business cards in his truck, and ensuring his customers receive several cards after he completes a job, much of his business today comes from word-of-mouth advertising.
Chad is fortunate that his wife helps him with his business by answering phones and taking care of administrative details. However, he also finds time to mentor other technicians and inspectors around him. By doing so, Chad builds his own little network of professionals who can support him when he needs extra help.
If he had to start over again, Chad says he would have jumped into fixing RVs earlier. He also encourages technicians and inspectors to attend every type of training they can. It helps improve their skills, and with more skills, their confidence improves.
While some technicians don’t like customers standing over their shoulder, Chad embraces that and works to help educate RV owners on how their rigs work. It all helps to establish Chad as an expert.
To connect with Chad, visit www.thervyogi.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 an RV technician from Chattanooga who is working to develop a nationwide referral system for technicians who roam the country. I’ll have that interview on the next episode of RV Tech Talk. Thank you for listening!