RV Inspectors, the Devil is in the Details

Have you ever heard the saying “the devil is in the detail?’ Most likely you have heard this or even used this expression at some point. This saying reminds us that failure to concentrate on the details can lead to unexpected problems. The process of buying an RV is full of details we need to consider. Failure to hire the right RV inspector can lead to problems later on. So, what should we consider when hiring an RV inspector? Here are just a few things to consider.

Inspector Certifications and Experience

When talking to prospective inspectors one of the first things you should consider is their certifications and experience. Currently, there is only one organization certifying RV inspectors. Any individual or company you are considering hiring should be certified as an RV inspector. Ideally, they will have advanced certifications as either a registered or certified RV technician. A certified RV inspector has attended a minimum of three weeks of training on all aspects of inspecting RVs and has demonstrated proficiency through practical and written examinations.

One national company which specializes in inspecting automobiles also offers RV inspections. Their prices are often significantly cheaper than what a certified RV inspector would offer. Why is that? Well, one reason could be that you have no idea who will be inspecting your RV. Is that person certified as an RV inspector? Probably not. If they have any certifications it is likely they are certified through the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, or ASE. This organization does not offer any certifications related to recreational vehicles.

When talking with prospective inspectors make sure to visit with them about how long they have been conducting inspections. How many inspections have they performed and have they performed inspections on RVs similar to what you are considering? Answering these questions will help you understand if the inspector is going to be a good fit for you to work with.

What will be inspected?

Before hiring an inspector you should know exactly what they will and will not inspect. Ask to see a list of what they will inspect. Most inspectors will refer to this as the Points of Inspection. Many will even have this, along with sample inspection reports posted on their web sites. When considering what they will inspect some things should not be negotiable. For example, the inspector should get on the roof and either crawl or feel along the entire roof surface. This is the only way you will find some defects, such as soft spots in the roof. One national company boldly states they will not get on the roof. Every life safety device should be inspected and evaluated as part of the inspection process. Additionally, the inspector should conduct a leak test of the propane system. These critical life safety items should be non-negotiable items in an inspection.

Every inspection should be a comprehensive and exhaustive list of items that will be evaluated. Ask the inspector how long the inspection will last. Even with basic RVs the inspection should take several hours. Large Class A motorhomes could easily take eight to ten hours. After the on site inspection the inspector will often spend several more hours compiling the report. As a result, it is not uncommon for inspection reports to number over one hundred or two hundred pages.

Inspection Prices

You may be wondering what should I expect to pay for such an inspection. There is no easy answer to this question. Even among certified RV inspectors prices can vary widely. I know inspectors in the same general geographic area who will be hundreds of dollars apart in their pricing. Every inspector is free to charge what they feel is appropriate and what they feel their services are worth. Sometimes, it pays to shop around. You might find another inspector, with similar or even advanced qualifications who is willing to travel that will be lower of nearly the same price.

However, if you find a national company or RV inspector that is not certified and has a lower price, be wary of what you will get. Because they are not certified and have not been specifically trained to inspect RVs you may regret the decision to hire them.

It is better to reach out to several certified RV inspectors and ask them to give you a quote, given the specifics of the RV you are considering. Every certified RV inspector should be happy to provide a quote so you know exactly what the price is and what all they will include for the price.

What Else?

The value of an inspection can not be totally found in the price you will pay for the inspection. Any certified RV inspector should spend time with you before the inspection. We want to answer any questions you have about the inspection process and find out issues you may want us to look for during the inspection. After the inspection we want to again spend time with you, after you have had a chance to go over the report. Do you have questions about the report and findings? Do you have questions about what to do next? These are things we want to help with. Many inspectors are more than happy to spend time with you after the sale helping you learn about the RV and the systems on the RV. The walkthrough the dealer provides is not enough sometimes.

Working with an independent RV inspector is working with a small business. You can talk to the owner and not just some call center taking your details. Many are owned by a single person or couple. Many are veteran owned or women owned business. We want to help people through the process of buying what is often the most expensive purchase, next to their home, they will ever make. To learn more about the inspection services or fluid analysis services we offer visit our website. When you are looking for an RV in the midwest let us know. We are happy to help.

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