Ever since we had the RV Mobile Repair Guy come out and look at the hot water heater, we’ve been curious about what it takes to become an Airstream mobile repair person. As far as we knew, there weren’t any Airstream specific mobile mechanics out there….then we heard about Troy Guinnip. First, Troy has the best name ever for an RV repair service: Repairstream. Second, he owns an Airstream himself– a 2005 Safari Bunkhouse, so he’s very familiar with them.
We were interested in how Troy got into this business, so we asked him.
Hey Troy, what did you do before you started Repairstream?
I have loved Airstreams since I was a little boy. I was drawn to their appearance and the nostalgia. As an adult, I was running my own business in the health food industry when circumstances outside of my control forced my wife and I to close down our stores. At 40 years old, my wife encouraged me to not go back to the cubical career I had prior to owning our business, but to pursue my dream career. I decided that I wanted to work on Airstreams. To do this, I needed to become an RV Technician.
So, what kind of training do you have?
I packed up my bags and headed to Florida for 3 months to attend the RV Training Center. Upon graduation, I accepted at position as an RV Technician at an Airstream dealership near St. Louis. My wife and I commonly referred to it as my “paid internship.” The goal was to work there to gain experience in the industry. I jumped at every chance to work on Airstreams and even attended an Airstream Service Technician training at the Airstream factory in Jackson Center, OH. I have training in Zip Dee Awnings, and I am a Registered and Certified RV Technician by the RVDA and RVIA. Now, I am pleased to be starting my own mobile tech business working on all types of RV’s and specializing in Airstreams.
How are Airstreams different in the repair category than other RVs?
(I think this is important — not all mobile repair companies are equipped to help Airstreams!)
In my experience, many RV technicians do not enjoy working on Airstreams. Airstreams are quite unique from all the other white box trailers, and their sheer appearance can be intimidating. For example, caution must be exercised around the aluminum skin, especially when getting on the roof to make repairs, and there are specific places that an Airstream should be jacked up when working on the underbelly or axles.
What distances will you drive to help out people?
A typical range is within an hour of my shop in Mid-Missouri off I-70; however, I have driven 4 hours one way for a consultation on a used Airstream purchase. If a customer needs some segments replaced from a collision or tree damage, I can work on it at my shop or travel to just about anywhere that makes financial sense to the customer. Within my normal range, there is a flat trip fee. Beyond that range it moves to a per mile rate and daily per diem. Since I have an Airstream, sometimes I even set up shop at a campground and make repairs on-site for several days before we move on to our destination. I try to stay informed of Airstream events around the country so that I can serve Airstreamers when it is most convenient for them.
How do you like your job?
I find that people who travel in RV’s tend to be pleasant, carefree people and are enjoyable to be around. I also enjoy the freedom that this work provides. It is a conduit for us to be able to travel ourselves. Our thoughts and dreams parallel our customers’ experiences. I find joy in a quality repair and a happy camper. Additionally, the RV industry is constantly changing, so it is exciting to see the new technologies and improvements.
What made you want an Airstream?
I’ve always been drawn to the aesthetic beauty, and unique characteristics of the Airstream. They have withstood the test of time for 80 years. They are safer to tow with their low center of gravity and aerodynamic design. Now that I’ve had my nose in a lot of RV’s, top to bottom, front to back, I’ve found that nothing compares to an Airstream in quality, or design. When they are well-cared for, they can last for generations. In addition, The Wally Byam creed is an inspiration to me.
There you have it! Thanks Troy!
Since our Airstream is our primary home, I get really nervous handing it over to just anyone for repairs. I wish there were more folks like Troy out there! If you want to contact Troy, you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 314-749-9579. You can like RV Repairstream on Facebook as well!