Thinking about Buying an RV? Visit an RV Show First

RV shows, like boat shows, are intended to introduce the new model year RVs, and to help disseminate RV related information to the consumer. RV shows are typically scheduled during the slower time of the year, the winter months, to help jump start the RV dealer’s selling season. RV dealers from miles away will bring their wares to these shows. For the buyer, RV shows put everything you need to see and learn about RV’s under one roof, making it the ideal environment to conduct research and make informed RV buying decisions.

I mentioned that RV dealers will come from miles around. This includes many local dealers from the area in which you live. If at all possible try to find a dealer that is within a reasonable distance from where you live. This will make it much easier to get service and warranty work completed on the unit. But, the most important concern here is that you deal with a reputable RV dealership.

When you attend an RV show don’t be afraid to ask questions about the RV dealership and the products they offer. For starters you need to find a reputable RV dealer with a reputable, professional staff. A reputable dealer wants your business and they want you to return to them for future business. I have been in many RV dealerships that I wouldn’t hesitate to do business with and I have been in others that I couldn’t leave soon enough.

Remember, you are at the show to check out the dealer as well as the product and you should plan to visit the RV dealer’s physical location before you buy. If at all possible talk to some other people who have dealt with the dealership in the past. Don’t be afraid to ask them to give you a tour of the dealership. Look at the service department. Do they have certified technicians? Do they have the capability and facilities to do routine maintenance and warranty work on the units they sell? Look at the Parts and Accessory department. Do they offer a good selection of parts and accessories? Do they have a good selection of RVs to choose from? How long have they been selling certain manufacturer brands? How long have they been in business?

There are some great deals offered at RV shows and with all of the excitement, and a good salesperson, it’s easy to make a hasty purchase. If they can offer a great deal at the show, chances are they can offer a great deal after the show, unless the offer includes a manufacturer discount or rebate for show dates only. Let them know you might be interested in a particular unit or deal, but that you would like to visit the dealership before you buy.

RV shows aren’t just for RV dealers to showcase their products. RV shows are a great source for information from knowledgeable representatives on every aspect of the RV industry. You will find information on campgrounds and RV resorts, aftermarket RV products, RV accessories and free RV seminars. Some of these seminars might be helpful in making your RV buying decisions. Check with the show office on seminar topics and times.

There is a lot of ground to cover at an RV show and a wealth of information available. Not only will you find a good selection of RV dealers to check out, but there will be every make and model of RV imaginable too. RV shows are a great place to do some comparison shopping. Keep in mind that RVs are available in entry level, mid-line, and high-end models. When comparing prices, make sure it is apples to apples. One RV may look like another RV, but you need to compare the options, construction, equipment and features they both have to offer.

See who offers the best deal but remember if the dealership goes out of business next month, or isn’t equipped to work on the RV, your best deal may turn out to be a bad deal.

RV shows are also a good place to talk to RV manufacturer representatives and other industry experts. Many of the RV manufacturers send knowledgeable representatives to assist RV dealers with their products.  Don’t be afraid to talk with other RVers at the show too. Many of these people have years of RV experience and knowledge of different RV products and manufacturers.

Buying an RV is a major decision. To make the best buying decision possible you need to do your research and be well informed. So what are you waiting for? Find out when the next RV show will be in your area and make it a point to attend it. Oh, and don’t forget to wear some comfortable walking shoes!

Check out our Introduction to RVs DVD to learn about the different types of RVs and some important things to consider prior to buying your RV.

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Happy Camping,

Mark J. Polk

RV Education 101

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