The term “timeshare” typically conjures up visions of a snow-covered mountain cabin or a beachfront condo.
How about a motorcoach? Business writer David Morrill reports in the Oakland Tribune that the concept often referred to as fractional ownership is now extending to high-end RVs.
The arrangement allows buyers trying to minimize their investment to purchase a timeshare in a motorcoach, splitting the cost of ownership with other buyers.
These shared ownership arrangements benefit people who want the best-of-the-best in recreational vehicles or boats for a fraction of the cost to buy them – if they are willing to be flexible about when they use them.
At this point there are only a handful of timeshare programs for boats and motorcoaches. One is Illinois-based American Quartercoach Inc. (www.americanquartercoach.com). The company currently offers an eight-person ownership, but there are four- and two-person deals available as well.
American Quartercoach cited an example using a coach retailing for $278,000. In an eight-person ownership the cost would be $34,900 up-front for each person, plus an $850 setup fee that includes training and $200 per month in maintenance fees.
Typically, after the term of the timeshare is up, the coach is sold and the owners get back their share of the sale price. If people need to get out of their contracts, they usually can try to sell their shares. Often, the company will help find a new owner for a fee.
“Fractional ownership allows you to make use of coaches that can run as high as $1.4 million for pennies on the dollar,” said Greg Allen, owner and founder of American Quartercoach. “From a cost saving standpoint it is the way to go.”
California-based RVX International (www.rvx.com) is another player, arranging fractional ownership on a wide range of RVs and boats.
“The best part of a program like ours is you use it and then when you’re done, we take care of the hassles of storing and maintaining it,” said Steve Toth, president and chief executive of RVX.
At RVX, watercraft are shared by eight owners and motorcoaches by 16. To become a fractional owner, a person must commit to a term of ownership that might range from three to 10 years, depending on the program.
In almost every one of these programs there is an initial purchase fee, which is typically the manufacturer’s suggested retail price divided by the number of owners.
There also is a monthly fee that takes care of such things as storage, maintenance and repairs. Timeshare companies make their money through the initial sale and monthly fee.