The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association commissioned an Economic Impact Study on the RV industry, released on June 7, 2016. The study found that the RV industry contributes about $49.7 billion in economic output or 0.28 percent of the Gross Domestic Product. Through its production and distribution linkages, the industry impacts firms in 426 of the 440 sectors of the United States economy.
Nationwide, the industry is responsible for 216,170 jobs, both directly and inderectly, creating an economic impact of $37.5 billion. The full study results, along with each individual state and congressional district's economic impact is available on the website by clicking here .
Tue Oct 11, 2016
CROWLEY, Texas — Many fulltime RVers are ‘workampers’, people who work entire seasons at a campground, handling everything from front desk to maintenance responsibilities.
But for RVers who crave the opportunity to travel freely from campground to campground as they work, it’s hard to beat working as a traveling marketing rep for Crowley, Texas-based AGS Publications, according to a press release from the company.
The guides, which guests receive when they check into parks, typically include park layouts - site maps, listings of park rules and suggestions on fun things to see and do in the area as well as advertisements for local restaurants, veterinarians, doctors, RV supply stores / repair shops and the like.
It’s the AGS rep’s job to identify the local businesses that are most likely to have the products and services RVers need and to place those advertisers in the guest guides. As they successfully complete this process, AGS can then produce a year’s worth of the guides at no cost to the park owner.
AGS asks that the park offer its marketing reps a camp site for two weeks while they sell advertising for their guide. It’s an arrangement that works out well for the park owners and AGS reps alike.
“It’s the best job you can have while you’re on the road because you are not tied down to a particular campground for a long period of time,” says Larry Chiuppi, a 61-year-old New Hampshire native, who has been working for AGS with his wife, Nancy, for the past 17 years. “If you want to travel and see the United States, this job gives you the opportunity to see the United States. You can ask for more assignments based on the amount of money you want to make. So the amount of income you make is directly related to how hard you want to work. Working for AGS also gives us the ability to travel and take legitimate business expenses while doing this work, since we are all independent contractors.”
Working for AGS has given the Chiuppis the ability to visit parts of the United States they would never otherwise have a chance to see.
Chiuppi says he was particularly moved when they had an assignment at a campground in Dothan, Alabama, which is just outside of Montgomery.
“I grew up during the tail end of the Civil Rights Movement,” he says. “So we went to the Rosa Parks Museum. We stood on the steps where Martin Luther King was. It was a very moving experience for me.”
The Chiuppis’ AGS assignments also have taken them many other interesting historical sites such as Goliad, Texas, where there was an 1836 massacre involving the execution of Republic of Texas soldier prisoners and their commander, James Fannin, by the Mexican Army. While not as well-known as the Battle of the Alamo, the Goliad Massacre helped create support throughout Texas and the U.S. for the war against Mexico.
Goliad also has a mission and presidio, which is considered to be the finest example of a Spanish colonial fort outside of Spain.
“We’ve seen and done things over the years that most people, even if it’s in their backyard, haven’t done,” Chiuppi says, who travels the country in a 40-foot diesel pusher motorhome.
Eric Fulbright and his wife, Jackie, also like the flexibility and job security they have working as RVing ad reps for AGS.
“This job has taken away our retirement worries,” Eric Fulbright says. “We were in our early 50s when we started. We didn’t have a retirement. But we’ve become debt-free with this job and we put money back every month to pad our nest egg. We liked the flexibility of working where we want to, when we want to as well as the travel and the flexibility. We’ve got a boss, but at the end of the day, we’re self-employed.”
When the Fulbrights started working for AGS 10 years ago, they had a 26-foot fifth wheel. But as their advertising business has grown, they’ve moved up to a 43-foot Newmar Dutch Star motorhome, which has an office area, complete with a desk, filing center, printer and computer.
“We can do anything we need to do from the motorhome,” Fulbright says, adding that they primarily work with campgrounds on the East Coast from South Carolina to Maine. “You get to see the country with AGS. You follow the good weather. We’ve been to the Florida Keys, Bar Harbor and New Mexico. We’ve seen the Northeast in the fall, when the color is just beautiful.”
As they travel, they visit campgrounds and build relationships with local advertisers who support the AGS guest guides.
“This is a relationship business,” Jackie Fulbright says, adding that it can take time to build the relationships with park operators and necessary businesses to support the guides long term.
She says that Eric focuses on handling the paperwork and mapping out their work schedule with the different parks while she goes out to meet prospective advertisers.
“There are customers I see year after year and sometimes it takes me years to have them do business with me," she says. "But eventually they become my customers. I give them great customer service and they stay with me.”
The Fulbrights currently work with 18 parks along the East Coast, though they have handled as many as 28 in a single year.
“We have scaled back a little bit to give new reps opportunities to take over as they come on board. And there is that new grandbaby to visit,” Eric Fulbright says.