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Old 17-02-2010, 07:07   #76
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I always provided detailed quotations, which specified exactly what was included in the price, an hourly rate for extra work (NIC, not included in contract), and a general description of some of the kinds of "extra" that might be encountered.

I never proceeded on extra work (NIC), without specific authorization to do so (either hourly rate, or addition fixed fee).

I still got taken, on very rare occasion, by deadbeat customers.
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Old 17-02-2010, 12:39   #77
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Being a self employed person i am aware of both sides of this issue..

Bottom line if I miss something in my bid i eat it period..I don't even approach the customer. That said I don't have x ray vision either and say an engine rebuild you have really know idea what your going to find until you open it up...much the same as digging a foundation hole i have know idea where bearing soil is to be found so I will often give a bid stating a dig to a maximum depth ..anything over that depth will be an extra...so i have no problem with those kind of things...Its the replacing of hoses and or wiring or a sea strainer I have issues with if the time is doubled...That's a bidding problem not a customer's problem.

The issue i have with mechanics or boat yards is they want everything to be T&M or an open checkbook...what ever it takes it takes...well that's just not acceptable.

I have learned my lesson... and my current contract states what their bid is what they get period...so either pad your bid up front to CYA or don't whine to me about how long it takes over what you thought it was going to.

The industry needs to grow a backbone... Mine does with me at the Helm anyway....
Glad to hear you say that. I don't mind a person being up front and saying this is so complicated we just have no idea but will do a good quality job for $x/hr. But when I get an estimate and then I hear "but I ran into unforeseen problems" I get a little ticked off too. A good professional will have foreseen those problems and put the possibility into the contract. I am going to be much more specific about my contracts in the future as well after a recent boatyard experience.

Jim
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Old 18-02-2010, 07:19   #78
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[QUOTE=jkleins;405476But when I get an estimate and then I hear "but I ran into unforeseen problems" I get a little ticked off too. A good professional will have foreseen those problems and put the possibility into the contract. I am going to be much more specific about my contracts in the future as well after a recent boatyard experience.
Jim[/QUOTE]

Jim, I don't think that is possible for a professional to foresee everything that might happen and put it into the contract.
But I think that they can foresee many of the usual things.
But sometimes there are just unexpected things.

bob
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Old 18-02-2010, 08:29   #79
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Jim, I don't think that is possible for a professional to foresee everything that might happen and put it into the contract.
But I think that they can foresee many of the usual things.
But sometimes there are just unexpected things.

bob
I find it hard to believe that something as simple as a boat would stump a good service person though. I don't mean quoting a fix for everything that can go wrong just acknowledging the things that might increase the price that will be outside the quote.

I guess I have seen a number of "well it didn't fit like we thought it would so we had to do "x" which cost more" or "we didn't anticipate that what we did would do that so we have to do "x" which cost more."

It is more about really understanding the problem and communicating it to the customer so when you call and say "I need to do so and so" you can follow it up with "like we discussed could be a problem."

Jim
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Old 25-04-2010, 07:48   #80
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Okay, if anybody cares, here's how it all turned out for this rookie boat owner this winter:

- The "overall sailboat guy" finally refused to work on my boat any more, since I gave most of the work we had discussed to other people when he refused to provide even rough quotes on most items, lied to me about the cost of shrink wrapping, and tossed out an off-the-cuff estimate of $3,500 to replace my old stuffing box with a dripless connector.

- I found a reliable, quality diesel mechanic who basically brought my engine up to snuff, including boiling out the heat exchanger and exhaust elbow, replacing hoses, filters and impeller, painting the engine, adding the dripless connector, new cutlass bearing and zincs, and reconfiguring the prop shaft through-hull, all for $2500.

- The fiberglass guy fixed my lazarette door, redid my cockpit sole, rebedded my wheel pedestal, replaced my teak stern cap plate and companionway cover, varnished all external teak, bonded the smile in the front of the keel and painted my spreaders. He will also wash and wax hull and topsides, all for $3,150. The new piece of plexiglass for the companionway cover cost $1,500 that I paid to a custom glass place.

- I finally mustered the courage to begin some marine maintenance and upgrading myself, after getting past the idea that it had to be done perfectly. Once I could live with the fact that I might not do it right, and might have to do it over, I got out my tools and rebedded a port light, installed a different type of float switch in the bilge, rewired my stern light, rebedded all hardware and stanchions onto the new stern plate, lubricated and adjusted my steering linkage, installed a new mast step plate, and a whole list of smaller things that I'm still working on while I'm waiting to get launched.

The bizarre thing is that I'm really enjoying all the learning and the work. I look forward to being able to do more. Maybe some day I'll even be somewhat competent, if I keep practicing.

The mast goes up next week, and I'm looking forward to working with the rigging guy to learn more about that process. And then I'm having someone install an asymm. I can't wait to go out and play with that chute.

Cruise to Castine, ME, and maybe Nova Scotia in June.

Thank you again, one and all, for all the help and advice on this thread!

- D
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Old 25-04-2010, 16:19   #81
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Okay, if anybody cares, here's how it all turned out for this rookie boat owner this winter:
Always nice to hear the end of a story
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Old 25-04-2010, 19:37   #82
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.


The bizarre thing is that I'm really enjoying all the learning and the work. I look forward to being able to do more. Maybe some day I'll even be somewhat competent, if I keep practicing.


- D

Your enthusiasim is nice to hear.

Beware of another trap. You enjoy working on it and that becomes your life. I don't know if you plan to go cruising or not. But I know that for me, it was always "3-5 years and then I drop the docklines". But it never bacame 2-4 years or 1-3 years. It was always 3-5.

I got closer to having the things I wanted done, I caught myself and set a real target. Dropped the dock lines and started a new phase of my life. the work has not stopped. It just goes on slower and in a different place. AND while I'm actually enjoying the darned thing (It's also easier to determine what the difference between needs and wants are).

Boats are never done. They are a balancing act.
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Old 27-04-2010, 06:31   #83
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I hear ya, Minggat. For the foreseeable future, my goal is just coastal cruising, but I do intend that to include the entire east coast of the U.S. and the Caribbean. My plan is to start north in June, come back and spend one more winter here (NY), then head south next season and stay down there for a couple of years, cruising as time allows.
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Old 27-04-2010, 06:39   #84
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Sometimes I think we all get caught like this. I usually just try to finish up with whatever the guy is doing and seperate myself as soon as possible. You might use something like, "It's just not in the budget right now" and cut your losses.

When I strarted sailing a friend told me that the learning curve is steep and expensive. You learn a lot fast and when you get into situations like this, it's costly.
Very wise words indeed.

Pay whatever you have to to extricate yourself from the situation, and don't go back to him.

Learn to do the work yourself, to the absolute maximum extent possible. This brings a multitude of benefits. Besides saving money, you will know your boat much better and will have skills you may need when you're out away from civilization. Plus it's greatly satisfying.

For any work you just can't do yourself, look and look and don't give up until you've found someone actually good AND honest. They exist.
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Old 27-04-2010, 06:42   #85
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Thanks, Dockhead. It's through advice like yours that I actually am starting to learn...and enjoying it.
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