Saturday, July 15, 2017

Working at CanAm and the People That I Meet

Where Are We Today
 (click on pic to enlarge)

Working At CanAm RV and the People That I Meet
Even though I officially retired last year, I do work part time at CanAm RV, if you count doing a lot of talking work. What do I really do? We call it "orientation", when a customer comes to take delivery of a trailer that they have purchased, we show them through it and explain how everything works including a hitch demonstration and test drive. Depending on whether it is their first time buying an RV or not, every customer gets an orientation. Whatever time it takes for them to understand all that we show them is the time we spend with them, there is no time limit.

CanAm RV, a very busy place this year.

I have a good basic knowledge of travel trailers and 5th wheel trailers, but there is always something new to learn and that is one of things that I like about this job. Before I do the orientation, I set the trailer up and go through it myself to make sure that I know where everything is and how it operates. Even then there can be something different and the new owner and I are learning something new. When it comes right down to it, there are only so many manufacturers of RV components but many different models of those components. That's where you need to recognize the different ones and familiarize yourself with them.
There is also a difference in the manufacturers of trailers. How they design each model of their trailers and incorporate each component is interesting. Each year new models come out and new technology in construction and the components becomes available. That is what makes this an ever changing aspect to the job of orientation.
Another part of this job is interacting with the techs, the guys that make sure your purchase has been gone over top to bottom and everything is in working order. There are over 30 techs and parts people that are behind the scenes that you never usually see. They have been a valuable source of information to me in explaining how something works in these trailers and also how to fix, repair and do preventive maintenance on our own 5th wheel. I am also able to learn some things that don't necessarily apply to the orientation, but help me understand certain processes, like how a hitch is installed so that the weight is distributed evenly to make the trailer and tow vehicle ride level.

Hitch Set Up in Progress

Water Heater Repair

Brake Job


There are also the gals that clean the inside of the trailer and the guys that wash the outside before you take delivery. As well, there are the service techs that take your calls and set up service for when you need it, the finance gals, the sales reps, receptionist that you see as soon as you walk in the door and all the people behind the scenes that keep a dealership running. There are over 50 people employed at CanAm.
I have often wished that I had gotten into the business at some capacity when I was younger.
The second half of this post is about the people that I have met, without them; I won't be able to do any of this. Since April when we returned from our winter away, I have done somewhere between 25 & 30 orientations and delivered 4 trailers to parks. Some of these customers are first time buyers, never owned, borrowed, pulled or backed up a trailer and there are those who have had more than one and have many years experience RVing.
I have tried to keep a list all of their names, but you know how that can go. I am now trying to take a picture of them with their purchase so I can remember them that is if they want their picture taken.
Here is a list of some them.
The Harris' and their 2010 Cougar.
The Fitzpatrick's' and their Northern Express
Taube/Smith and their 2016 Vista Cruiser
M. Harvey and her 2016 Airstream Sport
Christian and Reiner and their 1984 Airstream
The Saunders' and their 2017 Mobile suite
The Mudrys' from Albert and their 2017Airstream Flying Cloud
G. Cote and his 2017 Airstream Sport from Quebec
S. Elder from Victoria B.C. and her 2017 Alto.
The Boschs' from Tiverton and their 2015 Element
The Busby's' who asked for me to do their orientation. When I asked them how we knew each other, they replied that they follow our blog post and were not far away from us last winter down south. They have a 2005 Carriage.
The Howitt's and their 2018 Grand Design Solitude
The Grey's and their 2018 Airstream Flying Cloud
The Cadue's and their 2011 Heartland North Trail

The Greys

The Cardues

These are a few of the people who have kept me busy two days a week since we have returned this spring. Some of them, that have come from a distance away, stay overnight in the parking lot in their new purchase, we call this CanAm Camping. As I stay overnight also, we have got to know each other better over a glass of wine and traded stories of our experiences. RVer's are a great group of people who are always willing to lend a hand and share experiences. Thank you to all of you that I have had the pleasure to meet through this job and to all the others I have met along the way.

In closing I would be amiss in not thanking Phil, who I report to, and Andy and Kirk Thompson the owners of CanAm for asking, having the faith in my ability and teaching me new things in this industry.
I know this is long winded, so I thank you for following along. If I have mentioned you and you do follow along, please leave a comment or drop us an e-mail. Until the next time, take care and be safe.


  1. Glad that you enjoy doing the orientations and always meet lotsa of great people. Rv'er's are a very special group of people..
    Have you ever done a factory tour of the Airstream Factory in Jackson Centre Ohio? We did that years ago and loved it so informative. Also the Holiday Rambler factory tour in Indiana was excellent as well.

  2. Thanks Goerge, I do really enjoy it and as proven over and over may time, RVer's are a very special group of people.
    I have not toured either of those factories but would like to someday. I will have to make arrangements with Can Am to set up a tour for me.

  3. With your experience as a Fulltime RVer and passion for RVing that is the perfect job for you to do. It not only gives you the opportunity to learn changing Technologies in the RV World but it allows you to meat and teach that to the people buying their RVs from Can Am. Almost a reversal of your previous job where you worked behind the scene of the education system but you are now the Teacher. Good Job!
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

    1. Thanks Rick and Kathy, I do enjoy it. I have some idea of what it is going to take to repair your RV, not a simple job, for sure.

  4. Great informative post Bill and it sounds like you are cut out perfectly for the job. Always a plus to have an open mind when it comes to learning new things or re-familiarizing oneself with old things. Buying a new or used RV can be a daunting experience for both new and older experienced RV'ers alike. Keep up the good work:))

    1. Thank you Al, yes daunting for sure. Having an open mind, interest in it and wanting to learn about it, sure helps in retaining it. This job is something that I want to do, not something that I have to do, that is the best part.

  5. Great post Bill, it was lovely to meet you the other day. We so very much appreciate how much time you took showing us newbies around our new trailer! It's very evident how much you love the RV lifestyle and the enthusiasm was infectious! Thanks again!
    Christine and Josh Worr

    1. Thank you Christine and Josh, it was my pleasure. I hope you enjoy your new trailer and have many enjoyable camping trips for many years.
      Hope you keep following along both blogs.

  6. Very nice post! Sounds like an interesting job you have! Just curious, the Greys 2018 Airstream is not being pulled by that SUV is it?!

    1. Yes it is. That is one thing about CanAm, they are well known for the match up of tow vehicle and trailer. People come from all over Canada and the U.S. for trailers and hitch work to be done by them.

  7. Just an added note, their SUV is a 2012 Mercedes ML350.

  8. It is legit stunning that you are able to accumulate so much knowledge on the various trailers and equipment that you work with. It sounds like you very much enjoyed working with everybody on the job, and in this day and age, you can't really ask for much more than that!

    German Zollinger @ Total Clean Equip

  9. Thank you German, yes i do enjoy it very much. Accumulating the knowledge is fun and I do my best to remember it. There is always something new or different that comes along to keep things interesting. Thanks for following along.