There are many advantages to buying a secondhand motorhome or camper, particularly one that has begun its life as a rental model. There’s the price of course – a secondhand unit will always be more affordable than a new one. But there are other great reasons too, including great service history, quality control and the peace of mind that you have the backing of the parent company with all its products.
There are various types of secondhand vehicles which come through to the RV Sales Centre yard, and those of other select retailers around the country. These range from two-berth Toyota HiAce-based campervans up to four and six-berth motorhomes built on Mercedes, Volkswagen and Fiat chassis.
The company regularly ‘retires’ rental vehicles from its fleet to ensure a regular supply to the sales yards, and models come from the company’s three brands – Maui, Britz and Mighty.
Models can also be plucked ahead of time from the fleet if ordered specifically by a customer.
Here Rhy Rourke Haddow, retail, service and operations manager at RV Sales Centre in Braybrook (Melbourne) explains gives his top reasons why it can be a smart option for travellers.
1. IT’S CHEAPER
Price is the number one advantage of purchasing a secondhand RV over a new model. Campervans can start from as little as $29,000. These, says Rourke Haddow, are so popular they are often sold sight unseen. “We have a lot of people who know we do these ones or have rented them before and they regularly ring us and ask if we have one yet,” he says. “They are a good design so a lot of people want something that they can, for example, go surfing with on the weekend and don’t want to sink a lot of money into it, and don’t need a toilet or shower.”
Four to six berth motorhomes cost from $60,000 depending on the size, type, age and kilometres travelled. The length of time a motorhome stays on the rental fleet varies, so some vehicles may be on the market with less than 10,000km on the clock. This will affect the price, as newer vehicles will be more expensive, but still cheaper than one that’s just rolled off the factory floor. “The price is number one,” Rourke Haddow says. “A lot of people, especially if it’s their first one, don’t want to spend an extreme amount of money on their first motorhome.”
2. QUALITY CONTROL
Each rental is refurbished in THL’s on-site factory before being put up for sale. The team will go right through the engine and the body of every unit to identify any issues or faulty equipment that need to be repaired. Any fault equipment gets looked at and repaired too. One of the team will do an inspection.
“If we are happy we will accept it into the yard, if not we send it back to get it fixed to the way that we want it,” he says.
THL builds its own motorhomes but also rents and sells larger Jayco models too. All its units, have had their ‘kinks’ ironed out so that customers can rest assured.
“We know what happens with the rental fleet because of the demands that can be put upon the models,” he says. “We put a lot of time and effort in so that our customers who are buying or renting a vehicle have a great experience and if something does go wrong, we know about it and we fix it so it doesn’t keep happening.”
3. EASY TO DRIVE
There’s no fun in renting a unit that is hard to drive, difficult to operate and has limited access to all its features should something go wrong. Rourke Haddow says this is a huge selling point for buyers. “Being a rental vehicle, everything is accessible – there is nothing hidden away, so if you do want to change a house battery by yourself all you have to do is lift one of the seats up,” he says. “It is quick for staff to get people out on the road and also translates to making it easy to repair if something does happen. They are all built in mind for rentals, so a lot of planning goes into what can go wrong and how do we fix that.”
4. WARRANTY AND SERVICE GUARANTEE
Rourke Haddow says you can’t go wrong with the support that a company like THL can give to buyers of ex-rentals. “We give a manufactures’ three-year warranty to all our secondhand vehicles,” he says. “We are happy to back our own product so if you are considering buying a secondhand vehicle and worried about what happens in two weeks’ time for example, you are covered mechanically.” Because THL manufactures most of the units, there is usually always parts on hand for older models.
5. SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE
The variety of models available for sale is so varied that there is literally something for everyone. Need a vehicle without a toilet and shower that’s easy to zip around it? A 4WD model or campervan will work for you. After something with more space and creature comforts? That option is wide open. Rourke Haddow says he sees families, retirees and solo young people coming through the door. And some of those become lifelong customers.
“A lot of people will buy that first one because they are not sure if they want to go all out into it,” he says. “We do have a lot of people get hooked on it and they will sell their house and come in and buy one of the Jaycos.”