As one of the 2016 AL-KO Best Aussie Vans awards judges, I received a first-hand look at the build quality as well as the quality of finish of an Option RV van. And it was pretty evident to me that this fleet is built on pride and passion.
Based in Campbellfield, Vic, Option RV entered its 6.21m (20ft 4in) Tribute Series – a luxurious offroader – into the competition and it paid off, with the model awarded the top gong in the $85K-$100K category.
Following the event, I spoke one-on-one with Option RV part-owner Phil Dumaloski to discuss the company’s building creed, its future plans as well as his opinion on how the AL-KO Best Aussie Vans awards win will impact his business in the long run.
CW: What did the BAV win mean to Option RV?
PL: It’s a big relief that all the hard work has now been recognised and that we have been heading in the right direction for many years. We look forward to more enquiries through publication of the win.
It gets us in the face of buyers who take the time to do research, as buying a caravan can be a very daunting experience. We invite all buyers to take the time to research our brand and the BAV win is a great introduction.
What was the catalyst for Option RV getting involved in BAV?
Really, it was the thrill of competition and the excitement of hopefully winning. We certainly know what top-end customers’ desires are. And with our quality finish and value-for-money van, we knew it was going to be tough competition, but we were very confident.
Also, your magazine has been a longstanding publication which readers respect. We look forward to many years working together with Caravan World.
Will Option RV compete again this year?
We are currently working on our new range and would definitely consider being part of it.
How did Option RV get started in the RV industry?
In 2007, my father Chris started Option RV. My two brothers and I joined him soon after. I think we’ve all played vital roles in improving and streamlining the business to what it is today.
We all shared an equal passion to build stand-out, well-built caravans both structurally and visually.
What are your proudest watershed moments?
Growing the business and being able to employ long-term staff is a huge reward. And just knowing our workers are proud of the Option RV brand, too.
Also, working with my parents and brothers to create a family business that has exceeded all aspects of the initial vision, as well as being known as an honourable brand with many return customers. Last, but not least, the design and construction of our very own manufacturing plant.
What are your philosophies on caravan building?
We only use materials and products from big-name, reputable companies that not only have a quality product but also a good back-up/warranty service if any issue was to arise.
What does Option RV do differently? Is there a point of difference? Anything unique?
Aftermarket service is such an important aspect of the business. Selling and building a quality product is hard work but we don’t just hang up the gloves once the van has left the dealership. We remind ourselves every day that all of our clients have worked so hard to be able to afford a new van so we take this very personally.
There’s also plenty of emphasis placed on a hands-on approach.
At the factory, we make sure that we talk to nearly every customer personally, which for us ensures all aspects of the build are met and it’s a great way to build a long-term relationship with every buyer.
Factory tours are always on offer as we are a very transparent operation. This gives us the opportunity to showcase all the building techniques that have evolved over the last 10 years that we know are unique to us.
We’re still active on the tools, which makes sure that our build quality does not drop.
Do you place credence on industry trends? What’s in vogue at the moment and what are your customers predominantly requesting?
Quite simply, our customers want quality and a good reputation.
What/who has been your inspiration?
Making dreams come true for others, and receiving endless phone calls and emails from customers about how happy they are with the product and how well the caravan held up on their travels.
What are your keys to success?
We have always focused on service and quality at Option RV. And the importance of watching the trends in the caravan industry keeps you on the front foot.
We never take on more work than we can achieve, although we are consistently booked out for many months.
What is the future for Option RV?
Our main goal is to continue as we are for many more decades. At this point in time we are more than happy with our production numbers and with our staff profile.
The full feature appeared in Caravan World #561. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!