Overland, off roading and trailer buyers

FrenchieXJ

Expedition Leader
Hello, All overland, off roading and trailer buyers in general,

A serious subject with the cold hard facts and a lighter side. I will post this up in sections as people want the world in 90 seconds. Doing this if you want you can stop reading a section and come back when you need more, or if you know everything, do not read any further.

Section #1 “I have got to have it NOW”.

KISS’s (Keep, It, Simple, Stupid) too all of you! This is plain and simple information you should know. You may already know it or not or some have forgot it. We lost our page of common sense in the web some place, they say it is in the cloud some place, but it is another sunny day outside and no clouds here, so it is not here.

I have been reading the different threads about the people who have been taken, duped, and stolen from. This has happened to many people on the “Expedition Portal Form”. It is a shame that this has happened! You know that it is your fault and not theirs that you were taken advantage of! You just do not want to admit it was your fault!

Now enough of blaming the thieves! Note; blaming the thieves is easy! Blaming yourself hurts to much so, I will blame others. I am a nice person and would not steal from others, so the world should be the same.

Life is your rose garden. Rose gardens have bushes with thorns on them as well as the beautiful roses.

Why it is your fault!!!

Why you ask is it “your fault”, I paid my money to the builder and got nothing for it but “Lies”?

Taking a look at today’s society, “I have got to have it NOW” attitude. In doing so your putting yourself out on the chopping block. You do not investigate who your giving your money to, then when it disappears you wonder why? It is their fault!

Wait! I did not expect to have it today, tomorrow or next week. I was willing to wait months or years for the trailer.

You were afraid that if you did not order it today someone may get their order in before you and make you wait longer. I have got to have it NOW. I did not have the time to find my cloud or wait for it to form. I gave away my money on a hope and prayer!

BUT, I looked at many brands and manufacturers to see what it was they made. I looked at what they were building and wanted one! I was impressed with what I saw and decided I had to have it. “I have got to have it NOW.”

The person/owner who was building it was very nice.
(The nice sales person would not lie to me, because they were so nice when I talked to them.) I do not know them but I will give then thousands of dollars (they were very nice)!
“I have got to have it NOW.”

You know that these are small start-up companies. They do not have a track record.

Many of these companies are small start up companies. They are starting on a shoestring = no money! They have great ideas, good looking product. They do not have the money to buy the materials so they want to use yours. “I have got to have it NOW.” These people may not have a business background or know about running a business. I will repeat “I do not know them but I will give then thousands of dollars”. “I have got to have it NOW.”

If they need money and have a contracts, they could go to family, friends, banks or investors. I will side step for a moment. (With the possible exception of the family) These people will investigate the person, the plan and the ability to repay the borrowed money. If they do not get the money it is because they are a very high risk of getting their money back. WHY should you risk your money? “I have got to have it NOW.”

I will call this the end of the first section. You know bits and pieces. I expect that I will be slammed by what I have posted here. I have got my big boy pants on, so let it fly. The people who got taken and hurt by the con-artist. They got what they paid for, what they got, they got a “education”. Some readers of those threads will also blame the thieves, so in reading this maybe they can see the whole picture.

Down the road, I do not expect to here from the people who have read this and learned. Why! Well they also learned from the others mistakes and did not have to pay for it.

Years of seeing the TV advertisements of order and getting it in 90 seconds has caused some of this “I have got to have it NOW” feeling. We forget to take out time and make informed decisions.

OK! I lied it took more the 90 seconds to read this. In section #2 I will do it in the 90 seconds.

Additional installments to come.

Da Frenchman
 

FrenchieXJ

Expedition Leader
Section #2
Advice! We are all experts.

Who am I to give out free advice.
I will give you the condensed version. I have been around the off-highway community as a activist since the 1970's. I started many origination's, involved in others, and chairperson on many others for a 20 year span.

In my life I have had the opportunity to start businesses and build them up into profitable companies. After working and watching I learned a lot. The first company I learned a lot. It was my own Construction company. This required at least 3 years in the trade experience (of which I had over 5 years) and passing state tests (this was 2 part tests, one was business law and the other related to the trade you were going into) before getting a state contractors license. I spent my money to go to a private school to learn about the laws/business end of the being a contractor. I was also lucky to have a dad who was a city inspector who was always saying (Do it correctly the first time or do not do it at all”). He was a wealth of information and a banker of my business getting me going. I signed a note and paid interest on the loan, The loan was paid back in less then a year. Every bill and everyone got paid before me.

The business was a big success. I only had to get out of the business because of serious health reasons after 15 years.

I was to young to retire, and for 10 years I had been teaching many people how to drive 4X4 vehicles in my spare time. I did not need to work but I enjoyed sharing the knowledge I had acquired. I got a wild hair to start a full time business teaching people how to drive. 4X4's. I had over 20 years of experience with Jeeps and in some hard core 4X4 clubs. I learned from them as well as a friend who was a WW II Jeep driving instructor.

I built the company up and became a successful well respected educator. The company grew. I had contracts with the federal and state governments, military, international corporations, and everything in between, to the individual recreational user of 4X4 vehicles. I have worked as a mentor helping others get started in their businesses. I was also one of the founders of the I4WDTA.

Then the wife retired and I was told to retire. I had a year with contracts that I needed to competed before shutting the doors.

So what dose this have to do with the trailers? When a person gives you their opinion on a subject what are you getting? Do they have any background in the subject they are talking about or they just spouting off.

Just because a person (as with trailers) can build a good trailer dose not make them a good business person. The builders may not have started out with the idea to rip off the public (customers), but not understanding business they made many mistakes.

I do believe the people who put a large deposit or paid in full the cost of the trailers were at fault. The builder was a good builder but a bad businessman. Giving them money you unknowing became a unwilling investor in a company which failed.

Each state has it’s own set of laws, they will vary from state to state. We have all heard the statement that “Ignorance of the law is NO excuse”. Well I do not know the different states laws for the states in which these situations happened.

Where I had my construction business the state had laws that said you could not collect a deposit of over 10% of the total price of the contract OR $1,000.oo which ever was less. You could get progress payments for material and labor for up to the material and labor you provided to that point.

When the project is completed the customer should also get a “material and labor release” from the contractor. This is signed by the sub-contractors, laborers and material suppliers. This says that they have been paid from the contractor. This has nothing to do with you paying the contractor. If you pay the contractor and he DOSE NOT pay the ones listed above. They have right to get paid and can request, to you, the home owner to get paid. Remember you paid the contractor and he did not pay the other people. They can put a lien on you property. You owe them the money, tough you got the shaft by the contractor. Do your research!

They also have federal laws that they need to follow as well as state laws. Here is one for you. The “Right of Recession Notice” This is a Federal Law. In short it gives you 72 hours in which to cancel a contract you signed. Any monies exchanged must be returned if you change your mind within the 72 hours. This works if a salesperson comes to your house and sells you something. It dose not work if you walk into their place of business and sign a contract. By law you are to have this notice given to you in writing at the transaction signing. If a contract has any other cancellation times it needs to be written in the contract with the way it to be handled and requirements.

Their can be exceptions such as a roof leaking and they need it fixed before the next storm comes in. You sign a wavier that they understanding that they are waving your right to cancel. You fix the roof the next day and they want to cancel the contract after your done (less then the 72 hours). They have signed away their right to cancel.

I am sure if I am way off base the lawyers on this form will chime in. I am not a layer so do not use any legal advice I may give out. Get out your wallet and pay for a real one.

Are the trailer manufacturers a LLC ? This can give them some protection. If fraud is part of the equation, this can change the limits of the personal liability and the business.

I am in no way saying that you should not deal with a small start up company. Just make sure that your only giving up enough money that you are comfortable to loose. This is their business and they should not start if they can not get it up and running on their own.

Some facts that I was taught by my father on starting a business. I will use my construction business as a example though it works for most every business.

Keep it small enough that you can keep a handle on the business.

I had only a couple of people working for me. I was the salesman, foreman, the supervisor and the laborer. At the end of the day, the main things I did was doing paperwork, making sales calls, ordering material, planning out the work for tomorrow and many more items.

Like most people who are contractors they wanted the business to become bigger and big a big company. Against my dads advice I added another crew. Well having another crew I needed to get additional work lined up. I had to get more contracts! Well the jobs I listed above increased the work load on myself. This meant that I had to get a office manager to help with the jobs I had been doing. This is a non- producing job. I am not saying the person is non-producing. Look at it as the workers and myself are doing the job that makes the money so we work and produce the finished product. The office manager is supporting us but not producing income. They are a overhead cost to the business.

The end result is I must complete more jobs to make more money to pay for the office manager. The end result is I put in more time working and ended up with less money. I returned back to the single crew and did much better.

My dad had warned me that he saw many a contractor who had aspirations to become the big company go bankrupt trying to get to the BIG company. I had to try and I saw the problems soon enough that it never hurt me.

I am saying that the business world has to be aligned just right and the timing watched carefully to make it to the next stage. You need the correct people and be able to trust them to make the right decisions for you. Without all of the pieces of the puzzle you will not make it. This was a blessing for me as the next step would have put me stuck in the office and I am a hands on person.

We would all like to start in our garage and be the next “Goggle” or “Face book” of trailer manufacturing business. This is the American way!

Another lie, again not the 90 seconds. As I do this again I am getting better as it is easier to lie this time.

Da Frenchman
 
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vintageracer

To Infinity and Beyond!
I want it NOW and I know EVERYTHING.

Don't believe it?

Just ask me!!!

Excellent business explanations and great advice for all via "Da Frenchman"!

Looking forward to more inspiration to come!
 

FrenchieXJ

Expedition Leader
Section #3
What can I do to be a better consumer (Buyer)?

If you want your money to get what you want, you need to be informed. You need to be a tightwad. You have to think like our ancestors who lived through the “Great Depression”. You may have seen this in the “history books” (computers). The really old generation (old for even me and I am 70 years old). These people learned not to trust banks or anyone selling anything. “I want your product in my hand and after a couple hours (or days) inspection I may buy it”.

Opinion on - We have grown into a society where we want to be protected from our mistakes, laziness, our lack of research. We may not say this out loud but you have thought this.“I want a law to protect me from being responsible for decisions I make.” I also do not want laws to infringe on my rights. Opinion off.

Buyer Beware!” We have heard this maybe once in out life.

There are people who are just compulsive and impulse buyers. I have thoughts about these type of people (is it good or bad?). Maybe I do not understand these type of people. Since I do not understand these type of personalities, I have no opinion!

There are people (and I personally know some) who research the car model that they want to buy, for so long that model is discontinued before they get around to buying it.

Now a personal observation. This is true, because I said so!

The wife wanted to get another vehicle for me. She said Toyota, Tacoma. I said a 4runner is what I would rather have. We vote in our house, being this is a democratic society, free country. We vote and I loose! I ask for a recount and get it. My vote is counted, Speedy (our tortoise), Mister Baby (our bird), Sandi (our dog) and Karens 100 votes are all counted. I lost the vote by 103 for Tacoma and 1 for 4Runner. I conceded that ballet! We then voted about the color Karen “Inferno” me “White”. Votes counted and I lost again just as I did over the heated seats. We got a “Inferno” Tacoma with the convenience package (heated seats).

I know that we have some intelligent people with great ideas and thoughts. I have given some of my thoughts. We all see the same world through different eyes. I would like to here your thoughts as to what we should do to be a better consumer?

Guidelines; Please keep it respectful! Thank you.

I think that today I may have finally got closer to the 90 second post.

Da Frenchman
 

FrenchieXJ

Expedition Leader
I call it the "Yes Dear, Household".

I do not give out martial advice, as it becomes a divorce advice. As long as I say "Yes Dear" we never disagree.

When out shopping, and I hear a women's voice call out, honey, sweety, darling Etc.. I put my right hand in the air and call out "Yes Dear". I am so well trained that it dose not need to be the voice, of which I am very familiar with. I may not be so smart but I am well trained! It is funny to see some of the looks on the woman's face when I respond, I follow up with "I may not be smart but I am well trained!

Just a thought; "The world is nice when we open our eyes".

Da Frenchman
 

old_CWO

Member
Well that was a sort of roundabout way to say "caveat emptor.":)

I find this to be the great irony of our age: We quite literally carry around access to the near sum total of human knowledge in our pocket, yet seem to be more shallowly informed than ever. It's astounding.
 
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FrenchieXJ

Expedition Leader
Hi GhraneTX
"Sounds like our households operate under the same type of democracy. "
I tried to get a admendment to change the Constitution here, but I could not get the votes. 😢


Hi opp,
"You are not very well trained .No wallet in hand"
The moths get car sick when I take them out for a ride. 🦋


Hi old_CWO,
"Well that was a sort of roundabout way to say "caveat emptor.":) "
I almost put in "Caveat Emptor", in but maybe some people may not know what it meant (buyer be ware).
If you have read some of my many post you will see; What other people say in a sentence, I take a book to say the same thing.:giggle:

Da Frenchman
 

FrenchieXJ

Expedition Leader
Section #4 What can we do to be better consumers?

We start with research of the potential company.

The computers and internet can be a big help and a curse at the same time. They can give you information as well as lies.
Doing your home work may save you from a big mistake.
Check to see it the company belongs to any trailer manufacturing associations.
Ask to talk to prior customers and to see photos of them and their built trailer.
If they say that they buy supplies from a certain source check with the source about the builder. Are their bills paid and up to date.

When you get to the point that you feel that you have made a decision who will do the build. It may cost you some time and money, but do a physical trip to the build site. Look and see how much inventor they have in stock. If they have windows, doors and other components in house as stock. You will see they the materials to build additional
trailers. Look at the number of trailers under construction.
Get a time frame for yours to be complected.
Give a reasonable deposit of no more then 10%. With the balance due on delivery.
If at any point they ask for additional money prior to the delivery of the trailer and it is not for a change order that you requested (from the original agreement) you have written into the contract that this is a breach of the contract and you are to be released from the contract and the deposit returned.

Red flags: If the shop dose not have materials for yours or any other builds, Red Flag!
If they do not have cash or can not get credit for their materials. Red Flag!
What ever you discuss Get it in writing! If they do not put every detail in writing Red Flag!
If you have even the smallest doubt in your mind. Red Flag

It is your money if you do not want to protect it, that is up to you!

If a company will not agree to the request above then that is a Big Red Flag! That will not effect them in any way, if they hold up their end of the agreement. They will get the amount they agreed upon.

Food for thought! If they have so much business that the wait time to get your trailer is months or a year out. They do not need to have any more then 10% as a down payment. They have money coming in with profits to cover the Materials, Labor and Overhead. If they can not show a profit and they are that busy, then they do not have the skills to run a business.

Remember; That not all buyers are perfect either. You can have customers hover over the business and calling and interrupting the work it will add to the overhead cost to manufacturing the project. Buyers making changes during the build process, can slow down your build as well as those behind your build.

A good contract and agreed upon project will make the build better for both the builder and buyer.

Da Frenchman
 
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GkraneTX

Active member
Section #3 What can we do to be better consumers?

We start with research of the potential company.

The computers and internet can be a big help and a curse at the same time. They can give you information as well as well as lies.
Doing your home work may save you from a big mistake.
Check to see it the company belongs to any trailer manufacturing associations.
Ask to talk to prior customers and to see photos of them and their built trailer.
If they say that they buy supplies from a certain source check with the source about the builder. Are their bills paid and up to date.

When you get to the point that you feel that you have made a decision who will do the build. It may cost you some time and money, but do a physical trip to the build site. Look and see how much inventor they have in stock. If they have windows, doors and other components in house as stock. You will see they the materials to build additional
trailers. Look at the number of trailers under construction.
Get a time frame for yours to be complected.
Give a reasonable deposit of no more then 10%. With the balance due on delivery.
If at any point they ask for additional money prior to the delivery of the trailer and it is not for a change order that you requested (from the original agreement) you have written into the contract that this is a breach of the contract and you are to be released from the contract and the deposit returned.

Red flags: If the shop dose not have materials for yours or any other builds, Red Flag!
If they do not have cash or can not get credit for their materials. Red Flag!
What ever you discuss Get it in writing! If they do not put every detail in writing Red Flag!
If you have even the smallest doubt in your mind. Red Flag

It is your money if you do not want to protect it, that is up to you!

If a company will not agree to the request above then that is a Big Red Flag! That will not effect them in any way, if they hold up their end of the agreement. They will get the amount they agreed upon.

Food for thought! If they have so much business that the wait time to get your trailer is months or a year out. They do not need to have any more then 10% as a down payment. They have money coming in with profits to cover the Materials, Labor and Overhead. If they can not show a profit and they are that busy, then they do not have the skills to run a business.

Remember; That not all buyers are perfect either. You can have customers hover over the business and calling and interrupting the work it will add to the overhead cost to manufacturing the project. Buyers making changes during the build process, can slow down your build as well as those behind your build.

A good contract and agreed upon project will make the build better for both the builder and buyer.

Da Frenchman
I think 10% deposit is a very reasonable amount. Shelling out an unprotected 15K or 50% deposit seems ludicrous but appears to be the norm. The main driver for this I would imagine is that orders keep getting placed by customers who are willing to lay out the 50% deposit. This is sort of an unprecedented business practice that is unique to this industry. If standard deposits became the norm and orders started drying up due to the deposit policy it would force these companies to adhere to better standard business practices. This would be better for the consumer and the future financial strength of the company. I for one wouldn't put any deposit down that couldnt be done with my credit card.
 

shade

Well-known member
I put a 10% deposit on a GFC camper, with the balance due at pickup. It cost considerably less than many offroad trailers, but it was still a fair chunk of money to me. I did all the research I could, and even though I was satisfied that I wasn't throwing my money away, I knew that buying from a startup meant I could lose the money.

Other than the completion date slipping two months, everything went well. I was given a tour of the facility, and it was clear that GFC was doing things right on the floor. I could only assume that they had the office in order, too. I don't know how things stand with the company today, other than them having many months of back orders to fill. That can be a good thing for the stability of a company, but it doesn't guarantee that there aren't problems behind the scenes. Looking back, I wouldn't have paid 50% or more without something concrete to show for it, but I can understand the temptation.

The Frenchman knows what he's talking about, and I'd like to see changes in the financial side of this industry. It will be good for customers and businesses to get away from the current model. It's just too easy for operations to spin out of control, especially if the leadership of a company is heavy on fabrication skills, but lacks business experience. While I'm sure some outright scams are in play, I believe most of these failures don't begin with bad intentions. Not everyone can run a business, just as some people can't weld. At least with welding, you can usually grind it all out and try again. Unfortunately, it only takes a few bad decisions to set a course for bankruptcy. At some point, it can become impossible to turn that ship around.
 

Bayou Boy

Adventurer
As you pay down that amount may not be covered .If they can drag the time you may louse That what one family has done and will do again.
I had a conversation with my merchant account representative last week due to opening a new account for a new business. Current CC policies allow chargeback up to 180 days AFTER the end of a contract. If you put a deposit on a credit card, make sure the contract has a final date for delivery or something to extend the time that you can recoup your funds.
 
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