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Delivering RVs for a living

by Tom Jones

Periodically we get questions from folks thinking about delivering RVs for a living. Several forum members had something to say about this.

George Mullen had this sage advice:

A former forum member did try this, but he didn't do it for very long, I think because of low pay. Family separation was a factor, but he went from delivering RVs to driving 18 wheelers. Didn't do that very long either. Went to school and tour buses for a while, then gave it up. He's now full-timing in his own motorhome and much happier, I think.

At the end of this message I will give you a couple of sources. I have no idea how good they are.

Before you get too carried away with the thought of delivering RVs be aware that:

  • You cannot use the toilet or shower.
  • You cannot sleep in the bed.
  • You cannot put food in the refrigerator.
  • You cannot cook food either on the stove or in the microwave.

  • If you use the bathroom, sleeping, cooking and food storage facilities, the new RV you're delivering will no longer be new when it reaches the destination, and thus may not be sold as new. When discussing RV delivery duties (and restrictions) with a prospective employer get the answers to the above questions. Also ask who pays for the fuel and oil, how much is paid, and when it is paid. You might find you are paid a flat per-mile rate based on the shortest driving distance between the pickup and delivery points, and YOU pay for the fuel, oil, etc. out of that payment. Given the volatility of fuel prices it might be difficult to pay yourself first. Also ask about who pays for required repairs en route to the destination, and especially when. it's paid.

    If that isn't enough to turn you off, ask a prospective employer AND your own vehicle insurance company about BI/PD/UM insurance for you as a hired-for-pay driver and collision/comprehensive insurance for the vehicle you are delivering.

    Beware! All that glitters is not gold.

    If you're still interested in pursuing this line of employment, try the following:

    B&E Transportation Inc.
    1107 Cumberland Falls Hwy.
    Corbin, KY 40701

    Morgan Drive Away Inc.
    P.O. Box 1168
    28651 U.S. 20W
    Elkhart, IN 46515

    Lou Schneider had these words of wisdom:

    The problem with motorhome and RV transport is there are too many retired or semi-retired people doing it for peanuts. They only need pocket change or something to do and this keeps the pay very low.

    If you're serious about doing this kind of work, look into getting a Class A or Class B commercial license. The higher grade licenses will let you deliver commercial trucks and busses from manufacturers to dealers - they also have to be driven to their customers.

    Empty straight trucks and busses drive about the same as a large motorhome, but since they require the higher class license there's far less people available to transport them. This makes the pay much better - when I looked into doing this a couple of years ago delivering an empty straight truck that needed a Class B license paid $1.00 to $1.20 per mile. A similar vehicle that could be driven by someone holding a regular Class C license paid about half of that.

    These rates are all-inclusive. You have to pay for fuel to get the vehicle to the destination and your own way back to the starting point or to where you can pick up another vehicle.

    Don't forget to include these costs and time in transit when figuring your total pay. If you return to your starting point using ground transportation (train, bus or returning in a vehicle you tow behind) you're only being paid for half of your total "away" time.

    If you're willing to "tramp" around the country, going from point to point without returning home, you can reduce your backhaul time and expenses. But you have to balance this against the need for overnight shelter (motel rooms), eating out, etc.

    Taking everything into account, I couldn't figure out any way to break even delivering motorhomes. Commercial vehicles were more lucrative, but even at the higher rates I wouldn't get rich.

    Ruby Mcfay added this counterpoint from hew own experience of this line of work:

    I did RV transporting for several years. My husband, my daughter and I all worked for Classic Transport in Elkhart Indiana. We quit in 1997, but I may some day go back to doing that.

    It's true, you cannot use the home while transporting, but you can throw a sleeping bag on the floor to sleep. You will pay for the fuel, oil and your food. As far as insurance, the company furnishes the insurance on the home, or truck your delivering. You will have to furnish the insurance on your tow vehicle.

    The way Classic pays is by the mile, one way. You would get 1/2 of total pay when you leave. Upon delivering you will get the remainder. You will have to put up a bond, but that will be taken out of your second half of the pay check. They take a % of the check. When we worked it was 10% until $500. Was reached. Then if you wanted to continue to have them hold out the 10% you could, and that would be like a coushion for taxes, repairs or what ever.

    As far as the repairs on the vehicle you are transporting, you are not responsible for them. You may have to pay for a tow truck, but will get reimbursed when you turn in the paperwork.