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.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.
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.He was basically building a camper like a high performance sailboat. Huge tooling costs and large manual labor costs.
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.… I don't believe it's hard to get good workers either; not if you pay and treat them well. …
... 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.
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.Finding skilled composits builders in the foothills is near impossible especially if your shop isn’t constantly doing projects ie employing the skilled labor
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.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."
Marc actually had upwards of 24,000 sq ft in Grass Valley. The 17,000 in Colfax is the new business.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.
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.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.
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.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?