How to get the RV details you didn’t know you needed!
A company called JR Consumer run by Randall Eaton manages a website called RVReviews.net where I purchased the book Motorhome Comparison Guide. Randall’s company publishes customer satisfaction data for many companies that manufacture motorhomes, trailers and 5th wheels. What I find interesting about this information is several companies have either gone out of business or have merged or been bought out since the ‘Great Recession’. A few companies have even risen again either with different owners or part of financial restructuring. This and the satisfaction information about the manufacturers is very helpful information to the new RV buyer and the guide provides information on all the major RV companies.
Why is the information in the Motorhome Comparison Guide Important?
Especially since we are most likely going to buy a used RV, I want to know if I can still get replacement parts and/or repairs done on the RV. I also value having an understanding of the current financial situation of the company, what types of RVs are they getting into or out of business building and what are the trends of their satisfaction surveys. In addition the guide provides editorial advice on models that seem to have the best customer satisfaction.
There are different versions of Randall’s comparison guides. I selected the Motorhome Comparison guide and he also publishes a Trailer and 5th Wheel comparison guide. The edition I purchased was for 2006-2014. In addition he also publishes model specific reports. I purchased a bundle that includes 3 additional booklets and a 3-pack of reports that I plan on using when I get ready to make some offers.
The guide covers the top Class A, C, B+ and B RVs built between 2006 and 2014. Individual reports cover all motorhomes from 2000 on. Even though the book is full of tables and data Randall presents a lot of useful information in a readable format. Understanding the groupings of the various types of motorhomes helps readers understand their options and helps to define what features are desirable for your specific situation.
In doing research looking at motorhomes in RV lots and shows as well as online I wondered about which companies manufactured good product. Do buyers have more issues with one company or model over others? What’s the resale value of a specific model of RV? The Comparison Guide along with the single model reports offer a third-party review to help in the decision-making process.
Main chapter topics include:
- What type of Buyer are you – such as Camper, vacationer, full-timer or something between.
- Construction Techniques & Methods
- Customer Satisfaction
- Dealer Ratings
- Resale Values
- Rating Charts separated by class of RV and year range
- RV Manufacturer summaries
Probably the most important chapter for me was the RV Manufacturer summaries because of the number of companies that are no longer in business or under different management. Sometimes the motorhomes produced by a company no longer building RVs have very high satisfaction ratings. A good example of this is Country Coach (CountryCoach.com) that has been re-purchased by the original owner and is manufacturing replacement parts with plans to manufacture new motorhomes in the future. This company would rate higher for my choice over one that is out of business with no parts manufacturing ability. You may not be able to get replacement parts for motorhomes where the manufacturer is purchased by another company. Information showing this complexity is time-consuming and challenging to gather – that is why this guide is well worth the $60 charged. I recommend getting the reports as well.
I do think that for the price paid customers should be able to get updates to the guide for a few years. On the good side there is no expiration date for the individual model reports so you can take advantage of the bundle like I did.