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Old 26-04-2020, 09:57   #1
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Small Chartering Business

Hello All!

My boyfriend and I have spent the last few months completely renovating our 38ft Norman Cross Trimaran. She is now a blue water cruiser and also our home. We are looking to start a chartering business in NC and we want to do things legally. There are mainly fishing charters and we will be the only sailboat in the area. I am trying to write a business plan up but honestly am totally lost (science person, help!). Googling sends me to mega yacht charters or other complicated business outlines which we will be completely different from. My boyfriend has his OUPV 6-pack license and I know we need some kind of insurance. Our plan is to just have a very simple charter set up. Guest bring their own food drink ect and we take them out for a day on the water. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Hoping everyone is staying healthy and sane during these crazy times!
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Old 26-04-2020, 10:46   #2
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Re: Small Chartering Business

In my area the increased insurance cost can be prohibitive, check with your insurer for details. Also most marinas here demand a portion of any commercial activity off their docks or premises.
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Old 26-04-2020, 11:57   #3
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Re: Small Chartering Business

Several threads here discussing similar biz ideas....give those a read too.

Most basic biz question: what is your target market? Phased even more basically: who is going to book charters on your boat?

Define your potential market and then decide if you need to bother dfrafting a biz plan.
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Old 27-04-2020, 04:16   #4
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Re: Small Chartering Business

Greetings and belated welcome aboard the CF, Marisita.

Wanting To Setup A Small Sail Charter Business


HOW TO START A DAY CHARTER BUSINESS: Part 1- preparing a profitable business plan

Compliance Issues For A Legitimate Yacht Charter Business!
Gord May
"If you didn't have the time or money to do it right in the first place, when will you get the time/$ to fix it?"

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Old 27-04-2020, 04:36   #5
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Re: Small Chartering Business

I will recommend to reach out to your local small business administrator or local government as they have classes on how to start a small business. This will not provide info on chartering but can give you ideas on what type of business entity to choose for registration ( s- corporation, limited liability, etc).
You can also reach out to those advertising similar business model in a different market, say Miami, Ft Lauderdale, the whole Chesapeake bay is full of small chartering business.
The hard part is done with the 6 pack license.
Or you could join an already established chartering business where they take their cut as part of advertising your business.
Here is an example:
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Old 27-04-2020, 05:48   #6
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Re: Small Chartering Business

I would encourage you not to write a business plan. You don’t need that.

What you need to do is become intimately familiar with who your customers are and how you are getting them on your boat. How will you reach them? How will you make your boat look better than the other ones? What will your pricing be so they are attracted to your boat? Is there anything special you can offer that other boats can’t?

Then see how much these people would pay to go on your boat. Are these term charters? Day Charters?

You will need to look up how to get a COI (Certificate of inspection) From the Coast Guard if you are planning to do day charters. Using the six pack rule, you can’t make enough money to make it worth your time doing day charters.

Run all the numbers several times and use the worst case scenario for everything. Then you’ll be pleasantly surprised when it’s better than that.

Last but not least, make sure you want to do charters. I used to do them in a similar way. I hit it out of the park. I sold out of every charter available every season. But it was exhausting. The work is 24 hours a day. It’s not simple. Unless you are doing day charters. Even then it’s a very long day.

Make sure you are both very much people persons. You will be engaged in conversation continuously throughout the work day and night if it’s a term charter. The conversation never stops. Enough to give me a headache. But if you are a person who enjoys talking to people 24 hours a day, this is just the job for you.

There will be nice people, and then there will be people who make you wish you never tried this at all. It’s very much a roller coaster depending on who comes on board.

Not only that, if you live on that boat, they are in your home. That can be unsettling when they are unsavory characters.

Make sure you go into it with your eyes open and don’t romanticize the concept. This is a very difficult and grueling job. It is not easy. Almost any other job is easier.
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Old 16-01-2021, 07:21   #7
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Re: Small Chartering Business

In fact, I don't understand your idea, but maybe it makes sense and it is possible that all this will somehow change your life for the better ... I can only advise one company and I am sure that their services will be very important for you and growth your company. sfm are leaders in helping start new companies and preparing all documentation. During their work, they helped over 1000 startups to register and strengthen their positions and reputation in the international market ... I personally did not try to work with them due to the fact that I do not have ready-made business ideas that I would like to implement and besides that I am not quite I understand certain points in business, but I was obliged to advise you as a beginner this agency.
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Old 16-01-2021, 10:58   #8
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Re: Small Chartering Business

Chotu, most of what you listed is part of a business plan...

OP, I suggest you contact your local Small Business Development Center (SBDC). They can help you go in the right direction. They should have a local directory of business resources that will at least do free consultations on any number of business topics.

SCORE is another group that can help (often associated with the local SBDC). Corporate retired executives who can provide mentoring and advice.

Ask friends you trust for referrals to accountants and tax people. They can also give you advice on how to structure your business

There are all kids of business that can help you start a business. Just be informed to understand if they are offering you a valuable service. Many entrepreneurs I know flushed all their startup money down the toilet with lawyers and advisors, insurance, marketing and accountants before even getting off the ground.
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Old 16-01-2021, 11:31   #9
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Re: Small Chartering Business

I never recommend a newly licensed Captain start a charter business especially if the vessel is your home. The legal and financial risks are substantial and the chances of making real money are low. Go get an AB, work in the oil field and buy yourself a nice yacht and keep some money set aside.
Find an Attorney certified in Admirality/ Maritime and ask what can go wrong.
Justice in courts is not like Perry Mason.
Professional mariners buy insurance to protect their credentials but this isnít fool proof. One mistake and everything you have now could disappear.
Do not fix boats, survey boats or teach sailing. Never take passengers for hire or even work on passenger vessels.
If you doubt this, go ask a Maritime Attorney or several ship captains.
Happy trails to you
Captain Mark and his manatees truly upset by what happened in the keys.
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Old 08-02-2021, 19:35   #10
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Re: Small Chartering Business

Make sure you boyfriend has the Sailing Endorsement as well. I believe that he will need that too.
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