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Old 27-07-2012, 08:27   #31
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Re: Is There an Inherent Defect in Sailors Brains ?

I don't think boat mechanics are in a special case.

Ask any doctor if people pay on time. I believe you'll find they don't, and don't pay in full.

Ask any remodeler if people pay on time, again, I believe you'll find they don't.

Same for car mechanics.

Heck, people lose their electric power because they don't pay all the time. (And telephone service, and almost every other utility!) Heck, I even know renters that try to pay partial rent checks, and be late at it in the process!

All in all, there is a percentage of the people that you meet every day that just can't handle money. They are always late on ALL their bills, and they never seem to have enough cash to cover what they want.

Good luck.
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Old 27-07-2012, 08:32   #32
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Re: Is There an Inherent Defect in Sailors Brains ?

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Originally Posted by taildragerdrive View Post
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
I feel your pain and did the same thing at my former yard. I needed my transmission rebuilt and got "I thought" a fixed price quote of $1500.00. My bad for not making clear it was supposed to be fixed price. My bill was about $2500.00. I paid it. If it is not clear it is fixed price you have to pay or go to court. You can pay and then take them to small claims court and plead your case before a judge that they padded the bill. But that is about it. Call it another lesson in life.
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Old 27-07-2012, 09:21   #33
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Re: Is There an Inherent Defect in Sailors Brains ?

"So can anybody tell me what I should have done"
drager, there's no easy answer on that one. No one wants to do paperwork or write up estimates, and if you ask someone to give you a written estimate it is hard not to insult them by asking. But that's your only real protection, unless you're quietly (and legally) recording the conversation.
"Sounds great but I promised the spouse/partner/bank I'd get it in writing before we put the money into it, can I get an estimate on that, and an appointment to bring it in for the work tomorrow?" You know, try to find a diplomatic reason to get it in writing, then at least in most states they are required to not exceed the estimate without further writing and reason.
Your best bet is to get good references but good shops, yards, mechanics keep getting harder to find. I know one diesel guy who's honest--but, has some limits to his diagnostic talents and alwas shows up an hour or more late. And one shop that does great work--but is far enough away so things have to be shipped to them. (Fortunately, ground shipping is overnight to them.)
Other times, all you can do is go to small claims court. A business usually has to bring an attoreny, and that will cost them money, so often once you've filed (which can cost $25 to $300 depending on the state) and they receive notice, often their tune changes.
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Old 27-07-2012, 09:23   #34
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pirate Re: Is There an Inherent Defect in Sailors Brains ?

I apprenticed with a boat mechanic for about 12 weeks, while I was out of work two years ago. Decent guy, great experience, but I got to see both sides of the equation.

Here's some controllable reasons why your boat bill can be high:
- make a service appointment but don't show up or provide a key for access, or for the engine.
- ensure that fuel tanks are empty, or batteries are ashore.
- phone demanding rush service, provide a cryptic or misleading description of your problem, and don't show up to discuss or demonstrate the problem.
- don't prep anything. leave it up to the mechanic to unmake your rear berth to gain access to the propshaft, and expect the bed to be remade when we're done. You've just paid me $75+/hr to make your bed Thanks! You wanna chocolate on the pillow, too?
- put off all routine maintenance, which usually guarantees something will break down, and leaves lots of issues for mechanic to wade through when troubleshooting
- don't do your homework re options. Insist that we repair an elderly engine, when replacement would be the best long-term option.
- lurk over the mechanic's shoulder, and natter away about other usually trivial boat issues. Especially effective when the mechanic is wedged in the engine hatch in a rear quarterberth, trying to remove a rusted on coupling.
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Old 27-07-2012, 09:48   #35
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Re: Is There an Inherent Defect in Sailors Brains ?

LOL, good post Lake-Effect.

"Chocolate on the pillow" Now that's funny, I don't care who you are.

It's true I many times have to pull out tons of stuff from under bunks and trying to get them back into the storage area, of course in the exact same order, is a pain. But time is money.
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Old 27-07-2012, 10:37   #36
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Re: Is There an Inherent Defect in Sailors Brains ?

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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).
Agree that this is the best option in this situation and it often works but I have run into problems doing it this way.

1. By the time the yard or mechanic has done enough dis-assembly or diagnostic to confirm the problem and exact cost to repair they have already incurred the majority of labor hours so you as the customer have already incurred 50-60-80% of what it would cost to finish the job.

2. You have something that is working but with a problem that may be minor, only potentially serious, unknown, etc so go through the take it apart to diagnose and give a quote. But now your item is taken apart and if you decided the repairs are not worth the cost/benefit you now have a dis-assembled boat and the cost to put it back together.



So sometimes you pays your money and you takes your chances. But never call the lawyers.
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Old 27-07-2012, 10:47   #37
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Re: Is There an Inherent Defect in Sailors Brains ?

My experience is that those with the most money, are the ones that try to rip you off the most often, or those with no money, but you should have seen them coming....
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Old 27-07-2012, 11:39   #38
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Re: Is There an Inherent Defect in Sailors Brains ?

I'd say in NZ 70% will not rip you off but 30% would if they could get away with it. If you don't have good references then the above posts have given much excellent advice on how to signal to the 30% he's unlikely to get away with much.
In my case I've had work done on my new to me boat by a cruiser. He gave me an hourly rate, got me to pay for all parts and materials up front, pay him every few days and worked energetically. The chances of unhappiness for either him or myself were minimized. He was so good my wife calls him "Rod the bod from God" because he solved our problems and we got consultations on what was or was not needed to bring our boat up to scratch thrown in for free from a boatbuilder with 25years living aboard experience.
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Old 27-07-2012, 13:39   #39
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Re: Is There an Inherent Defect in Sailors Brains ?

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He was so good my wife calls him "Rod the bod from God" because he solved our problems and we got consultations on what was or was not needed to bring our boat up to scratch thrown in for free from a boatbuilder with 25years living aboard experience.
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Old 27-07-2012, 14:42   #40
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Re: Is There an Inherent Defect in Sailors Brains ?

I think this is on topic- does anyone have a set form, preferably down loaded from the net, in which we could contract the amount of $$ for a particular job with the contractor. I always end up paying about 1.2to 1.5 times higher. Maybe I am that doctor they got back at to make up for the others than shorted them.
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Old 27-07-2012, 14:57   #41
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Re: Is There an Inherent Defect in Sailors Brains ?

i have been most fortunate here in XXXXXX to have found a very good shipwright whose work i knew in 1998 in xxx xxxxx--his ex ran away with a boat he built and i knew the boat--lol-- so i have been able to find honest, fast, cheap, and good work and am having my boat fixed. one cannot find help like this in usa.
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Old 27-07-2012, 20:16   #42
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Re: Is There an Inherent Defect in Sailors Brains ?

Tellie you're a cynic!
Previous advise on various issues made me think I would be needing replacements; batteries, contaminated diesel, rotten head smells, and hatch leaks. But with education and tinkering from the friendly and experienced cruiser, "Rod the bod from God", these issues were sorted in a flash at no cost.(I think he had pity on us old jokers.) It was a no-brainer decision to go back to him when I wanted some paid work to be done! This resulted in more happiness for us. Experience plus love of boats & people is what you need in a tradesman - will beat dollars/hour anytime - so there ya go.
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Old 27-07-2012, 20:24   #43
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Re: Is There an Inherent Defect in Sailors Brains ?

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Tellie you're a cynic!
.

OOOOkay then. What I know about women can fit in a thimble. But there's enough room in that thimble to know that Rod the Bod from God didn't get his nickmane from your wife for the great work and advice he gives.
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Old 27-07-2012, 22:02   #44
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Re: Is There an Inherent Defect in Sailors Brains ?

Aaaaah. I get it. You are still a cynic Tellie.
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Old 02-11-2012, 17:03   #45
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Re: Is There an Inherent Defect in Sailors Brains ?

Sorry I have been away from the discussion.......I am on the Delaware Coast helping some boatowners (for cost of meals and housing) to try to sort outtheir various messes.......

Thanx(?) Sandy
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