Call it a sixth sense. Call it just dumb luck. All through this whole adventure, Stan had a deep rooted feeling that we were destined to buy the Duchess. As many times as we discussed its purchase and the trials and tribulations of going to Texas, buying it and importing it into Canada, there never seemed to be any real question about whether we SHOULD do it or not. The assumption, the underlying belief was that we were destined to.
If you don't believe in that sort of malarkey, so be it. It really doesn't matter. But, this isn't the first time we've had these "feelings," and they've ALWAYS turned out to be to our overwhelming advantage.
It would be difficult to understand how you couldn't find the RV of your dreams already in Canada, especially since so many are parked on dealers' lots with big "For Sale" signs pasted all over them. However, there is always a chance that you will find one make or model that isn't available that you've just got to have. Or, as in our case, you have special needs and are having difficulty finding a unit that meets them here in the motherland.
But price is a different matter. Quantity speaks. Volumes! Often, the larger US dealerships can sell more RVs in a month than their smaller Canadian cousins can all year, and therefore they can command lower prices from their suppliers. Which, given a little encouragement, they can pass on to their cross-border shoppers. There are other reasons why a Canadian may be able to buy a unit in the USA for considerably less than in Canada, lower shipping expenses incurred by the dealer being an example. In that case, you (the importer) must pay for bringing it through Customs and an additional 2,000 miles in gas or diesel that you must figure into the final price. But you're not paying someone the big bucks to do it for you, or their return airfare. That alone may save a thousand dollars.
Dealers, while generally being nice guys and gals, are still business people after all is said and done. And, when you walk onto their lot, you can bet they'll use every trick in the book to try to separate you from as much of your cash as possible. If they gave their RVs away, they would have lost all their sales staff within about the first 10 minutes, and be bankrupt by the end of the month. Thus, when you seriously start talking about buying an RV you need as much additional leverage as possible to balance their efforts. All's fair in love, war and RV buying!
Because of the much greater market across the border (Perhaps as much as TEN times larger than the Canadian market!) there is a commensurately larger possibility that you'll find a really exceptional deal, one that will allow you to save a bundle even after you factor in all the peripheral expenses.
There are a few people who are exceptionally shrewd business people, who have the knowledge and experience and who can occasionally find really good deals, import an RV and resell it quickly enough to actually make some money on the deal. When you're dealing with amounts of money equal to two, three or more times your yearly salary it's really risky. One badly thought through deal and you may end up with a white elephant on your hands AND a back-breaking mortgage to boot! DON'T QUIT YOUR DAY JOB!
Why wouldn't you want to try importing an RV from the States? Lots of reasons. Among them are:
We were incredibly lucky. Every aspect fell into place, almost with the accuracy of a well built clock. Oh, yes, there were snags, but considering what COULD HAVE gone wrong, they were almost irrelevant.
For example, we found the motorhome of our dreams at a truly great price. We got a mortgage without a major problem (but don't forget the Land Titles Office), and it came through just in the nick of time. (But don't forget the problem with the cheques from the bank.) The trip to Texas went beautifully (in spite of the archy the cockroach and the "Gypsy" problems). The car rental went well in spite of an incompetent clerk. Mrs. Smith was NOT a con artist looking for a gullible mark. And it goes on and on and on...
Be forewarned! The chances are fairly good that you won't be so lucky. There are a lot of details that could have gone terribly wrong. If our experience is any indicator, when you try it you're likely to run into some serious stumbling block. Be forever watchful. Be prepared.
Would we do it again? Possibly. Again, if we wanted to buy another RV, couldn't find what we wanted at the price we wanted in Canada and did find the RV of our dreams in the USA, quite possibly indeed.
Would we do it the same way? Probably not. We have learned to be a lot more careful. A little more skepticism would have been a healthy thing. We were lucky. Incredibly lucky.
Would we recommend that you try it? EMPHATICALLY NOT! However, we offer this story so that you can make an informed choice with your eyes wide open. And if you decide to risk your time, effort and money we'll be glad to offer opinions or exchange war stories in an effort to help you. Just select here.
Click the "BACK" button to return to the page from which you came.
Jump to the top of this page.
Back to the "game plan" webpage.
Jump to the Motorhome webpage.
Jump to the Spiders, Calgary webpage.
Jump to the Index and Table of Contents for this website.
Communicating with the authors is easy. Just select here.
Copyright © 2004, Stanley A. Schultz and Marguerite J. Schultz.
Select here for additional copyright information.
This page was initially created on 2004-March-22.
The last revision occurred on 2005-December-19.