Behind the Curtain: RV Shows




Let’s be honest-RV shows are fun. Why? Because dealers and manufacturers create a lively, upbeat atmosphere. You can check out the most brands and even meet some of the people who design the RVs. You can see the latest and greatest in RV technology and accessories. The FOOD, oh the fantastic food. If you’re here in Ohio, you get to experience this in a nice warm convention center. Not having to brave the weather to check everything out, very nice. Oh, and of course, we can’t forget about the giveaways, right?!

Who wants to miss out on all that?

We do. And by the end of this article, we’re hoping you’ll join us. Or, at the very least, take some of our advice.

Let’s get started. First, who are we and why on Earth would we deter you from enjoying an RV show? Well, we are Arbogast RVs, a wholesale RV dealer in Troy, Ohio and we do things a little different. We want to pull back the curtain and tell you about the true cost of RV shows and why in the end, the customer pays.

What do you mean?

Well, I mean it varies depending on the dealer and how many spots they choose to buy. But on average a dealer will spend $30,000 on attending, working, and advertising a show. That’s all money that the dealer intends to make up. Can you guess how? The reality is, that you will pay the difference. The dealer will raise the price of every unit that travels with them. If they have 10 units there, you can expect a markup of about $3,000 each. There’s your “sale price”.


You may be saying, “What?! NO! Dealers show their best prices there and I always see them for 40% off and they show me the savings”. That’s all part of the grand illusion. Dealers will inflate their prices to show higher savings and still make more on each unit. Likely the price you see is a great price – for that dealer. Oh, and another thing to note – There are no seasonal manufacturer or factory discounts, those are another made up tool that dealers may use to lure you in. No matter what BS they try to feed you about why they were able to reduce the price the answer is simple – they started the price so high that they had room to move down. Also, be sure that the price they show doesn’t have strings attached. These ‘strings’ can be in the form of a huge down payment or the price is dependent on financing through the dealer. You should always have the freedom to buy your RV on your terms.

Do yourself a favor. Do a search on the model that you’re interested in and have the everyday low price sent to your email. As our friend, Josh the RV Nerd, says, “Shop twice, buy once”. Be sure that you’re getting a fair price for the RV of your dreams.

Aside from cost we’d like to prepare you for some of the other potential hazards of the RV show. Traffic getting to the convention center and fighting for parking, is one of many. Speaking of traffic, the heavy foot traffic trekking through the convention center and each RV there… Gives us the heebiegeebies thinking about it. Prepare yourself for the “best” salespeople that the RV business has to offer, also. Don’t get us wrong, we know they are doing their job and we respect that. But dealers will pick specific salespeople who have mastered the art of manipulation. These tend to be the most aggressive associates that the dealer has to offer. They thrive on applying high pressure to potential customers without seeming threatening. Using lines like “These deals aren’t going to last” and “Once it’s gone, it’s gone”. Again, we encourage you to do your research and know what you should be paying for the unit of interest. Some deals can be real, and we’d never want you to miss out on a good thing. Yet, those lines are often misnomers. If that deal ends, you can almost guarantee that a similar one will begin. And once it’s gone, they’ve likely got 5 more sitting back on the lot that they’d also love to sell. We aren’t saying that all dealers will misrepresent their sale or pressure customers. We’re simply pointing out the tendencies we’ve noticed in our industry.

Now, about those giveaways. Everyone loves getting a prize at the end of the day. Well, at an RV show, it is actually at the end of the day. So, picture this. You’ve walked through that RV that has ticked all your boxes…twice. You’ve hit the concession stand for $40 worth of fried goodness and made a list of all the “I have to have it” accessories. By this time, you are more than likely not wanting to stick around until the end of the show. And if you choose to not stick around to see the drawing? No prize for you. The giveaways are ploys to get you to stay at the show to maximize their return on investment. The longer you hang out, the closer you are to “pulling the trigger” on that RV of your dreams.

We would be remiss if we did not compare the RV show experience with the Arbogast experience. Here, you won’t find pushy or high-pressure salespeople. Instead, you’ll find friendly product experts who can tell you anything you want or need to know about RVs. You’ll find a family friendly environment that you’ll only find at a family owned facility. We don’t have concessions (in this building) but we have coffee and water ready for you at no charge. And, if you catch us on the right Saturday our GM, Gary, will be grilling some hot dogs that we’re happy to share. We have one of Ohio’s largest showrooms. So, even in unfavorable weather you can enjoy your RV shopping experience. As for giveaways, check us out on Facebook -> Here | and stay up to date with any events or giveaways that we’re hosting. Last year, we gave away some awesome stuff. One of our favorites was a SWEET custom fire pit for the Cooper’s for entering our photo contest. This year we’re committed to doing even more. When you visit us, you’ll also get a good look at our whole operation as we try to be as transparent as possible. We’re a full-service RV center with a huge service department, body shop, and parts store. This makes us your one stop shop and we can take care of you and your RV no matter what pops up. Most importantly, our prices are fair every day of the week. No inflating for a “sale” or a nonexistent factory discount. If we get a good deal on inventory or we need to make room on the lot, you may find some special savings or price changes. But with all of our inventory you’ll find wholesale price that you can trust every day.

In conclusion, enjoy your RV shopping experience, whether RV show or personal shopping. Please remember to shop smart and do your research to make sure you’re getting a fair price. Stick to your wish list and your budget. Do your best not to settle, you’ll thank yourself in the long run. We would love to work with you to make your RVing dreams come true, but we understand if you go another route too. We wish you the best in finding, purchasing, and enjoying your home away from home.

Happy camping, ya’ll!

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