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RV Tech Talk
29 minutes | a year ago
Scott Young describes his experience as an NRVTA student in Episode 020
Scott Young started training in the middle of February to become an RV inspector and RV technician. He had a background in industrial arts and saw a need for more mobile RV technicians. He and his wife manage a campground in Colorado in the summer, and he felt compassion for campers who can’t get appointments at dealerships for months in order to get their RVs repaired. That’s why he sought training to become a technician and took advantage of his time at NRVTA to become an inspector, too. Scott describes his impression of the instructors he has had and the types of things he has learned. He also explains how the hands-on lab expose him to six to eight different types of brands of equipment typically found on RVs. One thing he has found to be very helpful is the willingness of instructors to spend as much time with students as necessary to ensure their questions are answered. Scott describes some of the more memorable aspects of training that really stood out. He also offers advice for others to get the most out of the training. As he wraps up training, he wants to go to work conducting inspections and fixing problems for campers staying at his RV park. Scott Young’s experience sounds pretty typical of the students I have interviewed who have completed classes at the National RV Training Academy. I appreciate him taking time to describe those experiences with us. Demand for technicians is super high at the moment, and many people are turning to whomever they think might be able to help diagnose and repair an issue with their RVs. That doesn’t always turn out well if the handymen aren’t really familiar with RV components. But, as Scott has learned, trained technicians have the resources, tools and hands-on experience to properly diagnose equipment and get it fixed. He was not joking in suggesting that people coming into campgrounds are really looking for alternatives to get RVs fixed on-the-spot so they don’t have to pack up and drive to a dealership – if they can get an appointment. Advanced training can really open the doors to people who want to be in business for themselves. Based on people I have talked to; I am confident that a trained technician could keep himself very busy running a profitable business just by serving people living in three to four campgrounds near wherever they happen to be at the moment. I appreciated what Scott said about the instructors at the academy. They really are knowledgeable experts in RV repair. One of these days, we’ll get them to sit down for an interview, too. The problem is that the classes are selling out, and these guys are tremendously busy. With summer approaching and everyone worried about traveling by plane or on cruise ships because of corona virus, there will be above-average interest in RV travel this summer. When RVs are used, they tend to break. The need for trained technicians will be even higher this year than it normally is. If you ever considered becoming an RV inspector, campground technician or mobile RV tech, now is the time to pursue training in this recession-proof business. For more information about the courses available at the National RV Training Academy and what it takes to enroll, visit www.nrvta.com.
16 minutes | a year ago
Chad Seeman relays experience getting an RV inspected
In this episode, we are going to speak with someone who had an RV inspected and learn what he thought of that experience. Chad Seeman lives just outside of San Diego, Calif. He was looking for a used RV when he stumbled on a 33-foot Thor Chateau Super C diesel motorhome for sale by a private seller. Because he had owned a boat in the past, and the inspection he had done on that unit was immensely helpful, he wanted to see if he could get an RV inspected, too. So, he turned to Yelp to learn if there were any experienced RV inspectors in his area. That’s how he discovered Ted’s RV Inspection Service, a company out of San Diego. After speaking with Ted, they made an appointment for two days later to have the RV inspected at the seller’s home. The inspection took six hours to go through the motorhome from top to bottom. At the end, Chad received a 160-page report that verified the RV was is great shape, so he went ahead with the purchase and will be picking it up yet this week. Chad Seeman’s experience is exactly what the folks at the National RV Inspectors Association hope every person receives when having an RV reviewed by a certified RV inspector. I suspect the seller was shocked when he thought the inspector would be there for an hour or less only to find him still combing through the motorhome six hours later. The seller must have been impressed because he offered to buy a copy of the report from Chad if he wasn’t going to purchase the RV. Imagine getting a 160-page report filled with pictures and results of every component and circuit that was tested. You would know that every inch of the RV you wanted to buy was thoroughly inspected, especially when you go the results of the fluid analysis regarding the condition of the engine and transmission. Chad was impressed that the inspector – Ted’s RV Inspection Service – was willing to go on location to review the motorhome without requiring the RV to be brought to a specific location for review. If I were to independently review an RV I wanted to buy, I don’t think I would know to check every electrical outlet, and test the generator under a load to see how it performed, but that’s exactly what Chad’s inspector did. When the inspection was completed, Chad said he was confident that he was purchasing an RV that he could enjoy for many years. If you’d like more information about getting an RV inspected, visit www.nrvia.com.
35 minutes | a year ago
Elisa Norman describes how being an RV inspector led to a full-time job in Episode 018
We have a great interview today. Elisa Norman is an RV inspector from Texas. In fact, she was one of the first people to complete training to get her certification, and she was one of the first women to become certified. She describes the training she took and how it prepared her to do a thorough inspection of any RV. Elisa also describes some of the challenges she faced when conducting inspections. She’s got a pretty funny story about watching for mousetraps. Her advice is valuable in the way it pertains to the tools used to perform inspections and why photographic documentation is essential to show not only what doesn’t work, but also what worked at the time the unit was evaluated. Pictures saved her and her client from a big headache. Elisa was so good as an inspector that it caught the attention of a rather large dealership in Dallas that enticed her to accept a full-time job. She’ll explain what she does for the dealership and how the training prepared her for that. She is very candid in her description of the challenges inspectors face in running their own businesses, but she still recommends the opportunity for people who are looking for full- or part-time work. I just loved Elisa Norman’s story. She was stuck at a job she liked as an English teacher, but she didn’t make enough money to help her four kids with college expenses. So, acting on the advice of friends, and with the encouragement of her husband, Elisa took training to become an RV inspector. That initial training opened the door for her to work with insurance companies by evaluating RVs before extended warranty coverage was offered. After doing that for a while, she saw more opportunity and drove from Texas to Iowa for advanced training. That paved the way for her to conduct inspections for people looking to buy new or used RVs. Even though her business was growing and she liked the ability to work outdoors on her own, her strong work ethic, attitude and personality caught the attention of the staff at an RV dealership where she was actually conducting an inspection on behalf of a client. One thing led to another and Elisa found herself working full-time for that dealership by inspecting RVs when they came in from the factory, evaluating the units before they are delivered to customers, and helping customers understand how to operate various components on the RVs they’re buying. Those are the type of opportunities that are available to people of all ages who take training to become a certified RV inspector or technician with the National RV Training Academy. If you don’t want to work for a dealership, you can make a good living by running your own inspection or mobile repair business. Elisa confirms that the work can be challenging, but also very rewarding in the way it helps other people. She’s also living proof that this career isn’t just for men and that women can make a very good living performing inspections or fixing RVs. With 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.
39 minutes | a year ago
Episode 017 features RV inspector Geoff Baker
Today, we are going to talk with an RV inspector based in Florida who has a very successful business. Geoff Baker was an engineer for the Royal Navy who really understands how engines and mechanical systems work. After moving to Florida several years ago, he stumbled across an opportunity to put his skills to work helping RV owners. While attending the Tampa RV Supershow in 2014, he learned about the new National RV Inspectors Association, which as just getting started. He was one of the first people to go through training to become a certified RV inspector. He describes the differences between home inspections and RV inspections, and explains why it is important for buyers to get any RV inspected before signing a loan document. Geoff explains the inspection process and all that it covers, and how fluid analysis can provide a glimpse into the inner workings of an RV engine and transmission. He describes some of the surprising things he has uncovered during the inspections and how the training he took at the predecessor to the National RV Training Academy prepared him to look for and identify any issues that may impact an RV’s value. He also talks about what he likes most about inspecting RVs and why he recommends the business to others who are looking to make a good income by helping other people. I really appreciated his detailed description of all that goes into an RV inspection. People don’t truly understand how complex recreation vehicles are and why it is essential that all the systems work well together. I appreciate all the little steps that Geoff takes to ensure that he inspects RVs properly, such as crawling along the roof to get an even closer look at the condition of the roof and the equipment installed on it. I also like how after he sees something that just seems out of place that he works to track down the true source of the problem, whether it is dripping water on a nice day or moist areas on the inside of an RV. For more information about Geoff and his company, visit www.inspectrv.com, call 484-432-9002 or email email@example.com. He is right in that demand for RV inspections is increasing all the time and some areas of the country are really underserved when it comes to having enough inspectors available to meet demand. If you’d like to know more about how to become an RV inspector and get the training needed to do thorough inspections, check out the National RV Inspectors Association at www.nrvia.com.
36 minutes | a year ago
Episode 016 describes AJ Fields’ work-study experience
Today we are going to talk with another person who helped finance his technical education by serving as a workamper at the RV park adjacent to the Big Red Schoolhouse in Athens, Texas. AJ Fields is a mobile RV repair technician based out of Oklahoma. He wasn’t always working as an RV technician. In fact, he was a former air traffic controller who took training just to learn how to fix his own RV. During that class, he decided to become an RV inspector. While he was taking that course, he saw the opportunity to make a good living as an RV technician. After he found a way to help finance that training, he attended all of the advance classes as well. AJ was able to accelerate the process because his wife, Phyllis, also worked at the RV park. They worked 16 hours per week to cover the cost for a campsite at the Texan RV Park, but they also worked extra hours to generate more credit so that AJ could complete the training faster. By doing jobs around the Texan RV Park along with his wife, Phyllis, AJ was able to accelerate his education because they earned $10 toward the cost of his training for every hour they worked doing jobs around the park and at the academy. To earn the credit, AJ was involved in construction of the academy. He laid carpet tiles on the floor and installed false ceilings in the restrooms and classrooms. AJ Fields was one of the first people to take advantage of the work study program developed by the National RV Training Academy. As AJ completed one training course, it seemed that he became aware of new opportunities, which required more training. He paid for the introductory training course, but they applied work study credit to cover the cost off additional training. That put him on the fast track for learning how to fix a variety of RVs. Like AJ said, it is almost impossible for someone to learn how to fix all the different equipment on an RV, let alone all the different RV models, on their own. He was especially appreciative of the variety of equipment he was exposed to at the Texan RV Park and at the National RV Training Academy. The training was so thorough that AJ is comfortable helping troubleshoot problems over the phone for other RV owners. The training also aided him in opening Home on the Road RV Services to offer a variety of services to people from inspecting RVs to showing people how to use their equipment to fixing problems when they occur. You can find out more about AJ and his company at www.hotr-rv.com. There are a number of courses available at 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.
27 minutes | a year ago
Episode 15 describes a work-study experience for Bobby & Robin Parish
Today we are going to talk with a couple who were among the first people to take advantage of a new work-study program to help pay for technician training. Many people are not aware of a program offered by the National RV Training Academy that allows people to earn credit to pay for instruction by working various jobs at the academy or at the adjacent Texan RV Park. Bobby and Robin Parish were among the first people to take advantage of that program. They spent several months living at the Texan RV Park and workamping as well. They received an RV site in exchange for doing routine tasks around the park, but they also worked extra hours and applied the credit to pay for additional training. They both banked extra hours to apply toward tuition so that Bobby wouldn’t have to work while going to school. That way he could focus on learning as much as possible, as quickly as possible and passing the certification test at the end. Robin worked in the office checking guests in and out of the park, and Bobby served as a maintenance technician performing various jobs. In this interview, they describe the jobs they did to earn the credit, and how having the training has really made a difference in Bobby’s life. He already knew a lot about RVs and had been fixing RVs for other people for quite some time, but attending the training helped him fully understand how all the components of an RV work together. By workamping at the Texan RV Park and being able to bank several hours of compensation toward training, that made the education more affordable. It wasn’t very difficult work for either of them, but they were able to accumulate enough credit to cover the full cost of taking the training. In the end, that opened the door for Bobby to become a mobile RV technician and make money fixing RVs for other people. The National RV Training Academy needs help with lots of jobs. Some of them require specialty construction skills or marketing. But many of the jobs require no special skills at all. To learn more about the work-study program and how you can get it to pay for your training, call NRVTA at 903.386-0444 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For information about the training courses offered by the academy, visit www.nrvta.com.
28 minutes | a year ago
Episode 014 feature mobile technician Alan O’Neill
Today we’ll talk with an Australian native who found a way to make a living in America by inspecting RVs, and later by fixing them as a certified technician. Alan O’Neill is a native of Australia. He met his American wife there more than 20 years ago, but in 2016, they opted to move to America. The couple traveled nearly 30,000 miles in an RV until they decided to settle in California wine country after she got a job. Last year, Alan started looking for income opportunities himself. Being familiar with RVing, he took the home-study course offered by the National RV Training Academy to become a Level 1 inspector. That opened his eyes even further, and he jumped into the four-week advanced training course that led to him becoming a certified RV technician. In fact, he scored so high on the test, he qualified to become a master certified technician. He just needs to spend time working as a certified tech before he can formally attain that title. When Alan was traveling, he saw how frustrated people were trying to get problems with their RVs fixed in a timely manner. With Santa Rosa, Calif., as a base, he now works as a mobile technician to help people either get on the road or stay on the road should they encounter a problem with their RVs. He describes what the training was like and what types of things he learned in the classes. Alan also explains how the instructors would inject bugs into some of the components to challenge students to diagnose the problems an come up with the right solutions to fix them. The crash-course in RV repair helped build his confidence and gave him the skills to fix about 99 percent of the problems he sees with RVs. What really stood out for him was the fact that, unlike courses offered by RV component suppliers, the National RV Training Academy educated him to the strengths of every brand as well as the little nuances that make fixing the units a challenge. Just knowing the strengths and weaknesses of each brand of a particular component – and the ability to work on different brand types while undergoing training – helped prepare him for the problems he will encounter in the field. Demand for technical support is so high among RV consumers, he noted, that they often call local parts stores hoping to find someone who can fix their problem. When the interview was recorded in December, Alan had only been out of class for a few weeks, but he had already found work fixing RVs. Demand for technicians is so high that it doesn’t take much effort for a trained and certified technician to hit the ground running in a profitable business. And that’s what Alan O’Neill did in starting Happy Campers RV Repairs. You can learn more about Alan and the types of services he offers by visiting www.happycampersrvrepairs.com. The National RV Training 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.
26 minutes | a year ago
Episode 013 features Chris Travaglino with Travel Tech RV
Today, we will talk with a man who jump-started a new career as a mobile RV technician, and enjoyed a very profitable first year in a business of his own. Chris Travaglino was one of the first people to complete all five weeks of technician training at the National RV Training Academy’s new Big Red Schoolhouse in 2018. Prior to that, Chris and his wife, Kimberly, and their four children, headed the Fulltime Families group for nearly 10 years to provide support to families of school-age children who live and work full-time in RVs. A few years ago, they sold that business and decided to move to Florida to be with family and pursue some new opportunities in ministry. Chris, had always been handy and was often the go-to person at Fulltime Families events to help fix problems with RVs. He saw an opportunity to become a mobile service technician when he researched the market in south Florida and realized how few options were available to RV owners to get their rigs fixed without having to pack everything up, drive it to a dealership and wait weeks just to get an appointment. Chris describes what the training was like and how it gave him the confidence to start Travel Tech RV. He explains how it is possible for an independent technician to find the support needed to tackle any purple monkeys that might pose a particular challenge for someone making repairs on his own. Chris explains how he promoted his new business, and how that generated a stream of customers that now sustains the business through word of mouth promotion. He describes what it took to set up a business and a repair truck, and how he and his wife share the workload of managing the operation. I have a great deal of respect for Chris Travaglino and his entire family. They are honest, passionate, helpful people, and doors just seem to open for them to find new customers and build this new business opportunity. It took just five weeks of training to prepare him to become a mobile service technician and launch a business of his own. With the average RV dealership scheduling repair appointments four weeks out, there is a tremendous opportunity for mobile repair technicians to make an above-average living just by just serving a few customers every day. When customers get great service from an honest, dependable technician, then word of mouth keeps people like Chris very busy. Plus, Chris knows that he could make three times as much money working for himself as he could working for someone else. For more information about Chris and his business, Travel Tech RV, visit www.traveltechrv.com. The National RV Training Academy can not only provide the instruction people need to feel comfortable fixing RVs, but the academy can provide insurance, certification and business training to help people start professional companies. 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.
31 minutes | a year ago
Episode 012 features mobile RV technician Paul Witherspoon
Paul Witherspoon is a veteran who went to Florida to visit his wife’s parents who were workamping at an RV park. While there, he saw the potential to make a great living as a mobile RV technician. A chance encounter with an RV dealer looking to start a mobile RV service business in 1995 opened the door for him to get a job right out of the military. He didn’t have any formal training other than a few vendor classes along the way. Most of Paul’s training was self-taught as he took apart components to see what was wrong with them, and then reassembled the units after making a repair. When his son wanted to become an RV technician as well, they both attended the National RV Training Academy. In the process, both Paul and his son became certified RV technicians. He started his own mobile service business in the Florida Keys, which was essentially an untapped market for mobile repairs. Since then, he has moved his business to Texas. Paul also explains how he liked the business training he got from NRVTA and how it has helped him become more profitable. Although Paul taught himself how to do many of the RV repairs many years ago, he has since come to realize how much more beneficial it is to get formal training on current components. He really stressed the need to run an ethical operation. That’s an unfortunate side effect of the current market for RV repair. Demand for service outweighs the supply of technicians. As a result, some questionable characters slip into the market and provide substandard repair. Yes, it works to Paul’s benefit because he and his son can go in and clean up the mess other technicians created. But, it also gives the RV industry a very bad name. Paul realized that his name was very important, and he has worked hard to protect it. As a result, it has paid off very well with a successful business that is big enough that he can employ his son. He also champions the need to become a well-rounded technician, not just someone who focuses on one or two components. That’s an even bigger moneymaker because he can complete a variety of repairs – and offer better service – by fixing many things at the same time. I also liked his advice to open a separate savings account and squirrel away a percentage of every job’s income into that account to cover taxes and ensure money is available to constantly reorder parts. He’s got a great business, and a lot of it has to do with education he received from 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. For more information about Paul Witherspoon’s company, Mobile Family RV Center, visit www.mobilefamilyrvcenter.com.
26 minutes | a year ago
Episode 011 – Logan Beavers fixes RVs to fund his mission
Logan Beavers became an RV technician earlier this year after deciding that fixing RVs would help fund his ministry. The pastor from Kingsport, Tenn., grew up using RVs. One day, while looking out his window, he realized that nearly every one of his neighbors had a recreation vehicle, and they would all eventually need to be serviced. So, he completed courses at the National RV Training Academy while he seeks work at a smaller church that can’t afford to hire a full-time pastor. A father of two daughters, he considered fixing RVs as a way to support his family while pursuing his passion. He googled RV training courses and was connected to the NRVTA in Athens, Texas. He purchased the home study course first and, decided to attend classes in person to take advantage of the hands-on training. It helped that he got a $300 credit for buying the home study course, and that he could apply that credit to the academy’s live class. The in-person training also prepared him to take the test to become a registered RV technician. Logan describes the benefit of being able to work on components from a variety of different brands, which he expects will better equip him to diagnose and repair those items in the field. He also explains why the training would be appropriate for people who may not have experience in fixing things or even tinkering with equipment before starting the course. He took the home-study course first and found it helpful in fixing his own RV, but it also opened his eyes to the possibility of making RV repair a career or even a part-time job. It is one of the best educational values out there. For $7,500 in tuition, $1,500 for tools and $2,000 for lodging expenses, people move from being novices to certified RV technicians in just five to six weeks. From there, they can get a job working at an RV dealership making upwards of $30,000 in the first year, to hauling in more than $100,000 in a business of their own working as a mobile RV technician. Logan was very appreciative of the community of students and faculty who stood by him during the training. I loved what he said that when he left the academy, he did not feel like they just took his money and left him trying to figure out what to do next. The staff helped him every step along his journey. The National RV Training 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.
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