top of page

Demand for RV Repair Surges; Training Programs Get a Boost

Updated: Mar 29, 2023

Despite its remarkable the growth over the past decade - particularly during the go-go pandemic years - the RV industry suffers from a lagging support sector. But two of the industry's leading technical training programs are expanding to help get more RV repair technicians in the field.

NRVTA and RVIA logos

Contents


How did RV Service Delays Get this Bad?

Despite all the media attention around surging pandemic RV sales, delays in the RV service sector are a pre-pandemic problem. The RV industry has seen remarkable growth since 2010, but the supply of trained RV repair technicians has not kept pace. In 2019, Mike and Jennifer Wendland discussed the causes of the average 21-day delay to get an RV repaired at an RV dealership in Episode 262 of The RV Podcast, and what the RV industry is doing to address it.


The Pandemic Boom and Supply Chain Bust

During the 2010s the industry was cruising along, then COVID hit and it began to soar. Consider this staggering figure: Earlier this month Thor Industries reported $3.9 billion in net sales for the second quarter of 2022, a 42% increase over the same quarter the previous year.


But gains are not felt equally across the industry and excessive RV love has created pain points.


According to the Getaway Couple, the world has changed but the RV industry hasn’t. In June 27, 2021, they noted short-cuts in manufacturing, busier campgrounds, and long wait lists for dealership repairs.


Later in 2021, Marc Bennett described six reasons why it is so hard to get into an RV Repair Shop, citing supply and demand, the nature of RVs themselves (rolling earthquakes), and the shortage of RV technicians. (The State of RV Repairs, 11/30/21)


And this past month RV Miles explored whether the reason for delays is due to the repair shops themselves or the manufacturers supplying the parts. (Who Is Holding Up RV Repairs — Manufacturers or Dealers? 2/19/22.).


RV Repair Training Programs Get a Boost

Record sales growth and the supply shortage is a one-two punch that sent shockwaves through the industry and contributed to even greater service delays. But when the spike in sales has passed and manufacturing output and distribution stabilizes, the industry will still be in a service bottleneck due to the under-supply of trained technicians.


Two established technical training programs are responding to this systemic shortage.


In October 2020, the RV Technical Institute launched its first-ever self-paced online training program in October 2020, and plans to add more programs over time. This evolution had been planned prior to COVID, then suddenly their in-person training operation was suspended due to the worsening pandemic. The combination of increased demand for RVs and the need to pivot to a remote training model accelerated the rollout of the self-paced option.


“We kept hearing from dealers that we needed something that was online,” said RVTI Executive Director Chris Hemmeler. "They were concerned about sending techs to Elkhart, Indiana, for in-person training, or otherwise taking technicians off their floor."


The organization's goal is to crank out 2,000 more technicians over the next two years, adding to the to the current field of 14,000.


In addition, to accommodate increasing demand for technicians, the National RV Training Academy announced plans to add 5,000 square feet to their existing 14,000 square foot facility in Texas. The new space adds classrooms to accommodate more advanced courses and hands-on labs.


“As the largest RV training center in America, NRVTA provides the most hands-on equipment of any other school,” said Terry “Cooper” Cooper, co-founder and president. “The ability of our students to use modern equipment to diagnose and repair major components onboard every recreation vehicle means we’re preparing more than 100 qualified technicians every month.”


Have you been tangled up in service delays? Leave a comment below and share your story.


******

Enjoy the read? There's more for you at RV on Call - join our Community!

We maintain an RV discussion forum and a library of premium digital products. Site membership is free, which provides access to the forum. Paid members also get discounts on RV parts and supplies. Explore membership benefits and sign up today!


You can also join our mailing list to receive future blog posts and service updates.



3 Comments


Guest
Mar 31, 2023

I only had problem once when windshield of my rv is broken and i have to spent bucks on towing vehicle to take rv to the repair shop. After that i had spent some extra bucks on rv glass repair also.

Like

Guest
Apr 12, 2022

I enjoyed the post!

Like
Admin 2
Admin 2
Nov 11, 2022
Replying to

Thanks for the feedback, glad you enjoyed it.

Like
RV on call blog banner.png
bottom of page