Dealer Profile: Megamart RV Sales, Vic

Buying a campervan or motorhome is a serious investment and, as a buyer, you want to deal with people who are not only experts in these types of RVs, but are passionate about the lifestyle. Rob McMahon, owner of Megamart RV Sales in Pakenham just outside Melbourne, is a ‘been there, done that’ kind of traveller who has sold the KEA brand for nearly 15 years. We had a chat with him about his business, his favourite KEA model and the kinds of customers he has seen over the years.

How did Megamart RV Sales begin?

I’ve been in the motor vehicle business for 36 years and in 2000 started Berwick Commercials which re- sold ex-government 4WD and commercial vehicles. We shifted focus to Kea’s 4WD and leisure vehicles in 2005.

Why did you decide to branch out and start selling motorhomes?

Having travelled Australia extensively over many years, I thought it was a good idea to do combine work and pleasure. It’s a great area to work in, and it was an extension of what we were doing at the time. Also, not a lot of people were doing it back then, or at least it was a limited market, and at that stage a little bit ahead of its time. Motorhomes and campers were starting to kick off in the early 2000s.

You’re the one of the biggest dealers in Victoria — how did you know demand was rising?

We could see a demand for it and KEA was a great supply chain of different vehicle types. Once we started dealing with the campers and motorhomes specifically they attracted their own clientele and it grew from there.

How many people are in your team?

We have eight people who work across sales, administration and marketing. All of our service is outsourced so we are still a small family-run business.

What kinds of people buy motorhomes and why?

A lot of people are on a journey in life and looking for the next experience or going through a life change — maybe a partner has passed away or they are trying to do something they have wanted to do all their lives and they are retiring. We get a lot of families too doing the so-called ‘lap of Australia’.

Has that changed over the years?

It’s all really similar. But 25 per cent of our customers are now single females — a really gutsy segment of the community that these girls are, later in life, packing up and getting in a motorhome and going. They are great to deal with and they normally have a pretty big story to tell. They are packing up and leaving and having a life change. It’s no different to a sea change or a tree change. It’s a motorhome change.

Best part about selling motorhomes?

We do get to meet a lot of people that have a fascinating story to tell — why are you packing up and doing this? Motorhome owners travel for a long, long time whereas with caravan people it is generally a holiday thing. For a lot of people a motorhome is their new home — they are giving up the bricks and mortar are hitting the road and seeing where it takes them.

How do you help people to find the right vehicle?

With a few direct questions — what’s your budget, how many beds do you need and how many people are travelling. You can narrow it down very quickly and present what we have that suits. We walk them through the design and see if we can get them to cast aside their preconceptions and show them what you can do with a limited amount of space.

What kinds of budgets do buyers have, in your experience?

The new buyer is the retired-cashed up type looking to spend $150,000 to $200,000 or more — they won’t blink because it’s a lot less than what they got for their apartment or house they just sold. There are people in the middle range which is really popular, and then you have the folks who are sub $50,000. We therefore cater to all buyers and budgets.

KEA motorhomes are ex-rental models, what are their major selling points?

KEA motorhomes are a far more affordable niche than what else is available on the market. They are up to five years old usually, mid-kilometres with cosmetic bumps, bruises and scratches but they are half price. They are well looked after — they have to be. The build quality is so good that everything holds together really well. The rental fleet will show up any faults really quickly — they are tried and tested. The on-fleet service and maintenance is second to none. And they are family-friendly and hold their resale value.

Are customers worried about buying a secondhand model?

Coming from the rental market may initially diminish the appeal of the vehicles in the customer’s eyes but we walk them through how well they are serviced and maintained. Plus customers are not often aware that the vehicles have an onboard computer system called Telematics that controls how the vehicles are driven — this includes a speed limiter. People who rent the vehicles are not being reckless and doing ‘doughnuts’ in them — they are cruising along and enjoying the countryside.

What’s your favourite KEA model?

We have a fleet of a four-berth VW Crafter-based model called the Beach. They are around $60,000 to $65,000 and have a fantastic layout. It is a well-priced, economical motorhome that can do everything that a motorhome priced up to $100,000 can do.

They are one of our best buys. Do you have any favourite travel spots?

Yes and they are all secret! As soon as it goes on Instagram it is ruined. I do walk the walk and talk the talk — I have been there, got bogged there and done that. It’s a great conversation piece bringing the campfire to the dealership but it is pretty hard to find a place out there now that you can have to yourself. You wouldn’t want to let it go.

Future travel plans?

We are lining up to do the Canning Stock Route and that is 4WD. I’d also love to do the coast of Western Australia again — I reckon it won’t have changed much since the 1980s! And we would do that in a motorhome. Anywhere there are no flies would be good!