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You’ve decided to purchase your first or next RV, but where do you buy it? When is the best time to buy it? With the increasing popularity of RV’s, there is no shortage of dealerships to choose from. However, how do you pick the right one? Here are 6 must-haves when choosing an RV dealership.
Location plays a significant role when choosing an RV dealership. You’ll want to select a dealer that is located at least somewhat close to home. You may need to make multiple trips to the dealer between the purchase transaction and taking possession of your unit.
In addition to the purchase process, you want to select a dealer that is located close by for interactions after the purchase as well. Even if you choose the perfect RV, inevitably you’ll have an issue or two arise that will need to be checked out by the dealer. If you have to drive a long way to take the RV in, it’s going to make it much more difficult for you to get those small issues taken care of.
Proximity to home isn’t the only thing you should consider when it comes to location. Since you’ll be towing a trailer on many occasions when you visit the dealership, think about how difficult it is to access the location. Is the dealership located in a high traffic area that requires a U-turn to get into the lot?
Try to opt for a dealership that has a lot of space and is not in a very congested part of town. This will make things much easier on yourself for future visits.
You’ll definitely want to choose an RV dealership that has its own service department. Make sure the service department can perform routine maintenance as well as major repairs. If you have a problem with your RV, you need to be able to take it to a professional for diagnosis and repair.
In addition to repairs, you can also purchase parts and supplies through the service department at your dealership. Maybe you’ve decided that you’re going to perform your own maintenance. You can visit your dealership’s service department to pick up things like roof conditioner, antifreeze, and other routine maintenance items. Most of the time, the folks there are also willing to talk you through how to perform these tasks on your own.
Be sure to look up some online reviews for the dealership’s service department. That can give you some insight into the quality of work they perform as well as their turnaround times. You’re bound to find a couple of bad reviews from angry customers for nearly any dealership but steer clear of the ones that are full of terrible reviews!
Performs Warranty Work
This one is particularly applicable if you are purchasing a brand-new RV, but make sure the dealership you choose performs warranty work. Nothing would be more frustrating than having a problem with your brand-new RV and then finding out that your dealership will not repair it. Some dealerships will only perform warranty work on RV’s that were purchased at that specific dealership, so be sure to check before buying an RV.
In addition to the manufacturer’s warranty, many people opt to purchase an extended warranty on their camper. You’ll want to make sure that the dealership you select will perform work under your extended warranty too. Some dealerships will even lower or waive the deductible on your extended warranty if you have the work performed in their service department. Bottom line…if you purchase a new RV from a dealership, you want to be able to address issues under warranty at the same dealership.
Inventory from Different Manufacturers
In order to have the most choices available for your purchase, you should choose an RV dealership that carries multiple brands. Limiting yourself to only one manufacturer will also limit the available models and floor plans. Having models from various manufacturers in inventory will also allow you to compare build quality between different lines easily.
A dealership that carries different manufacturers’ products is also probably around to stay. When limited to only one product lineup, a dealer’s business could be severely hindered by potential changes to that lineup. However, the diversity of manufacturers allows a larger dealership to continue operations even when one manufacturer has issues.
While not an absolute necessity, it is a bonus if you can find a dealership with an attached campground for your shakedown trip. A shakedown trip is a short camping trip away from home that allows you to test your new RV fully. Being next door to your dealership for this trip is the perfect scenario. This way, you can easily pick up any adapters, plugs, hoses, or anything else that you may have forgotten.
You should treat your shakedown trip just like a real camping trip. Try to test everything out and run through your checklists just like you usually would. Use the appliances, run the A/C, and fill up all your holding tanks. If you run into issues, you can tow the trailer right over to the dealership and have them fix your problem before you go on a long journey.
It may seem obvious, but customer service is a vital part of your dealership experience. Make sure when choosing an RV dealership that its customer service is up to par before doing business with them. Remember that the way you are treated while considering buying from them is likely to be the best you’ll ever be treated there! Their service rarely improves after they’ve made the sale.
Observe how you are treated when you walk in and begin shopping around the lot. Walk over to the service department to observe some interactions between RV owners and the service team. A good dealership should greet you with a smile and be happy to answer all your questions. Avoid the ones who treat you like a problem and rush to get away from you.
By following this list of must-haves, you can select the best RV dealership for your next purchase or service visit. Establishing a great relationship with your dealer can go a long way toward a great overall experience with camping and RV’s. Your dealership should be there to help you, and you want to make sure that you get the most out of their services.