Jump to content

RV inspectors - Are any of you actively working in that capacity?


BrianT

Recommended Posts

There have been quite a few ads in Workamper News over the past year or so about getting trained to be either RV Techs or RV Inspectors.

 

I have even been in contact with one person that has gone through at least most of the training process. I have a friend that has even given me some encouragement to join the program to become a Certified RV Inspector.

 

While I see that there may be a need, I am also reluctant for a couple of reasons. First, I am not able to easily part with the funds needed to pay for the training, the certification and the business setup required to work through the organization mentioned in Workamper News, and to me, the costs are not insignificant. The Second thing is that I have yet to talk to a single person who has told me that they are now RV Inspectors and are working in that capacity and doing well at it. I realize it's a fairly new program so I may be premature in expecting a lengthy history. But I've got to think that if the program is such a success, that there must be -somebody- that's successfully doing this.

 

I asked some pretty pointed questions of my friend who's taken most of the training. (Things like, how long it took from the time of the training until the first inspection, how long it took to recoup the expenses of startup, whether there was a heavier demand for the higher end inspections or lower end, what size of a territory was typical, that kind of thing.) He didn't have answers (and I have no problem with that as he wasn't quite through the qualifications yet) so pointed me to someone much higher within the organization. Instead of answers, I got another sales pitch. Hmmm.

 

I'm trying to have an open mind about it, and it may be a wonderful program. Am I wrong to want some practical discussion by people actually doing it before making a commitment to go farther? Maybe it's just that I haven't talked to the right person yet. (?)

 

This being about the largest group of RVers out there, I thought perhaps this would be the place where I might find such a person if they exist. And so, I ask...

 

Thanks for the input! I have a feeling I'm not the only one interested. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 66
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Indeed, your comments and concerns seem right on spot. RVers don't unload their hard earned cash too easily, I see many of them with GS and other extended warranties. One issue I have is all of the RV tech help I have hired had to be paid by me upfront because no one was in the GS program for that area, and no one would work for just what GS was paying. I have not used RV inspector services directly so I can't comment. I would like to be paid more than I do for typical workamping, but I have to see real live working examples to model from before I can envision myself doing it successfully. Timing is everything, and so far the training hasn't happened anything I was between my workamping sessions in areas convenient for us.

 

Dave

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It would seem to me that if it were to work for you, you would have to stay parked in an area for a period of time to become known and to advertise your services. That area would have to be within a reasonable distance of a city where rv dealers and lots are located. Don't most workampers want to move around?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Pete & Pat,

 

The way the organization in question is set up, I believe you are basically using the organization as a "clearing house" of available inspections and you get your work exclusively through them. If you are in, for instance, the Dallas area this month, you can request inspections in that area. If you then move to Seattle, you can tell them that you are in Seattle and request inspections in that area. I don't think there is anything that the individual inspectors do as far as advertising. The customer contacts the organization and I believe pays the organization for a report the inspector generates. The inspector then gets a percentage of the take in return. You can move around as much or as little as you want. I'm not sure how many inspections are available or where. So far, no one is really talking about that, and I can understand that as the company is just getting started. Still, a little hard data might be encouraging.

 

So... moving around isn't supposed to be an issue so long as you are in places needing the service. And advertising is for the company to do, not the inspector.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That sounds like a good plan, but, how is their advertising? Does anyone know who "they" are so they can call and request services? I know what ads you are talking about as we were members of workampers and still participate on the forum, but I would have not idea who "they" are if I wanted an inspection. Are they going to advertise just to subscribers of the magazine, or to the general public, dealers, rv lots...... I guess it will take some time. As you say, they are just starting out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Brian, having had a very long association with Workamper News and the present management, I too have read the information about this new program with great interest. At this point in my life I am not interested in spending money for some job but I did seriously consider that sort of thing back when we first went on the road and I never really found any practical means of doing that kind of thing while traveling. As a result I do believe that it is a needed service both for the training and for the potential RV buyer, but like you I have many unanswered questions. The history issue is one that is pretty tough to respond to since the whole thing is so very new that there simply isn't much history to research. The one thing that I did find when looking through their website was a link to a 30 day free trial for something but I'm not quite sure what you would be trying? Have you looked into that to see if it might answer some of your questions?

 

Based upon what I found when I considered taking an RV tech course to supplement our income back in the early 2000's, I am very much a skeptic of many of the RV tech training certification programs. Most of them seem to be too short to be able to get much from it unless the candidates have an pretty extensive background and experience in a related field. There are some college programs which take several semesters and which provide some education in basic electrical principles and mechanical principles. Observation of the techs who have fancy certification certificates but very little in practical skills has made me even more of a doubter. Learning a new skill takes time and far too many such programs attempt to be the quick and easy way, rather than the solid educational way.

 

 

Does anyone know who "they" are so they can call and request services?

The "they" is NIRVA, and organization that was created by people from the Workamper News organization. The solid history of that operation would seem to lend some degree of credibility to the standards of this new operation, but the lack of history is problematic. It isn't fair to say that they are not good because of the lack of history, but it remains a valid question.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Per NRVIA: "The National Recreational Vehicle Inspectors Association, Inc. does not make any representation or warranty as to the quality of RV Inspections done by its RV inspector members."

 

Looks like all the NRVIA does is provide a list of local inspectors. Any financial dealings are solely between you and who you select. I wonder how much of the yearly dues NRVIA extracts is actually spent advertising their (your) services? After all, that is the main thing they bring to the table. Interesting that I didn't see a "comments/recommendations" (i.e. YELP type of feedback) section when the local inspectors showed in my search request. Also I had to extend the search to 100 miles from any City I searched on to get many hits. Looks like their ranks of inspectors is rather thin and long travel times must be paid for.

 

NRVIA makes it sound easy to join their ranks and get referrals - Pay $499 and take a 100 question competency test. (Sounds painless unless the test is rigged with obscure questions to ensure you pay for their training)

 

Has anyone seen any of their advertising? Or is their main interest harvesting yearly dues.

 

http://nrvia.org/membership/

1. There are some very specific steps you must take to become a member of NRVIA as a Certified RV Inspector.

  • Step One: Pay your yearly membership dues of $499 to gain access to the NRVIA Inspector members area of this website.
  • Step Two: Take the Technical Knowledge & Skills test provided inside the NRVIA Inspector members area. This is a 100 question exam that will test your RV technical knowledge. You must receive a minimum score of 70% to pass the exam.
  • Step Three: Take the NRVIA 50 question Standards of Practice & Code of Ethics Exam provided inside the NRVIA Inspector members area and obtain a minimum score of 70% to pass.
  • After passing the tests, your credentials will be produced and sent to you by mail. Congratulations! Once you reach this step, you will be an NRVIA Certified RV Inspector member!

2. As an Associate Member you will be permitted to provide approved products and services to support and promote the professionalism of the RV Inspection Industry. You will be permitted to utilize the NRVIA logo and connections to promote your business as an approved entity working with the RV Inspection Industry.

  • Step One – Agree to promote and support the NRVIA Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice that the Certified RV Inspectors must abide by.
  • Step Two – Agree to promote your business in a professional manner that promotes the mission of the NRVIA.
  • Step Three – Pay your annual Associate membership dues of $265 payable to NRVIA.
  • Step Four – Your credentials will be mailed and NRVIA approved ad artwork will be available.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The who are "they" question was directed from the consumer point of view. The general population of rvers do not know their name or how to contact them. How many referrals would you get? It will take time for them to become know so people know who to call when they need a tech or an inspector. Until then.....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The who are "they" question was directed from the consumer point of view. The general population of rvers do not know their name or how to contact them. How many referrals would you get? It will take time for them to become know so people know who to call when they need a tech or an inspector. Until then.....

 

Until then .... it is a function of advertising their services which is their responsibility.

 

"They" registered their website in July of 2013 (Creation Date: 2013-07-02, By: Terry Cooper, PO Box 425, Somerville, TX 77879 ) In the early years it is "their" responsibility to invest "their" money in getting "their" name out there and build their reputation and a need for their services. Asking associates to invest by paying annual dues before anyone knows of them or their services and without and chance of reward (i.e. an ownership position and share of future profits) is an interesting business model and one in which I would be leery of "investing". Most organizations in their formative years at least allow "grandfathering in" as a way of compensating the existing membership for using their reputations to build the brand. I see no such option with NRVIA.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A few comments inserted...

 

DuffMan, on 26 Dec 2014 - 12:10 PM, said:

 

Per NRVIA: "The National Recreational Vehicle Inspectors Association, Inc. does not make any representation or warranty as to the quality of RV Inspections done by its RV inspector members."

 

If that's the case, what's the point of "Certification"? I thought that was what the whole certification thing was all about, making sure there is some kind of uniform measure of competency of the inspectors. Hmmm.

 

Looks like all the NRVIA does is provide a list of local inspectors. Any financial dealings are solely between you and who you select.

 

Really? I thought the customer paid the NRVIA directly and the inspector basically got half for doing the actual inspection. I didn't know there was any money changing hands between the customer and the inspector. Hmmm.

 

I wonder how much of the yearly dues NRVIA extracts is actually spent advertising their (your) services?

 

Good question.

 

After all, that is the main thing they bring to the table. Interesting that I didn't see a "comments/recommendations" (i.e. YELP type of feedback) section when the local inspectors showed in my search request. Also I had to extend the search to 100 miles from any City I searched on to get many hits. Looks like their ranks of inspectors is rather thin and long travel times must be paid for.

 

Apparently their ranks are thin. I thought sure by now someone would be along to extoll the virtues of the whole thing and help us all understand a little more clearly what it's like to be an RV Inspector on a practical level.

 

NRVIA makes it sound easy to join their ranks and get referrals - Pay $499 and take a 100 question competency test. (Sounds painless unless the test is rigged with obscure questions to ensure you pay for their training)

 

$499 is not an insignificant amount of money to me. I have wondered why so stiff.

 

Has anyone seen any of their advertising? Or is their main interest harvesting yearly dues. ... And that may be one reason the "dues" or whatever they call it, are so stiff. (?) I think I'd be a lot more enthused about the whole setup if the NRVIA was making it's money by the cut they get from the inspections rather than a big chunk coming from those annual dues. All that said, I still am still trying to keep an open mind.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can understand why NRVIA does not insert itself in the revenue stream. If they do the charging for any services and pass on a percentage, all inspectors become agents/contractors of NRVIA who would then be liable for any damages, faulty work, charges, etc. A liability they certainly cannot afford nor insure against at any reasonable cost.

 

The way they are structured, recourse against NRVIA would be difficult.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

DuffMan,

 

I hope I didn't come across as disagreeing with you. Your info brings a bit different light to the structure of things than I had in mind originally.

 

$499/yr plus 1/2 of the revenue off the top being sent to someone for providing the leads seems to leave some room for competition from people who may be local to larger rv populations (TX, FL) that think they may be able to do well keeping the dollars local.

 

It will be interesting to see how future events play out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

DuffMan,

 

I hope I didn't come across as disagreeing with you. Your info brings a bit different light to the structure of things than I had in mind originally.

Brian,

 

On the contrary - Your comments reinforced my observations.

 

It would be interesting to have someone from NRVIA come on to address some of the observations. As is stands it appears that members pay $499/year for essentially an advertising medium. Some concrete numbers from existing members would be invaluable but few probably want to entice competition to sign up. The data will have to come directly from NRVIA.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It does look like someone could become "certified" by paying the $500 and taking the required tests without any formal training.

 

I wonder how many of us long time RV'ers, who have done most all of their own repairs over the years and have a technical background, could answer at least 70 of the 100 questions correctly on the technical test?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It does look like someone could become "certified" by paying the $500 and taking the required tests without any formal training.

 

I wonder how many of us long time RV'ers, who have done most all of their own repairs over the years and have a technical background, could answer at least 70 of the 100 questions correctly on the technical test?

 

If their primary goal is to sell training, they may rig the test to be unanswerable without going through their "training". I wonder if they will release a sample test so we can check?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A few comments inserted...

 

You have to understand a few things about certification programs for most anything. Even the license that is issued to a doctor is no guarantee that your doctor knows what he says he does and if you sue someone, it has to be the doctor and not the agency who licensed him. Many of the criticisms of this effort are just attacks that could be made toward any certification program for any type of work. This is something new that has never existed in the past so there isn't any standard and to me it is needed and it is also far too early to justify much criticism or support. If the goal is to cut them to pieces, that can easily be done to any certification program when it is your aim, but if you actually want to know if the program is good and valid, that takes a lot more research and the best place to start is with the people who are starting it.

 

Let's compare this to another RV related certification program that most RV people seem to accept. I remember when there was not certification program for RV repair technicians. Today there are several different programs that supply such certifications and some are excellent while others do little more than print up impressive looking certificates. Probably the best known and most accepted is that of the RV Dealers Association & the RV Industry Association(manufacturers) which each had their own programs at one time but the two have now been combined into one. If you look at it very closely you will find that the certification program that they offer has a great deal in common with this new program for inspectors. It is so much so that I highly suspect that this one has been designed based upon that one. The fees that they charge are less, but the inspection program includes training while the RVDA certification price only covers testing and certification, so that does justify a significant price difference.

 

Who would put much faith in certification of inspections done by people who are certified by those who sell the subject RVs? You can do that today with any dealership and the techs that they have on their payroll so that would gain the buyer nothing of value. I have no way to know just how valuable the training and certification of this new organization is, or will become because there is no history to base it upon and there is no competing certification program to compare it too, but I do believe that we should attempt to be fair in our judgment and as RVers we at least need to give them a chance to develop and see what value it has to offer. Some type of RV inspector process has been needed for a long time as the present inspectors may be experts or they my just be self proclaimed experts. Until there is someone to set some kind of standard it is not possible to judge what the quality is and this is an attempt to do so. I certainly hope that this effort is successful as it it clearly needed but I can't endorse it yet as there is just too little history for anyone to prove anything.

 

The present situation for RV inspections on behalf of a buyer is very much like these public forums where anyone can claim to be anything that they wish and you just have to believe them, or not based upon a gut feeling. This is the first effort that I have seen to develop a much needed way for the consumer to know that they will get what they pay for. It will take time and money for it to develop.There is always risk in doing anything first.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Or to put it in another way, you are pretty much on your own, up to now. That is exactly what this new effort is attempting to change. But is it really that different when you use an RV repair tech? How many times have you ever checked the credentials of the tech before you allow him to work on your RV? The one thing you do have there is a businessman, if the RV is taken to a shop but if using a mobile service they are usually independent operators and very much like one of the inspectors.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So if I read this right, the process of certification doesn't do much of anything to move towards a set of standards by which a typical customer could gain some confidence in an inspector.

 

To be fair, the training program that was described to me by my friend was a full week in length, not just a 2 hour crash course. I realize that only so much can be covered in a week but if done well, a person could learn a lot in that time. I do find it an interesting question above, how easily would a typical fulltimer who's been doing a lot of their own repairs for the last decade might be able to whiz through the mentioned exam. It's an interesting question.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So if I read this right, the process of certification doesn't do much of anything to move towards a set of standards by which a typical customer could gain some confidence in an inspector.

The value of a certification program depends upon how accepted it is. The one for RV techs does help them to find jobs and perhaps does supply some degree of quality assurance, but in my view, not much. In the RV inspection area the value is yet to be established but as far as I know this is both the first attempt to supply training for such inspectors and to introduce any kind of certification. Just how valuable that certification will become just depends upon what happens next. To me it has potential to be a major step in the proper direction, but is too early to know for sure. It would be nice if someone from inside of this new program would join into this thread and share some information about these questions.

 

Your friend who attended the training should be able to give an evaluation of the training and that is probably a good indication of how the effort will go. You might try and get see if he would share some of his views with the forum?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Kirk, on 27 Dec 2014 - 8:52 PM, said:

 

Your friend who attended the training should be able to give an evaluation of the training and that is probably a good indication of how the effort will go. You might try and get see if he would share some of his views with the forum?

 

I don't believe my friend is a participant here though I'm sure he'd be welcome.

 

His description to me was that the training was fairly substantial. While it didn't cover everything, it gave a pretty detailed overview of most of the areas of the rv (roof, plumbing, electrical, running gear, appliances, etc.) with doing actual testing of things like propane pressure and leakdown tests and looking at date codes on tires, even doing oil analysis on motorized rigs. So it gave the impression of being more than just a quick look. He told me that one of the higher level inspections could take up to a half day to complete, which as I understand it, included making most everything that works prove that it works with the exception of actually driving an motorized rv and included a comprehensive written report with up to 100 or so pictures. That is from his description to me.

 

One thing that I am also trying to keep in mind, and I don't mean to say anything ill of my friend, is that he is pretty "wet behind the ears" when it comes to the rv world. He's in his first year of fulltiming with a new rig. There are probably many things he has yet to appreciate on an experience level. I don't know how that might impact how someone would view the quality of the course work under discussion. It may very well be excellent, I haven't been there. It would be interesting to see what a seasoned veteran like some of those long time fulltimers here would say after going through this course. Would they feel like it would bring a newbie up to speed?

 

There is a lot of speculation, which is pretty much what happens when no one really knows. And to be honest, I was hoping someone on here would have up close and personal experience after having completed all of the coursework and certifications. It could be that someone of such qualification will eventually chime in. I hope they do! I'd be interested in their experienced opinions.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There is a lot of speculation, which is pretty much what happens when no one really knows. And to be honest, I was hoping someone on here would have up close and personal experience after having completed all of the coursework and certifications. It could be that someone of such qualification will eventually chime in. I hope they do! I'd be interested in their experienced opinions.

I totally agree. It would also be nice to know if their business was successful and even to hear how some of their customers feel about the inspection service.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
×
×
  • Create New...