rv Service Contracts
Learn about RV Extended Service Contracts
With more and more folks buying RVs, hitting the road, and exploring America, one topic that is bound to come up is extended warranty plans, or what they really are… extended Service Contracts. Some people hate them, and some people love the security of having one. It all lies in who you buy the plan from and remembering that plans aren’t a one-size-fits-all, as some companies try to push.
One company that exemplifies what extended warranty plans should be is Wholesale Warranties, with one of, if not the best, reputation in the business. To learn more about the company and the person behind it, we head to San Diego, California, and visit Jeff Shelton at one of his favorite campgrounds: Campland on the Bay, which you could say was instrumental when Jeff was starting the company.
Jeff Shelton: My name is Jeff Shelton. I’m owner and founder of Wholesale Warranties. We do direct-to-consumer extended service contracts for the RV industry. The difference between what we provide and other companies is typically this product was only sold through the dealership. What we’ve done is we work with a multitude of companies, so we’re able to offer more options than any other provider available. So, when you go to our company, for instance, versus the dealership, what we like to do is walk you through the various programs that are available and make sure that you understand exactly what is covered, and also some of the limitations of the policy, and then walk you through what particular policy might fit you better.
Once you sign up with our program, we want to make sure that you understand how to make a claim, how to make sure that you’re finding the right repair facility, understanding your bills when you go to do any type of repair or even maintenance. So throughout the term of the policy, we’re here to hold your hand through the entire process and make sure you understand exactly what is covered, how to make a claim, and make sure you really keep your RV lifestyle as stress-free as possible.
The interesting thing about this business is, I think, the common RV-er really– the majority of people don’t know that this product is available, so when you go to buy an RV, a lot of times, you know, obviously you’re gonna get insurance to cover, you know, the physical damage of the RV, but what we do is we cover those items that aren’t covered under the insurance programs, so when you think of a typical motorhome, you know, if you have a used motorhome, you’re gonna have, your engine, powertrain, slide-outs, all the mechanical aspects of the RV. If those items break down, well, there’s no coverage for that and it can be extremely expensive, and most people don’t really forecast the cost of those unforeseen breakdowns, throughout the life of their RV. So what we do is we provide coverage for those people that are looking to maintain a budget throughout their RV-ing life.
So when it comes to breakdowns, I think one of the things that really helped create this business is, unfortunately, I’ve had to deal with a lot of breakdowns throughout my life. Not only growing up, when we had an older RV, but, you know, when I got my first RV, I had a lot of small issues that, you know, were challenging but at least, you know, if you’re in one spot it’s not too difficult. But the worst one that I ever had is I had a breakdown on the side of the road. It was incredibly stressful. You know, for some reason, I didn’t know at the time, but my engine started to go, and I needed to pull over to the side of the road and I couldn’t get anywhere. And on the side of the road, you have semis passing by you at 70 miles an hour, you know, it’s extremely– very, very dangerous. And luckily, being in this industry, I did have somebody that I could call to not only cover the financial aspect of getting the tow, but I also had a number that I could call where they could dispatch somebody to come get me. And I was out in rural Wisconsin, very, very far away from San Diego. And you know, just to try to find somebody that could help me in that type of situation, it’s–it still didn’t make it, by any means, a fun situation, but I wouldn’t even know what to do if I had to look through, you know, Google or even the phone book to try to find somebody out in that area to come rescue me. And it’s– understanding the type of stressful situations that people go through on a regular basis, especially–I was doing– I was going to an RV show at that time, so I needed to be at the show, you know, the next day, so, really providing the service of not only, you know, covering the financial aspect of those situations, but also who to call, who to rely on, and having somebody to turn to, to help you through that situation, is so, so incredibly critical.
So, to tell you a little bit about my team, I’ve been very fortunate in that a lot of the team that’s with us today really grew organically, much like our business did, by word of mouth. A lot of my first employees knew what I was doing and really kind of wanted to be a part of it, and I think one of the things that really attracted them to our team is that they could have a direct impact on our customer experience. I think people really saw that I actually had a big, big passion for, not only this industry, but this particular product. Luckily, I was starting out, offering the warranties to the dealerships really helped me see a huge need within this industry and I really felt that I could help fill that void and in everyday conversations and talking with people with what I did, and, how I helped that community, I think people wanted to be a part of it. And it really helped foster a culture of just helping and, you know, collaborating and becoming better and better and learning more about the product, how to make the product better, and how to impact the RV community in a positive way. So, I think once that started to catch on, a lot of the word of the mouth for what we were doing for people kind of spread, and people wanted to work for us. And I am extremely fortunate to be able to find people that really had the same type of philosophy of how to treat customers, how to handle any given situation. If you talk to anybody that works for us or if you give ’em any given situation, you know, I feel very confident that most everybody on the team will know the right decision to make or the right action to take, even if it’s not their department or one of their job responsibilities.
You know, we’re very, very collaborative and everybody on the team has helped, you know, me grow personally and grow as a team and add to the overall impact of, you know, not only our company, but also the RV industry as a whole, and, you know, ultimately, our community as well. So when a customer contacts us, what we do is we set ’em up with a warranty specialist that’s there to walk ’em through the various programs that are available and really personalize a package directly for that specific customer. You know, these people work directly with the various warranty companies. We have several options because we work as a broker and we’re there to really take a look at the various programs, the aspects of it, and really try to find the best fit for that specific individual. A lot of the feedback that we get from our customers, it really helps us become better every day, and that actually really helped us develop the product that we have.
The nice thing is that we were actually able to custom-write the policies that we offer and make sure that it really included some of the most sought-after features; for instance, you know, roadside assistance, tire coverage. There’s some extra coverages that are available with our policy that’s not available with any other policy on the market. And that really came from a lot of the customer feedback that we’ve received throughout the years. So whenever anybody calls and asks questions about a warranty policy, what we try to do is really customize the coverage for that particular individual. And, you know, working in this business as long as I have, a lot of the things that I like to do is actually talk– working the– day in, day out, we’re speaking with our customers and being an RV-er myself, I’ve actually seen firsthand a lot of the issues that can come up when getting an RV repair, and making the program better, offering more features, and the type of coverages that people actually need, use, and ask questions about, is really what sets us apart from most any other program out there.