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Old 26-03-2012, 15:11   #1
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Marina Service Gouging

Hello all. I've been a boater for quite a while and a sailor for a time. As I get older as many of you are it gets more difficult to do the maintenance and repairs on our boats. Having limited experience with marina yards and service I am mind boggled as to how we continue to let them gouge us for their work. As in the auto industry there are preset rates and times for various service. But with boats, the rates vary substantially and whether you need a bulb changed or full deck replacement the hourly rates stay the same. Why do we let them soak us for work that can and is typically done by novices. For instance, I have 8 port windows on my boat. They all need to be re-seated. I don't have the time or the energy any longer. To re-seal these 8 windows I am quoted a price of 4-5 hours each at $96 an hour, the total cost approximately $4000 to put a little caulk in a window opening. I can get a carpenter in my house to install 8 windows for $800. Why do we let them get away with it. Recently I had to have a bilge pump replaced and a fuel pump re-bult. The marina knew i was in a bind, having to move my boat quickly. Another $4000. The prices are getting out of control. We are such a large goup and we spend an enormous amount of money to our economy. You would think we could group together as an influential voter base and have this thievery stopped. Boat US, Boat Foundation, this group and that. Yet nothing is done to stop it. They say a boat is a hole in the water where you throw money. Some might find this funny. But for me it is disgusting. As we continue to allow it we only have ourselves to blame. Let's get Washington involved. Where are the lawmakers in our defense. And for those who continue to say, well boating is seasonal. The service yards work all year regardless of the weather. There are engines to rebuild, decks to be replaced, plumbing to installand repair and on and on. It is a multi Billion Dollar Industry. They are making a fortune while we keep getting taken.
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Old 26-03-2012, 15:14   #2
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Re: Marina Service Gouging

Vote with you feet. Or paddles. Or whatever. That said, I doubt anybody is getting rich running a marina or boatyard.
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Old 26-03-2012, 15:27   #3
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Re: Marina Service Gouging

If I was to work on your boat, and charged $90 an hour, I'd also be paying my insurance, taxes, tools, etc.... Think of the liability created when a bilge pump is replaced.....often times the pump fails when worked overtime.....so lets draw a scenario. I go to your boat, replace your bilge pump, do my due diligence and make notes of the condition of the boat. Now the new bilge pump is working so you are less diligent about the port leaks or the packing gland. 2 months later the pump fails and the boat sinks from small leaks. Now I need to pay legal fees to avoid buying your boat......
No amount of government price fixing will make this better.
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Old 26-03-2012, 15:33   #4
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Re: Marina Service Gouging

Washington won't help.

If you don't like the cost of service, ask for someone else to do it. And if you don't like them, ask again. And if you can't find anyone that will do it for the price your willing to pay, your in the wrong, not them.

Good luck with that.
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Old 26-03-2012, 15:36   #5
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Re: Marina Service Gouging

Step one. Get rid of all the lawyers.
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Old 26-03-2012, 15:40   #6
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Re: Marina Service Gouging

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailmonkey View Post
If I was to work on your boat, and charged $90 an hour, I'd also be paying my insurance, taxes, tools, etc.... Think of the liability created when a bilge pump is replaced.....often times the pump fails when worked overtime.....so lets draw a scenario. I go to your boat, replace your bilge pump, do my due diligence and make notes of the condition of the boat. Now the new bilge pump is working so you are less diligent about the port leaks or the packing gland. 2 months later the pump fails and the boat sinks from small leaks. Now I need to pay legal fees to avoid buying your boat......
No amount of government price fixing will make this better.

Not only that, you'd also be getting strong-armed by the insurance mob. We in the business are often required to get "marine" or "longshoremans" insurance at truly ridiculous rates. Let the insurance industry find out you have workers on the clock within 100 yards of water, and you are screwed. Our rates almost doubled overnight when we were hit with this requirement. The insurance companies feel you guys can afford it. This is also how they make back any losses on marine insurance, believe me your premiums are a pittance compared to what the industry pays. If you want more regulation, regulate big insurance, not little boatyards.
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Old 26-03-2012, 16:31   #7
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Re: Marina Service Gouging

Every area has a few guys who do boat work on the cheap such as $40/hour cash or something. Occasionally those guys are very good. Maybe you can find one in your area. Often they are retired guys looking for beer money.

If you are already in a full service yard that plan won't work.
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Old 26-03-2012, 16:40   #8
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Re: Marina Service Gouging

I can't imagine what law would apply in this case--they are simply charging what the market will accept and what they need to do to make a profit. I have worked in a boatyard and depending on what you are doing, it can be very skilled work that involves a lot of additional expenses that are not always obvious. For example, someone might complain when we charged two hours to do something that looked like a tiny job, yet to access the problem we needed to set up scaffolding, set up power cords to reach, get special tools to work on the situation, etc. On the other hand, a lot of yards charge a high hourly rate and you don't necessarily get your money's worth. One yard I had the misfortune to have my boat in charged the full hourly repair rate to have someone go and retrieve my fire extinguishers from a remote storage place--it would have been a lot cheaper just to buy new ones instead. The job took ten minutes, but a minimum of one hour was charged for anything, plus you also had to pay for an assistant, not matter what the job. That was just a rip off.
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Old 26-03-2012, 18:09   #9
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Re: Marina Service Gouging

Wah, Wah - the same old bitching "they charged me 4 hours of labor for a job that takes 10 minutes". Well, if they did, then find a new yard. But, more likely a skilled guy who gets paid well by the hour and has a burden of health insurance liability insurance, disability etc etc - goes down to your boat to do your ports. He has to figure out what you want, how the bota was put together by the builder or another yard, fetch the correct materials and tools, setup the job, do the job to good workmanlike standards (which may involve a different approach than he thought or was told, different materials, tools etc), then he has to pack everything up and clean your boat and lock it up.
You go do it like that and see how long it takes. how about a whole weekend and you still did a so-so job...
Boats are not like your 2005 Honda that there are thousands of-thousands-so that a mechanic can know that a new starter or whatever will take 1.25 hours and a $200 part. On a boat, that maybe is a one off or has been modified by ten different people over the years (none of it documented), every job is a a detective mission first, then an engineering exercise to figure it out. Then he has to see if he can find the part because it is no longer made, or fabricate something.
Boats are expensive-taking good care of your boat requires either an owner with alot of skill and time or a yard with experienced and skilled people who will charge you accordingly. What is your business? Do you charge more than $95 an hour for a highly skilled person?
Some yards are incompetent and rip-offs yes-so don't go to them. Find a yard you trust, with good people and let them take care of your boat and then you can enjoy it. Stop the worn out bitching that "everything is too expensive in the marine business" or, don't use the marine industry...
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Old 26-03-2012, 18:23   #10
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Re: Marina Service Gouging

There are things on boats that cost a lot of money to do and there are thing that a monkey can do. If you think a boat yard is sending their expert wood worker to paint your bottom or detail your interior you are sadly mistaken. Unfortunately they are generally billed out at the same price. On the flip side a yard's rigger usually is not a trained rigger per say just someone who know how to get your mast to stand up straight.

Some things do have a surprising inherent cost. Hauling a boat usually requires at a minimum 3 people, stepping a mast can take 5 if done properly

I will say this, if you complain about the cost, a yard is likely to give you a discount. I know from experience that yards and yard managers will often knock off some money if you piss and moan. Just be sure you are pissing and moaning about the right things.

It is indeed hard to make a living running a boat yard. Don't believe me? Go out cruising. In a 6 week trip I saw at lease three marina/boat yards that were decaying because of a lack of business.
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Old 26-03-2012, 18:42   #11
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Re: Marina Service Gouging

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There are things on boats that cost a lot of money to do and there are thing that a monkey can do. If you think a boat yard is sending their expert wood worker to paint your bottom or detail your interior you are sadly mistaken. Unfortunately they are generally billed out at the same price. On the flip side a yard's rigger usually is not a trained rigger per say just someone who know how to get your mast to stand up straight.

Some things do have a surprising inherent cost. Hauling a boat usually requires at a minimum 3 people, stepping a mast can take 5 if done properly

I will say this, if you complain about the cost, a yard is likely to give you a discount. I know from experience that yards and yard managers will often knock off some money if you piss and moan. Just be sure you are pissing and moaning about the right things.

It is indeed hard to make a living running a boat yard. Don't believe me? Go out cruising. In a 6 week trip I saw at lease three marina/boat yards that were decaying because of a lack of business.

Pissing and moaning may get you the occasional discount, but I can't advise it. As with most things in life, those with a bad attitude don't get the extras. I have had many clients over the years who appreciated my craftsmanship and showed it by bringing in the odd bottle or case of beer. This is always appreciated in the spirit its meant, even though I don't drink at all. Some happy clients from big refits have been sending me Christmas cards for many years. These nice people with good attitudes get all sorts of free extras, sometimes to an extreme. Bring lunch for the crew, have an after work bbq, etc etc. Your yard workers will appreciate and remember you for it. You want that. Oh, and if you are too old to replace a bilge pump, its time too consider retiring from the water unless you can afford to pay someone else.
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Old 26-03-2012, 19:27   #12
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Start a boat yard. Hire 5 guys who all want benefits. Pay for yard space, office, maybe a bookkeeper. Pay liability and workers comp. get a hold of 80-100k worth of tools. Take on crap jobs on crap boats. Rework for free when the owner doesn't like the color he picked.

Charge me $45 bucks an hour. I'll be there frequently until you are out of business.
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Old 26-03-2012, 19:38   #13
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Re: Marina Service Gouging

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Wah, Wah - the same old bitching .
You're doing plenty of it yourself champ.
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Old 26-03-2012, 19:58   #14
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Re: Marina Service Gouging

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I have had many clients over the years who appreciated my craftsmanship and showed it by bringing in the odd bottle or case of beer.
I thought that's what the hourly rate was for and now you want more?
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Some happy clients from big refits have been sending me Christmas cards for many years. These nice people with good attitudes get all sorts of free extras, sometimes to an extreme.
I hope you sent them cards thanking them for providing you with the work and funds that allowed you to feed and clothe your family and keep a roof over their head
Quote:
Bring lunch for the crew, have an after work bbq, etc etc. Your yard workers will appreciate and remember you for it. You want that.
Bribery and corruption.
Some just use cash in a brown paper bag.
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Old 26-03-2012, 20:02   #15
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Re: Marina Service Gouging

No doubt. There are some places that do good work for less but they are a vanishing breed, usually to simple economics.

Wow, I followup on Minaret's post and three more jam in before I can finish typing. $45 Hr? We just raised our rates to that... How long will that last? Depends on workload and our need to expand into a larger, more expensive space.
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