XPCamper goes out of business, files for bankruptcy?

calicamper

Expedition Leader
I have been friends with Mark for a long time and saw his operations grew from an idea on a board in his attic. One thing that was surprising to me is the insane amount of manual labor that was required to build each one of these campers. I never realized that fiberglass work was so hard. Mark has lost of lot in this venture (both personally and financially).

That probably explains why the Bigfoot camper shells have not changed in like 30 years.
He was basically building a camper like a high performance sailboat. Huge tooling costs and large manual labor costs. Its sad to hear I knew him in passing via the sail boat circuit. Very nice guy and very passionate about composit construction. Building high priced toys is never a easy way to make a living.
 
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rruff

Explorer
He was basically building a camper like a high performance sailboat. Huge tooling costs and large manual labor costs.
Yes, but this should have been realized long ago, and the cost of the product was certainly reflected in the price. I don't believe it's hard to get good workers either; not if you pay and treat them well. By all accounts the company was quite successful in the beginning. I suspect personal issues and poor business have a lot to do with its demise. The product niche is an excellent one to be in... top quality toys for those who can afford the best.
 

s.e.charles

Well-known member
… I don't believe it's hard to get good workers either; not if you pay and treat them well. …
i don't agree that it isn't a challenge, but i hear this everyday. at the same time (i live in an area with about 50% second-homes - many over 1.5 m) SOMEONE must be building all the high end stuff which infiltrates every pore of our being. i understand "kids" aren't getting into the trades in droves, but for a six-figure camper i sure don't want something built by kids anyway.
 

calicamper

Expedition Leader
Finding skilled composits builders in the foothills is near impossible especially if your shop isn’t constantly doing projects ie employing the skilled labor

The only small composites shops I know of specialize in racing sailboats and take on odd ball side jobs to keep the lights on. Campers are a super super narrow tiny market and scattered sll over. Vs say 100’s of racing sailboats between SF bay and Southern CA.
 

s.e.charles

Well-known member
... Campers are a super super narrow tiny market …

I agree; therein lies the "rub". they are not necessary for everyday life. Felicity Huffman would not go to jail for trying to jump position in line for a custom camper pod.

the turn of events does indeed suck for those who had committed to the purchase. even worse if they need to get their deposit back, most likely in part, before being able to buy an alternate camper.
 

rruff

Explorer
Finding skilled composits builders in the foothills is near impossible especially if your shop isn’t constantly doing projects ie employing the skilled labor
You don't "find" them, you entice them to move there or you hire locally and train. Or you locate your business to where the labor you need *can* be found.

In 2015 he had 20 employees and a 6,000 sqft facility in Grass Valley. Don't know how many employees, but he had a 17,000 sqft facility this year in Colfax. I good way to fail is to try to grow too fast. Too many new products. I've often seen owners who simply can't say no to a potential customer with money in their hand. They take all the deposits they can and worry about delivering later. Not cool.

 

fireball

Explorer
This is obviously hearsay, but there is a huge difference between being a bad businessman, and this right here:

"From my understanding Marc took close to a million dollars from 15 people with no clear plan to perform."

Until I heard that, I was thinking this is a classic case of being good at building campers and bad at business.
 

Steve_382

Active member
From the website:

XPCamper. Now a Be Change brand.
XPCamper ceased operations on June 1, 2019. The assets of the business were purchased in a foreclosure auction by Be Change LLC, and we intend to continue building the world’s finest expedition truck camper from our 17,000 square foot facility in Colfax, California.

 

Steve_382

Active member
And this also:

Contact
XPCamper
Be Change LLC
1213 S Auburn St.
Colfax, CA 95413
You’re welcome to tour our factory.
By appointment please.
Hours:
M-Th 8:00-5:00 Pacific
Judd Newman
President
judd@bechange.com
484.680.3125
 

rruff

Explorer
This is obviously hearsay, but there is a huge difference between being a bad businessman, and this right here:
"From my understanding Marc took close to a million dollars from 15 people with no clear plan to perform."
Having known too well three business owners who operated that way, I believe it has less to do with deception and is more about "dreaming big" and having issues with managing money. One of them actually became quite successful when he did the smart thing and became a partner with someone who was expert at business management.
 

pugslyyy

Expedition Vehicle Engineer Guy
You don't "find" them, you entice them to move there or you hire locally and train. Or you locate your business to where the labor you need *can* be found.

In 2015 he had 20 employees and a 6,000 sqft facility in Grass Valley. Don't know how many employees, but he had a 17,000 sqft facility this year in Colfax. I good way to fail is to try to grow too fast. Too many new products. I've often seen owners who simply can't say no to a potential customer with money in their hand. They take all the deposits they can and worry about delivering later. Not cool.
Marc actually had upwards of 24,000 sq ft in Grass Valley. The 17,000 in Colfax is the new business.

For those people that want a camper built by Marc, I have heard that he is going to be making campers in a new venture in the Phoenix, AZ area. I don't believe he set out to take a bunch of money from people, that's just the way it worked out. :(
 

rruff

Explorer
For those people that want a camper built by Marc, I have heard that he is going to be making campers in a new venture in the Phoenix, AZ area. Sad. I don't believe he set out to take a bunch of money from people, that's just the way it worked out. :(
That sounds familiar too. Sad. I guess all those people who got shafted are out of luck? If all BeChange has is a facility and molds there won't be any campers magically appearing from them.

Let's take a poll... how many would be inclined to give Marc a substantial deposit or payment in advance after this?
 

s.e.charles

Well-known member
That sounds familiar too. Sad. I guess all those people who got shafted are out of luck? If all BeChange has is a facility and molds there won't be any campers magically appearing from them.

Let's take a poll... how many would be inclined to give Marc a substantial deposit or payment in advance after this?
didn't a member here go through this with a jeep a few years ago? the jeep got taken apart and the promises went on forever and finally he got back a rolling chassis & box of parts while the builder boogied with the dough. I think the thread went on for 75 pages and finally got shut down.

start up businesses are great for the starter (sometimes), but the startees are taking a known risk. caveat emptor and all that.
 

jaxyaks

Adventurer
I'll say it again....This will continue to happen over and over again until people stop loaning these companies start up money (Deposits).....as long as people continue to do this...these companies will continue to pop up and disappear. Good intentions mean nothing...
 
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