April '14

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rv-pro.com April 2014 • RV PRo • 77 offering rentals and I learn something new every time," said Dan Kuehne, owner of RVs 4 Less in Fresno, Calif. Returning to the school "helps me sharpen my skills," he said, adding he found the advice on marketing and strategic planning at this year's school particularly valuable. Advice from the Experts Some 70 students attended this year's event, which featured rentals instructors Scott Krenek, president of Krenek RV Center in Coloma, Mich.; Martin Onken, owner of Expedition Motorhomes in Cala- basas, Calif.; and Barry Raye, owner of 84 RV Rentals & Service and Rayewood RV Center in Sussex, N.J. e instructors have more than 60 years of combined experi- ence in rentals. Bert Alanko, president of MBA Insur- ance, said a primary strength of the rental school is that its instructors aren't simply book-smart academics – they are busi- nessmen who make their living by run- ning successful rental operations. It's also beneficial to students that the three instruc- tors take very different approaches to run- ning their businesses, which shows there is more than one way to be successful with rentals, he added. Krenek operates a full-service dealership that includes rentals, a service he has been providing for about 25 years. His business owns its rental inventory, of which 60 per- cent is towables and the rest is motorized units. He calls towables the "undevel- oped side of the RV rentals market" and strongly advocates for rental businesses to expand beyond their traditional motor- ized offerings. Onken has been offering rentals for about 15 years. His 33-unit rental fleet is all motorized, is primarily comprised of high-end models, and is owned entirely by private owners who allow him to manage their RVs in exchange for a share of the revenues. Onken is a founding member of a 20 Group comprised of rental business owners and dedicated to best practices con- cerning rental business operations. Raye once operated a full-service dealer- ship, but closed down his RV sales opera- tion to focus on rentals, which he described as his passion. His 84-unit rental fleet includes a mix of towables and motorized units, most of which his business owns out- right, but some of which are managed units for private owners. His business includes a service shop and a small RV park operation. Success Comes from Offering Value While the three instructors offered dif- ferent approaches to acquiring and man- aging their rental fleets, they did agree on certain core principals. Chief among these was the folly of offering unprofitable dis- counting on RV rentals. "e Golden Rule of RV rentals is: You do not discount in July, or whenever your high season is," Krenek said. And no matter LAS VEGAS – Don't tell Curt Chandler there's no money to be made offering RV rentals. Chandler, owner of SF Bay Area Pri- vate RVs in Fremont, Calif., said his rentals business has doubled in size every year since he started his company four years ago. His revenues topped $500,000 in 2013. "A huge portion of our success is because of attending the MBA Rental School," he said recently while at the school for a second time. "I didn't know anything about renting before I attended this event the first time, despite being an enthusiast for more than 20 years." After attending the school in 2010, Chandler decided to take the plunge and launch his business with one RV. Today, his rental fleet includes a managed fleet of 20 units, all of which are owned by private individuals. So, given his success, why did Chandler decide to return to MBA's Rental School, held Feb. 25-27 at the Tuscany Hotel & Casino? "There's always more to learn in the classes – and networking with other rental owners is a huge benefit," he said on the third and final day of the annual event, now in its 14th year. Specific lessons he took away from the seminars included how to tighten up his accounting processes and to lower his insurance risks, Chandler said, adding, "I can't wait to get back and apply what I've learned." He wasn't alone in seeing the value of returning to the rental school for a refresher course. "I've attended (this school) four or five times in the past eight years we've been MBA Insurance's intensive three-day course is designed to teach students everything they need to know about running a successful rentals business. Students pick up their education packets at the start of the rental school. In addition to a booklet containing the presentations made by the speakers, the packet also included a booklet filled with forms students would need to run their rental businesses. RVPApr.indd 77 3/19/14 3:37 PM

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