Traveling via recreational vehicles is considered a great way to bond with family members and friends and can also save you up to 64% in total costs when compared to other forms of vacation travelling. However, you may see this saving disappear if you fail to ensure your RV is in optimum condition before hitting the road. Whether before your journey or at a point of breakdown, it is recommended you find a good recreational vehicle mechanic near you to ensure your vehicle is roadworthy again. Note, annually, there are 26 fatalities and about 70,000 people get injured in RV accidents.
When considering a mechanic, it is important to choose a recreational vehicle repairer near you conversant with your brand and type of travel trailer. As such, before concluding on hiring a recreational vehicle repairer, solicit satisfactory answers to the following questions:
Are You Licensed, Registered, or Certified?
Recreational vehicle repairers in the United States are not typically required to have state-issued licenses. However, several trade organizations, such as the National Recreational Vehicle Training Academy, Recreational Vehicle Technical Institute, the Recreational Vehicle Tech Training Center, and the Recreational Vehicle Service Academy, have programs through which recreational vehicle repairers can obtain professional certifications. While certification is not compulsory, it demonstrates the knowledge and ability to satisfy established standards in the recreational vehicle repair industry, and it is always a good idea to hire a certified recreational vehicle repairer. Note that you should always ask for proof of certification and contact the organization that issued it to verify its authenticity.
How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Recreational Vehicle Repairer?
The cost of hiring a recreational vehicle repairer is determined by factors like the type of service the repairer is expected to provide and the complexity of this service, the repairer's qualification and level of experience, your location, and the billing structure that the repairer utilizes. Recreational vehicle repair contractors may either charge an hourly rate or flat fees. The hourly rates typically fall between $18 - $200, while flat fees can be as low as $15 or as high as $200. Note that flare fees are usually only charged in situations where the recreational vehicle repairer is expected to perform straightforward services like routine inspections and maintenance. Also, some recreational vehicle repairers may demand upfront payment before working on your vehicle.
When you have to hire a recreational vehicle repairer near you, there are certain steps to follow to ensure that the cost of carrying out a vehicle repair does not exceed your budget. These steps include:
- Find out the prices of general parts: recreational vehicle repairs may involve the replacement of faulty parts, which can impact the total cost of these repairs. The only way to ensure that you are being charged the right price for these parts is by researching the cost of these parts and comparing the estimates provided by the recreational vehicle repairer with the results of your research. You can also consider getting these parts by yourself if the mark-up is too much.
- Hire the right person for the job: always ask for qualifications before allowing anyone to work on your recreational vehicle. Hiring a self-taught repairer can lead to further damages which will require you to spend extra money on repairs.
What Are Common Private Recreational Vehicle Repairer Expenses?
In addition to the standard hourly or fixed fees, you may also incur some additional expenses when you hire a recreational vehicle repairer. Some of these expenses include:
- Towing expenses: When you hire a recreational vehicle repairer, you may be required to pay extra for moving the vehicle down to the repairer's shop or site. The average cost of towing a recreational vehicle ranges from $1 - $7 per mile.
- Trip fees: When you hire a recreational vehicle repairer and the repairer has to come to where your vehicle is parked, you may be required to compensate the repairer for fuel expenses, time spent on the road, and wear and tear of their vehicles. Trip fees are charged at the rate of $1 - $5 per mile, and the amount charged as trip fee for on-site recreational vehicle repair can be as high as $50 - $100 depending on the vehicle's location.
- Scheduling expenses: When you fix an appointment with a recreational vehicle repairer, there is always the possibility of rescheduling the appointment due to factors like weather conditions, traffic situations, and lack of vehicle parts. In many cases, rescheduling attracts additional costs as the recreational vehicle repairer may have to cancel other jobs.
- Two-tech expenses: some recreational vehicle repair requires the help of an additional technician. Unless you are willing and able to provide the extra pair of hands, a repairer may increase the cost of the repair for each additional technician involved in the repair.
- Shipping expenses: in addition to hiring a recreational vehicle repairer, you may have to purchase vehicle parts outside your locality. Most of these parts are shipped down to your locality and you are required to pay the shipping fees.
- Downtime expenses: when a recreational vehicle repairer arrives at a vehicle site and has to wait for a key before beginning the repair process, the amount of time spent waiting for the key is billable as labor. If the key is not found, the repairer may demand payment of a trip fee. In some cases, the repairer may request for the agreed labor price for doing the repair.
These expenses are either included in your total repair costs or you are billed separately for them. For instance, your recreational vehicle repairer may decide to order the parts that need to be replaced on your behalf, granted that the expense has been added to the total repair cost. Some recreational vehicle repair shops also offer towing service as part of the recreational vehicle repair package. However, it is important to discuss how these expenses will be billed before the recreational vehicle repairer starts working on your vehicle. Also, do not forget to request receipts for each payment that is made to your recreational vehicle repairer.
Who Will Do the Work?
RV repairs often require the expertise of more than one repairer and when you hire a recreational vehicle repairer, there is always the possibility that the repairer will be assisted by other recreational vehicle repairers. Therefore, when you take your RV to a repair shop, it is always a good idea to find out who will do the work.
Most recreational vehicle repair shops often have different repairers specialising in specific areas, so you have to find out if the repairers assigned to you are fit for the job. Ask if the RV repairers have completed any of the certification programs relevant to the repair you need. Doing this reduces your chances of getting recreational vehicle repairers that are not qualified to fix your vehicle. Finally, find out the turnaround time for the service that you need and create a direct channel of communication between you and the RV repairer assigned to you. You can receive updates on your RV repair by calling the repairer assigned to you directly.
What Qualifications Should a Recreational Vehicle Repairer Have?
Recreational vehicle repairers are typically required to have at least a high school certificate or its educational equivalent. The majority of recreational vehicle repairers start their careers with a high school certificate and work their way up through on-the-job learning and training at the hands of more experienced recreational vehicle repairers. In many cases, recreational vehicle repairers also enroll in different certification programs to improve their skills, knowledge, and overall competency. Some recreational vehicle repairers also have a college degree, which may give them an edge in their respective areas of specialization. However, a college degree is not a mandatory requirement for becoming a recreational vehicle repairer.
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there are currently over 15,000 employed recreational vehicle repairers in the country. Some of these recreational vehicle repairers also belong to professional bodies like the National Recreational Vehicle Dealer's Association (RVDA) and the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA).
Will You Provide References?
Trusting a technician with your RV can be a difficult thing to do, especially considering the cost of purchasing and maintaining these vehicles. This is why it is always a good idea to get recommendations on professional recreational vehicle repairers from family and friends. In addition to this, you can also get referrals on recreational vehicle repairers from recreational vehicle repair centers in your locality.
You can reduce your chances of hiring an unqualified RV repairer by asking the recreational vehicle repairer to provide references of past clients and services. Make sure the recreational vehicle repairer provides enough details about their past services and follow up on the information by calling the clients. Doing this can help you determine whether the repairer is the right person for the job or if you have to find a more qualified recreational vehicle repairer near you.
Finally, you can find accredited RV repair shops near you via Better Business Bureau (BBB). The BBB also allows individuals to post reviews about their experience with RV repair shops they used.
Quick Facts about Recreational Vehicle Repairers
Source: United States Department of Labor
Expert Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about Recreational Vehicle Repairers
How Often Should I Have My RV Serviced?
Determining how often to have your RV serviced depends on factors like how frequently you drive the RV and whether the vehicle is exposed to certain weather conditions such as rain. If you drive your RV frequently, you should visit a service shop at least once a year. This annual servicing can be carried out after a 12 months cycle or once the vehicle achieves 10,000 miles. However, if you rarely use your RV, you should service it once every six months to ensure that everything is still in good condition. If you rarely drive your RV, it is also a good idea to get into the vehicle once in a while, to start it, and let it run for some time. Finally, regardless of how often you drive your RV, it is important that it is not exposed to rain. If your RV is not completely waterproof, you may need to visit a service shop once in six months or even less, as rain can cause havoc to your vehicle.
Do You Service All Brands of RVs?
Many recreational vehicle repairers offer a full range of maintenance and repair services for all brands and models of RV including class A, B, and C RVs, truck campers, and travel trailers. Some recreational vehicle repairers also provide these services at any of your preferred locations which include RV storage facilities, RV parks, customer homes, commercial businesses, and state parks.
What Is the Turnaround Time for the Repairs?
The turnaround time for RV repair is determined by factors such as the repair location, the repair shop, the repairer's current workload, the complexity of the repair, and the availability of required parts for the repair. In some cases, the customer's level of persistence may also influence the length of time it takes to complete an RV repair. For example, minor recreational vehicle repairs like tire blowout and loose fuse may last an hour to one day, while water leakages, clogged AC filters, and toilet or refrigerator repair may take weeks or months. Similarly, the turnaround time for an RV warranty repair is one day to six months, while an extended RV warranty repair may take one day to one month.
Do You Provide Collision Repair and Body Work?
Many recreational vehicle repairers offer collision repair and body work services ranging from a repair of minor scratches to frame and unibody straightening.
We Are in the Market for a Used RV. Do You Offer RV Inspections?
Yes, you can get anything from basic checkout of the system to a complete inspection of the entire RV from many recreational vehicle repairers.
Do You Work with Insurance and Warranty Companies?
Yes, many recreational vehicle repairers work with insurance and warranty companies. If your insurance or warranty claim is valid, you can enjoy top-notch RV services from many recreational vehicle repairers. However, you must ensure that you have the proper coverage with your insurance or warranty company as these recreational vehicle repairers will bill you for expenses that are not covered by the insurance and warranty companies.
How Long Does it Take for an Appointment?
Many recreational vehicle repairers allow you to book a service appointment either by filling out an appointment form online or calling their office. When booking this appointment, most recreational vehicle repairers will let you know when you can bring your vehicle. This may take from a few days to weeks depending on the repairer's current workload. However, many recreational vehicle repairers typically allow you to bring your RV to their service station three to ten business working days after you book your appointment.
What Forms of Payment Do You Accept?
Most recreational vehicle repairers accept payment by cash, credit card, or cheque. Some recreational vehicle repairers accept all of the aforementioned payment options.
Do You Help in an Emergency?
Many recreational vehicle repairers can be of help in an emergency. Recreational vehicle repairs can provide different kinds of RV-related services during an emergency. From towing services to immediate repair, most recreational vehicle repairers will provide the immediate response you need in an emergency. In addition to this, some recreational vehicle repairers have their mobile teams at strategic locations such as camp parks, to facilitate quick response to RV-related emergencies.