How Do RVs Get Delivered To Dealers?


If you’ve ever been to an RV dealership or just driven by one, you’ve probably noticed that they usually have a wide variety of RVs on the lot. This may have some people wondering: how RVs get delivered to the dealers?

I decided to do some research, and this is what I found out:

Every new RV must be driven or towed from the factory to the dealership. That’s why motorhomes often have over 1,000 miles on the odometer even when they are brand new.

For those considering a job in delivering trailers or 5th wheels, you need a truck, hitch, and trailer. But for those or motorhomes, you will also need a CDL (commercial driver’s license).

But that’s not all there is to know about how RVs get delivered to dealers. After all, we’ve got questions about weigh stations, accidents, and what the liability is of the driver.

Just keep reading to learn more!

Do RVs ever get towed to dealers?

Every RV must be driven or towed from the factory to the dealership. RV transport companies are used to either tow or drive RVs from the manufacturer to dealerships all across the country.

Towable RVs, like 5th wheels and travel trailers, are delivered by owner/operator drivers who use their own equipment.

They use their own truck outfitted with the appropriate type of tow hitch. Oftentimes, delivery drivers already own their own truck and fifth-wheel or travel trailer.

Motorhomes are driven to the lot. Because drivers are required to provide transportation to the factory and then home from the dealership, they usually tow their private vehicle behind the motorhome.

Often, you’ll hear the term motorhome and RV being used interchangeably.

But unless it has its own motor, it’s not a motorhome. To learn more about the differences between motorhomes and RVs, check out this recent article. While all motorhomes are RVs, not all RVs are motorhomes.

Just click the link to read more on my site.

Who are the top RV Transport companies?

The major RV Transporters are Horizon Transport who work with Camping World, Thor, and Keystone, and Star Fleet who handle Jayco and Forest River. They do not transport RVs for individuals.

Most RV Transport companies pay around the same rate per mile.

According to their website, Horizon Transport pays tow-away drivers up to $1.20 per mile. Flatbed drivers are paid $2.30 or more per mile. Drive-away drivers make anywhere between $.90 and $1.10 per mile, depending on the CDL classification.

Star Fleet is not as transparent with their pay rate, but they boast a low turnover rate, and their website contains driver testimonials that give the company glowing reviews.

CWRV Transport used to be the official carrier of Camping World, but they closed down permanently at the end of 2019. As the nation’s second-largest motorhome transportation provider, this was a big blow to more than 500 drivers, as well as to Camping World.

They closed after being named a defendant in a civil lawsuit where a contracted driver fell asleep at the wheel, killing a husband and wife. (source)

So for those who choose to work delivering RV’s, just know the stakes are high.

Can you make money delivering RVs?

RV transport drivers who drive their own vehicle, and deliver 30 RVs per year could make $69,000. Drivers who simply drive a motorhome to its destination could earn $30,000. This is based on current mileage rates and assuming 1,000 miles per RV.

RV transport drivers are independent contractors. This means you can work on your terms. You work as often or as little as you like. You can also work for multiple companies.

As an independent contractor, you are responsible for all of your expenses—food, hotels along the way, fuel, etc. So if you’re not careful, expenses can eat into your profits.

Because you have to own your truck and be set up to tow any kind of RV, the upfront costs can be very expensive. That’s why it’s best to have your own set up before getting a job for an RV transport company.

However, if you only want to deliver motorhomes, you don’t have to have your own setup. But you will have to provide your transportation to the RV plant and back home. If you go this route, you can use a tow rig to pull your car behind the RV.

According to ZipRecruiter, transport drivers can make as much as $77,000 per year or as little as $17,000 per year.

At an average of $42,355 per year, it’s not an outstanding amount of money. But depending on where you live, it can definitely be a livable wage. If nothing else, it can be a fun way to supplement your income and see the U.S. and Canada at the same time.

As an independent contractor, you can work for multiple companies, giving you the opportunity to maximize your profits.

Do you need a CDL to transport RVs?

Typically you will need a CDL to transport RVs, whether motorhomes or travel trailers. Because you will be running under transporter tags, you will be considered the same as over-the-road trucks when it comes to paperwork and permits.

Commercial Drivers Licenses come in three classes.

Class A allows drivers to operate vehicles like tractor-trailers, flatbeds, and livestock carriers. For a Class A license, the towed vehicle must be at least 10,000 pounds on its own.

Class B CDLs allow drivers to operate straight trucks, passenger busses, and dump trucks. For a Class B license, the towed vehicle must weigh less than 10,000 pounds.

Class C CDLs allow drivers to operate their vehicles with 16 or more passengers, including the driver, or transport hazardous materials. (source)

To work as an RV delivery person, you must have a good driving record. You will likely have to pass a Department of Transportation physical assessment. To drive larger RVs, you will need a Class B commercial driver’s license with an air brake endorsement.

Even if you are already set up to pull a fifth wheel or tow behind a travel trailer, you may still need to get a Class A CDL.

When transporting RVs for dealerships, you will be running under transporter tags. As such, you will be considered the same as an over-the-road trucker, which means you will have the same paperwork and permits to deal with.

However, some companies may not require you to have a CDL for tow-away drivers, but it will still be encouraged. So, at a minimum, it will be in your best interest to have a Class A CDL.

Do RV delivery drivers sleep in the RV?

Oftentimes, drivers are allowed to sleep in the RV, but cannot use any of the RV’s bedding materials. Drivers must bring their own sleeping bag and pillow. Any existing bedding must be carefully removed and stored before using the bed.

Buyers expect to receive a new, unused RV. Using the RV’s appliances or bathroom facilities are strictly not allowed. You can sleep in the RV, but there are certain rules you must follow.

Dealers are very particular about the newness of an RV, and with good reason. If there is any indication that something has been used or soiled between the factory and the dealership, the dealership can refuse the unit.

If an RV is refused due to unauthorized use or damage, your driving career could be over. It should be clean, inside and out, upon arrival at the dealership. In fact, the driver is expected to take it to the car wash to rid it of any bugs, dirt, and general road grime before delivery.

If you want to be an RV transport driver and expect to use the RV during your trip, you will be sorely disappointed. Sure, you can sleep in it, but you can’t use any of the appliances or amenities. Those are for the new owner to use.

Did I answer everything you wanted to know about how RVs get delivered to dealers? 

Being an RV Transporter is not a lucrative career where you’ll make a ton of money. But it can be a neat side gig if you are looking to make some supplemental income.

RV Transporters are independent contractors, so they can work as much or as little as they want. They must always maintain a professional appearance. Most importantly, they must keep the RV clean and new.


Photo which requires attribution:

Our Home by Larry & Teddy Page is licensed under CC2.0

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Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell travels on and off with his 3 daughters in a Newmar Baystar Class A Motorhome. He writes extensively on both RVs, campgrounds, parenting on the road tips, remote learning & schooling, and much more!

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