How the Amish Are The Backbone of the RV Industry

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Just about every major RV manufacturer uses Amish employees to construct their rigs. Despite rejecting modern technology and other luxuries, they have a massive impact on the industry.

Their expert skills and commitment to quality have helped them become the RV industry’s backbone.

Today, we’re looking at the Amish community and their impact on RVing.

Let’s get started!

About the Amish Community

Northern Indiana has earned a reputation for being the RV capital of the world. However, in addition to almost every major brand in the RV industry, there’s also a large population of Amish. These communities are throughout LaGrange, Elkhart, and Kosciusko counties.

Amish in these parts are known for their strong faith and commitment to a simple, traditional way of life. They drive horse-drawn buggies and attend schools in one-room schoolhouses. 

In addition to managing large farms, they often work manual labor jobs at factories in their communities.

While they may live simple lives, they significantly influence the local economy. Numerous Amish-owned businesses attract visitors from all over the region to the area. 

They’ll purchase furniture, quilts, and various baked goods. However, if you visit one of these establishments, check their operating hours, as they typically close earlier than expected.

Jason eating at an Amish restaurant with a full plate of food and bread with honey.
Be sure to support Amish businesses when passing through Elkhart, IN.

How The Amish Came to Work in the RV Industry 

Milo Miller started the first RV manufacturer in Elkhart County in 1933. Many men in the Amish communities were skilled at woodworking and carpentry. It was easy for them to switch over and produce recreational vehicles.

The RV industry experienced its first major boom in the 1930s and 40s, and Elkhart County was ground zero. By 1948, it had established itself as the RV Capital of the World in many circles.

Unfortunately, the 1980s squeezed many small farmers out of land and forced them to pursue other avenues for income. As a result, many of the Amish found jobs in the factories of various RV manufacturers.

Over the years, the industry and factories have adjusted their operating schedules to accommodate the Amish way of life. Workers report as early as 4:00 AM to get home in time to take care of their responsibilities at home.

Today, many manufacturers heavily rely on Amish workers. They’re consistent, reliable, and some of the hardest-working individuals you’ll find. 

Learn More: How Did Elkhart Become the RV Capital of the World?

What Brands Are Built By the Amish?

Almost every RV brand with a headquarters in Northern Indiana has Amish workers building their rigs. Some brands include nuCamp, Jayco, Starcraft RV, Riverside RV, Forest River, and Grand Design

Roughly 50% of the men from the Nappanee and Elkhart-LaGrange settlements work in the RV industry.

However, it’s important to note that none of these RVs are 100% built by the Amish. Some of the largest manufacturers in the region employ thousands of workers, many of whom are not Amish. 

Luckily, they can work alongside each other to manufacture RVs. 

Inside an RV factory with rows of unfinished RVs.

Why the RV Industry Continues to Hire Mostly Amish Employees

The RV industry continues employing many Amish people in the community. Considering their lifestyle and belief system, it’s easy to see why they’re so eager to hire them.

Craftsmanship Tradition

Many manufacturers continue to hire Amish employees because of their craftsmanship skills. These workers are known for having some of the best woodworking, metalworking, and other manual craft skills. 

They continue to pass their skills down from one generation to the next. This allows them to create high-quality and durable goods that consumers love.

Whether building cabinetry and furniture or putting the finishing touches on a camper, these workers provide fantastic results. Many of these employees grow up performing manual labor to help provide for their families. 

By the time they’re old enough to work in the factories, they’re accustomed to putting in a hard day’s work.

Commitment to Excellence

A major complaint from many consumers is that workers don’t take pride in their work. However, this is another significant reason why manufacturers in this region choose Amish workers. They are committed to excellence in everything they do, including building RVs.

These workers take great pride in creating quality products. They spend long hours growing up learning to build cabinetry and other woodworking marvels. However, they’re committed to excellence as individuals and as a team.

An excellent quality of the Amish community is their ability to work together. You’ll often see them rallying together to help each other, including their fellow workers. They have some of the best teamwork skills in these massive manufacturing facilities.

Learn More: Many parts of the RV are built separately and then put together down an assembly line. Because of this method, believe it or not, Your RV Was Likely Slapped Together in 7 Hours Or Less!

Attention to Sustainable Practices

Another quality of Amish workers that the RV industry loves is their commitment to sustainable living. They often find ways to reduce waste, reuse materials, and adopt eco-friendly practices. The Amish community often tries to minimize their impact on the environment.

If you haven’t noticed, a commitment to sustainable practices is trendy these days. Manufacturers are constantly trying to find ways to go green and minimize their impact on the planet.

Four Amish people in a horse drawn buggy going down a road.

Community Values

The Amish have a strong sense of community and often emphasize cooperation and collaboration. These are two attributes that employers look for in any employee, not just that they’re Amish. 

Many of these workers maintain a tight bond with their fellow workers, whether they’re a part of the Amish community or not.

Local Labor Force

The Amish play such a significant role in manufacturing RVs because they’re a major part of the local labor force.

As we mentioned earlier, roughly half of the men in these communities work for factories in the area. Many facilities have adjusted operating schedules to accommodate their unique way of life.

As a result, getting jobs at these factories for the Amish is convenient, and the pay is much better than in other opportunities.

It works for their schedules, and many can share buggy rides to their respective factories. Because they don’t drive, many utilize horse-drawn carriages and taxi-like services to make traveling to and from work easier and safer.

Will the Amish Build Your Next RV?

If you’re planning to buy an RV from a manufacturer based in Northern Indiana, the Amish will touch it multiple times. RVs are produced on a fast-moving assembly line. 

Depending on the rig, it may only take a few hours for it to go from nothing but a frame to a finished structure. Many individuals working on this line are a part of the Amish community. Did you know this about the RV industry?

1 comment
  1. really, well then, the last three to four years it’s not been the Amish. If it has they doing shoddy work and they don’t do that. I bought a brand new one and it a piece of shit, every piece of material is cheap leakage of water lines ,the wallpaper peeling, glue marks everywhere, can’t clean it off look disgusting like someone’s snot. Falling apart so don’t go there with this Amish built these that’s just trying to pull the wool over one’s eyes and as I have heard quite a few owners complaining about there rigs being a bit shoddy in workmanship.

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