Initially, Ray and Susan Chambers purchased their RV for family use. “My husband bought the RV to see his kids,” Susan tells us. “They live in Alabama, and he lives in Georgia. Circumstances make seeing his children very expensive given all the dynamics involved, so he simplified everything by buying an RV.”
The family loves spending time in their RV, so they were happy to share some stories. “Before we decided to rent RVs, we took our family to Pigeon Forge when we got married,” Susan reminisces. “We had so much fun just being a family, playing games, sitting around talking, and exploring the woods around us.”
Wondering why the Chambers chose to rent out their family rig? “We didn’t actually choose to rent our RV,” she explains. “We never even thought of renting until my husband came home and spoke to me about it. People at work were asking to rent his RV so they could travel. However, after some conversation we decided, for the time, it wasn’t a good idea. That’s when we got caught by Murphy’s Law, and we were sort of forced into the business.”
“I lost my job and had no way to help support the family,” Susan recalls. “It was truly a major downer. I had no idea what to do, but my husband wasn’t having it when I mentioned taking any job I could find. Instead, he said, ‘No, we need to understand this is an opportunity and a chance. Right now we have zero to lose.’ So we formed a business, and that was the start of everything. Oddly enough, it’s something we absolutely love doing.”
The Chambers jumped in feet first, got their RV listed on Outdoorsy, and started US RV Adventure.
“There is a learning curve with presenting one’s product and dealing with contracts that will make a person start off a little slow. Once we got past that, we hit the ground running. At the start of last year when COVID hit, we didn’t really know what to expect. However, RV rentals picked up around April and we couldn’t keep up.”
From there, the Chambers’ business grew quickly. “After the business got going, my husband sold all his investments and started expanding our small one-RV show into a fleet of three and growing,” Susan shares.
All that said, the couple did run into some challenges along the way. One of the biggest challenges was finding people to make repairs quickly and properly. “Our RVs would break often,” she confides. “It was hard to find people to repair—mobile or otherwise—and when we did find someone, they were questionable. Because of that, we ended up working on our own RVs so often, we decided to add an RV repair side to our business.
“My husband Ray is pretty handy and an engineer. Given his skill set and prior knowledge, he decided to do the work himself.” Not only that, Ray was eventually officially certified as an RV technician, and the Chambers started offering mobile RV repair services in the local area.
As you might imagine, it is helpful to be able to fix broken RV parts yourself in between rentals, and in this way, the RV repair side of the Chambers’ business has been wonderful. That said, Susan did share some downsides to the addition of an RV repair business. “The RV repair side actually complicates the rental business when one tries to manage them together,” she explains. “Mostly because of scheduling, inventory management, and a slew of other things.” Still, the couple continues to run both, meaning the benefits must outweigh these inconveniences.
To finish, Susan shared what she hoped she and her husband could do for their customers: “We love the RV business. Our mission is to share the love and passion we have for camping and traveling in our RVs with our customers.”
All About Susan
Favorite morning beverage: “Coffee.”
Favorite campsite meal: “Steaks on the grill.”
Music you like to play on the radio: “Stevie Ray Vaughan.”
Best game to play on the road or at your campsite: “Texas Hold ’Em.”
Favorite season: “Fall.”
If you could travel anywhere in an RV, where would you go? “California to wine country, getting my kicks on Route 66 along the way.”