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Old 05-09-2006, 16:21   #16
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I think part of this issue at least for the original poster seems to be the Value for Money aspect of the transaction. Also the treatment, or percieved treatment, that being "interviewed" carries with it. Here in the states most apartment complexes and other types of rentals are managed by "professional" management companies who sell their services to owners based on several factors, one of which is that they will have a better clientele as the management company will "prescreen" the prospective renters. It may be that Salty Sams may be going this direction as some other marinas are. This will result in only the "best" people allowed to moor or tie up their boats and allegedly maximise profits for all concerned. I am not sure it actually works that way but that seems to be the marketing theory.

Competitiveness as an arbiter of prices is overblown and frankly just does not work in all areas of business. In some sectors of the economy (at least here in the states) there is a tendency to "niche market" services. In other words some people will pay more for the same thing I will just for the privelege of doing so. The Marina I am in sets their prices based on those around it and MAINLY on the fact that it is INSIDE the Ballard Locks which must be traversed at great loss of time and some aggravation, before getting to Puget Sound. This GENERALLY results in lower overall price than those marinas outside the locks. However there are others Inside the locks and farther away yet that charge considerably more than mine does simply based on the fact that they are located in a particular suburb. Meanwhile all of the marinas inside the locks have open spaces of various sizes while those outside the locks on the sound have waiting lists as long as two years. In neither case are they raising or lowering their prices. In this case it is not competitiveness of price that is determining the charges but CONVENIENCE. Another way to look at it would be location. But neither has anything to do with the number of slips available or the number of boats. It would take a huge change in the numbers of boat owners, either up or down or marina space to really affect prices here.

So if price competitiveness really works, then the marinas outside the locks would be raising their prices to the point where they were full (as they already are) and there was no waiting list. Meanwhile the marinas inside the locks would be lowering theirs to make the convenience factor become a price factor and fill the spaces. Neither is happening. The reason neither happens is the same problem as Salty Sams: That in many cases these businesses are politically powerful and enjoy the protection of the local governments or are government owned. So at least here, due to space, enviornmental and government concerns, it would be nearly impossible to build a new private marina. Also here in Washington many marinas are owned by local governments, (county, city) and there is no incentive to allow increased competition through allowing building of private marinas. So the prices are what they are and very little will change them, including normally fluctuating market forces.
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Old 05-09-2006, 16:39   #17
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Alan P.-
I'm not sure where your post is but my email thinks you did post another one.
"So if price competitiveness really works, ... Neither is happening."
Free markets, real markets, all that stuff gets deeper into game theory than common sense. Game Theory as in the stuff discussed in "A Beautiful Mind", the book and movie being radically different treatments of the same person who was famous for his contributions to the same area of mathematics. What we think from "common sense" would be the most profitable way for businesses to operate, often isn't. Either from unseen constraints or unseen market factors.
Seattle...who knows?! Seattle and Chicago literally rebuilt themsevles to raise their "downtown" above plague-ridden mud flats. New Orleans? A hundred years later seems unable or unwilling to do the same.
Salty Sam's appears to have a town franchise, and that's a legal monopoly. The simplest way to get rid of Salty Sam's is for everyone on the forum to move down to Ft. Meyers, and vote the leadership out. Isn't that the Golden Rule? Those with the gold, rule?
Even with parking at $210/month, that makes their rates $470/month for mooring a 58' boat, with use of shore facilities, before annual discounts. I don't know, but to many of us that would sound DIRT CHEAP for Florida rates or East Coast rates ANYWHERE.
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Old 05-09-2006, 19:48   #18
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Well I think you are making my point for me. Is water front real estate in Florida that much cheaper than Seattle or Baltimore? Who has more boats per capita? Who has more marina space. I will be willing to bet it is Florida. While that price may seem dirt cheap to you, with the wage differential between the Northeast and Florida I'd be willing to bet that in relative terms it is the same cost. Making it just as expensive for Floridians as for those in Annapolis. There are not thousands of boats waiting for slips, nor thousands of slips waiting for boats. The supply and demand is fairly constant. So with supply and demand in equilibrium prices should be relatively constant over a large area. This is not the case.

As for Salty Sams having a town monopoly that was the point of my post, a monopoly negates the market forces, especially when the government, local or otherwise is involved in owning the land or the business as is the case here in the Northwest. And it's my experience that certain businesses just do not react to the traditional market forces that we were taught about in Economics. The selling and distribution of fuel is a prime example. 4 companies own all the refining, distribution and most of the point of sale outlets. Only in ones wild imagination can one concieve of a situation where there is competition or market forces at play in the price of gasoline. At least not on the point of purchase end. As in some other sectors of the economy it would take a literal earth shaking sea change of forces, ie a severe depression, to radically affect prices in any meaningful way. The other side of the coin is charging what the market will bear. Determining what the market will bear in a sector such as pleasure craft is very tricky and not easily pinned down. With multi million dollar homes and boats being sold at a higher rate and in greater numbers than ever before in this countrys history, is it possible that that aberration is skewing the market, especially in places like Seattle and the Northeast, to the large boat owner and his/her wallet? The building of "Resort", "Destination" marinas all over this country and in places like Costa Rica and Thailand would argue YES to that question. Is that a response to market forces or an aberration of them? I think it is an aberration. The vast majority of boat owners own boats under 40 feet and most of those are 30 and under.

And yes those with money have power and execise it. Just ask anyone in Seattle about our new Football stadium that was voted down in a referendum not allowing any public money to be used and built anyway, mostly with public financing, because Paul Allen (of Microsoft and Seattles Biggest Real estate developer) wanted it.
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Old 05-09-2006, 20:05   #19
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"And yes those with money have power and execise it. Just ask anyone in Seattle..."
Well, anyplace where the town fathers could vote to "wall in" all the merchants and bury the entrances to their businesses could arguably called a place run by a political machine.<G> [Referring to "Undergound Seattle" as it is called today]
But Boston, NY, Chicago, lots of places are run by political machines regardless of what anyone thinks. Florida has a rep for being an entire state run that way. N'Orleans and Lousiana too. It's not unusual.
Aberration? Dunno. The market forces in the US, and the economy as a whole, have been shifting to void the middle class. That's not unusual either. One could argue that the last time that happened in a big way, it caused the French Revolution. And it has certainly made an ugly mess in Brazil. This isn't the 21st Century we were all told would come.
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