Jensen turns ‘wheelestate’ into a quadruple win

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By Greg Gerber
Editor, RV Daily Report

When Deryle Jensen founded RVWheelator.com, it was out of frustration with the typical wholesale/retail business model that he said often works to take advantage of buyers.

The idea of a seller consigning an RV to a dealer, and receiving a wholesale price in return, so the dealer can sell it at a retail price and reap a big profit didn’t seem fair to him. So, six years ago, he founded www.rvwheelator.com to list RVs the same way real estate agents list homes.

“We offer everything an RV dealer has to offer, except we don’t have free hamburgers and stale coffee,” said Jensen.

He came up with the idea after studying how banking works, and then modeling his idea after the way real estate transactions work. In doing so, he allows people to buy RVs with equity in place so that if they need to sell or trade it in a few years later, the owner won’t owe more than the RV is worth.

“Everyone making a purchase will find they have equity in their RV immediately,” he explained. “We can do this because our selling price is below the average retail price for any RV.”

The website lists only privately-owned used RVs that are 100% for sale by owner. In the early years, Jensen said he approached RV dealers with his idea, and they flat out rejected it. In the end, he said it worked out better for buyers and sellers for him to simply connect nice people to other nice people.

When an RV owner consigns the unit to a dealer, it is a dealership salesperson who is responsible for explaining all the features and benefits. The trouble is, he or she doesn’t always understand all the idiosyncrasies of the RV. That’s something only an owner truly understands, and can pass along directly to the buyer, Jensen noted.

The cost to list an RV on rvwheelator.com is free to sellers. Once listed, Jensen said the RV is marketed free to sellers on up to 200 different internet sites, such as RVT.com and Craig’s List.

“Most people are surprised at how many RVs we do sell and how successful we are in listing an RV for sale as well as seeing the transaction through to completion,” said Jensen.

Short sale support

“One of our biggest advantages to our business model is that we are the only firm in North America that is successfully negotiating short sales for owners who are in upside-down positions on their RV loans,” said Jensen.

When listing an RV, the seller indicates what he owes on the unit, if anything, and what he feels it is worth.

Then Jensen’s crew goes to work to determine how much banks are willing to loan for that specific unit, and compares it to the comparable price RV dealers are listing that same unit.

If the owner owes more than the RV is worth, RVwheelator contacts the lender on the seller’s behalf.

“We tell the lender that a customer of ours is upside down on an RV loan, but we are approaching the lender with a solution,” Jensen explained. “More often than not, the lenders are grateful for our proposal and they accept it.”

For example, if an RV is worth $53,000, but the owner still owes $60,000 on the loan, RVwheelator closes the gap by arranging for a personal loan.

“We remind the bank that since their customer was credit worthy for a $60,000 loan that is technically secured by an RV really worth $53,000, surely the customer would be credit worthy for an unsecured $7,000 loan,” said Jensen. “When we find a buyer who is ready to purchase the RV, the current owner triggers the $7,000 note.

“It is not reducing the borrower’s debt, and the bank is not out any money,” he explained. “However, everyone walks away from the transaction with a great deal.”

It is a quadruple win for everyone, including:

  • The buyer who gets a clean title to the RV with equity because he bought it at a price below the average retail rate for that unit.
  • The seller unloads the upside-down loan and can quickly pay off the remaining $7,000 at a rate much lower than credit card interest.
  • The bank does not have to repossess the RV and try to sell it at a wholesale rate. They get all their money back plus interest on the personal loan.
  • RVwheelator collects a small commission on the transaction, which is factored into the sale price and paid by the buyer. The commission, which is 5 percent, covers all Jensen’s costs, including advertising.

No obligation to list an RV

People who want to sell an RV simply visit www.rvwheelator.com and click on the flashing “sell your RV” button in the upper right corner. After they fill in the blanks and press submit, someone from RVwheelator calls them within 24 hours to share information discovered pertaining to average retail selling prices, and average loan values.

Once the seller has access to that information, he or she is under no obligation to list the unit with RVwheelator, said Jensen. In fact, once someone lists an RV for sale, he hopes it sells — whether through RVwheelator.com or whether the owner sells it himself.

In fact, knowing that owners can still sell the RVs themselves motivates Jensen to find a buyer before the owner finds one.

“We don’t ask for an exclusive selling contract,” he explained. “But I do ask that owners call me if they sell the unit so that I can congratulate them on the sale.

“However, if the owner wants more money than the bank says the RV is worth, he will have to sell it himself,” he explained. “But nobody can get sellers as much money for their RVs than we can.”

The best part, Jensen said, is that the seller keeps possession of the RV during the process. He doesn’t have to drop it off at a dealership along with the title and wonder if anyone is looking at it or even inquiring about the RV.

“The owner conducts the sale with no fear of haggling because the advertised price is the selling price,” said Jensen. “The seller collects the advertised price on the unit, which includes the commission. He keeps the agreed price and forwards us the commission.”

Jensen said he even works with sellers to train them how to collect the money in order to keep all parties safe.

“We don’t touch the money or the title, and we don’t vouch for the condition of the RV,” he explained. “But, when the RV is sold at the advertised price below average retail, the seller is happy, the buyer is ecstatic, and we’re pleased to have completed another successful transaction.”

Licensing “wheelators”

The RVwheelator concept has been so successful that Jensen is looking to license “wheelators” to list RVs in each state.

“I’m a chronic entrepreneur who likes to do things that nobody has ever done before,” he explained. “When people learn about our dealer-free experience where buyers and sellers are peers, they want to do business with us or be involved in our company.”

For more information, call 877.744.1219 or visit www.rvwheelator.com.

Greg Gerber

Greg Gerber

A journalist who has covered the recreation vehicle industry since January 2000, Greg Gerber founded RV Daily Report on April Fool's Day in 2009. He also serves as the editor of the publication and website. As an Eagle Scout, he has enjoyed camping for decades and has visited every state except Hawaii. A DODO -- Dad of Daughters Only -- to three young women, he has two grandchildren as well. He currently splits his time between Wisconsin, Texas and Arizona. Greg can be reached at editor@rvdailyreport.com.

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