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Old 26-11-2012, 22:51   #1
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Maintenance Opportunities?

I have operated a Handyman business in the past and am wondering if I can apply it to the boating world. I'm experienced in electrical, plumbing, flooring and woodworking. I am retired but still stay on the go and the extra income is welcome. Can a person make any money doing maintenance? I also enjoy fabricating and replacing damaged/worn components. I realize that a lot of boaters are diy's but they don't always know how to do it all. Next question, how do I protect Myself from My investment sailing off in the middle of the night? I plan on moving to the Clearwater, Fl. area.
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Old 26-11-2012, 23:00   #2
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Re: Maintenance Opportunities?

RULES FOR SUCCESS IN THE MARINE MAINTENANCE BIZ

1.- Show up when you say are going to show up
2.- Do the work you said you'd do, when you said you'd do it
3.- Charge the price you quoted
4.- Be professional in the way you dress, talk to the customer, even (especially) your paperwork
5.- If you screw something up, make it right and not on the customer's dime
6.- Don't badmouth the competition

Follow these rules and you will be head and shoulders above the most of the competition. That being said, know that there is tons of competition. You will not make a living (or even pay the bills) overnight.
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Old 26-11-2012, 23:59   #3
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Re: Maintenance Opportunities?

Try walking round the yards when you get to Florida and have a chat about doing work.

My guess is they'll want a slice of your invoice and liability insurance.

Line it up, run a few ads and see how it goes.

My impression is that when it comes to paying sailing folk are among the better customers, but I wouldn't let anyone run up a big bill.

Do keep in mind that boat work can take three or four times as long as a similar house job, and the materials can cost several times as much.
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Old 27-11-2012, 01:41   #4
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Re: Maintenance Opportunities?

Before you get to work on boats for the first time, you really need to do some research on the difference between marine and structure requirements, and make sure you understand not only what the differences are, but why. For instance tinned stranded wire may not be necessary for home construction, but for marine installation it really is all that should be used. Same for electrical fittings, they all need to be cold weld crimped, wire nuts won't last a day.

But as FST mentioned there is a long history of shoddy work, and a serious lack of professionalism in the marine trade. Solve those two problems and the knowledge will come.
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Old 27-11-2012, 03:21   #5
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> Can a person make any money doing maintenance?

Oh, god yes...

Here's the thing, dock side handymen seem to fall into one of a couple of different categories

- straight up grifters
- drunks and other dysfunctionals
- commercial / industrial
- individuals worth their weight in gold

Having just switched from one in the fist and second categories to one in the last category, I can tell you that the path to success really isn't that hard to follow (someone already posted a good set of rules).
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Old 27-11-2012, 04:27   #6
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Re: Maintenance Opportunities?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stumble View Post
Before you get to work on boats for the first time, you really need to do some research on the difference between marine and structure requirements, and make sure you understand not only what the differences are, but why. For instance tinned stranded wire may not be necessary for home construction, but for marine installation it really is all that should be used. Same for electrical fittings, they all need to be cold weld crimped, wire nuts won't last a day.

But as FST mentioned there is a long history of shoddy work, and a serious lack of professionalism in the marine trade. Solve those two problems and the knowledge will come.
Good pionts made in the above post especially with electrical which is not rocket science but there are a few significant differences between wiring your basement and wiring a boat. Like any business there is an upfront investment to do it right. I'd suggest the first thing you do is buy the ABYC Standards which cover just about every system on a boat
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Old 27-11-2012, 07:29   #7
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Re: Maintenance Opportunities?

Thanks for the reply's. The rules are the same in the handyman business here. I was insured and bonded and set Myself apart from the run of the mill handymen by dress code and good business ethics. I have checked into it in Florida and understand that a license and insurance is required for a handyman and also that there are as many handymen as there are Dolphins in the Bay. Biggest problem I had which finally led to My shutting down was people calling 24/7 because their stool wouldn't stop running or They wanted Me to build on a room addition. I did adhere to local electrical and plumbing codes. Thanks for the info on "ABYC Standards", I'm sure it will be helpful.
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Old 27-11-2012, 07:52   #8
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Re: Maintenance Opportunities?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MANLEYONE View Post
I have operated a Handyman business in the past and am wondering if I can apply it to the boating world. I'm experienced in electrical, plumbing, flooring and woodworking. I am retired but still stay on the go and the extra income is welcome. Can a person make any money doing maintenance? I also enjoy fabricating and replacing damaged/worn components. I realize that a lot of boaters are diy's but they don't always know how to do it all. Next question, how do I protect Myself from My investment sailing off in the middle of the night? I plan on moving to the Clearwater, Fl. area.
I like many other sailors here tend to do a lot of our own maintenance. There were somethings at first I thought I could never do myself like removing the old diesel but, ultimately ended up doing it anyway and found it not that hard:
THE BIANKA LOG BLOG: Removing a Westerbeke diesel engine

I'm pretty comfortable around electronics and so did most of the electric propulsion install myself. But, when it came to extending the existing engine stringers I hired a local yacht refitter as he called himself to do the job. Here is some of the work he did for me.
THE BIANKA LOG BLOG: GOING ELECTRIC: PART 9 WHERE TO BEGIN?
For me it was money well spent and moved the install along nicely. One thing you may need to get use to is working in confined spaces and in positions the body does not find "comfortable".
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