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Old 08-02-2015, 09:36 AM   #1
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SMB - Thoughts: West vs South vs North

I'm starting to plan for a SMB Sprinter 4x4 build in the next year or two. Questions are: What are the differences in experience, quality and cost between the three facilities?


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Old 08-03-2015, 03:50 PM   #2
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Re: SMB - Thoughts: West vs South vs North

Can't say. I've heard of the good and the bad about each of the three. One thing that seems to be expressed by a high percentage of owners is that all the shops are proactive in giving good service. That doesn't mean they don't have issues from time to time and if you go through the threads you'll find a few unsatisfied customers. This is probably true throughout the RV industry but SMB are not clones coming off an assembly line...they all are built to different specs.

My thoughts on the build I had done was:

>>>I wanted the build done as close to home as possible. These vehicles are complicated and you need to figure you'll have to return with one or more issues.

>>>Bigger shops probably go through more employees and in the end are having to train more people. Will the newbie be working on your build
On the other end of this, having more employees means if something is built that is unique, there is a possibility that they will have a more experienced worker on hand to do the job or point the other worker in the right direction

>>>How pushed are they on builds. My guess is each shops workmanship can vary depending on how many orders are backed up.

>>>At least here in CA I factored in the heat. A hot frustrated worker might not do as good of a job as one that's working in a favored environment.

The fact is you'll get different answers from different owners.

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Old 08-03-2015, 04:59 PM   #3
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Re: SMB - Thoughts: West vs South vs North

I'll give you my opinion, but I've never ordered a van from any of them. SMB West is busy. I always get sent to someone's VM and have rarely gotten a return call. They are helpful, and they have the SMB store out of that location (and not the other ones). I have only called maybe 3 times with a question and eventually found my answers elsewhere (read here). I called them with these questions because my specific van was converted there.
SMB North - Nancy will answer the phone and is absolutely cool. She's nice and very helpful, and I've never been sent to anyone's VM. She always picks right up so if I think about calling SMB for something I think of Nancy first.
SMB Texas - Also very friendly and will pick right up. I've called with a few questions once or twice about a couple of van's (friends or vans for sale) that were converted there and they are very nice.

In the end, for me, it would be the one you are closest to. Good luck!

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Old 08-10-2015, 12:28 PM   #4
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Re: SMB - Thoughts: West vs South vs North

My only experience is with North, ordered one of the last of the 2014 Econolines last spring (ready by October). I echo what 86Scotty says about Nancy: she is all business and customer service. She has handled my numerous neurotic new-owner questions with efficiency and skill. She makes working out problems seem like not-my-fault!
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Old 02-21-2016, 12:48 PM   #5
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I don't know if you are still looking or have already chosen a builder, but...We like to say "The South sucks, the West is the worst, it's North or Nothin!"....BUT, that is just our OPINION!! When starting the process, we called them all and ran into the same as above posters...Nancy was the Friendliest (midwest folks are the nicest, eh?), answered our questions, went us info, not pushy, didn't try to 'sell' us or 'upgrade' us to anything we didn't want...she thought out a few tricky requests for designs, and made us feel like we were sitting with a close friend. That shop is small, everyone knows everyone and help each other on builds and problem solving. Their Shop Manager Jim, is FANTASTIC!! Only been doing it for 35 YEARS!!!! He has his people keep the shop incredibly clean and organized, and it makes you feel confident your going to get a real quality build. Something to be said about small town work ethic, attitude, and accountability...I can't say enough. I would do it again and again if I was wealthy enough. I hope this didn't find you too late...Tell Nancy the Chris's from Iowa told yo to go there...we don't get any referral fee, I just want her to know as a thank you for our treatment, we talk them up and TRULY APPRECIATE all the did for us....the best, best best! Let me know how you came out!
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Old 02-21-2016, 12:53 PM   #6
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Ps...NO OFFENSE S & W SMB's!!! It is what it is, I know you all build quality SMB products, It is just the midwest is personal service at its best...It's what the midwest is known for (anyway)
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Old 02-24-2016, 01:54 PM   #7
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Since I feel the need to be inspecting my build as it progresses, borne out of experience...

I would go with the one closest to your home. If two were equidistant then a phone call should be telling.

Good luck.

Charlie is the best antidote for a tough week at work. I get to see a different side of this great country and relax in different places on every trip. My vacation home is parked where money can't buy residence. Life is a long journey and my magic carpet is named Charlie.
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Old 02-24-2016, 02:10 PM   #8
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Have to agree with ctb on this one. Toured West and North. Ultimately decided to have the build done in Indiana. A small facility with a true family feel. Low throughput with great attention to detail. The employees have all been there for quite some time which no doubt helps. This is a testament to the leadership and management skills of Nancy and Jim (among others). North has clearly mastered the art of building SMBs (while effectively handling the OCD tendencies of this SMB owner).
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Old 02-24-2016, 03:40 PM   #9
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Another north happy SMB owner checking in.
Dick and Anne

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Old 02-25-2016, 09:27 AM   #10
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Very very Happy with the Team at Sportsmobile West. Jonathon Feld & Peter del Toro
are both helpful & knowledgable. Also helped me at Northwest Expo 2015, Plain, WA.
Thee was also 20 other SMB vans at the event, very interesting.

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