Rally Notes

 Posted by at 1:04 am  Nick's Blog
Feb 292012
 

Yay, the mailing is all finished! Miss Terry worked and worked and worked just like a little dynamo, and yesterday afternoon just before they closed I dropped the last bins of envelopes off at the post office. I’m sure glad we have that behind us!

Now we can concentrate on all those rally details we still have to get done. Of course, we have been doing them while we were doing the mail, too. The Arizona Good Sam Rally is getting started today, and yesterday I walked through the main building, visiting with the commercial vendors as they were getting set up. Most of them will be staying over for our rally too, which just makes sense. They are already here, so why not hang around and get two rallies in a row without having to travel to get to the next one?

Yesterday, Chet and Gail Longwell, vendors for Passport America, stopped by to visit with us. They are among the vendors that are here for both rallies and we talked a little bit about how hard it can be to operate a successful business on the road. Fuel prices go up and up, rally fees go up and up, insurance costs keep increasing every year, and so does the price of inventory. It seems like the only thing that isn’t keeping pace is income for many of the vendors we know. That’s why we work so hard to keep our prices low. We’ve been on the other side of the vending table for years and we know how hard it is to make a buck out here on the road.

I got an application for the Newmar Kountry Klub International Rally this summer in Gillette Wyoming. A single vendor booth there is $260, additional booths are $145, tables are $8 each, chairs are a dollar each, electric power to the booth is $40, and that doesn’t include camping, which is $25 a night! By the time you factor in fuel to get there, the cost of inventory, and everything else needed to run a business, I really don’t see how vendors can break even, let alone make a profit.

I’m not picking on the Newmar rally alone; many of the RV rallies around the country cost that much or even more. Some of them are a lot more! Check out the cost of a big FMCA  rally! The $175 we charge vendors for a booth, which also includes four nights of camping, seems like a pretty good deal in comparison. And we don’t have any hidden costs for tables, chairs, power to their booth, or any of that other nonsense. And we still make a few bucks. If we can do it as a small mom-and-pop operation, why can’t these big RV clubs give vendors a break so they can survive, instead of killing the golden goose?

With all of the mailing done, Terry and I were trying to get the back end of our Explorer rearranged so we could fold the seats back up when Bob Parker and Donna Huffer showed up yesterday afternoon, wanting to know where we were all going for dinner. Dinner? I like dinner! So I called Greg and Jan and Tom and Barbara outside and we had an impromptu meeting to decide where we were going to dine. Texas Roadhouse was the winner by a show of hands. Or was it I just said that’s where we’re going? I can’t remember which it was. Anyway, it was a good choice and we had a wonderful meal. Texas Roadhouse is one of the businesses that always donates door prizes to our Yuma rally. There are a lot of restaurants in Yuma to choose from, and we make it a point to do business with the ones that support us whenever we can. That just makes good business sense, don’t you think?

I posted an updated schedule to the rally registration page yesterday, so please check it out, and if you are presenting a seminar be sure to note any changes. Hopefully this will be the last change, but who knows? It’s a balancing act trying to make everything mesh together so our rally attendees get the most bang for their buck.

The parking crew will be coming in on Saturday afternoon and dry camping at the back of the fairgrounds so they will be ready to start greeting and staging rally arrivals on Sunday morning. If you plan to be in the parking crew, and we haven’t talked lately, please e-mail me at [email protected] so I can be sure I have your name on the list and that you’ll be here Saturday.

Thought For The Day – Business is the art of extracting money from another man’s pocket without resorting to violence.

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Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  4 Responses to “Rally Notes”

  1. Nick,

    As vendors, yours are the only rallies that we’ve ever set up at, so we have nothing else to make a comparison with. BUT, it’s because of your vendor pricing and policies that it has been YOUR rallies that we HAVE set up at!

    Great job,

    Butch & Fonda Wiliams

  2. We tried vending at RV rallies last summer and quickly learned that without a corporate sponsor there is no money in it. We did three big FMCA rallies, Escapade, the Winnebago rally and a couple of other brand-named rallies, as well as several smaller Goood Sam type rallies. By the time we factored in all of our fees, insurance, travel costs, etc. we were thrilled that we broke even at the Winnebago Grand National. Thrilled? Yes, because at every one of the others we went in the hole! The vendor coordinators could care less if a vendor makes any money, all they care about is getting you to commit to coming back next year, where you can lose money all over again! The only good thing to come out of traveling long distances at great expense to stand on our feet all day and lose money was that we did make some wonderful friends among our fellow vendors. I guess it was kind of a misery loves company thing.

  3. FMCA Indianapolis. First you must be a commercial member to even apply for a space. That’s $57 to $286 depending on type. A booth is somewhere between $655 to $825. This does not include chairs and table. Want to put something in the welcome bags: you supply 3000 copies and they charge $1250 to put it in the bag if you are a regular exhibitor. You do get to DRY camp one vehicle during the convention for free. One 40′ by 40′ motor home display space is $1325.

    FMCA Southeast Rally in Florida 2013. Booth from $372.75 to $452.63. Coach display space $200 each unit.

    Gypsy Journal rally. A DEAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    And these people wonder why fewer and fewer vendors and motor home dealers/manufacturers are not coming to their events. Also fewer and fewer people are coming to their events. BECAUSE one big reason for people to go to events is service, vendors, seeing the new coaches. Less service/vendor/motor homes equals fewer attendees. They are cutting their own throats!!!!!!!!

    These prices are ridiculous!!!!!!! As a vendor I would look for other places to go to set up. And that’s what vendors are doing.

  4. We totally agree with all the above comments, the costs, the travel, the nickel and dime charges, and the appreciation we don’t get! The dwindling attendance doesn’t help either. Nick is the BIG (no pun) exception. Thank you, Nick. Chet

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