The Florida Recreation Vehicle Trade Association (FRVTA) marked its 25th anniversary during its annual convention Sept. 8-11 at Hawk’s Cay Resort, Duck Key, Fla., a meeting at which the association outlined a unique program to certify member’s service departments.
Some 275 people representing 103 companies attended the convention that featured “State of the Industry” presentations by Dave Humphreys, outgoing president of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), his successor, President-elect Richard A. Coon, and Mike Molino, president of the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA).
The FRVTA presented Humphreys, a commercial pilot who intends to barnstorm part-time in a bi-plane after he retires in January, with an embroidered bombardier jacket.
“The real theme from all three of them (the speakers) was unity,” said Lance Wilson, FRVTA executive director.
Last year’s meeting was canceled by the series of hurricanes that struck Florida in August and September.
During this year’s convention, the FRVTA board voted to contribute $30,000 to help victims of Hurricane Katrina – $15,000 each to the Salvation Army and the Second Harvest Food Bank.
FRVTA intends to launch its service department certification program in December in an effort to elevate customer service in Florida dealerships, according to Wilson.
Criteria for certification include:
• Businesses must employ at least one master certified technician.
• Eighty percent of dealership’s other service technicians must be certified or in training to obtain certification.
• Dealerships and service centers must be FRVTA members and maintain valid Florida propane dispensing and repair licenses.
• Each location must have a permanent service facility available for warranty and non-warranty repairs with a customer waiting room.
• Each business must have a system in place to measure customer satisfaction.
“These are base-line requirements that probably will be increased from there,” Wilson said. “We are dealing with a large segment of dealers and we thought it needed to be stringent enough to raise the bar, but general enough to be able to apply to small dealerships as well as large.
“We are starting way short of where we want to be and we know that. But we need to start somewhere.”
Also at the convention, FRVTA received a report from Jim Carr of the RV Institute at Lake City (Fla.) Community College on the Recreation Vehicle Service Training Council’s Distance Learning Network, which will move from satellite to all-Internet classes next year.
Subjects for breakout sessions during the convention included the IRS, privacy issues, best human relations practices and corporate formations.