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Old 03-29-2019, 05:41 AM   #181
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Thomcat316, I wouldn't give up so easily. I think there is a market for do it yourself types. The Snoozy shell construction, which is tops in the industry, and trailer is a good platform to built on. If you are planning just 3-5 a year I think you could easily sell them. Advertising is the key. For reference, I paid $9000 for my Lil Hauley. If you are building the shell your sale price would probably be lower. I would not anticipate any real warranty issues, as long as you reinforce the corners and door area well.
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Old 03-29-2019, 05:47 AM   #182
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I would not plan on a lower price, as the LS model ended up in bankruptcy despite having a war chest of deposits.
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Old 03-29-2019, 07:53 AM   #183
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Outsourcing both shell and frame was the root of Lil Snoozyís demise. It added a layer of cost and left them at the mercy of someone elseís production schedule.

If you brought the shell in-house and switched to a conventional frame, I think the project might be economically feasible. I donít think the market will support a price much over $25K, certainly not over $30K. The chief competitors are the Casita and Escape 17ís.

Adding a propane option would enlarge the potential market. Keeping the DC fridge would set it apart.
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Old 03-29-2019, 08:39 AM   #184
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Outsourcing can work. Pretty much all of the computer makers outsource their manufacturing. Almost every bicycle brand outsources production as well. IMHO the mistake LS made was getting surplus capacity with a boat manufacturer. When the economy improves, excess capacity drops. Given a choice, the boat mfr is going to make his boats first, you will get the left overs. And a boat mfr would not usually have a lot of left over capacity when the economy is strong. RV sales and boat sales both rely on discretionary spending, I would not be surprised if they both increase and drop at the same time. LS needed a contract with guaranteed delivery of a certain number of shells. And then additional shells as needed at a higher price.

Shows how green they were to mfg planning.

If you are taking orders and deposits but don’t have a secure, reliable supply of shells? Disastrous.

I worked in a mfg business where when the economy was slow, we would sell product at incredibly low prices just to keep in business and avoid layoffs. Invariably the economy would come back and those customers were SOL (or could buy at much higher prices).
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Old 03-29-2019, 10:49 AM   #185
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When I signed the contract for my Lil Hauley, Richard told me he was having difficulty getting shells quickly enough. He was considering bringing that process in house. His problem was finding someone who knew how to build them. He certainly had the room. Thomcat316 is a fiberglass shell manufacturer which enables him to control shell manufacturing, the most complex and critical part of the design. I don't think Richard had a problem with Wesco, which produces a very well made welded, hot dipped galvanized trailer. I can't think of a reason why you would want to change the design. To build a shell mounted on a trailer with a door in the back is not nearly as complex as building a complete trailer. If I were to do this I would build Lil Hauleys and include drawings, templates and a list of suggested materials with sources to complete the build, which is where I spent a great deal of time.
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Old 03-29-2019, 11:02 AM   #186
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Production has to keep up or there will be no profit, at least not enough to sustain a business. A business could make $100. per trailer if they could turn out 10 per day. Or they must make $1,000. per trailer if they can only turn out 1 per day, or $10,000, per trailer if they can only make one every 10 days, etc. Expenses continue, but profit is variable. Production produces profit. Profit over time must exceed expenses over time.

When small companies have 6 months to a year wait time, the numbers do not look good at first glance. When deposits on new orders must to be used to support current production, watch out. There is either too little profit, or someone is taking too much of it.

When someone wants to compete with Scamp, for instance, they must find an angle that gives them an advantage in the game Scamp is playing. It can't be efficient production or name recognition, so what is it? Quality, innovative design, color? It has to be something. With LS, it was the design. Same with HC. Same with Oliver.
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Old 03-29-2019, 11:08 AM   #187
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To build a shell mounted on a trailer with a door in the back is not nearly as complex as building a complete trailer.
Yes, that is very practical design. Easy to build, excellent use of space, modular, easy to tow and seemingly, very livable. I really hope someone will pick up the ball and run with it. So many of the LS features just make sense from both a production and use point of view.
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Old 03-29-2019, 11:21 AM   #188
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I would think going into the small travel trailer business would be a mistake if you don't have the capital and don't own the fiberglass molds. By capital I mean big bucks in the bank, don't plan to operate on your buyers money, if you can't take a reasonable deposit ($2000.00) and build them you need to do something else. I personally don't see the Lil Snoozy ever being in production again, the startup cost would be too much for such little profit. All being said the RV business with one little hickey in the economy and you could loose it all right quick. I think there is much more to the Lil Snoozy story then we know, it will come out in the long run, it always does.

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Old 03-29-2019, 02:26 PM   #189
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Quote: I personally don't see the Lil Snoozy ever being in production again, the startup cost would be too much for such little profit.


I concur, I personally wouldn't build Lil Snoozy trailers. As stated previously, I would build Lil Hauley trailers. If you are in the fiberglass component manufacturing business, the hard part is getting the molds. The rest is labor. A Lil Hauley sold for $9000. I don't see why a fiberglass house couldn't build one for that price. The big startup expense is producing the mold. If it exists, is in usable condition and can be purchased for a reasonable fee, they could start production as soon as they received supplies! The challenge with my plan is advertising.



On another note, The punch list on my Lil Hauley build out is down to 10 items. We expect to hit the road in 2-3 weeks and I need a vacation, even though I am retired!
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Old 03-29-2019, 02:39 PM   #190
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Another challenge is that all of the components to build out your trailer from a shell will cost substantially more that what a volume trailer builder pays for the same thing. And, then there is the waste created by trial and error.
I'd stick to fishing.
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Old 03-29-2019, 03:39 PM   #191
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Glenn, It sounds like fishing is your best option. Indeed there are economies of scale, and a do it yourself person is going to pay top dollar for many items, however with plans and templates that fit the trailer one would have little waste. There are models for Lil Snoozy builds. As a retired engineer I would provide them with a Lil Hauley. Home built trailers are built because one wants what they want and there is tremendous joy and satisfaction derived from the project. I can tell you for a fact, mine will be unique in the world!
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Old 03-29-2019, 05:55 PM   #192
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
I think that information (50 employee threshold) came from a forum member who had actually spoken with someone from the Eveland family at Scamp and posted a couple of years ago. It was in the context of the growing backlog at Scamp and the expansion at Escape. So, it may apply to Scamp but no one else. It falls in the category of ďI had it from a friend who heard it from a friend,Ē and while it is certainly plausible, it should not be over-generalized even if true.
I actually heard the same thing when I visited Scamp this past summer.
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Old 03-29-2019, 06:06 PM   #193
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I actually heard the same thing when I visited Scamp this past summer.
From the sales manager's mouth to my ears last fall.
No rumor or guessing involved.
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Old 03-29-2019, 06:37 PM   #194
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I actually heard the same thing when I visited Scamp this past summer.
The 50 employee rule came into being a number of years ago. I don't think the molded FG world has to worry much about that.
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Old 03-29-2019, 06:42 PM   #195
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Scamp has exactly 50 employees, by the way.
Their economic model is not bad, the sales you miss today are there when things slow down tomorrow.
Keep the overhead low, especially when the work force does not have a lot of choice out in the woods.
Benefits exist as part of what is necessary to attract and hold the employees they need.
No more than that is usually offered by any business large or small.
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Old 05-28-2019, 01:15 PM   #196
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I began this thread yesterday. I did call the attorney that Richard(owner) of Lil Snoozy directed me to within a text message. I spoke with the Attorney, who was very sensitive to the situation and apologized numerous times throughout the conversation. He explained that they had in fact filed Chapter 7. He confirmed my name on his list and said that they will be mailing those of us that were waiting on their camper. I asked him the likelihood of seeing any money and he said that he had no way to answer that question. After reading up on Chapter 7, I know that none of us will see any money from this company. It is very deflating to have waited a year for something, be told just days ago that the time had been moved from 12 months to 18/19 months for delivery, then, find out that Friday they shut their doors. Richard has replied to a couple of text messages, but, I really do not have anything nice or positive to say to someone that has $10k of my money. From what my wife was told from Alan(original owner), there were 45 orders on the books that they have just walked away from, I truly feel for each person that just lost their money and their dream of owning this camper.
I drove from Charleston to Charlotte in early February and stopped by the Lil Snoozy factory ... if you can call it that ... in St. Matthews. It appeared to be a shoestring operation. Thinking about buying a fiberglass camper and had never seen a Lil Snoozy, so was looking forward to the visit. I was met by a secretary who had her dog and child with her. She was rude and preoccupied. I thought maybe her child was sick and she was having a bad day. She took me to the back where there were 2 campers. One looked almost finished and an employee was working on the other. I asked if the cabinets could be painted instead of stained and she said they no longer did that as it was too much trouble. She seemed hesitant to answer any other questions and intent on cutting the visit short. There were a couple of cars there. One fellow walked through and spoke. Possibly, the owner. I left thinking ... good that I stopped by, cause now I know I definitely donít want that camper.
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Old 05-28-2019, 01:26 PM   #197
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This may be a long and beat-up thread, but reading a post like yours still shivers me to think a person can lay down and sleep at night KNOWING they're in "trouble" and will STILL take orders AND people's hard-earned money; most of them being like my wife and myself, were really looking forward to their new trailer and adventures. $10K is not small change to most of us. I dont blame you from running from there as fast as you could! I didnt put down NEAR that much on my Scamp in 2010. I would also have nightmares pop up of Lil Snoozy if/when I purchase another trailer and they ask for this much deposit!

I hope ALL depositers can one day post on here that they've received their refund!

Quote:
Originally Posted by MMH View Post
I drove from Charleston to Charlotte in early February and stopped by the Lil Snoozy factory ... if you can call it that ... in St. Matthews. It appeared to be a shoestring operation. Thinking about buying a fiberglass camper and had never seen a Lil Snoozy, so was looking forward to the visit. I was met by a secretary who had her dog and child with her. She was rude and preoccupied. I thought maybe her child was sick and she was having a bad day. She took me to the back where there were 2 campers. One looked almost finished and an employee was working on the other. I asked if the cabinets could be painted instead of stained and she said they no longer did that as it was too much trouble. She seemed hesitant to answer any other questions and intent on cutting the visit short. There were a couple of cars there. One fellow walked through and spoke. Possibly, the owner. I left thinking ... good that I stopped by, cause now I know I definitely don’t want that camper.
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Old 05-28-2019, 02:02 PM   #198
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I hate that you all, apparently, have lost large sums of money, Darral T. This happened to me and quite a few others with deposits made to a building contractor in Charlotte. We all quickly realized there was no way to recoup our losses. A hard lesson.
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Old 05-31-2019, 06:28 AM   #199
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I drove from Charleston to Charlotte in early February and stopped by the Lil Snoozy factory ... if you can call it that ... in St. Matthews. It appeared to be a shoestring operation. Thinking about buying a fiberglass camper and had never seen a Lil Snoozy, so was looking forward to the visit. I was met by a secretary who had her dog and child with her. She was rude and preoccupied. I thought maybe her child was sick and she was having a bad day. She took me to the back where there were 2 campers. One looked almost finished and an employee was working on the other. I asked if the cabinets could be painted instead of stained and she said they no longer did that as it was too much trouble. She seemed hesitant to answer any other questions and intent on cutting the visit short. There were a couple of cars there. One fellow walked through and spoke. Possibly, the owner. I left thinking ... good that I stopped by, cause now I know I definitely donít want that camper.
Just like you, I wonder why people buy from little hole in the wall manufactures, have to pay big deposits, and then wonder what went wrong when something happens. I think what you did was the smartest thing anyone could do, put your eyeballs on what is going on and decide from what you see and hear. I've only visited two fiberglass trailer manufactures, Casita and Oliver and both I left with a positive experience.

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Old 05-31-2019, 07:30 AM   #200
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Just like you, I wonder why people buy from little hole in the wall manufactures, have to pay big deposits, and then wonder what went wrong when something happens. I think what you did was the smartest thing anyone could do, put your eyeballs on what is going on and decide from what you see and hear. I've only visited two fiberglass trailer manufactures, Casita and Oliver and both I left with a positive experience.

trainman
I think most of the buyers just loved the design and accepted the rest of the nonsense that went with it. There was some sense of security in that LilSnoozy had been in business for several years, and had a long backlog of orders. So it gave the appearance of a thriving business.

Many big and impressive RV manufacturers have gone out of business over the years, although I don't recall one that required nosebleed deposits. So the people that lost on those failures tended to be shareholders, debt holders, employees, and suppliers. OK, customers lost some too as warrantees went out the window (on the rig, but not the components). I've lost quite a bit on a couple of my "genius" stock picks...... Had I visited all of their locations, I would have been impressed. Had I snuck into the backroom, I would have run away.


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