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Old 06-05-2008, 17:01   #1
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Money in splicing?

Do you wise people think that there is any money to be made in splicing?

I am getting pretty damn good (though I do say so myself) in splicing: Double braid, single braid, 3-strand etc. Around here, chandleries charge like wounded bulls for double braid eye-splices; I'm talking like $75 for a 14mm double braid eye-splice. I'm wondering if there is potential to make a bit of money, while live aboard cruising, offering spicing services at marinas, for dock lines etc, or to owners for halyards, sheets etc. Perhaps most cruisers can splice anyway? Maybe marinas have someone who does all tehir splicing? I don't know. What I do know is that I could charge less than half of what the chandleries around here charge and still be making money for old rope, so to speak.

What do y'all rackon?
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Old 06-05-2008, 17:11   #2
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Originally Posted by Weyalan View Post
making money for old rope
Well done for waiting until the end of the post before giving in to adding that one

I think it is an excellent idea - I may even copy it

Same as any service, trick is to get known for good work at competitive prices (if yer good, no need to be cheapest!).....and on the move would present it's own challenges on this one, but not insurmountable I wouldn't have thought......

Probably also money in Whipping
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Old 06-05-2008, 17:18   #3
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Thanks for the feedback David. Yeah, whipping would be part of the service (just like Madame Lash)... I can't believe that people don't even whip their own lines... that is so simple its almost laughable.

I'm thinking of ofering mooring lines as a complete service. Basically, 14mm double braid, black, at the customer's required lengths, with appropriate sized eyesplices. This allows more money to be made, because the chandlery charges about $6 per metre for 14mm rope, but of you deal with the rope manufacturer direct, you can buy a whole reel (typically 200m, but sometimes 100m) at $2 per metre...
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Old 06-05-2008, 17:26   #4
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Probably won't make you rich, but I would think there's a little money to be made. $75 for a splice! I can't believe people would pay that! I'm gonna learn too....
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Old 06-05-2008, 17:29   #5
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I can't believe that people don't even whip their own lines... that is so simple its almost laughable.
I really can't beleive that either

But something like that would probably turn out to be one of the money makers - just cos' something is easy to do and costs little does not mean yer need to charge for it cheaply - sometimes Capitalism has great ideas

Quote:
I'm thinking of ofering mooring lines as a complete service. Basically, 14mm double braid, black, at the customer's required lengths, with appropriate sized eyesplices. This allows more money to be made, because the chandlery charges about $6 per metre for 14mm rope, but of you deal with the rope manufacturer direct, you can buy a whole reel (typically 200m, but sometimes 100m) at $2 per metre...
Good idea - what about wire to rope splicing? and even moving into actual rigging / re-rigging work?
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Old 06-05-2008, 17:50   #6
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Lookimg at it realistically, for a standard set of mooring lines:

2 bow lines at, say 4m finished
2 stern lines at, say 4m finished
2 springers at, say 8m finished

With a small eyesplice at the marina end of each line and a large eyesplice at the boat end of the line, and assuming 0.5m per splice, you would need 38m of rope and 12 splices. From a chandlery, that would be $228 for the rope (at $6 per metre) and $900 for the splicing. Eeek! $1128 for a set of mooring lines. Now, if I buy the rope and charge $3 per metre, and charge, say $32.5 per splice, which is half the price of the chandlery, my sell price would be $564, with my expenses being $38 for the rope and about 8 hours of my time for a $500 or so profit... I'd even use black thread for the whipping, heh

Obviously that is a rather oversimplified calculation and doesn't take into account freight costs for the reel of rope, and also assumes this would be a "cash" job, so no cut to the taxman... even so, there still looks to be some margin there, no?

As for wire to rope splicing; Bernard Motissier said "life is too short to do your own rope to wire splicing". Actually, I'm being rather tongue in cheek. Bottom line is, with the improvement in rope technology these days, I just don't see the call for wire to rope any more, just use Vectran or Amsteel or PBO etc and have the strength of steel, with similar stretch characteristics and a fraction of the weight...
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Old 06-05-2008, 18:05   #7
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Wow, $75 a splice, I thought $50 (the price around here) was a bit high - and we are the boom state .
As for wire to rope, I think you are right in that it is not used so much today however once you know how to do it, it becomes quite easy. Like most things really .
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Old 06-05-2008, 18:42   #8
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I think your splicing numbers are way on the high side. Look at the services here for pricing:
http://www.apsltd.com/Tree/d3000/e910.asp
Double braid splice is $16.00.

Paul L
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Old 06-05-2008, 19:13   #9
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Thanks for the link Paul. Those prices look extremely competetive (I'm guessing they are doing the splicing at pretty much cost, and are getting their profit out of selling the rope).

But the point is that I am not in the USA, I'm in a very remote corner of the world, and $75 is what the biggest (and most expensive) chandlery hereabouts charges for a splice in 14mm (9/16") double braid. I am not trying to compete against the cheapest splicers in the world. I'm competeing against the cheapest splicers in my area. Actually, being realistic, there probably are people splicing cheaper than chandlers, but where do you find 'em?

In fact, having shopped around a couple of the other chandlerys, I have managed to get a quoted price down to $54 per splice, and $5.40 per metre for the rope. That, in my above example, would equate to about $850. I could charge as little as $25 per splice and be making good money, but if I can, for the sake of argument, charge half of what the local guys will charge, why go cheaper?
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Old 06-05-2008, 19:27   #10
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I like to splice my own stuff. But I sure can't do it time-wise for anything like what these online outfits charge. It just takes me too long. I think you said you wanted to do this to make money while cruising. In this case, the customers won't have access to online vendors, or most likely they won't have access to a rigger or marine store either. Most won't want dock lines. But may want halyards, etc. Its a good skill to have.

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Old 07-05-2008, 00:58   #11
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I wouldn’t expect splicing to be a very lucrative income-generator (on it’s own); but it’s certainly a useful skill to add to your CV, as part of a “package” of services you can offer.
Pat & Ali ("Bumfuzzle") notwithstanding, most experienced cruisers (I’ve met) do their own splicing, and wouldn’t be prepared to pay anything near $75 for a simple eye-splice. We’re a “cheap” lot.
Perhaps the local “Yachties” might be your target market.
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Old 07-05-2008, 04:37   #12
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Many cruisers can't splice even 3 strand. Not being rude but as I do it for many of them, I know. Wire-rope halyards are still common but fading quicker and quicker.

A$75 is huge. We have a big multinational brand name sail/rig maker here who charges big bucks and gets away with it as many just have no idea. An eye spliced into a polyester double braid here is 35-40NZ$ on average in the chandler's, 50 maybe on a fancy rope.

Making money just from splicing I think would be doable but hard and more than likely patchy. To get lots of repeat or referred work you need to be bloody cheap or known as bloody good, being good is the best option.

You would need to know an awful lot about each rope down to each manufacturers or at least the more common ones in that particular area, 'manufacturing style'. Each maker does things just a bit different and knowing that means you save time hence bucks and it's just easier a lot of the time. Also it means you can get far superior finishing, splices that look good attract more work. The bigger the boat, the less it's about boat security, it becomes all about the looks.

Also you need to be able to recognise fibres as in what material are they. Almost every different double braid splice looks the same on the outside but under the covers they should be very different often. You don't splice say a 'polyester over polyester' the same way as you splice a 'polyester over dyneema'. Do it wrong and you can easily end up with a big dollar dyneema rope having the break load of only half the polyester cover and you cant see it generally. We see it way too much.

Splicing seems to be a dying art they say but I know 100's who splice basic ropes on their boats. It's fun and not a bad way to fill in a bit of time between ports. Give it a go, you may just enjoy it most do. Once you've done a few, doesn't take many, it is no where near the hockus pockus some make it out to be, me included at times

The real big thing is that splicing a main halyard or mooring line is a lot more trickier than splicing a dingy painter. If the dingy painter falls apart it's doesn't carry anywhere the same risk as the halyard going or a topside paint job if the mooring line gives up. As in once you start charging money you're stepping up the game.

Not trying to put you off the idea more a splash of devils advocate here. We've seen a few guys step up and then get burned when something goes wrong. People will forget it was a 'Shh.... under this table' deal when the repair paintwork invoice is $20,000. In the same vein we also have a few guys here doing pretty much the same thing and doing OK. Won't retire with a maxi but aren't skin and bones.

And the real bastard bit is thinking a rope will be easy and then it turns bad on you. It's not uncommon and has no logical explanation as to why. A 15min splice turns into a 1.5hr sh*tfight. Sometime it just seems that the SOB of a rope forgot it's exorcism appointment.
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Old 07-05-2008, 05:52   #13
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Wow, pretty pricy for a splice. I like the new 12 strand stuff, splicing was never so easy. We tension our runners to 8,000 pounds and they haven't slipped a bit.

Here are a couple more prices from around here.

Cheers

Joli

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Old 07-05-2008, 16:14   #14
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Thanks for all the additonal advice. I must admit that additional research has shown me that $75 for a 14mm (9/16) double braid splice is only charged at one chandlery (who have a reputation for charging like wounded bulls), and that around $50 is more standard, give or take a few dollars. Even so, that is still huge, and there has to be a market for splicing in the $25-30 range.

GMac, your comment about different ropes splicing differently is a cogent one. I have some 8mm (5/16") that I just can't splice... the fid binds up in the core, and that fid is ok for 6mm (1/4").
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Old 08-05-2008, 01:35   #15
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Ahh you've found some of the joys already As I said sometime they just go bad for no good reason. On occasions like that it's often easier and a pile quicker, length allowing, to chop that off and start again.

One thing I forgot is that there are some braids while looking exactly like most others that just can't be spliced or if so only by some long term specialist or a person who just won't be beaten. I took 3 weeks (on and off) to splice one particular rope a few years back, no way was that *^*$$*& going to beat me. It didn't and now I do them a lot. I've since found out the manufacturer (a big US crowd) says the rope is un-spliceable, I wish I knew that earlier, bugger. They were somewhat surprised to find I had done it and I've now trained their tech bloke how too as well.

Old or used ropes = yucky so charge more or at least warn that you may have to.

As you do more you'll learn which are good and quick rope thru to the nasty or just can't be done. Damn good to do a nasty and all goes well though, rather satisfying.
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