The DIY approach to RV maintenance is a great money saver and confidence builder, but sometimes you just have to turn to a professional for RV repairs.
When it’s time to hire an RV technician to service your rig, do you ever ask about their qualifications?
I never did, until I met a certified RV Master Technician who taught me the importance of hiring properly-trained help.
Here’s what I learned.
Hire The Right Person for the Right Job
Failure to ask about a RV tech’s qualifications before repairs begin on your rig is like being OK with allowing a self-taught dentist to work on your teeth.
Both can have disastrous results that end up costing more than you imagined.
A good example is when my husband and I made a bad decision to allow an unqualified RV technician remove our 2-meter wide satellite Internet dish and reinstall it on the roof of our new fifth wheel.
Our reluctance to ask about the RV technician’s experience with mobile RV satellite Internet resulted in one punctured rubber roof and two damaged cables that cost hundreds of dollars for us to repair ourselves, along with 30 days of downtime while still having to pay our monthly $130 service fee.
If you take away anything from our recent disaster, don’t ever allow an RV technician to perform any services you are not 100% certain they are qualified to conduct.
What’s So Special About an RV Master Technician?
A program called the RVDA-RVIA RV Service Technician Certification Program was created by the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) and the National RV Dealer’s Association (RVDA).
…to assist the RV industry and the public in identifying those professionals who have demonstrated the knowledge and ability to satisfy established standards in RV diagnostic and repair procedures.
As RVs get more complicated and house systems more sophisticated, ensuring that whoever works on your rig has the most advanced knowledge possible is the best insurance policy against inept work and after-effects like the ones I experienced.
RV Master Technicians are especially valuable because they have education beyond the standard on-the-job and classroom learning that entry level RV technicians acquire.
Master Technicians have specialized knowledge in areas like appliances and generators, hydraulics, plumbing, gas and electrical systems.
Like entry-level technicians, RV Master Technicians are trained to repair all types of RVs, from Class B van conversions to travel trailers and luxury coaches.
How to Find an RV Master Technician
If you’re taking your RV to an established RV repair shop, you might be tempted to assume that the business employs certified RV technicians – but that’s not always the case.
For instance, the RVDA has this “Find a Dealer” search engine that allows you to locate RV dealerships who employ these talented technicians.
But one search for California RV dealerships reveals just 135 businesses listed, a surprisingly small amount compared to the thousands of RV dealers in the state.
Why so few?
Over the last few years it’s become especially challenging to find certified RV technicians for a couple of reasons: although the early 2000s saw healthy growth in this field, the recession took its toll on the industry and many people left the field for other pursuits.
Another reason is that since hiring an employee without advanced education is always cheaper than hiring someone who’s taken the initiative to get certified, not all employers are willing to pay the extra salary requested by certified RV technicians, even if the businesses’ client base drives $300,000 luxury motor coaches.
The good news is that certified RV technicians are out there doing great work and spotting one is easy as long as you take the time to ask about their background.
The Certified RV Technician badge that a worker wears is a proud indicator of the individual’s dedication to becoming the best technician possible in order to grow their business and/or advance their career.
When it comes to certified RV Master technicians, anyone who sports the emblem below on their work shirts, vehicles and business cards is required to carry additional liability insurance that protects both the business and the customer in case of accidental defects in workmanship.
Watch for this special logo when you’re looking for help:
If you love your RV and want to ensure that you’re getting your money’s worth when your RV goes into a shop, always ask the service manager about the credentials of their technicians who are about to take it apart.
If that business doesn’t employ RV technicians certified by the RVIA and RVDA, move on until you find a shop that cares enough about the well-being of their customers’ RV to hire properly trained employees.