XPCamper goes out of business, files for bankruptcy?

Its a common story. Small business owners don't watch their cash flow. Sales drop over a short period, or their costs go up. They are loosing money on every sale, but don't realize it. All the sudden they see the pit they have dug. Human nature is to continue on the chosen course of action (business, job, relationship, etc) even if moving forward just means digging a bigger hole. The debt piles up, and eventually the fresh cash from deposits isn't enough. The same thing happens to big corporations and small businesses alike.

In the end there is no easy way to determine intent on the part of the owner. Experience has taught me that where malice or incompetence are both reasonable causes, that I should assume incompetence first.
Just letting peeps know the incompetence has moved somewhere else 🙂
 

rruff

Explorer
In the end there is no easy way to determine intent on the part of the owner. Experience has taught me that where malice or incompetence are both reasonable causes, that I should assume incompetence first.
Malice likely wasn't a part of it, but Mark apparently repeatedly lied to customers and defrauded them out of a lot of money. And that isn't incompetence, either... and it isn't poor financial skills.
 

68camaro

Any River...Any Place
Its a common story. Small business owners don't watch their cash flow. Sales drop over a short period, or their costs go up. They are loosing money on every sale, but don't realize it. All the sudden they see the pit they have dug. Human nature is to continue on the chosen course of action (business, job, relationship, etc) even if moving forward just means digging a bigger hole. The debt piles up, and eventually the fresh cash from deposits isn't enough. The same thing happens to big corporations and small businesses alike.

In the end there is no easy way to determine intent on the part of the owner. Experience has taught me that where malice or incompetence are both reasonable causes, that I should assume incompetence first.
IIMO, incompetence quickly turns to fraud and malice to keep balls up in air....nothing noble or innocent about what he did.
 
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eblau

Adventurer
This seems to happen in the auto restoration industry as well and I am dealing with something similar with a project of mine as we speak, although on a far smaller scale. Car went in, was supposed to be first in line at his new place. More and more projects show up, I assume he has taken deposits on all of them to float his bills while mine collects dust and the smaller projects come and go. I've never understood why someone would take in more work than they could handle in 6 months, a year, two years, etc. I guess it all comes down to pride and a little arrogance on their part not wanting the stuff to go to their competitors. Meanwhile they just end up pissing everyone off in the process. XP sounds like a pretty large company being run by someone who still thought they were small.
 

BritKLR

Kapitis Indagatoris
This seems to happen in the auto restoration industry as well and I am dealing with something similar with a project of mine as we speak, although on a far smaller scale. Car went in, was supposed to be first in line at his new place. More and more projects show up, I assume he has taken deposits on all of them to float his bills while mine collects dust and the smaller projects come and go. I've never understood why someone would take in more work than they could handle in 6 months, a year, two years, etc. I guess it all comes down to pride and a little arrogance on their part not wanting the stuff to go to their competitors. Meanwhile they just end up pissing everyone off in the process. XP sounds like a pretty large company being run by someone who still thought they were small.
Be very careful with this situation and research your mechanics lein laws in your state in the event they go bankrupt. Good luck.
 

rruff

Explorer
More and more projects show up, I assume he has taken deposits on all of them to float his bills while mine collects dust and the smaller projects come and go. I've never understood why someone would take in more work than they could handle in 6 months, a year, two years, etc. I guess it all comes down to pride and a little arrogance on their part not wanting the stuff to go to their competitors.
IME, to many people money is like crack. They can't say no if someone wants to give them $$$. Actually providing the product or service that the money was intended for is secondary. Sometimes they manage to muddle through, but more often bankruptcy lies at the end of it and all the people with deposits are screwed. Doesn't mean that they don't have "good intentions" in the beginning, but apparently they lack empathy for all those they stole from. And after going bankrupt they pop up somewhere else after a couple years...

I always figured providing the product or service was primary, and I'd let the money take care of itself. Worked for me. I'd rather loose an arm than screw a customer out of a deposit. I know a guy who discovered a design flaw in his product (he did not wait for customers to complain), and he immediately replaced and installed every single one he'd sold with a competitor's product! A massive expenditure of time and money, and only *then* did he close up shop. Who would you rather deal with?
 

Mundo4x4Casa

West slope, N. Ser. Nev.
We live on the West Slope Northern Sierra Nevada a few miles from Marc's home. Since we have a hardside off-road truck camper, I have closely followed the complete conception, birth, rise, and fall of his XP Camper business. We were tempted early on to buy his product, but for the high price. Marc's one telling comment during a factory tour was, "It's hard to find and keep a good workforce." It's probably best that he took the hit when he did. The current siege of PG&E blackouts have scuttled many, maybe hundreds of businesses on the West Slope, even the Roadhouse restaurant that his truck was parked in front of so many times when I drove by. Most of these were dealing with a very slim margin to begin with. This would have definitely pounded the last nail in the coffin of XP camper, regardless of other circumstances. I cannot in good conscience recommend that any business try to locate and operate in CA: too much like a 3rd world country, and way too many people with nothing to lose. In any case; time marches on whether we're there or not.
We recently sold our 1998 Lance Lite 165-s camper, the lightest, narrowest ( 86 inches wide), least tall, self contained hard side of its time for a short bed full size pickup. 1842 pounds, wet. We loved that camper but it was becoming a liability with constant repairs and an aging wooden frame that had seen too many winters. In September we drove the RAM to Iowa and bought a 2020 Northstar Laredo SC which has almost the same footprint (84 inches wide) as our ancient Lance albeit 600 pounds heavier. It has all the latest, but tried and true features like sub zero insulation, dual pane windows, no AC, TV, oven, nor microwave and the most storage of the lot. This completes my 2-decade Overlander build. We then set about on an 8300 mile, 22 state, 'color' tour of the Northeast U.S.
The old (in Goler Wash Death Valley) and the new ( in an Illinois State Campground):
DSC_0218_zpsnk2cdn5d.JPGthumb_DSCN2267_1024.jpg
 

grantfurness

New member
Its a common story. Small business owners don't watch their cash flow. Sales drop over a short period, or their costs go up. They are loosing money on every sale, but don't realize it. All the sudden they see the pit they have dug. Human nature is to continue on the chosen course of action (business, job, relationship, etc) even if moving forward just means digging a bigger hole. The debt piles up, and eventually the fresh cash from deposits isn't enough. The same thing happens to big corporations and small businesses alike.

In the end there is no easy way to determine intent on the part of the owner. Experience has taught me that where malice or incompetence are both reasonable causes, that I should assume incompetence first.
I mentor and coach in an entrepreneurship program in the county I live in and see this over and over. Most small business owners like doing whatever it is they do, but they don’t like doing the business part of it, especially the bookkeeping. Even when confronted by their downward spiral they won’t admit it and convince themselves I’ve always done it this way and been fine. Then one day they aren’t fine.
 
I mentor and coach in an entrepreneurship program in the county I live in and see this over and over. Most small business owners like doing whatever it is they do, but they don’t like doing the business part of it, especially the bookkeeping. Even when confronted by their downward spiral they won’t admit it and convince themselves I’ve always done it this way and been fine. Then one day they aren’t fine.
What country...?
 

elcoyote

Supporting Sponsor, Overland Certified OC0004
We were also a couple that lost a lot of money believing in the lies that Marc told us that our camper would be ready earlier this year. I type this sitting in our four-wheel camper now.

Be careful who you trust your money with and do your research. I thought I did enough digging and should have done more. A simple search of his name in Google shows his LinkedIn profile stating Marc is now consult for AT Overland, about the time his company went under and was sold...

I read the profike and chuckle at it as I have lived many of the lies that are written within it.
Marc's claim to be a consultant for Adventure Trailers is an absolute lie! As the President of AT I can assure you of that!
 

BritKLR

Kapitis Indagatoris
Its a common story. Small business owners don't watch their cash flow. Sales drop over a short period, or their costs go up. They are loosing money on every sale, but don't realize it. All the sudden they see the pit they have dug. Human nature is to continue on the chosen course of action (business, job, relationship, etc) even if moving forward just means digging a bigger hole. The debt piles up, and eventually the fresh cash from deposits isn't enough. The same thing happens to big corporations and small businesses alike.

In the end there is no easy way to determine intent on the part of the owner. Experience has taught me that where malice or incompetence are both reasonable causes, that I should assume incompetence first.
Had this conversation in another similiar thread. These types of criminal/civil cases are very easy to investigate, establish the facts of the case and prosecute. Either by a forensic accountant (civil case) or a first year Police Detective (criminal case) can determine fairly quickly by reviewing their financial records, business records and interviews. Once it's shown they were still receiving funds and not delivering a product promised the elements of a fraud (depending on the elements within the state statutes of where this occurred) case have been established. The law doesn't care, nor is it an affirmative defense to be a bad or incompetent business person. Their intent was to receive something of value ($) without providing (could no longer produce or deliver the item) the product to the customer. The real issue now is the statute of limitations in the state this occurred.
 
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grogie

Like to Camp
Marc's one telling comment during a factory tour was, "It's hard to find and keep a good workforce."
I have a friend with an off-road shop that makes similar statements, as skilled, manual labor is tough to higher for. He keeps three to four employees, and I run in my head his cost of making payroll and the shop? He does big ticket builds like KOH buggies, but also a lot of smaller stuff to help pay the bills.

Anyway, nice setup! Looks like you have a good time. 👍
 

BritKLR

Kapitis Indagatoris
I have a friend with an off-road shop that makes similar statements, as skilled, manual labor is tough to higher for. He keeps three to four employees, and I run in my head his cost of making payroll and the shop? He does big ticket builds like KOH buggies, but also a lot of smaller stuff to help pay the bills.

Anyway, nice setup! Looks like you have a good time. 👍
Very true. Today's workforce is very mobile and in demand. They will move based on things as simple as company culture, pay, benefits, insurance, type of free snacks and beer in the company fridge, type of equipment they use compared to peers, distance to dog park, animals in the work place, flex-time, work from home, etc......Their expectations from a job is very different then the generations before them. It's crazy expensive to hire, pay, train, develop an employee in today's environment, if we can keep an employee for 2-3 years we can recoup some of this costs, but then you start all over again with a new employee. Owning your own business is not for wimps.......
 
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