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Old 14-09-2009, 14:44   #76
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Hi David,

I've worked at a charter chef along with my husband in the Caribbean. I hesitated to respond to this post because you mentioned chartering in Florida, which I am not familiar with.

I'll say from my experience in chartering in the caribbean: there is absolutely - ABSOLUTELY - no rest for the crew. People take a week to have a good time and squeeze as much as they can from these charters - and they do. I have always commented (quietly) how much people eat and drink. I'd be the size of a mack truck if I ate like they did. And drink - Americans were the worst offenders - getting drunk and stupid all the time.

One charter boat we ran cost US $27K / week. And this is the type of clientele that came on board. When we changed boats - much nicer and a bit more expensive, clientele was more civilized, but came with a different set of problems.

The money is good. The tips are great - particularly Americans who understand the concept. But the work is hard, hard, hard. And you are up against alot of competition. And you have to convince the charter brokers - who bring in the biz - why you're better than the rest.

If you still want to do it - then go for it! You may be able to beat the odds. Heavens, there are those out there that have. All the very best to you.

PJ
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Old 14-09-2009, 15:48   #77
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Hi David,

I'll say from my experience in chartering in the caribbean: there is absolutely - ABSOLUTELY - no rest for the crew. People take a week to have a good time and squeeze as much as they can from these charters - and they do.

The money is good. The tips are great - particularly Americans who understand the concept. But the work is hard, hard, hard. And you are up against alot of competition. And you have to convince the charter brokers - who bring in the biz - why you're better than the rest.

PJ
Very true words. Most think running a charter boat is like when they're chartering and enjoying themselves. It definitely is not, it's a 24 hours a day service job! There must be easier and more pleasant ways to make a living. What's especially true is the bit about pleasing brokers, not an easy task for new entries to the business. I would think that if you love sailing you will be making a big mistake thinking you can turn it into a business.
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Old 23-10-2009, 09:23   #78
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Hi together. I try to open a charter business in Thailand. I got the information that I can not be the captain when I take the tourists for a trip. I need to employ a Thai person with captain licence to drive my sailing boat. Is it truth.
Thanks for the info.
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Old 23-10-2009, 09:32   #79
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Ask Thai Government, don't be surprised if it is the truth. Foreigners are not allowed to own land or businesses in most of the world, and no allowed to run charter businesses without the correct local (national) credentials.
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Old 23-10-2009, 10:20   #80
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The replies so far may seem negative, but sadly that's because the project you outline can very easily be a journey down the boulevard of broken dreams.

It is possible to make a go of being an owner/skipper, and niche marketing is the way to go - there's no point taking on the big "corporates".

But, at the prices you mention for the boat, it will not be new, and maintenance, renewals and repairs will probably be high as a result. Nearly everybody new to this business fails to realise just how much maintenance is involved. That means out of season too. And if you have a major breakdown and a string of charters booked what then? That has broken more than one business of this sort that I know of. Remember, too, that if it doesn't work out you now have a boat that has been chartered and will have depreciated significantly in the eyes of a private buyer, no matter how unfair this may be in regards to the time and effort you've spent looking after her.

Don't underestimate fixed costs like insurance - I don't know what the situation is in the US, but in the UK our insurance costs increased massively (x 10 roughly) between 2002 - 2006 as insurers moved out of the market leaving only a few brokers who could charge what they liked. If you are not working full time, then these costs will form a significant part of your weekly rate, which is why most charter outfits have to work such long seasons to defray them.

And marketing costs money - whether you go through a broker or do it yourself. If it was as easy (and cheap) as just having a presence on the web, then everyone would be doing it.

You have to be ready and able to fix everything and anything any time of the day or night, and be ready to go first thing the next morning. Most people will be forgiving of the odd glitch, but rapidly run out of patience with anything greater than that. And you have to go, unless the weather is really, totally atrocious - the first thing you learn is that your guests have booked to go sailing/diving even though you might think it's madness to do so.

Finally, you've got to love people - it's amazing how many charter skippers find that they don't.

It can be a great life, but the pitfalls are numerous and the rewards (at least financially) are astonishingly poor. It's no surprise that many skippers end up hating the very thing they loved most when they started out - going to sea.

Why not try and get some work with an established business as a skipper first, and see how you like the work? And if it's obvious then that it's the life for you, then the very best of luck to you.
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Old 23-10-2009, 12:38   #81
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Creating a website and finding ways to point prospective customers to it is not a difficult task.

Bruce
Unless you are a website designer you are dead wrong. I know nothing about chartering or boats but I have owned a business for the last 5 years and had great success with internet advertising.

The first thing you are going to want is a very high quality website and you can expect to pay $3-5k for a good fully featured site. The next thing you are going to have to do is advertise that site. You can advertise on specific websites for a monthly fee as well as pay per click through google and other search engines. You can expect to pay a minimum of $500 per month in advertising fee's but you will get a lot of bang for your buck if set up correctly. The nice thing is that once this is set up it does not take much effort to run but....

who is going to answer your phone and email? Customers expect a lot. Many people that call expect their call to be answered or else they will move on to the next company. Those that leave a message expect it to be returned quickly, one day at the most and it's the same with emails.

No matter how you generate business you will not be able to handle customers yourself if you're out on a trip for a week at a time. I don't want to discourage you but this is something that you must find an answer to before you jump in to it. Good luck!
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Old 23-10-2009, 13:03   #82
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who is going to answer your phone and email? Customers expect a lot. Many people that call expect their call to be answered or else they will move on to the next company. Those that leave a message expect it to be returned quickly, one day at the most and it's the same with emails.

!
Very true. I get a lot of stuff for my boat online but I usually call the 800 number. If I get a machine I move on to the next vendor. Same with a local purchase, line up the phone numbers and scratch the ones that only have an answering machine.
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Old 23-10-2009, 14:46   #83
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Did I meant I do web design, banner ads, and Flash
I don't do SEO, though.
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Old 24-10-2009, 05:31   #84
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Ask Thai Government, don't be surprised if it is the truth. Foreigners are not allowed to own land or businesses in most of the world, and no allowed to run charter businesses without the correct local (national) credentials.
Thanks for your advice. I thought to do it. But I am just not sure if you get here from the government the right answer. So I try to get from different places info.
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Old 24-10-2009, 06:02   #85
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Actually, SEO & web design can be pretty easy. I got my business up to first page rankings within 2 months for free. Well, if you count my time as free. I spent about 8 hours designing the pages and about 8 more hours, piecemeal, getting good rankings.

But I do agree that the owner/charter biz is extremely difficult. I remember taking a crewed charter 25 years ago and rates recently don't seem much different. 25 years and not much rate increase? I suspect it's because of supply and demand. It's a crowded field with a lot of good competition.
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Old 24-10-2009, 09:29   #86
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That's only partially true!!!

Building (AKA: developing) a website can be VERY easy, especially with all of the software and services out there that don't require you knowing a single line of code.

SEO can also be easy to a degree, especially with paid rankings, pay/click adds, and software that will optimize you pages code for SOE...once again without needing to know any code yourself.

On the other hand, designing a website is easy if you're actually a designer or maybe at least and artistic creative type. But there's a lot of hideous sites out there that were slapped together by someone who learned a piece of software but doesn't have a clue what good design and usabilty are.

How easy it was to build or how good your rankings are aren't everything. If the site looks like garbage, uses breaks design standards, isn't easy to navigate, not organized well, hard to get to the content you're looking for, etc. it will drive people away.
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Old 24-10-2009, 17:12   #87
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Only in The United States can you come here as a foreigner own and operate a business and you get no intereference from the Fed or Local People.

We are an equal opportunity government when it comes to laws, taxws, taxes...did I say laws?

You try to open a bidness in a foreign country....good luck

Ya better have a lot of "walking around money"
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Old 27-11-2009, 06:30   #88
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Your right about the work ,but

I have set up my charter bus. to do only day and sunset cruises where we provide great finger foods beer and wine. I also perform weddings and burials at sea. We live on the boat so I have it set up that once docked and customers say goodby we are back to living comfortably in 3 minutes.
And we are busy most of the time. And we are busy most of the time. Take a look at my set up maybe will help in your efforts. www.restlessnative.com
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Old 02-03-2010, 20:42   #89
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I have set up my charter bus. to do only day and sunset cruises where we provide great finger foods beer and wine. I also perform weddings and burials at sea. We live on the boat so I have it set up that once docked and customers say goodby we are back to living comfortably in 3 minutes.
And we are busy most of the time. And we are busy most of the time. Take a look at my set up maybe will help in your efforts. www.restlessnative.com
You better check your web site. My firewall detects an intrusion from your site.
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Old 02-03-2010, 21:27   #90
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Only in The United States can you come here as a foreigner own and operate a business and you get no intereference from the Fed or Local People.

We are an equal opportunity government when it comes to laws, taxws, taxes...did I say laws?

You try to open a bidness in a foreign country....good luck

Ya better have a lot of "walking around money"
Chief, have you ever opened a business in any other country? I have found that it is not much difference in opening one in America or say Greece/Italy -Most places you go , you need to jump thru the hoops and that includes the good ol USA-
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