If you own an RV, chances are you have an opinion on Camping World. If you happen to like shopping as locally as possible, maybe you’ve bypassed them for smaller retailers in your travels.
Camping World is one of the biggest RV sales companies in the United States. Google the subject, and they’re the first company that pops up. But biggest doesn’t always mean best. Their business has been under scrutiny by the public in recent years.
Yet stockholders tend to do well in the long term.
Join us as we reveal what 100+ RVers think about the company.
Let’s check it out!
What Is Camping World?
Camping World is a corporation specializing in the sale of RVs and RV accessories. Motorhome owners can visit 100 locations nationwide to get repairs or renovations. Some Camping World sites also offer technicians who can come to you. Products and vehicle parts can be purchased online and in local stores. And if you’re in the market for a boat, Camping World sells them too!
Camping World started in 1966 as one store in Kentucky’s Beech Bend Park Campground. Owner David Garvin took notice of his shop’s booming demand and maintained a healthy mailing list of customers.
Over the following decades, Garvin opened shops across the country. Good Sam Enterprises bought the company in 1997 and continued its expansion. In addition to 180 stores nationwide, Camping World owns holdings in several other companies, such as Gander Outdoors and Erewon Mountain Outfitters.
The company’s success also led to major auto racing, baseball, and football sponsorship deals.
Despite this massive financial success, opinions about Camping World range widely. Most outdoor enthusiasts can get almost anything they need for camping, driving, fishing, and even fitness. But the company has earned more than your average amount of dissatisfied customers.
What Are People’s Opinions of Camping World?
We posed this question on our Facebook page to hear straight from our readers. Opinions on Camping World varied. That said, there are several themes running through our thread.
Many Drivin’ And Vibin’ readers like to shop for accessories at Camping World, but that’s as far as they’ll go. “Will buy parts or accessories there if necessary, but will NEVER buy RV or let them work on my RV,” says John H. “It is a great place to find unique items,” says Linda K. “They are pricey, but then any specialty store typically is.”
Others like Lisa C. and Mark H. say the stores are a good place to stop for clean and safe bathrooms. Several readers find it fun to window shop. However, many end up looking for cheaper deals online or once they get home.
Poor Ratings for RV Sales and Maintenance
But if you’re considering buying an RV, our readers tend to advise shopping elsewhere. Though, some readers like Paul M. and Off Grid have had decent RV purchase experiences. Other than that, many folks echoed Dave KG’s opinion: “Run from them as fast as you can!” And Jennifer H. says, “It’s the Walmart of camping.”
Additional complaints stemmed from poor customer service and maintenance workers who don’t seem to know their products. “Walked around Birmingham’s store…and never got a may I help you from anyone,” says Jason K. According to Chip H., the “service Department is slow, expensive, and misleading.”
Camping World opinions on our Facebook page make the local stores seem like decent places to stop on the road. Buy an accessory, use the toilet, and off you go.
Sure, some folks have had great experiences in their local shops. And Camping World has many great individuals working for them.
But as Katherine H. says, “they seem to go out of their way to be cheap and profit focused.”
Who Is Marcus Lemonis?
Marcus Lemonis is the CEO of Camping World and several of its subsidiaries. He owns almost half of the company’s stocks and serves as board chairman. Lemonis is also the star of the smash CNBC reality show The Profit. During its eight-season run, Lemonis serves up tough love to failing small businesses to give them a fighting chance at success.
Born in Beirut, Lebanon, Lemonis was orphaned shortly after his birth in 1973. He was adopted and raised in Miami by Sophia and Leo Lemonis. After college, Marcus quickly took to the automotive industry.
Lemonis rose through the ranks at Camping World and has a net worth of around $500 million. Although he earns income as CEO of several other companies, most of his wealth comes from Camping World.
Lemonis runs a free online business learning center for struggling entrepreneurs. He also dabbles in philanthropic endeavors, such as his Lemon-AID Foundation for minority-owned business people. In 2022, he donated $15 million to Marquette University to create a learning center geared toward student success.
Has Anyone Sued Camping World?
Unfortunately, these generous donations may have come a little too late to save Lemonis’ reputation. His cutthroat and questionable business tactics earned him the nickname ‘vulture capitalist.’ The website called Victims of Marcus Lemonis and a similar Facebook group launched in November 2020.
As with any online group, the conversations need to be taken with a grain of salt. Many times these groups act as a therapeutic way for people to release their pent-up anger.
Additionally, Forbes, Business Wire, and Inc. Magazine point to numerous lawsuits against Lemonis by former employees, business partners, and customers of Camping World. One example is the recent suit against Camping World by plaintiff Michael Jones.
According to Jones, allegedly his 2021 Heartland travel trailer arrived defective and spent 200 days in the shop at Camping World. The company stated they did repairs when they did not. Or the repairs were deficient. Jones believes they knowingly sold him a faulty product.
Is Camping World a Bad Company?
We hate to call any company with thousands of employees bad. But from customer and employee reviews, Camping World clearly has some problems to overcome. Two stars are the average rating.
Part of this low rating could likely be a response to the overwhelming RV boom that happen for 24 months straight. It’s hard to keep customers, suppliers, and employees happy when you can’t run your business due to supply chain issues and a tight job market.
In our research, we’ve learned that multiple complaints have been issued against the company due to poor product quality. Employee reviews on the Indeed website repeatedly cite poor management and a less-than-healthy work culture. Opinions on Camping World make it seem like profit has stood in the way of quality for far too long.
Although CEO Marcus Lemonis knows a lot about business, his practices may not be suited for the current times. Testimonials from employees about him point to an alpha-male kind of leadership that may have been prime in the 90s but not now.
That said, everyone has their good and bad sides.
Some people have had great experiences with Camping World and have been returning customers for over 20 years. And Lemonis seems to be doing more charitable deeds as time goes on. We’ll have to wait and see if opinions on Camping World become more positive in the future.
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