Industry: Consumer & Lifestyle
Products: Recreational Vehicles
Carmona began his career thirty years ago on an RV assembly floor, and after learning the business from the ground up, decided he knew what it would take to start his own business. He launched Genesis Supreme RV in 2012, and six years later, his company is one of the largest recreational vehicle manufacturers on the west coast.
"I had my ambitions and I wanted to start something on my own," says Carmona. "I started as a production worker for a big RV manufacturer, building and assembling floors, roofs, and cabinets. That company saw my potential and gave me the opportunity to first be a group leader, then a supervisor a year later. It didn’t take long before they made me a production manager, and I was managing almost 300 employees. I learned the RV industry from the bottom up."
When Carmona left to start his own company, many of the employees he worked with left with him. "Approximately 65 to 70 percent of my employees at Genesis were there when I was working side by side with them in production at the previous RV manufacturer we worked for," said Carmona. "They followed me when I decided to start Genesis and now when people find out that I am hiring, many come and apply."
Carmona’s deep relationships extended to suppliers and vendors. "All the vendors and suppliers I called up supported me 100 percent," says Carmona. "You know when you start your company it’s hard for people to trust and believe in you, but I knew many of the manufacturers, so they gave me the okay right away, along with credit and whatever I needed."
Being a hands-on owner has also helped. "I’m not the type of guy that’s going to be in the office all the time," he says. "Basically I am on the floor with my employees, asking them what they need and providing any additional tools so I can make the job easier for them."
Despite the support, starting a new RV manufacturing business was difficult at first. He started with only four employees that included his son, daughter-in-law, and wife. According to Carmona, they were producing one RV unit every seven days. "Genesis is now producing ten units a day," says Carmona. "In five years, we have grown to have 180 employees."
The RV market is extremely competitive, but Carmona knows that customer input can play an important part in designing recreational vehicles with what customers are asking for. "The difference between Genesis and the other RV companies out there is that we talk to the customers," says Carmona. "We showcase our plans for each vehicle, show how it’s built, and never hide anything. We like for people to see our products."
Transparency and trust have enabled Genesis to attract many of its big customers, including international dealers. "When I do international business, I ask for 50 percent upfront. They pay me half of the order, which helps our cash flow here in the states," says Carmona. "When we deal with oil companies, who use RVs out on the oil fields, the companies pay me 100 percent up front. They trust in me and the integrity of Genesis."
With RV dealers in California, Nevada, Colorado, and Arizona, Genesis meets the challenges of a high demand product while simultaneously producing a high-quality RV. "People in the RV industry know me because I am an innovator. I like to innovate and come up with new technologies and accessories to the RVs," says Carmona. "If you are going to spend the money on an RV, you’re going to want to buy something you are 100 percent satisfied with and want it exactly how you want it. At Genesis, we offer those small customizations for customers."
Needs: "Right now, the industry has grown so big and it’s parts that we really need," says Carmona. "The wait time for vendors is three to four weeks for some of the parts."
Challenges: Without a sales team, communication can be a challenge. Carmona, along with his sales coordinator, goes out to dealerships to train those salespeople with the knowledge of how Genesis RVs are built from the inside out. "I am a big believer that when you have a good product, anybody can sell. When people buy units the see cosmetic things, but they don’t know how it’s built," says Carmona. "I explain to customers and dealers how I build things because I come from production and I see how that’s important to our customers."
Opportunities: A new production line. "In the next few months I want to start another production line because the demand is big enough right now," says Carmona. Another potential opportunity at Genesis may be adding commercial wheels to some of their classic motorhomes. "Dealers and customers encourage me to do new things because they like our style," says Carmona. "They like how we manufacture our RVs and we listen to their needs. When you have their support, they’re going to buy it when you build it, and that makes you feel good as a business owner."