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How to Choose an RV Dealer

Updated: May 15

So you have made the decision to purchase an RV. You have either found one listed on the internet that checks off the boxes or you are shopping and remain unsure of what to buy. Either way, now is the time to do your due diligence in checking out the dealership before going any further.

I have worked with several RV dealerships as a purchaser and countless others as a Certified Independent RV Inspector and I am here to say that not all RV dealerships are created equal. It is very important to spend as much time vetting an RV Dealer as you do in deciding what RV to purchase.

I experienced bad dealership practices from sales and service departments in my personal RV purchases and as an RV Inspector I have made it my mission to help others avoid as many of these pitfalls as I can. This article details several things to consider when choosing an RV Dealer.

Dealership Reviews

Check the BBB ratings and complaint/response history for the dealership.

Check their online reviews at Google, Yelp, Facebook, etc.

Please note that a business cannot please everyone all of the time. Some people simply cannot be pleased and they write bad reviews. Check how many of these bad reviews there are in relation to the good ones and how the dealer responds to the reviews before making your judgement call to work with them or not.

Dealership Facility

1. Do they have a large selection of RV's - brands and styles to choose from?

2. What does their service facility look like? Is it professional and organized or trashed, looking more like a junk yard than a service department?

3. Are their service technicians trained and certified for RV's?

4. Are they a factory authorized service center for the brand(s) you are considering for purchase?

5. Are they an established RV dealership or something like "Honest Abe's Used Cars, Tractors, and RV's". Beware of the latter no matter how appealing the advertised price is.

Dealership / Sales Communications

There are few things more frustrating then trying to contact someone that hides behind electronic communications. If the Dealer's sales or service personnel are non-responsive in a pre-sales condition, then they won't be in a post-sales/service condition when you need them to be.

1. Do they answer the phone?

2. Do they return calls?

3. Do they respond to voicemails?

4. Can you text them? Do they reply?

5. Do they reply to emails?

6. Do they respond to Website inquiries?

Knowledge is Power - Know Before You Go

Having vetted your dealership, study and become familiar with RV systems and terminology. The goal is to know as much, if not more than your average RV salesperson before you step into the showroom. You can learn from:

> Manufacturer's website, owners manuals and brochures for the RV you are interested in.

> YouTube walkthrough videos and Review videos.

> RV Owner Forums for the particular brand/model RV that you are interested in.

Dealership Sales Process

1. Does the sales person actively listen to you? This means they are listening, not to formulate their response, but rather to truly understand what you are saying. They are actively listening if they write down key points that you have said and they ask clarifying questions and paraphrase their understanding of your needs.

2. Are they attuned to your communicated wants and needs in an RV or are they trying to steer you into an RV that you do not want?

3. If you are made to feel like nothing more than a wallet to be picked - Vote with your feet and walk away.

4. Will they allow you to have an Independent RV inspection done by an NRVIA Certified RV Inspector before finalizing the contract? If not, vote with your feet and walk away.

5 Will they allow an independent RV inspection only on the condition that you pay them an exorbitant hourly fee to have their technician baby sit the inspector? If so, vote with your feet and walk away.

6. Will they accept a fully refundable deposit (in writing) pending an acceptable to you RV Inspection Report? If not, vote with your feet and walk away.

7. Are you being pressured into signing a promissory note and financing the RV through them before having the RV inspection done? If so, vote with your feet and walk away.

8. Are you pressured into accepting their PDI (Predelivery Inspection) in lieu of an independent RV inspection by an NRVIA Certified RV Inspector? If so, vote with your feet and walk away.

9. How knowledgeable is your sales person? Based upon your research, are you being fed 'sales speak' misinformation?

10. Are they making promises that they are unwilling to put in writing? If so, vote with your feet and walk away.

11. Are you being subjected to high pressure sales tactics to make a decision right away? If so, vote with your feet and walk away.


I hope you have found this blog informative and useful to you. I have inspected numerous RVs from 20+ years of age to newly manufactured, both motorhomes and towables. They all have issues whether from age and abuse or poor manufacturing Quality Control. An independent NRVIA Certified RV Inspection will save you money and frustration by identifying these issues so that you can have them corrected before taking possession of the RV.

If you are selling your RV and want to facilitate a quick sale it is good to have a recent Independent NRVIA Certified Inspection report on hand to share with prospective buyers.

If you are buying a new or preowned RV, be sure to hire an independent NRVIA Certified Inspector to give you the knowledge of the true condition of the RV before you buy. You can find an NRVIA Certified Inspector near you through the NRVIA web site locator.

Our primary objective at Sherlock RV Inspection Service, LLC is to serve you by making sure your RV is safe to occupy and all major systems and appliances are functioning as intended.

We are a mobile RV Inspection Service and will travel throughout the Southeast and beyond as needed. (subject to travel and per diem costs) Check out our web site to get to know us better and to preview inspection details and sample reports.

Safe Travels!

Ron Francoeur

Sherlock RV Inspection Service, LLC

Office: 352 – 224 – 9477

Cell/Text: 678 – 360 - 6883

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