Meet Russell Farrington, Sales/Technical Executive
blog / sales
Russell has worked in the caravan industry for 42 years and is known amongst his colleagues as the experts’ expert!
Outside of work Russell enjoys paddle boarding and long walks with his dog Mango, the Spinone Italiano. He is also a keen wildlife photographer and can often be found in the South Downs photographing animals such as deer, foxes and birds of prey.
What’s your career background?
I’ve worked in the caravan industry my whole life! I got my first job in 1979, working part-time whilst still attending school. I was with that company for four years before gaining a role at Chichester Caravans when it was established in 1983. I started off as a valeter, then moved into a workshop role. I undertook various training, improving my skills and gaining experience and was soon promoted to Workshop Manager. I eventually worked my way up to General Manager of the branch.
I stepped down from my role as General Manager at Chichester Caravans two years ago and joined the Winchester Caravans & Motorhomes team soon after, splitting my time between the workshop and sales teams to utilise my dual expertise.
I’ve built up a vast amount of knowledge on both the maintenance and sales sides of the industry over the years and I’ve witnessed many changes during that time too. Caravans are very different now to what they were when I started out and it’s been exciting to watch the developments in technology over the last four decades!
* Winchester Caravans & Motorhomes previously traded as Chichester Caravans (Winchester branch) until a change of ownership in 2015. Find out more about the history...
What does your role involve?
I currently work part-time Friday-Sunday. On Fridays I’m in the workshop, helping out with any jobs and tasks that need doing and acting as a bit of a trainer for the team, teaching various specialist skills to help build up their knowledge. They often call upon me to help with older models that they may not have worked on before - as I’ve worked in the industry for over 40 years, I’ve pretty much seen it all!
On Saturdays and Sundays I work in the sales team, assisting with customer appointments and customer enquiries, demonstrating vehicles and answering any questions people have. The hours work for me and I really enjoy the role as I get to do a bit of workshop and a bit of sales, the two things I enjoy the most.
James Southwood and I go way back and it’s great to be working directly with him in this role as he’s built a great team and created a great atmosphere here.
What do you love about caravanning?
I’ve had many caravans over the years, some big and some small; we’ve currently got a very compact model which is light and easy to tow. I like being able to choose a destination, arrive and set up a base to venture out from.
The great thing about caravanning is the freedom it gives you - you can go where you want, when you want, at the drop of a hat! If you get somewhere and it isn't what you expected or hoped, you can move on.
Plus, the caravan is yours and yours alone, so there are never any nasty surprises, unlike when you rent a holiday cottage, only to find sub-par facilities when you arrive. It’s your own home on wheels that you can style as you like and fill with your own things. Caravanning has been the ideal holiday solution during the pandemic as it gives you your own self-contained accommodation, in any location.
What do you find most rewarding about your role?
I really like assisting people on their buying journey, informing them about the various options and seeing them come to their own conclusions. People really appreciate my knowledge and it’s very rewarding being able to pass that on. Sometimes people get stuck midway through the selection process and don’t know what to do. I step in to assist, talking them through things and helping them identify what they like and want and need from a caravan. I have to admit that I do get a kick out of that!
What challenges you most?
The in-house company computer system! We have an elaborate order / invoice / diary system, which often gets the better of me - sometimes pen and paper is just better! That said, I’m very clued up on the various caravan technology systems such as Swift Command, so maybe I’m just adverse to office software!
Any notable achievements to mention?
We’ve won several awards over the years, including the Dealer of the Year at the Owner Satisfaction Awards a couple of times.
The team that I managed at Chichester were a good bunch and we were a great team that worked really well together so I’m proud of that. I was a very hands-on boss, always willing to get the overalls on and get my hands dirty when it was required and I think the team appreciated that.
What do you like most about working for Winchester Caravans & Motorhomes?
The atmosphere and rapport between the staff and the customers - they’ve got it just right. Everyone knows everyone and they’re extremely welcoming to new customers too, putting them at ease with their laid back approach. There’s a lot of friendly camaraderie, which makes it a really fun place to be!
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