Trailers and RVs

More tips on the purchase process for a trailer or motorhome

An earlier post offered tips on criteria to consider when you’re looking to buy. That list is not intended to be anywhere close to comprehensive and doesn’t even touch on the mechanical factors you’ll need to consider — including the very important towing capabilities of your vehicle. It’s amazing how many times we’ve seen a trailer (or boat, for that matter) behind a clearly undersized vehicle: what are people thinking?

I can’t emphasize enough the importance of carefully considering the bed and sleeping quarters as part of the purchase criteria. While length of the bed may not be as important for many people as it is for a 6’3″ tall person like me, it’s still absolutely critical to your overall satisfaction with the trailer or motorhome you decide to purchase. You’re spending all that money anyway, so why skimp on comfort in the sleeping quarters?

Whether you intend to visit a show like the Minneapolis/St. Paul RV, Vacation and Camping Show or a dealer’s lot during your purchase process, you’ll quickly find that the wide range of models and floorplans can make your head spin. It’s very easy to find that a set of features you really liked in a particular model were actually found on an entirely different model. Been there, done that, so:

  • Be sure to bring a notebook and some pens
  • Pick up a brochure for each manufacturer’s line that you look at (see below)
  • Circle in the brochure the models that you visit, and make quick notes about what you like and dislike, and the price range
  • Once you’ve made the circuit of the show or dealer lot, take a few minutes to regroup (this might be a good time to grab a beer at the concession stand). Identify the 3-4 models that are at the top of your list
  • Go back and take a long, hard look at those 3-4 models. You’ll be surprised how easily the different features and floorplans can blur together, so it’s best to verify that your memory of a particular model is accurate

And this tip is for dealers: don’t be stingy with brochures and sales literature. I can’t count the number of times when we visited a dealer’s space on the show floor and there were no brochures to be found, and no one either knew where any were located or could be bothered to help. No one is asking for a copy of your income tax forms, for crying out loud, so don’t make it such an inconvenience.

Seriously, dealers: I realize that sales collateral is expensive, but you need to get over that and just offer brochures up. Otherwise I really believe that you are losing potential sales. Besides, if you can’t be bothered to provide a basic piece of information like a brochure what would make me think as a potential buyer that you’re going to be much help during the purchase and post-purchase process?

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