Blue Compass seeks to establish a strong national RV-retail brand.

Recreational vehicle sales have always been a highly fragmented business, with many small chains and mom-and-pops, often representing multiple brands, that appeal to RV customers from different geographies. But Blue Compass RV aims to build a strong national brand by consolidating its 100 stores in 33 states under one umbrella and developing a distinct and quality approach to match.

“We’ve had the opportunity to build a powerful retail brand around an exceptional customer experience, and with our geographic footprint and how RVers travel from coast to coast, we have our own brand and store footprint. There is an opportunity to touch the majority of RVers in America,” said Jon Ferrando, CEO of Blue Compass, based in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., first RV retailer.

In just four years, Ferrando has consolidated more than 20 regional store brands into a single brand, building the organization into the second largest RV retailer in the US, behind Camping World.

“We’re building relationships with the customer so we can be there for them, and we have the geographic footprint to back it up,” Ferrando told me. “RVers travel all over the country. We can serve you wherever your travels take you, [addressing] An industry challenge that is decades old.

While the Blue Compass dealership sells many brands of RVs, Ferrando said they are building the brand in large part on a strong service experience. “The service side of this business is a challenge, and we’re trying to build a powerful brand to provide peace of mind,” he said. “The practical reality when you go across the industry is that there can be significant wait times to get into service for a number of reasons, including supply chain and parts availability.”

To overcome such obstacles, Blue Compass is investing heavily in training certified service technicians, Ferrando said. The company already has about 850 such employees nationwide, and aims to add more than 200 certified technicians this year.

Toward that end, the company spent millions of dollars a few years ago to build three training centers in Texas, Utah, and North Carolina. Blue Compass also runs a mentoring program for technicians. “We take detailers or forklift drivers and promote them into our Tech Mentor program, and after several months they can move up,” Ferrando said. “This is a substantial investment for us and a long-term focus to build loyal, qualified, certified, skilled technicians.”

Ferrando said Blue Compass is working on a number of initiatives with OEMs to win the service so we can get things done faster. These include efforts to obtain prior authorization for warranty work. “Traditionally,” he explained, “you spend a lot of time going back and forth to get these approvals, and it can be a very manual process. You can take a picture of the broken part and Can send to OEM to get it. [warranty] Work pre-approved. Now, many companies are working with us to provide pre-authorization for these things. We’re building a new level of trust and we have the green light to operate, and that’s a win-win. It’s faster for the customer, and there’s less friction in the system.”

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