The RV community is in desperate need of inspection professionals. It is too risky to purchase a new or used motorhome, fifth wheel or trailer without a pre-purchase inspection. Today, trained inspectors are often hard to find.
Until five years ago, a certification avenue for RV inspectors was only a glimmer in the eye of Steve Anderson (Workampers.com) and Terry Cooper (National RV Training Academy). They started this program to give RV owners someone experienced to call before they buy that faulty RV. We need more of these warriors to battle the bottom-line thinking of RV manufacturers.
After certification, you can start your own business or sign on with other RV-related companies. The NRVIA certification becomes an automatic accreditation and provides a free Inspector search database to help promote your business.
I interviewed Don Baker, a certified NRVIA inspector, to find out just how the certification experience worked for him.
What skills are needed to certify with NRVIA?
Primarily the NRVIA offers two classes, Level I and Level II, for certification credentials.
They also offer an alternative class “in a box” but I don’t know the details of that training resource.
A few tidbits about the downside would be helpful.
In my experience there is not enough business to consider RV inspections as a livelihood. The RV inspections segment is young, just five years old. However, it is catching on rapidly as each year there seems to be more business. I predict eventually the finance industry will demand an RV inspection, especially for used units, to get financing.
What type of personality/temperament does well?
It’s hard for me to answer this as there are all kinds of people currently listed in the NRVIA database, and I have met many of the NRVIA members at the annual conferences.
My first reaction is to say to be in this business you have to be positive and confident in your skill level and experience level. We are the Sergeant Friday of the RV industry “just the facts mam/sir.” We present the condition of the RV in our detailed report with pictures that lets the purchaser make an informed decision.
I got into this business by fate. In February 2013, my wife and I sold everything we owned, purchased a new Heartland Bighorn 40’ 5th wheel, a new Ford F350 and hit the road.
Every time I stopped at an RV dealer for warranty work or repairs, I was told “bring it back in a couple of weeks and we will keep it a couple of weeks.” Obviously, that wasn’t feasible, so I found the Mobile RV Academy and enrolled in their course RV Maintenance Technician for Campgrounds, RV Inspection, & RV Systems Training. I traveled to Eustis, Florida for the week-long class so I could work on my RV without having to rely on the dealer Service Departments.
During that week I learned the NRVIA.org was formed just three weeks earlier, so I decided to pursue the RV Inspector Certification as well.
How much does NRVIA charge for certification?
You should go to their website nrvia.org to learn what the costs are today.
What is the charge for a listing in their Inspector search database?
To my knowledge there is no cost to be in the NRVIA database, other than becoming a member by meeting the RV Inspector Certification requirements that charges for the training.
Is it a monthly or annual charge?
There is an annual fee, you should go to their website nrvia.org to learn what the costs are today.
What ongoing requirements does NRVIA have?
Currently an annual requirement to achieve 24 CEU (hours) of training is required, which you are required to find on your own.
How many hours does an average motorhome inspection take to complete on the basic Level I inspection?
The basic inspection takes around 5 hours.
Thank you, Don, for providing first-hand certification information.
Just a note here: Don learned quickly the old clipboard, pen, paper & digital camera routine was not going to work, so he developed an RV inspection software product to automate the inspection process. He has perfected it to include almost every type RV and now has licensed it to other NRVIA RV Inspectors. His performance reviews on his website all are rated 5 of 5 and the customers love his reports. Free 30-day trial. Take a look!
On the NRVIA.org website there are sample reports that can extend to 56 pages if a large motorhome owner requests the Premier Report. Starting at $295 for a basic report to more than a thousand for a complete Premier report, the return for you, the inspector, can be substantial if you are self-employed.
If you are mechanically inclined, women welcomed too, this is an opportunity to make money while living on the road. It requires an investment for training, a commitment to excellence, and a chance to be independent. You might consider working for an RV dealer or mobile repair shop to start, then branching out on your own as you travel. Many of these shops are seasonal and follow the sun.
Social Media promotions and a website (or just Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, RVillage) can work for you, state-by-state, by keeping your profile on the NRVIA database current.
As you gain skills, other services can be added to your business. Work your own hours, work as often as you want, charge your own rates. In the seasonal RV-infested areas, the average repair rate is $100 per hour. Think about it!
For more information on Pre-Purchase Inspections, see RVLifestyleExperts.com.
“This is a great book for beginning do-it-yourselfers (like myself). A lot of overview about basic things, so you know you are doing the right thing for yourself.
It’s a guide more than a How-to book. But it includes proper procedures for many things like how to properly maintain and handle your sewer system, troubleshooting the water heater, refrigerator, furnace, etc.
This book also includes how to communicate with the repairman so you don’t get swindled. I particularly appreciated this part of the book.
Another useful tool in the book that is very handy are the commonly used acronyms for weight balance. Detailed descriptions about these acronyms. These help you keep your rig balanced! Very important!
I feel more confident now that I know more about my RV. A book worth getting!” … Amazon Customer
Would you like to understand more about your RV? Some questions answered in “Conquer the Road: RV Maintenance for Travelers:”
- How does the refrigerator work and why does it need to be level when in use?
- How do hydraulic levelers work and why do they need maintenance?
- I need to flush the hot water heater, what is the best procedure?
- What is the best practice to keep the septic system working properly?
- What is an inverter and why do I need one?