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Old 03-04-2004, 08:37 PM   #1
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custom A/S cabinets

I have a custom cabinet shop located in Southwest Missouri. In the early nineties I built and sold cabinets to a high end custom horse trailer manufacturer in the area. Is there a need for medium to high end custom cabinets and interior components for A/S or Argosy trailers? I have been thinking over the past few years about offering this type of service if there was a sufficient need for it. I have done some custom interiors for large sailboats and houseboats around the area lakes but the problems of working at the marinas is difficult and makes the overall project very expensive. I had thought about doing a custom set of cabinets for my 73 Argosy before I sold it but couldn't bring myself to tear out a pristine set of original cabinets just to make the patterns and templates. If anyone has any thoughts on this subject I would like to hear them. Thanks
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Old 03-04-2004, 11:31 PM   #2
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Husky without a doubt there are some who would pay to have the upgraded cabinetry. BUT I don't think there would be enough to sustain a viable business addition. Many of the folks who would be customers will live too far from you to bring it by. Many more of them will not be interested in install their own that you have shipped. Then there is the measuring problem. An amateur is bound to get something wrong, and along come the headaches to you when they complain that something doesn't fit.
The kitchen sink base cabinet unit is the most likely IMHO to be sold. Perhaps a mail order unit could be figured out on it but I just dont know what volume to even guess.
Go to this link and see what another cabinet man on these forums did for himself. (look at all his cabinet photos)

I think Sneakinup did a whale of a design and build out . I might order same if there were instructions enough to do the reface upfit by a peudo-novice. However if I was going to make the shell look that good I would want the innards improved too. maybe a turntable and more of a vermin proofed cabinet area. The latter would be a nightmare of design due to the open floor under cabinet for water pump and freshwater tank drain valves etc, not to mention the under counter furnace being tucked in there also.
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Old 03-05-2004, 04:14 AM   #3
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I have to agree with Jaco on this one. Generally speaking (and I mean generally) the way I see it is there are 2 types of individuals that purchase Airstreams. The 1st type purchases vintage units because they enjoy the savings up front and don't mind investing their time, effort and $. This do-it-yourself individual isn't likely interested in paying $ for something they enjoy doing themselves. And besides, the vintage models are more desireable in original condition so the existing cabinets are at best, refurbished. The 2nd type of individual enjoys the maintenance and upkeep of an RV, but considers their time too valuable to be polishing, overhauling and restoring an older model so they spend $ up front and purchase newer. The extra $ affords them newer cabinets and a floor plan they are pleased with so, again, I don't see a market for customized cabinets. Having said that, I do see a small group of individuals who purchase inexpensive models in need of a complete overhaul. The interiors are often gutted and the trailer is entirely customized. If these units are to be used commercially, then there may be a market for contracting your services. But you would certainly be required to specialize in the complete remodelling of these units and would therefore need to represent yourself accordingly. ie. An interior RV design expert.


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Old 03-05-2004, 06:34 AM   #4
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I agree with BBB, but there are individuals who buy old and then have the major repairs done by someone else, so I wouldn't write it off completely. How many AS dealers in your area? Any big into restoration (or getting into restoration, even better)? Partnering with one could save them a lot of investment in equipment and experience.

I would also look past Airstream. GMC is another rv that is often restored for some big $$, don't limit yourself too narrowly. The early diesel pushers are getting to be nearly 15 years old and still $25,000+. The chassis and engines on these will outlast the interiors, another potential market.

I would find it hard to believe anyone could make a living off making curtains for Airstreams, but James Ambrose does it.

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Old 03-05-2004, 06:36 AM   #5
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I believe there is a demand for such a service. It would be interesting to know the dollar volume of Inland RV's customizing services each year. However, like most business your problem is going to be marketing and fulfilment. Here in SW Mo., we are far from anything like the epicenter of Airstream consciousness, and given the compound curves I don't see how it is possible to build cabinets without having the coach on hand. Are people going to travel from Florida and California to get cabinets rebuilt or customized? I don't know.

Please check your pm box.

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