Hi Brian and Clare,
Here's what you need to know, coming from someone who sold out his entire summer of 06 (our charter high season).
industry is raising prices all the time and there aren't enough rooms to take all the tourists. That's a fact that will continue for many years. This keeps room rates high and keeps your charter rates high as well. Huge plus.
The most important factor in chartering (aside from the boat) is LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION! Go where you know the tourists are, not where you like to hang out.
Also, market your *ss off, and I don't mean sitting on a curb by the dock
with a "charter available" cardboard sign. You have to be professional to beat all the other half-*ssed attempts at chartering the competitors do. Marketing
is one of my wife and I's "gifts." We sold out our entire summer of chartering and always wondered why the 4 other charter boats in our area sat empty for 75% of the time. Our secret was marketing
and thinking outside the box.
As far as boat selectionn goes - you had better be able to compete with hotel
rooms because *they* are your real competition. If you can compete with hotel rooms at fancy hotels in your market area, you will be successful, because many a charter boat is a dingy pit that someone charters on the "off chance" they will get a guest. There are professional outfits out there, but by and large, these guys don't have a clue as to how t market. They are going through those ads at the back of Sail magazine and such. If you want to make money
- be more creative than that.
So... size of boat:
I would strongly suggest you get a boat with as many big "rooms" as you can within reason. You will make many compromises. We got the biggest boat we could afford for chartering and one with a master stateroom that would rival a hotel room. It was great and we booked out, but we always wished we got an even bigger boat, so we could have more than one guest at a time - providing an economy of scale that a single
guest room does not.
Another thing is professionalism. You have to be as squeaky clean in your operation as can be.
Also, watch out for the guests. We are no longer chartering due in large part to the guests. Our rates weren't cheap
... yet we attracted violent drunks that had to be removed by the police, cokeheads, people who damaged the boat (another set of violent drunks), as well as people who thought it would be fun to go on a charter and not pay for it by doing a credit card "chargeback." Good times. I wouldn't wish chartering on my worst enemy, to be frank.
But... if you enjoy being cramped into a tiny little place that is also your home while being threatened and pushed around by your guests - all the while unable to call for help or step "outside" to get away, chartering is great! ha ha ha
Oh yeah... and you had better have a spreadsheet handy to make sure you are going to run a profit with the boat you choose. I'm not sure if you are new to boating
or not, but if you are... this is going to take a lot more effort and projecting than you are expecting. There are certain "fudge factors" you have to put in accounting for running a boat.
Originally Posted by brian and clare
Just looking for a bit of information from the people who know. I was wondering what size boat people would suggest for occasional crewed chartering. I have just read a book from the 70s called "the Charter Game" and the boats they chartered back then seemed 45 feet to 50 feet or so, and I was wondering if that size has increased a lot over the years.
Say, back in the "old days" that 45 feet was big, but now is everyone chartering megayachts at 80 feet, or just bareboating? Also, if you have chartered your boat how did you get started? We have grand thoughts of buying a schooner and doing lots of things with it, but we would likeley have to charter it keep the wolves at bay.
If you are chartering now, how is it going for you? Is the tourism market bad, or good at the moment? Are you hurting to get bookings or turning them away.
Also, if anyone knows of a moder version of the book I read please let me know, as I would love to see something more updated.