PJ's Camper Van: I'm Going Commercial - Ford Transit USA Forum
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post #1 of 45 (permalink) Old 04-23-2017, 01:36:PM Thread Starter
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PJ's Camper Van: I'm Going Commercial

I've decided to turn my Transit Camper Van into a business! I'm not the first person to build a camper van and have this thought, but, as any of you that have read my earlier posts might have guessed, my version is going to be a bit different...

To kickstart the business, I'm going to sell 5 vans at a very, very steep discount on Kickstarter. You can read all about the van, the business and the Kickstarter campaign on my new website, http://www.modvans.com. I get that most people on this forum are more interested in building a camper van than buying one, but I appreciate the help and camaraderie I've found here on this forum - I thought maybe some of you would be interested to see what happens with this business, maybe get involved (see below) or maybe know somebody that wants a camper van but doesn't have the time or finances to build one. (One significant benefit to buying a commercially built camper van is that you can finance the entire amount for up to 20 years and potentially take a tax write-off on the interest.)

I'm also looking for people interested in building and running the business. If you think camper vans and/or a cool, local business based in Ventura, CA might be your passion, let me know and we will figure out what that looks like together.

PJ
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post #2 of 45 (permalink) Old 04-23-2017, 02:48:PM
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Hmm, you make that look pretty appealing. I'm not sure you can really make money at this (time being money, and all), but, I wish you luck. And: insurance and liability issues?

I remember when you posted that flip up slider window. You have shown it as a prototype. Have you really perfected and produced that design?

Couple of notes on the pricing comparison page: Not sure how the Sportsmobile fails to rate "high end aesthetic (proper spelling) design" in comparison to CV1. Typo on Airstream "Web bath". Not sure you can claim with certainty that your design is "HOA compatible," since HOAs vary, and there may be some with strange provisions that would manage to exclude CV1.

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post #3 of 45 (permalink) Old 04-23-2017, 04:20:PM Thread Starter
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Hmm, you make that look pretty appealing. I'm not sure you can really make money at this (time being money, and all), but, I wish you luck. And: insurance and liability issues?

I remember when you posted that flip up slider window. You have shown it as a prototype. Have you really perfected and produced that design?

Couple of notes on the pricing comparison page: Not sure how the Sportsmobile fails to rate "high end aesthetic (proper spelling) design" in comparison to CV1. Typo on Airstream "Web bath". Not sure you can claim with certainty that your design is "HOA compatible," since HOAs vary, and there may be some with strange provisions that would manage to exclude CV1.
Thanks for the feedback and careful eye! I will fix these issues and adjust the wording.

My window works great. No leaks, no noises, but some of the cosmetics need adjusting. I have a plan and suppliers lined up.
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post #4 of 45 (permalink) Old 04-23-2017, 09:23:PM
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Love the scenery in your van pics. But then again, that is my backyard

Good luck with the venture.
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post #5 of 45 (permalink) Old 04-23-2017, 10:13:PM Thread Starter
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Love the scenery in your van pics. But then again, that is my backyard

Good luck with the venture.
Thanks! Yeah, the east side is amazing: Epic snowboarding in Mammoth, then drive 30 minutes to rock climbing, off-roading and fishing in Bishop. Did you see the pic on bottom of the home page? You might have to scroll up to see it. That is one my my all time favorites, but it is below the other pics because it doesn't show the van. It is just basically a random shot I took with my old phone though the windshield on the way up to the Buttermilk boulders East of Bishop. In trying to get a similar view in other locations, it turns out that shot isn't as easy as it looks - it is hard to avoid seeing the windshield, dirt on the windshield, etc.. Some of the other pics are: Middle of a dry lake near Joshua Tree, Oceanside RV camping north of Ventura and the parking lot at an RV show in Indo. The pic with the snow outside the passenger window is me testing my new insulation at 5F in the Mammoth village parking lot in the middle of a blizzard.

I still have 2 more Mammoth tickets, so I'll be headed back up that way soon. I'll try and remember to send you a message and see if we can meet up!
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post #6 of 45 (permalink) Old 04-23-2017, 10:56:PM
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Thanks! Yeah, the east side is amazing: Epic snowboarding in Mammoth, then drive 30 minutes to rock climbing, off-roading and fishing in Bishop. Did you see the pic on bottom of the home page? You might have to scroll up to see it. That is one my my all time favorites, but it is below the other pics because it doesn't show the van. It is just basically a random shot I took with my old phone though the windshield on the way up to the Buttermilk boulders East of Bishop. In trying to get a similar view in other locations, it turns out that shot isn't as easy as it looks - it is hard to avoid seeing the windshield, dirt on the windshield, etc.. Some of the other pics are: Middle of a dry lake near Joshua Tree, Oceanside RV camping north of Ventura and the parking lot at an RV show in Indo. The pic with the snow outside the passenger window is me testing my new insulation at 5F in the Mammoth village parking lot in the middle of a blizzard.

I still have 2 more Mammoth tickets, so I'll be headed back up that way soon. I'll try and remember to send you a message and see if we can meet up!
I missed that shot going up Line St/168. It is a great photo and maybe only 2-3 miles from our house. We can see Mt. Tom from our kitchen window.

Let me know when you come up. Would love to check out the van. Mammoth is now talking about staying open until August.
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post #7 of 45 (permalink) Old 04-23-2017, 11:30:PM
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Most commercial campervans are complete crap regarding use of materials and design aesthetics. Many look just like the oak paneling and standard kitchen hardware from Winnebagos of the 1970's and 80's. I'm actually surprised they don't feature orange shag rugs. I mean, really, OAK in this day and age?! And those conversion van companies (Sherrod etc.) seem like they're stuck in the 80's and 90's, making "executive coaches" that would be perfect on the set of American Psycho. The only innovative things I've seen are on DIY jobs.

THUS; there IS a market for actual contemporary campervans. I think making components that people could install themselves would be a good business model, with the option of complete or partial installation for those who don't or can't install for themselves. Kitchen unit, bathroom unit, sleeping/seating unit.

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post #8 of 45 (permalink) Old 04-24-2017, 12:49:AM Thread Starter
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Most commercial campervans are complete crap regarding use of materials and design aesthetics. Many look just like the oak paneling and standard kitchen hardware from Winnebagos of the 1970's and 80's. I'm actually surprised they don't feature orange shag rugs. I mean, really, OAK in this day and age?! And those conversion van companies (Sherrod etc.) seem like they're stuck in the 80's and 90's, making "executive coaches" that would be perfect on the set of American Psycho. The only innovative things I've seen are on DIY jobs.

THUS; there IS a market for actual contemporary campervans. I think making components that people could install themselves would be a good business model, with the option of complete or partial installation for those who don't or can't install for themselves. Kitchen unit, bathroom unit, sleeping/seating unit.
Well, that makes at least two of us!

There is a market in Europe and Australia for self installed camper van components. But, they also have a lot more vacation time than a typical American family, so a market there is no guarantee of one here. I will probably sell components to those that want them. I've also spoken to a few people about offering their related products for sale. For example, I met a guy that is building a shower out of modern, lightweight materials, that folds up into the wall like a day bed.
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post #9 of 45 (permalink) Old 04-24-2017, 06:44:PM Thread Starter
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Not sure how the Sportsmobile fails to rate "high end aesthetic (proper spelling) design" in comparison to CV1. Typo on Airstream "Web bath". Not sure you can claim with certainty that your design is "HOA compatible," since HOAs vary, and there may be some with strange provisions that would manage to exclude CV1.
I'm not a fan of old school, laminated particleboard and button covered upholstery interiors, so that is what I am I trying to get at by "high end aesthetic design". I realize that some people love this look and I also realize that my current CV1 prototype photos probably don't make my "design aesthetic" plans obvious, but I do have a design in mind that, I hope once fully realized, will appeal to those of us that prefer modern, clean lines over a more traditional look. I guess that is a long way of saying, I corrected the spelling mistake, but I think I'm going to leave this comparison in for now.

I fixed the "web bath" typo, put in some clarification in the notes regarding HOA compatibility and fixed a very annoying Android compatibility bug.

Thanks again!
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post #10 of 45 (permalink) Old 04-24-2017, 07:45:PM
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Congratulations and we wish you much success with your new venture. We would be honored to have you join the elite list of van builders we serve with Thinsulate(TM) insulation and our other engineered components. So you can concentrate on the design, look and features that will attract your customers.
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