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Old 03-08-2011, 10:08   #1
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$105/Hour Too Much for Boatwork ?

I found a company who will help me with my rigging issues. Very nice guy and he is local but, the quoted hourly fee is $105 USD per hour and $40 for travel time. My entire months take home pay could be gone in one day! Is this a reasonable price for the Wash DC area or am I setting myself up to get fleeced?
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Old 03-08-2011, 10:27   #2
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Re: $105/Hour Too Much for Boatwork ?

What exactly are you trying to have him do? I have had a boat for many years and never needed a rigger to come to my boat. I wanted one but never needed one.
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Old 03-08-2011, 10:31   #3
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Re: $105/Hour Too Much for Boatwork ?

Alot of money for 1 hour job!! i can tell you in Martinique a reputable rigging company quote 60 euros for hour , in St marteen last time i checked is about 55 u$ for labour hour rate , a good profesional electrician in st marteen cost 40 euros hour, depend how much work you need in your rigging, i mean if its only 1 or 2 hours job and the guy in question is super, do it, now if you have a complete rigging refit and lots of labour hour , well, be ready in the wallet!! Cheers...
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Old 03-08-2011, 10:32   #4
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Re: $105/Hour Too Much for Boatwork ?

$105 USD per hour for a good rigger sounds about right to me for the DC area. The rigger I used in South Florida charged $85 per hour and he is worth every nickel of that.
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Old 03-08-2011, 10:46   #5
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Re: $105/Hour Too Much for Boatwork ?

I always go with: if you feel like you are getting fleeced, you are.
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Old 03-08-2011, 11:01   #6
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Re: $105/Hour Too Much for Boatwork ?

the adage 'ya get what ya pay for' rings very true when it comes to marine specialists.

He may very well be able to do in a day what others (for a lower hourly rate) can do in a week.

1. shop around and get an idea of local average prices
2. at a minimum get an comprehensive estimate or, at best, agree to a fixed price
3. investigate if there are some components of the work your can do yourself to reduce the number of hours he will be working on your rigging
4. negotiate!!! 'what i was hoping to spend was X' and 'is 105 the best price you can give me' and 'is there room for negotiation around the price' and 'there are a lotof local riggers with an hourly rate of X. based on your reputation, i would prefer to work with you and am hoping we can discuss your hourly rate' are all things you should (will eventually) be well practiced in saying.

regarding negotiation... always better on friday than monday (that goes for asking for a raise / promotion / time off etc too), ALWAYS maintain eye contact and saying less is always better than saying more.

the real question, in my mind, is not 'is 105 an hour too much' but 'what is the job worth to me'

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Old 03-08-2011, 11:13   #7
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Re: $105/Hour Too Much for Boatwork ?

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I always go with: if you feel like you are getting fleeced, you are.
But if you knew how to do it, wouldn't you do it yourself.
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Old 03-08-2011, 11:22   #8
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Re: $105/Hour Too Much for Boatwork ?

Virginia boy - my guessing, bein' originally from there...you're in an odd area for your needs in Alexandria, so my thinking is they are charging' you more due to location...e.g. they probably don't get much work outta DC and their skills are in demands when they do.

Advice is to move the boat if you can to a more competitive place for this refit. If your rigging' needs some 'adjustment' to move to that work place, fix it tempo yourself.

Might wanna check over at Washington Sailing Marina for some advice.
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Old 03-08-2011, 12:14   #9
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Re: $105/Hour Too Much for Boatwork ?

The truth is, I procrastinated all summer and never put up my sails or learned to sail my boat. I motored everywhere. Now that I'm supposed to go to Annapolis with my teenage kids for a Westsail gathering in a month or so, I decided to put up my sails. Only I don't know how to operate my antiquated roller furler, my mainsheet is hooked up all wrong and I can't figure out how to do it correctly, the sheave at the top of the mast that holds my staysail halyard up fell off and i don't know how to use a bosuns chair. I assume my rig also needs tuned I guess. If I had been a little more industrious I could have figured it all out over the summer, but I didn't and now it's crunch time. In my defense though, It's been awful hot this summer and .....well, it's been hot. lol
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Old 03-08-2011, 12:24   #10
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Re: $105/Hour Too Much for Boatwork ?

VB - you have a month or so...thats plenty of time to DIY with a little extra hand. I'm sure if you went over to the Sailing Marina (if you aren;t there now) there is a bulletin board you can get some help from or put up your own request. And you can ask around there. e.g. Frendlies you can find to get your rig and sailing sorted out so you can just go and save some money in the process. When you decide to refit the rig with $$$, you can do that in Annapolis whilst you are up that away.

ps: even of you can't get help for free, you can get a few hours of time cheaper from the community to get you past these small items and get you a-goin'
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Old 03-08-2011, 12:46   #11
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Re: $105/Hour Too Much for Boatwork ?

Let capitalism work. Shop around for what you believe is the best deal.
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Old 03-08-2011, 12:57   #12
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Re: $105/Hour Too Much for Boatwork ?

How many kids today are studying "rigging" in school? Not many. The "market-clearing wage" is pretty high for any skilled boat labor, including diesel mechanics.

BTW VB... You just need a friend, not a rigger. Somebody in the area step up and go help our forum buddy!
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Old 03-08-2011, 13:00   #13
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Re: $105/Hour Too Much for Boatwork ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by virginia boy View Post
The truth is, I procrastinated all summer and never put up my sails or learned to sail my boat. I motored everywhere. Now that I'm supposed to go to Annapolis with my teenage kids for a Westsail gathering in a month or so, I decided to put up my sails. Only I don't know how to operate my antiquated roller furler, my mainsheet is hooked up all wrong and I can't figure out how to do it correctly, the sheave at the top of the mast that holds my staysail halyard up fell off and i don't know how to use a bosuns chair. I assume my rig also needs tuned I guess. If I had been a little more industrious I could have figured it all out over the summer, but I didn't and now it's crunch time. In my defense though, It's been awful hot this summer and .....well, it's been hot. lol
Lemme see if I got this right. In a month's time you plan to travel to Annapolis (a distance of 160 nautical miles from Alexandria) with your teenage kids, in a boat you don't know how to sail and with significant rigging problems (I'd say the loss of a halyard sheave is significant, and possibly an indicator of other problems).

I'd say you could benefit from some professional guidance, not just the chatter you might pick up at, e.g., the Washington Sailing Marina.

Suggest you engage a professional for at least an hour to do some inspecting but mostly to steer you in the right direction.

And, yes, $105/hour is the going rate in Washington, DC for highly skilled marine labor....and there's no shortage of work. The truly professional technicians here are chock-a-block with requests.

Don't wait too long to decide what you're going to do. Or, alternatively, maybe plan to attend the gathering in Annapolis by car (only 30 mile drive).

JMO,

Bill
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Old 03-08-2011, 13:03   #14
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Re: $105/Hour Too Much for Boatwork ?

Seems a little high for me. There's an expression that you make 90% of your money off of 10% of your clients, so try to avoid being that 10% if you can. Ask about ways to cut down on cost. Can you take stuff off yourself and drive it up to his shop for him to inspect there, etc? A lot of work is prep and involves time/energy more so than skill.

But even just having some basic conversations and probing a bit on how to keep costs low can help him not target you as the 10%.

Some people don't mind spending the money. They have it, a $10K job that they don't have to lift a finger for is better than a $5K job where they have to invest an afternoon or two of their own sweat into. That's the 10%.

The guy could also have enough work currently that he's putting his price high because he can. Two years ago you could get finish carpenters for $25/hour because they had no other options. Now, not so much.
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Old 03-08-2011, 15:15   #15
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Re: $105/Hour Too Much for Boatwork ?

Professionals charge what they can get people to pay. They are trying to make a living in a seasonal business that may, or may not provide with full time employment in season. At $105 dollars that have to be doing reasonably well. Guess we know where all the stimulus money that we've spent has gone. For those prices I'm tempted to come out of retirement, however.

I'd say you have a lot of things to learn before you go anywhere. Suggest you buy a Top Climber Topclimber : solo mastclimbing system, top climber so you can get up the mast without outside help. It's an invaluable tool that allows you do almost anything that needs doing on your mast. Probably the most invaluable maintenance tool I've bought.

Tuning the rigging isn't rocket science. Go sailing, sight up the mast to see if it's straight, if not flop on the other tack and tighten or loosen the shroud or stay that's setting the mast out of true. Flop back on the original tack and check the mast again, repeat as necessary. Lee shrouds should be loose but not floppy in strong winds so tighten or loosen them as necessary. Tighten the back and forestay till you get most of the sag out of the head stay. You can't get it all out but windward performance is optimized by a nearly straight headstay. Buy a tension gauge like the Loos PT-2 if you'd like to know how tight and even the tension is Tension Gauge Pro PT-2

Your staysail halyard block probably had a broken shackle. All you need to is get a new shackle or block, if that is broken, and get up the mast and replace it. If the mast tang is broken, you'll have to replace it with one that you can attach to the mast with drilled and tapped machine screws. Do that first and then get out there and sail.

What's the issue with the mainsheet tackle. It's probably a four part tackle with fiddle blocks at either end and cam cleat on the lower block. The sheet should go from a bale at the top of the lower block, up through the smaller sheave on the block on the boom, back to the smaller sheave on the lower block, back up to the larger sheaves and down to larger sheave on the lower and then out through the cam cleat.

MOST IMPORTANTLY, GO SAILING!!!!!! With the long summer days, you should be able to go out every evening. If you don't have a steady crew, get yourself an autopilot so you can do all the things that need to be done and aren't chained to tiller. Go sailing everyday that you can and start to do some actual navigation, sail changing, sail trim, and all the things that have to do with getting a sailboat between point A & B. If you can get a knowledgable crew to go out with you, do it. Also go out on other peoples boats. There are a lot of different way of getting things done and you will learn a lot on other people's boats. Most yachting areas have beer can races on Wednesday and/or Friday evenings during the summer.
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