A directory of RV floorplans is being offered by industry veteran Norm Frohreich to help dealers increase sales and maximize profitability of used units.
Frohreich’s firm, Norlander Information Services Inc., recently completed directories of the floorplans of 2002 travel trailers and fifth-wheels. The Floorplan Trader books are available to dealers for $245 each. Dealers can order additional copies of the books for $145 each.
The 2002 The Floorplan Trader for Class A and Class C motorhomes should be available for purchase around the time of the industry’s National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Nov. 30-Dec. 2. The directory for 2002 specialty trailers should become available in March, said Frohreich, who has 32 years experience in the RV industry, including 28 years at RV builders Fleetwood Enterprises and Kit Manufacturing.
The specialty trailer book will include toy hauler, hybrid, camping trailer and truck-camper floorplans. The Floorplan Trader issues covering model year 2003 will become available during the summer of 2005, he added.
Frohreich, who also has worked for market research firm Statistical Surveys Inc., and as a consultant to RV dealers, said a dealer gave him the idea to publish a data base for RV floorplans.
In recent years, Frohreich said, manufacturers have greatly expanded the number of floorplans they offer; and many dealerships face high turnover rates with sales personnel, so dealerships may not have enough readily available information for making good decisions about what price to offer a customer for a trade-in.
The RV appraisal guides that have been available for years recommend prices based upon straight-line depreciation, which subtracts the same percentage from the value of a unit for each year that it ages. But Frohreich said straight-line depreciation does not account for the differences in popularity of certain floorplans. Consequently, dealers may offer too much to a customer for a used unit with a floorplan that is not very popular, or not enough for a unit with a popular floorplan.
“The most glaring example was when the industry went from nonslides to slides,” he said. “I can tell you there were thousands of deals out there where dealers were stuck” with too many nonslide floorplan models in the used-unit inventories, “because they were not paying attention to the drop in popularity of nonslides, particularly in units above 27 feet.”
The uncertainty resulting from the lack of good information about floorplans probably explains why only 20% of all used RV units are sold by dealers, Frohreich said. The remaining 80% of all used RVs are sold by individuals to other individuals.
The The Floorplan Trader will allow dealers “to be able to make a copy of the floorplan, attach it to the deal, and when it goes to the desk, several people will be able to visualize that floorplan and say, ‘Wait a minute, we’ve (already) got three of those in back,’ ” Frohreich said. “Or, they might say, ‘Hey, this floorplan is hot, go ahead and give him (a customer with a trade-in) 5% over wholesale book or 10% over wholesale book.’ ”
Frohreich received permission from the manufacturers through licensing agreements, to reproduce their floorplans. He estimated he has permission to reproduce floorplans for 90% of all RV units retailed.
The floorplan reproductions in the directory include manufacturers’ suggested retail prices (MSRPs) and weights, where available.
The The Floorplan Trader does not recommend prices. Instead, it provides dealers with guidance about how to price a floorplan based upon its popularity, Frohreich said.
To order The Floorplan Trader or for more information, call Froheich’s Middlebury, Ind., firm at (574) 825-5778 or send an e-mail to: [email protected]