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Old 26-07-2012, 15:48   #16
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Re: Is There an Inherent Defect in Sailors Brains ?

With all due respect to Tellie, my advice to taildragerdrive would be to ask the yard for references of boaters who have used them before, ask around local marinas for folks who have used the yard before, get a written estimate from more than one yard and once you settle on who is going to handle the job, let them know you or your representative will be around checking on the work on a regular basis. If something seems amiss, talk to the yard foreman immediately. I believe most folks want to do an honest job for a reasonable price because once you screw over a customer, they will go out of their way to pass the word that you are not to be trusted, workmanship is shoddy or whatever other negative they feel is appropriate.
It is much more difficult to repair a poor reputation than it is to maintain a good one. Capt Phil
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Old 26-07-2012, 16:32   #17
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Re: Is There an Inherent Defect in Sailors Brains ?

You're right Cap Phil. Customers should ask around first if at all possible. I always have a long previous customer list with contact information. I invite any new potential customer to randomly pick as many names as they like and call. It's tough for cruisers many times to "just ask around" when many times they are not from around the area they need the work performed in. Those people that choose to have work done on their boat when they are not around and far away are even more susceptible. But also as you state, communication is vital, stay in contact often with anyone working on your boat, never assume anything. Also insist that you be contacted first for approval if anything unexpectantly comes up during the course of repairs that will add to the estimated cost. Boats are not like cars. You can have two identical boats, same model, same size, and same year, and there will probably be a world of difference when it comes to the internal workings. Many times even the best mechanic will not see additional problems until he starts tearing into the original problem. This is the nature of the beast. Good mechanics are not trying to rip folks off when they find more needed repairs. I am of the belief, especially for long distance cruisers that you need a very good working knowledge of all your boats systems to better understand the work you bid off. If you are going to be a unknowledgeable check book sailor, chances are good you are going to feel you are paying too much, ripped off or taken advantage of whether you really are or not. There is a company down here whose motto is "An educated consumer is our best customer" They are right.
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Old 26-07-2012, 17:25   #18
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Re: Is There an Inherent Defect in Sailors Brains ?

as I have learned(the hard way).....below 'Naplis...stay away
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Old 26-07-2012, 17:48   #19
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Re: Is There an Inherent Defect in Sailors Brains ?

every body is an expert--until their way don't work.
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Old 26-07-2012, 18:00   #20
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Re: Is There an Inherent Defect in Sailors Brains ?

It's all about communication between the boat owner and the people they hire. If the communication and clarity is not there initially, then walk. This applies to both parties.

Detailed work agreements that are signed are pretty much mandatory.
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Old 26-07-2012, 18:14   #21
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Re: Is There an Inherent Defect in Sailors Brains ?

Tellie has the right approach. "don't tell me, show me". Ask to see some of their work.
"The only person I trust is me"
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Old 26-07-2012, 18:38   #22
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Re: Is There an Inherent Defect in Sailors Brains ?

Amen, Tellie... good advice. Capt Phil
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Old 26-07-2012, 18:57   #23
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Re: Is There an Inherent Defect in Sailors Brains ?

We did a haulout this spring at a respected yard. I had an estimate beforehand. Once we were blocked we got turned over to a yard supervisor. He was clearly the junior guy in the yard - no harm there, everybody has to learn somewhere and we were one of the smaller boats in the yard. When it came time to pay up however my bill was roughly 150% of the estimate and I questioned it. Then my junior guy became pretty well useless because he clearly didn't have the juice to get the situation fixed. I stood my ground and we eventually reached a reasonable compromise - it took a while though. I won't go back to that yard but I won't badmouth them either. I don't envy those of you who are on the move because every yard is going to be new for you. For us there's hope that over time we will get to know the local yards and be able to pick and choose.
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Old 26-07-2012, 19:04   #24
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Re: Is There an Inherent Defect in Sailors Brains ?

I give a pre-quote with a bottom note in fine print. If at any point it looks like I might exceed the agreed ceiling, I call the guy up and ask their approval (via email or fax).

And I never buy materials/consumables out of my own funds.

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Old 27-07-2012, 05:23   #25
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Re: Is There an Inherent Defect in Sailors Brains ?

having read this topic numerous times where examples are given on each side of the 'discussion" it isn't any surprise conflict develops.

I have only paid twice to have work done on my boat. The first time the bill was ecactly the max amount of the estimate, even though I was around and knew it took less than 1/2 the time the estimate had. The last time 1 of the things I wanted done was the anchor light bulb replaced. The yard charged me full labor rate for 2 guys to drive to the marine store to get the bulb. Which burned out again 3 months later.

It's stuff like this that make owners not beleive the are getting what they are paying for at a fair price.

So now I jusy do stuff myself.

But I'm sure there are lots of owners that are just trying to rip contractors off.

Is There an Inherent Defect in Sailors Brains ? - no there are just a-holes in life.
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Old 27-07-2012, 06:33   #26
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Re: Is There an Inherent Defect in Sailors Brains ?

I am a firm believer in fixed price contracts. Get a written firm price bid on any work to be done. As a former small business owner I can also say that I have been abused by some of the largest companies. Not all, some are great to do business with, others will do all they can to put you out of business.
If you do not get a fixed price contract then go someplace else. Just asking for work to be done on a hourly basis is opening up your check book. You can also do a hourly contract not to exceed price.
With that being said I am always very reluctant to have any yard do work on my boat because the law is kind of lopsided in favor of the yard. As maybe it should be, but that is not the issue here.
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Old 27-07-2012, 07:59   #27
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Re: Is There an Inherent Defect in Sailors Brains ?

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Originally Posted by S/V_Surya View Post
I am a firm believer in fixed price contracts. Get a written firm price bid on any work to be done. As a former small business owner I can also say that I have been abused by some of the largest companies. Not all, some are great to do business with, others will do all they can to put you out of business.
If you do not get a fixed price contract then go someplace else. Just asking for work to be done on a hourly basis is opening up your check book. You can also do a hourly contract not to exceed price.
With that being said I am always very reluctant to have any yard do work on my boat because the law is kind of lopsided in favor of the yard. As maybe it should be, but that is not the issue here.
Unfortunately in many cases it is not practical or feasible to get a fixed price contract or if you do get one it may be to your detriment.

There are lots of jobs and repairs that the yard or mechanic doing the repairs will not know the extent until they get into the job.

One example, you need to rebuild your engine. Is the crank shaft worn out or can it be reused? What about the rods, heads, etc? Often won't know until you get the engine apart and see.

If in this case you demand a fixed price up front, if you can get a mechanic to give one, he or she will have to cover the worst case scenario of replacing all major parts they would probably quote very high. But if you went on time and parts and are find out all the major parts are good you might end up saving a lot.
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Old 27-07-2012, 08:10   #28
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Re: Is There an Inherent Defect in Sailors Brains ?

Agreed, especially with hauling a boat out of the water. It's like opening a can of worms. You never really know what you are up against until the boat comes out and you get into the various projects.
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Old 27-07-2012, 08:18   #29
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Re: Is There an Inherent Defect in Sailors Brains ?

This has been a good discussion for me and I'm learning a lot about how to be more careful.

Let me relate a bit more of my story and ask the next question.

For the work of removing the engine with the initial yard. I got a verbal estimate of $500 to $600 to remove and ship the engine. I now know I should have gotten it in writing. But when they presented me the bill they just stated it took more time than they estimated. They never called or informed me of the increased cost before they did the work, they had my cell # and I was walking in and out of the yard several times that day.

So if I had had a signed estimate for the max of $600 and they presented me the bill for $1700, what could I do?

Am I within my rights to only pay the $600 if they didn't notify me of the increased price? If they will not negotiate a change in the total price after exceeding the estimate do I have to go off for a lawyer and get into a big dispute? Not anything I do its just not worth it.

Thanks
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Old 27-07-2012, 08:20   #30
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Re: Is There an Inherent Defect in Sailors Brains ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
Unfortunately in many cases it is not practical or feasible to get a fixed price contract or if you do get one it may be to your detriment.

There are lots of jobs and repairs that the yard or mechanic doing the repairs will not know the extent until they get into the job.

One example, you need to rebuild your engine. Is the crank shaft worn out or can it be reused? What about the rods, heads, etc? Often won't know until you get the engine apart and see.

If in this case you demand a fixed price up front, if you can get a mechanic to give one, he or she will have to cover the worst case scenario of replacing all major parts they would probably quote very high. But if you went on time and parts and are find out all the major parts are good you might end up saving a lot.
In this case you go in increments. Fixed price to investigate problem and then another contract as needed to repair. As both bidder and biddee ( is that a word) I would not bid on anything open ended or at least I try to limit the unknowns and they are built into my price. As biddee I try to define the scope of work as best I can. If everything by both parties is clear it is best for everyone. A soon as you say the word lawyer everyone looses (except the lawyer).
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