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Old 03-06-2011, 02:29 PM   #1
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True Cost of Owning a Coach - $45k/year for me

Due to our family changing we recently got out of motorhoming. Took the time to look at all the costs of owning and operating a coach. See below. I'm sure many of you will have good points of argument on some of the costs but, even if I'm off by a good bit it is still expensive.



Purchased 2007 Dutch Star 4304 in November of 2006 and sold in January of 2011.


  1. Depreciation $70,000 – Bought for $240,000 – sold for $170,000 over 4 years.
  2. Cost of Capital $70,000 – This is either the interest on a loan or the money invested in something else. I used 7% as an interest rate or rate of return.
  3. Add-ons and supplies $5,000 – Tow kit, tire pressure monitor, magic table, place settings, linens etc.
  4. Fuel $13,500 – 25,000 miles average of 6.1 mpg – average of $3.25/gallon. This includes the mileage to the Newmar Factory and Spartan Factory for maintenance and repairs.
  5. Maintenance $10,000 – Spartan scheduled maintenance - $1,250/yr minimum, $5,000 out of warranty repairs, hydrohot/generator maintenance, cleaning, light bulbs, fuses, etc.
  6. Insurance/Registration $4,000 – estimate $1,000/year.
  7. Camping Fees $10,000 – Average nights used per year are about 40 – Average night’s cost $60 (Disney was a lot of this at around $70 average and KOA or the like on trip South is about $45). This doesn’t count the nights in my own campground. (By the way, I give myself a hell of a discount.)

So total expenses are - $182,500 over 4 years or $45,625/year or $1,140/night. OUCH!!! I wish I hadn’t done this calculation.
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Old 03-06-2011, 02:36 PM   #2
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Now work it out for the guy that payed $170,000.00 and has all the repairs done.
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Old 03-06-2011, 02:37 PM   #3
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Sounds about right!
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Old 03-06-2011, 02:43 PM   #4
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Scott,

I'm sure it was a tough descision for you and my best to you and your family as you move forward.

There are times I wish I had (and could afford) an fancy new motorhome, but overall I'm glad I have a coach that is paid for and is simple enough I can fix pretty much anything on it. Something to be said for that!
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Old 03-06-2011, 02:47 PM   #5
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Hi Scott,
A CG owner without a camper, wow. Any time one looks at the cost of an activity, one needs to incorporate the benefits. There is no benefit to looking at just one side of the equation.

An example might be the nutrient supplements I take. The cost is about $100/month. On the benefits side I no longer take any medications. I'm back to one doctor visit per year. My health problems have vanished (high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart problems). So what is the cost of the nutrient supplements? For me I'm way ahead by taking the supplements with the cost of the medications and doctor visits being eliminated.

The same can be said for owning a coach.

FYI, don't let your customers see this calculation.
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Old 03-06-2011, 03:27 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JavaJelly View Post
So total expenses are - $182,500 over 4 years or $45,625/year or $1,140/night. OUCH!!! I wish I hadn’t done this calculation.
Your numbers sound about like ours except CG cost looks a little high but insurance and registration look low.

I remember years ago calculating the hourly operating expense of my boat and a friend (with a lot more boating experience than I) yelled at me to NEVER do that!

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Hi Scott,
Any time one looks at the cost of an activity, one needs to incorporate the benefits. There is no benefit to looking at just one side of the equation.

.
I'll disagree just a bit with you on this one Gary. The cost in money can be measured and should be so we're aware of just what our rigs and RV lifestyle cost us. We can't draw CONCLUSIONS from only one side however. $45K/year might be a great investment for many who enjoy RVing and can afford that kind of expense.

Best of luck to you!

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Old 03-06-2011, 03:44 PM   #7
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Agree that our camping fees are high. We camped at nice places generally.

Insurance/Registration is low. Whoops. Probably closer to $2,500/year. However, our insurance dropped dramatically in years 3 and 4.

Gary - I do understand what you are saying. I wasn't making a statement other than to report the true cost. Was it worth it to me? If we were full timing or close to it definitely. Its the $1,150/night that is tough. That is a night in the penthouse suite of a very nice hotel, a spa service of some sort and a nice dinner - EVERY Night.

I'm not saying we regret it. We had irreplaceable family experiences and adventures. (Breakdown in a blizzard in West Virginia mountains) We met some unbelievably nice and interesting people. Best of all I think is having a home away from home, especially the home cooking when we wanted. Worst part, finding a place to overnight in January between Buffalo and South Carolina.
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Old 03-06-2011, 03:53 PM   #8
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Now work it out for the guy that payed $170,000.00 and has all the repairs done.
You are right sir. If we would have kept the coach, the cost per year would decrease. We did the most expensive thing, bought a brand new coach and only kept is 3 or 4 years. I do sincerely believe the new owner has a good coach. I was pretty careful and thorough with maintenance.
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Old 03-06-2011, 04:08 PM   #9
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Quote:
$1,140/night.
Scott my friend, that's what I like about you. You go first class.

I, on the other hand have no intentions of figuring my costs as it's something I really wanted to do.
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Old 03-06-2011, 04:08 PM   #10
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I bought my rig when it was 9 years old with 45k miles and had already taken a 75% depreciation hit. Doing this allowed me to finance it on the one payment plan.

Quote:
The cost in money can be measured and should be so we're aware of just what our rigs and RV lifestyle cost us. We can't draw CONCLUSIONS from only one side however. $45K/year might be a great investment for many who enjoy RVing and can afford that kind of expense.
Agree 100%.

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Old 03-06-2011, 04:24 PM   #11
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Scott, sorry to hear you sold your coach (but that's what you told me your plan was last summer when we met at your CG).

My maintenance costs have been significantly less (but then I own a shop and I give myself one hell of a discount too!).

So when are you going to buy the 5th Wheel?

Good luck and hopefully we'll run into each other again this summer.
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Old 03-06-2011, 04:31 PM   #12
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Quote:
So when are you going to buy the 5th Wheel?
Actually, the next time we get the bug this is likely. Costs would be significantly lower and many of the comforts of a coach. I have to own a truck in this business anyway. Also, many more family friendly floorplans, i.e. separate bedroom for kids. I could never convince the DW to let the kids sleep in the storage compartments of the coach. She's stubborn that way.
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Old 03-06-2011, 04:40 PM   #13
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My costs the last 3 years (180 to 210 days of use each year) have run from $167-195 per day. This includes financing, insurance, fuel, campground fee's, maintenance, registration, and added stuff (but no depreciation). This also includes our food that we cook 6 days a week, but not our once per week night out.

Yep, it is costly, but if we stayed in motels and ate all meals out for 180-210 days per year, I suspect we would spend at least that much per day. And we would not enjoy it near as much.
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Old 03-06-2011, 04:50 PM   #14
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I'm not going to disagree with the cost of RVing, what I would disagree with would be the need to know. I once own a 'hobby business' and thought I would manage it like a real business (keep track of costs, sales, etc). By the end of the second year I was $17,000 to the negative. I keep the business for another 13 years and never again looked at the numbers. It doesn't matter what it 'costs' if you can afford it and and enjoy doing it. Too much knowledge isn't necessarily a good thing.

As for RVing, we are on our second one and we go when we can and we don't go when we can't. And for anyone who hasn't already joined some kind of 'Camping Club' I highly recomend it. We use the 'cheaper' locations while on the way to our destination and save our money for when we get THERE.


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Saying continuously, without knowing why: ‘Let us go on’.
Paraphrased from Baudelaire’s ‘The Journey’
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