Opinion

Dealer agreements, CFPB top RVDA agenda

(Oct. 9, 2013) — A major project RVDA tackled this year was the first revision to the association’s model dealer agreement in 10 years. This agreement is designed to be used as a tool for dealers and manufacturers as they negotiate their business relationship. Another major issue that is the board’s top advocacy priority is trying to make sense of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB).

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National Park Service exposed as childish, petty

(Oct. 6, 2013) — I encourage Governor Brewer to exercise some control of her own. Since possession is nine-tenths of the law and the Grand Canyon lies in Arizona, the state is technically in possession. The land is already paid for, and it belongs to the American people and the residents of the state of Arizona.

Brewer should send the Arizona National Guard to the Grand Canyon to remove the barriers to access and allow people to access the park free of charge. If she was smart, she would use state employees to collect the entrance fees the federal government apparently doesn’t want or need. She might even send the state police to arrest any power-hungry National Park Service rangers who tried to reclaim possession of an the abandoned property.

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Long-term consequences of shutdown may be helpful

(Oct. 2, 2013) — October came into Washington with a roar, and the political fighting is likely to continue throughout the month. 

Recreation has a stake in this fight, both because of potential consequences for the U.S. economy and because a great deal of recreation in America takes place on federally-managed lands.

The short-term pain is high, but the longer-term consequences may actually be helpful.

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Lazydays has a giant target on its back

(Sept. 30, 2013) — News today that Lazydays Founder Don Wallace was assuming a leadership position at Camping World promises to shake things up in the industry and, especially, the Tampa market.

As a multimillionaire with one of the largest homes in Hillsborough County, Fla., it is unlikely that Wallace needs to go back to work for extra walking around money.

So, why would Camping World CEO Marcus Lemonis want to bring on a high-profile name to oversee such miniscule market?

I suspect there is some bad blood concerning Lazydays — and the current leadership of one of the largest RV retail centers in the nation now have blaze orange targets on their backs.

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Fuel for thought for prospective full-timers

Recently, we had an RVer preparing to go full-time in 2015 ask for some advice over at RV Road Trippers, our official Facebook page. The question prompted an incredible number of suggestions, ideas and recommendations from veteran full-timers on how to best prepare for – and enjoy – the experience. While it wasn’t easy, we selected our top 10 suggestions for full-timing below. Which ones do you agree with? Which ones would you add to the list?

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Success of Elkhart Open House Week is no fluke

(Sept. 23, 2013) — My top ten takeaways from the Elkhart Open House are drawn from conversations with industry leaders, dealers, suppliers and even the other media representatives covering this event.  The topics are not intended to be critical in nature, although some will probably view them in that context. Instead, I think they provide some insight into where our industry is today, and the opportunities that lie ahead now that the Elkhart Open House Week activities have positioned themselves as the premier dealer buying event in the RV industry today.

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Doug Gaeddert: Don’t settle for a field goal

(Sept. 13, 2013) — It’s hard to believe, but we’re almost into the fourth and final quarter of 2013. Unlike the NFL, we have no half-time, or preseason warm up games in the RV industry. It’s just go, execute your game plan for four straight quarters, and then head right back out on the field to do it again!

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Companies ignore customer concerns at their own peril

I have received several complaints from consumers over the past few months about the quality of products in the RV industry. That is nothing new; it has happened for years. 

What is new is that the complaints involve once iconic companies known for exceptional product quality and customer service. 

The response to the complaints has been to ignore them. In the history of public relations, keeping quiet has NEVER helped a story go away. 

Even worse, is it a good idea to assail the messenger rather than refute the evidence?

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Will government regulate diversity of RV parks?

A news story circulating today reports that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will begin tracking the diversity of every single neighborhood in America in order to push policies to remedy “the problem” of segregation. 

While “helping children” is initial justification offered for launching such a huge social engineering experience, make no doubt about it, the federal government is tired of seeing white majority neighborhoods.

If this initiative is allowed to be implemented, rest assured its reach and impact will eventually affect RV parks, especially those which cater to a majority of white seasoned citizens.

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CarCash locations

Wow! Did CampingCashCarWorld grow quickly!

I find it truly amazing just how quickly CarCash grew from a single location in New York City to a nationwide franchise with six dozen locations in less than seven days.

It was just one week ago today that America even learned about CarCash thanks to the debut episode of CNBC’s The Profit, featuring Camping World CEO Marcus Lemonis as the business guru called in to save failing businesses.

Sure enough, I looked up the CarCash locations from a map on the company’s website and it is eerily similar to the locations of Camping World dealerships around the nation.

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Can Obamacare negatively impact the RV industry?

A report released today notes that American businesses created 953,000 new jobs in 2013. But, 77 percent of them are part-time jobs. It is in that story that the unintended consequences of Obamacare will truly impact the RV industry.

If the new “full-time” positions will soon mean 30 hours per week, and most two-earner families will need a third job to cover the cut in pay from the 40-hour week, where will they find the time to RV? 

If one person has to work 60 hours per week, that will likely include weekend work at a second job. Which families will invest in an RV, if one member must work every weekend?

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The Profit needs a reality check

“My name is Marcus Lemonis. During the past 10 years, I bought hundreds of failing businesses and made millions doing it.”

Those were the words uttered by “The Profit” during the first few seconds of his new reality show, which debuted last night on CNBC. I just about gagged.

“Bought failing businesses.” Give me a break. Apparently, the reality show is in need of a reality check.

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Montana FW billboard

Should dealers be able to use deceptive advertising?

An RV dealer sent me a picture over the weekend of another Camping World billboard next to his dealership. The billboard advertises a Montana brand fifth wheel, which Camping World is not authorized to carry in the community in which the billboard stands. However, the dealership 200 feet away from the billboard is the authorized Montana fifth wheel dealer in that market. Is that deceptive?

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California officials extort money from RV rental dealers

(July 26, 2013) — An RV dealer in California sent me a message earlier this week telling me that he’s being extorted by state officials simply because he sets up rental RVs in state parks. In order to set up a rented RV for a customer at a California state park, dealers must pay $2,000 annually for a concession license or 10 percent of the total rental fee for every motorhome delivered and removed from any state park.

Why? Because the “commercial enterprise” is engaged in “sales activities that utilize park property or facilities to complete the terms of sale or provide a service as a result of the sale or that effect park operations, facility use or visitor safety.” No, the officials aren’t kidding.

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Another survey exposes lack of Millennial work ethic

(July 24, 2013) — I received an e-mail today from Designed Learning that released the results of a survey conducted of employers who hire Millennials — those lovable, adorable, social creatures born between 1985 and 2004. The results were not at all surprising, at least to someone like me who has been following the advance of the Millennial generation into the workplace for years.

Designed Living detected a shift in American work ethic from “disciplined” to “entitled,” something I suspect is already apparent to many managers and corporate executives.

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Kid tax discourages camping families

(July 18, 2013) — Private campgrounds which are already competing against public facilities that charge $8 to $20 per night cannot really afford to lose customers to state and county parks because they require another $20 per day for the daily rate in addition to all the nickels and dimes they extract from parents for craft projects, snacks, mini-golf, bike rentals, toys, T-shirts, souvenirs, etc.

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Full-time families sound off on RV lifestyle

(July 12, 2013) — About 105 members of the Fultime Families organization gathered at a Jellystone Park in Montrose, Colo., last week for one of their two semi-annual rallies. During a morning session, I had the opportunity to participate in a roundtable discussion with many of the adults as they discussed their concerns with the RV lifestyle and the industry in general. Keep in mind, these are the apostles of the RV industry — the people who use their RVs more frequently, travel a lot and encounter thousands of RVers at campsites around the country. They are often the very people recreational users turn to for advice and information.

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Why do we celebrate Independence Day

(July 4, 2013) — It really bugs me that more and more people refer to today as July Fourth. That’s because today is Independence Day. It refers to a specific moment in history in which our nation broke free from a basically dictatorial government to form its own government in hopes of establish a nation dedicated to the principle of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — as well as a government that governs with the consent of the governed.

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Give private campgrounds access to public waterways

(May 31, 2013) — I’m wondering what people think about government restricting water access only to campgrounds owned and operated by government agencies. Private campgrounds on the water are not usually allowed to offer boat launches. If waterways are truly public, and must be accessible to everyone, why can’t private campgrounds offer access points to lakes and rivers from their property? Why must people purchase public park entrance fee and get a boat launch permit before they are allowed to put a boat in the water?

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