September '15

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rv-pro.com September 2015 • RV PRo • 119 do better, and now things are much better than they were back then. It was definitely a challenge to get the bills paid and keep everybody happy. "One of the big factors when the recession hit was that all the lending institutions got out of recreational product loans com- pletely. They were very concerned that a recreational product would be the last payment you made. It's not your house payment and not your car payment. So, the ability to do retail sales was very difficult when all the banks exited recreational sales. "In 2011 and 2012, things started to turn around. RVs came first, but the boat business is now, as a percentage of growth, we are doing more growing in the boat business than the RV business. "I think people are getting back into boating. One of the things that happened with boating was that it got very expensive and people got out of it. There are some manufacturers who are building more affordable boats and a lot of young people will come in and buy an entry-level boat. Then, if they like it, they will come back and buy bigger boats and bigger boats down the road. "Also, a lot of RV customers trade in their RV to do something different. We're one of the few who can give them a fair price to make that change because we sell both. "RVs recovered first because older people, who are typically buying RVs, have more disposable income and are not as affected (by the recession) as the younger generation that is typically buying boats. "What we try to do with advertising is settle it in on a pay- ment or a price. For instance, 'Your choice 16-foot boat and trailer package or 20-foot travel trailer at $109 a month.' The trailer and the boat have the same basic interest, same finance terms, same down-payment terms, so you can put two items in one ad. We also do separate ads as well. "We do a lot of fiberglass boats, a lot of deck boats. Back in 2012, we bought Caravel boats. We're very focused on the boat business right now. "As far as RVs go, we're doing well with the bread-and-butter travel trailers and fifth wheels. We're also selling a lot of those entry- to mid-level Class A, B, and C motorhomes; those are doing well for us. "In service, we have a separate prep department for RVs, and prep department for boats; we have RV warranty and retail; boat warranty and retail; and a body shop that services both. If business is slow on one end, they will help out in either area. "In sales, we allow them to sell anything they know about. We ensure they have proper knowledge before we allow them to cross over. The majority of the sales team can do both. We do training every day on both boats and RVs. "Having both boats and RVs rounds out the year more than if I was just in the boat business. It really helps with the ups and downs of being in a seasonal business. It also helps give us the ability to make a sale if somebody were to call up and say, 'We want to trade in a boat for an RV,' and we know about boats, where your single-line dealer is going to be a little shy of giving them a lot of money for their trade." rv-pro.com Focus on Ultra-Lite Travel Trailers RVAA Awards Coverage RVDA Show Preview Special Product Focus: Business Solutions Read it only in the October issue of RV PRO! Coming Next Issue: Professional Supercoat

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