RV Direct is expanding


As they near what is normally considered retirement age for many, Maxine and Allan Rees from RV Direct are expanding their business to offer greater options for motorhome customers.

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Allan says having more fun is what life is all about. He and Maxine have been spending a great deal of time considering how to provide motorhomes and caravans at a price more favourable to the market place. 

The couple have been running their business on the outskirts of Hamilton for many years. It’s a formula which has been very successful for them as customers enjoy the park-like environment.

"People enjoy the unique experience when visiting. It is very relaxed. We’re on a first-name basis while customers view our range, and we don’t annoy them when they leave with regular follow-up phone calls. We respect if they want to buy, they will call us. The current age group going down the motorhome selection journey does not like the pressure of typical sales people. We gather a lot of appreciation."

Allan undertakes most of the sales enquiries. He aims to provide the best possible information so buyers are able to make valid decisions.

"If you fail to provide the information, poor decisions can be made which, in the case of high-ticket items, can destroy the pending enjoyments. We operate strictly on an appointment-only basis so that we just have the one person on site at a time. They receive our full attention."

Running RV Direct from their property is a tradition which follows on from their previous business, RV Wholesale Supplies, which was established in the mid-90s and continues today under new ownership.

"We have a 600m2 building here with adjacent customer lounge and amenities," says Allan. "We do not need to include high rents and other costly overheads as we own the facility and are able to offer an attractive price point under this structure. We are aware some competitors find this hard and see it as unfair but my response to that is it is just a smarter way of doing business. A big asset to RV Direct is our vast product knowledge, together with motorhome manufacturing skills and having been a prominent industry supplier of parts and componentry from gas appliances to the caravan sink."

Allan’s previous business experience also includes working as brand manager for a large corporate company which allowed him to learn the benefits of operating a business model such as RV Direct first-hand.

The Rees believe the New Zealand recreational vehicle industry has entered an age of global manufacturing. There are fewer manufacturers left in New Zealand.

"The majority of us operating in this industry are now importers and dealers of vehicles from manufacturers whose focus is higher volume and quality with greater affordability. That is not going to change. Nor is our largest consumer – the Baby Boomer generation, which tends to shop around for the best value for money. These are the new realities of the marketplace in which we are operating."

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Allan says this reality inspired him and Maxine to look at ways to make motorhomes more affordable.

"You can buy from our stock or select a specific model which we will bring in and deliver it to you fully certified. And if you want to buy your motorhome from RV Direct then jump on the plane to the UK you can pick it up and enjoy your overseas holiday. You can drop it off to us over there and will we take care of preparing it for shipping to New Zealand. After we have completed all the compliance with NZTA, gas and electrical, then the personal upgrades including solar, satellite, TV and self-containment can be achieved."

RV Direct is seeking expressions of interest from industry players to upgrade the motorhomes for its customers, for all motorhomes whether purchased from Hamilton or on the UK holiday scheme.

Allan and Maxine intend to appoint service centres in some provinces to be recommended suppliers or installers of personal upgrades.

They believe this is another industry first. "We welcome any industry product suppliers and service centres to apply." 

Maxine and Allan are excited about the expansion of RV Direct which will see them offering one of largest ranges of motorhomes in New Zealand.

RV Direct has been appointed the exclusive New Zealand distributor for the elegant Chausson range of motorhomes. "We have also recently secured the rights to distribute the Caretta Teardrop. It sits in a class of its own when it comes to retro camping."

The first of these timeless and popular models has arrived and Allan says they are as cute as puppies.

"I am really impressed with the quality. They are superb in every aspect. They have a solid feel and I cannot wait to get one behind one of my classic cars. Even as I drove them home the other day there were rubberneckers everywhere."

Allan’s enthusiasm is so contagious it seems if they stopped right now, the couple would already have achieved their objective to have more fun in business.

"This is one hell of an exciting new business model. We are going to have so much fun and we are going to meet a lot of lovely families taking on board the RV lifestyle with a lower entry investment."

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