Not many people can say that they had a job before they were 10 years old. Even fewer can say that they’ve essentially been working at the same company since the 4th grade. But Brian Wilkins of Wilkins RV in upstate New York can proudly claim both to be true. Growing up in the RV industry, it was inevitable for Brian to get involved, but even Brian was surprised how much he would grow to love working in the family business.
Brian’s grandfather founded the business in 1936 as an auto detail shop, but in the 1950s they began selling RVs paving the way for the company’s impressive growth and success. And just within the last two years, Wilkins RV expanded to their now 4 locations all across the northwest portion of New York, and Brian has been an integral part of their ever-growing business. “In the 4th grade, I would walk to the dealership once a week to help put away the parts order.” From then on, Brian was working for the family business all through elementary, high school, college, and even after he graduated university. And in 1995, Brian began working for Wilkins RV full time. He legitimately worked his way up through the company and learned invaluable lessons on RVs components and mechanics, how to run a business, and how to be a leader that others can rely upon and respectfully follow. It took years of hard work and studying, but as many people can relate, it was after graduating college that Brian really came into his own. “I fell in love with the challenges faced every day, working with customers, managing employees, and the excitement of growing the family business.”
Almost every business has its own challenges and complexities, but those in the RV industry can attest that RV dealerships have a vast sea of challenges unique from almost any other industry. You have administration, sales, marketing, parts, and the service department. And unlike many other industries where a customer makes a purchase and you rarely hear from them again until they’re ready to buy again, in the RV industry after the customer buys and leaves the dealership you can expect to routinely hear from them as they enjoy their new RV. In fact, it’s pretty much a guarantee. RVs are complex with both engine and house components; consequently, the number of issues or uncertainties an RV owner may face can at times seem almost endless. After years of working his way through the dealership, Brian learned to truly appreciate the daily challenges dealerships face. Couple that with the never-ending needs of an RV customer, Brian really stresses to both his team and his customers the importance of a quality roadside assistance provider. “I have seen firsthand how beneficial it is to have access to a technician when the dealership is going to be closed. Without their assistance, you’d have no chance to fix your issue.”
Dealerships do not operate 24/7; that’s why Wilkins RV relies on established processes and procedures to ensure that everything operates efficiently to guarantee customers receive the best care whether the dealership is open or not. And working in conjunction with Brian and his team, Coach-Net is a vital part of Wilkins RV’s processes. Coach-Net operates as an extension of Wilkins RV allowing their customers to be cared for 24/7 while simultaneously allowing Brian and everyone on his team to truly relax and enjoy their personal time away from work. In turn, because they are rested and refreshed after being able to spend quality time with their family and friends, Wilkins RV’s employees are better able to serve their customers when they are actually on the clock. When you invest in your employees and value them on a personal level, they will always reciprocate that same level of investment in their work and the company. “We’re fortunate to have a great group of loyal employees who work really hard every day for our customers.” And when every single employee works hard and does their very best to serve your customers, the loyalty they display in their work inevitably extends to and is mirrored by the customers they serve. “For over 80 years, our customers have supported us and our products. Without them, we wouldn’t still be here.” A successful company requires loyal customers, which is the product of quality employees who can rely on established processes and a company that cares about their employees on a personal level. That is why Wilkins RV has been so successful for so many years, and that is why they will continue to be leaders in the industry for many years to come.
Wilkins RV has a clear recipe for success that all starts with the fact that they care about both their customers and their employees. Thank you, Brian, for choosing Coach-Net as your partner to share in the process of caring for your employees and your customers. Thank you, Wilkins RV, for being your customer’s connection to carefree RVing.