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    Victoria 2750 repower project woes -- issue with mechanic-gctid380181

    As you might have noticed, the thread in the "completed projects" section for my Victoria 2750 Repower has not been getting updated with too many progress posts. My mechanic is taking far too long to move on the project and it is getting beyond frustrating.

    The boat was pulled out of the water in the beginning of February. He put the boat on blocks, pulled the engine, reconstructed the transom, and mated the coupler with the flywheel. That is it. Yes, there were a few unexpected delays, but none of these delays warrant 3+ months. In the meantime, he is bringing new boats into the shop and working on them as my project sits on the backburner. As we get further into boating season, the number of boats coming in will only increase.

    One good thing that came out of this is his allowing me to repaint the hull and bottom, as my boat sits there waiting for his attention. However, the boating season clock is ticking....

    The obvious option in this case would be for me to take the boat to another shop and have the work continued there. And trust me, I have seriously considered it -- going to the point of interviewing another mechanic.

    However, this is what I'm facing if I decide to pull the boat from his shop:

    1. A $500 transporation fee to deliver my boat to the new garage. I would need to arrange for this in advance; and scheduling an available boat transporation company to do this job is going to take some time.

    2. A considerable amount of time educating the new mechanic on what I need and bringing him up to date with the project.

    3. The hassle of transporting the new engine, drive, and tons of components to the new mechanic.

    4. Waiting until the new mechanic can get to my project. Boating season is well under way and all competent shops are swamped.

    Since my mechanic is up to speed with this project, I would like him to finish it. He is amazingly talented and has done excellent work. However, he is under resourced (read understaffed); and at this pace, I'm lucky if I get my boat back in another three months.

    I prefer to use a carrot over a stick. I plan on driving there tomorrow to talk to him about the timeline. I am going to give him two choices: Since he is most likely taking other smaller projects on because it gives him cashflow to pay his bills, I will advance him some money to get him to not worry about cashflow and devote undivided attention to my boat. I would of course want him to commit to a timeline in writing. This means he will need to tell his customers he's backed up and can't get to their project. (Imagine that!) OR I will take the boat to another mechanic. I want to get my ducks lined up in advance, so I'm going to be interviewing two more mechanics tomorrow.

    Just wanted to know what you guys think about this stategy. Is there something I'm overlooking?

    Thanks in advance...

    #2
    Dangling a carrot usually works.

    When we bought this house, we were still living in the old house. The realtor who did the listing of the old house just plain listed it and joped someone else sold it for her. When the contract was up, I found another realty office and simply stated that " whoever SELLS the old house, he or she can sell me another house, which will be bigger.

    Their top performer said "I will sell your house; I specialize in that area you are in". Took 2 weeks and brought me 3 offers, which we accepted one. She did sell me the new house.

    However, as a sign in my attorneys office reads: "People are no dam good; get it in writing"
    Captharv 2001 2452
    "When the draft of your boat exceeds the depth of water, you are aground"

    Comment


      #3
      Ed- Perhaps set milestones and pay him as he hits them. I hate to pay for work that might happen, especially anything boat related. If you are jonesing for the water, I will take you out for a cocktail cruise.... :hypnotysed:

      Comment


        #4
        Here's a story that might help you with your carrot and stick approach.

        Several years ago I took our 3488 out for a "test drive" about this time of year. On the short trip I had a distinct vibration in the starboard gear.

        I isolated the issue to the hurth transmission, and enquired of the best mechanic in Whittier, Alaska. He told me that transmission rebuilding was a winter project, not a spring summer thing. He was just too busy.

        So I bought a new/reman tranny and had it air freighted up.

        I approached the mechanic and told him I was good to go, when could he schedule my boat in to replace the tranny. Since the boat is a vee drive pulling the engine was required..

        He told me that there was a long line being spring time and maybe he could get to the job in 6 weeks or so. sorry but he was all booked up.

        Anticipating this kind of response I was prepared. I pulled out five new crisp $100 bills and counted them out. I looked at him and said, this is in addition to your usual fee.

        His response was "you just moved to the front of the line"

        That weekend I was happily boating.

        The moral of the story is that bribery works. :livid:

        KEVIN SANDERS
        4788 LISAS WAY - SEWARD ALASKA
        www.transferswitch4less.com

        where are we right now?

        https://maps.findmespot.com/s/36S4

        Comment


          #5
          I would talk to a lawyer at this time.

          You may have a valid contract claim in which your present mechanic must complete your project within a "reasonable" time or he will have to make up the additional difference in costs if you have to hire someone else to fulfill his contract. If you have a contract, your mechanic owes you the "benefit of the bargain" that he made.

          If the mechanic has in fact breached his contract with you, It would be a mistake to give money upfront to someone who has already demonstrated that breaching a contract with you does not concern him.

          I'm sorry to sound negative however I've been involved in these types of things and it sounds as if he cannot afford to devote time to your project as that would mean he would lose regular customers who expect him to be available for their work. He cannot sacrifice his business for you, nor would it be logical to expect him to change his approach now that we're entering his busy season.

          I have never had good luck with paying for the performance of services up front. Usually the money is spent and still the work isn't done. I hope I'm wrong, but it sounds to me like it's time to leave and get the job done.

          Do talk to a lawyer first so that your lawyer can write your present mechanic a letter and put him on notice that you will be looking to him to recover all additional costs of hiring someone else as a result of his breach of contract. That alone is sometimes very motivating.

          Comment


            #6
            MikeRoss wrote:
            I would talk to a lawyer at this time.

            You may have a valid contract claim in which your present mechanic must complete your project within a "reasonable" time or he will have to make up the additional difference in costs if you have to hire someone else to fulfill his contract. If you have a contract, your mechanic owes you the "benefit of the bargain" that he made.

            If the mechanic has in fact breached his contract with you, It would be a mistake to give money upfront to someone who has already demonstrated that breaching a contract with you does not concern him.

            I'm sorry to sound negative however I've been involved in these types of things and it sounds as if he cannot afford to devote time to your project as that would mean he would lose regular customers who expect him to be available for their work. He cannot sacrifice his business for you, nor would it be logical to expect him to change his approach now that we're entering his busy season.

            I have never had good luck with paying for the performance of services up front. Usually the money is spent and still the work isn't done. I hope I'm wrong, but it sounds to me like it's time to leave and get the job done.

            Do talk to a lawyer first so that your lawyer can write your present mechanic a letter and put him on notice that you will be looking to him to recover all additional costs of hiring someone else as a result of his breach of contract. That alone is sometimes very motivating.
            But it also sounds like this would work if you didn't want to do business with your mechanic again. And you may not when all is said and done.

            Comment


              #7
              No sense in speaking with an attorney if you do not have a signed work scope and a time line.

              So perhaps bring us up to speed on that!

              I too will share a story:

              I once hired a framing subcontractor involving a fairly good sized home remodel. Nice guy, good crew, good referals, all seemed OK. In fact, his actual work was just fine.

              We did sign a contact which included a schedule.

              Once the project began, he worked and completed a phase of the project, and then ask if he could pull the crew and take care of finishing up another project.

              I said, sure... get it done, and return ASAP.

              He agreed.

              This occurred several times and my project was being delayed too greatly.

              I called a meeting... I explained how this was impacting me and the home owner..... and I suggested that if he returned tomorrow with his full crew, and stayed on the project as per contract, and finished within the new extended time frame, I would NOT enter into a law suit, nor report to the OCCB.

              This was said directly to HIS face, politely, to the point, and with a smile on MY face.

              No ego, no nasty comments, just a firm statement on my part.

              He looked at me and agreed.

              He was not offended at all.

              The next day, the crew showed up ....., the job was given the deserved attention.

              Although delayed by the previous distractions, it was completed in a rather timely fashion.

              Ed, that was the carrot rather than the stick.... and it worked!

              *******************************

              Things you may be over-looking;

              Do you have a contract that outlines a time frame?

              Is this contract work, or is this T&M?

              What is his protocol as to a "put this fire out first.... then that one"?

              Does he typically start Jimmy's job, and then half way through, take care of Billy?

              What's the word on the street regarding his typical performance and regard to schedules?

              When asked about the delays.... what are being told?

              Short of the flywheel modification (of which was outsourced), and the transom work (of which did extend his obligations), and perhaps short of the shut-down solenoid query, and given some time to work out exhaust details (of which would be done after the installation), it does seem like this is taking much longer than need be.

              I've not done this adaptation..... but I know Borg Warner components, and the adaptation to Borg Warner via AQ series Volvo Penta, making this one of the easiest installations that I could think of.

              There is no issue with space or weight, and you apparently have the drive components ready to go, correct?

              I also know that it's easy to point fingers, and I don't mean to do that.

              Be that as it may...... I would have guessed this to be a three week project, MAX.

              .
              Rick E. Gresham, Oregon
              2850 Bounty Sedan Flybridge model
              Twin 280 HP 5.7's w/ Closed Cooling
              Volvo Penta DuoProp Drives
              Kohler 4 CZ Gen Set

              Comment


                #8
                Thanks for the feedback, everyone. I agree with Rick regarding there being no need to hire a lawyer. I don't feel seeking a remedy through the courts is going to help anyone other than the attorney. Besides, filing a lawsuit is a piece of cake. But the relationships it damages and the bridges they burn are far more detrimental, in my opinion.

                I'm going to seek a few more bids on completing the work before I talk to my mechanic. Walking in with a serious intention to move the boat to another shop is going to have a much more profound impact versus a letter from an attorney.

                I do have a contract for the work, but there is no specified timeline. He specifically elected not to include a timeline because of all the hurdles such a project is likely to encounter. The transom repair, machining, etc are examples. I might have been reluctant to include a timeframe myself if I was in his shoes. However, there was no indication he would take excessively long; especially since professional opinions from people intimately familiar with this project provide a much quicker timeframe.

                Comment


                  #9
                  If I may ask, where are you as far as scope of work vs. what you have paid him thus far? If you have paid for more work than he has completed it may be difficult to get that money back, and if he has done more than what you have paid so far, you may be responsible to pay for work completed before movong the boat, or he could file for a mechanics lien.

                  If it was me I would call for a meeting, have a witness present, and attempt to get a time line in place for the completition of the work. Maybe even do something similar as Kevin did and offer a "bonus" if they come in on time. (and at budget?)
                  Phil, Vicky, Ashleigh & Sydney
                  1998 3055 Ciera
                  (yes, a 1998)
                  Previous boat: 1993 3055
                  Dream boat: 70' Azimut or Astondoa 72
                  Sea Doo XP
                  Sea Doo GTI SE
                  Life is short. Boats are cool.
                  The family that plays together stays together.
                  Vice Commodore: Bellevue Yacht Club

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Believe it or not i have the opposite problem, my mechanic is great at getting the work done, but he can take months to get around to billing me.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Astral Blue wrote:
                      Thanks for the feedback, everyone.

                      1... I agree with Rick regarding there being no need to hire a lawyer. I don't feel seeking a remedy through the courts is going to help anyone other than the attorney. Besides, filing a lawsuit is a piece of cake. But the relationships it damages and the bridges they burn are far more detrimental, in my opinion.

                      I do have a contract for the work, but there is no specified timeline.

                      2.... He specifically elected not to include a timeline because of all the hurdles such a project is likely to encounter. The transom repair, machining, etc are examples. I might have been reluctant to include a timeframe myself if I was in his shoes. However, there was no indication he would take excessively long; especially since professional opinions from people intimately familiar with this project provide a much quicker timeframe.
                      1.... I actually said that there's no sense in speaking with an attorney if you do not have a signed agreement with a time line. "Time Line" being the key words, and it would appear that you do not!

                      I fully agree about not damaging a relationship....that is important.

                      But just what is that relationship if your work is not being finished and if you are unhappy about it?

                      Who threw the first damaging stone? (metaphorically speaking)

                      2... I think that he made somewhat of a mountain from a mole hill at the beginning. Any additional work could have then become T&M.

                      As said earlier (with regard to the Borg Warner aspect), this is a relatively simple and straightforward project, IMO.

                      The transom core replacement did add some time to this.... but that is understood.

                      Just for fun... take only that work scope that was not anticipated, and let's put that into the T&M category.

                      If you were to add these hours, how many were accumulated for this T&M work?

                      Was it 10 hours...... 20 hours.... 40 hours?

                      This should be the extended time for completion....yes/no?

                      Ed, as with any of us who would have contemplated taking this on:

                      We had the opportunity to look at the Perkins engine.

                      We sure as Hell would have looked at the rear engine flange and flywheel.

                      We'd have known of the Borg Warner adaptability and available components for this work.

                      We'd have known that the AQ series Volvo Penta lends itself to Borg Warner.

                      We'd have known about the BW/V/P PDS adapter housing that allows the two to join.

                      We would have AQ series Volvo Penta experience regarding ratio, etc.

                      Years back, I walked one of our members through a very similar conversion via email and phone conversations. He adapted an engine that had not been used by Volvo Penta in the AQ series line. The Borg Warner parts got him there, and he did just fine with it, and he was not a marine mechanic.

                      Your guy is a qualified marine mechanic!

                      The above may sound rather harsh.... but these are fairly honest and factual comments.

                      .
                      Rick E. Gresham, Oregon
                      2850 Bounty Sedan Flybridge model
                      Twin 280 HP 5.7's w/ Closed Cooling
                      Volvo Penta DuoProp Drives
                      Kohler 4 CZ Gen Set

                      Comment


                        #12
                        I suspect the real problem here is your mechanic is a one man shop. He has regular customers. You more or less are a one shot deal.

                        Not saying its right or fair but he is going to look after his regular customers. They are his bread and butter and their return is important to him.

                        He cannot shove all of them aside to take care of one customer and live to eat another day.

                        I think that is where you are now. Maybe something on your project took him longer than he thought and put him behind, maybe he isn't good at planning, who knows.

                        The key here is how much he wants to make it right. That means he burns some midnight oil to satisfy everyone.

                        If he works regular hours and goes home, you have little hope of getting a reasonable outcome until his regular customers are satisfied.

                        I think you have to talk to him. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. If you have allowed him to think your job doesn't matter, you get shoved aside.

                        My thinking is I wouldn't want to take this project to another mechanic. Your guy knows where he is in the project and more important, if he is good, he knows where he needs to go to finish it.

                        A good frank talk should show you where you are and more important what you need to do. Its a major project and maybe its worth losing a large part of a boating season to have a good job when its finished.

                        Jmo.

                        Doug
                        Started boating 1955
                        Number of boats owned 32
                        Bayliners
                        2655
                        2755
                        2850
                        3870 presently owned
                        Favorite boat. Toss up. 46' Chris Craft, 3870 Bayliner

                        Comment


                          #13
                          dmcb wrote:
                          I suspect the real problem here is your mechanic is a one man shop. He has regular customers. You more or less are a one shot deal.

                          Not saying its right or fair but he is going to look after his regular customers. They are his bread and butter and their return is important to him.

                          He cannot shove all of them aside to take care of one customer and live to eat another day.


                          I think that is where you are now. Maybe something on your project took him longer than he thought and put him behind, maybe he isn't good at planning, who knows.
                          Good and fair point, and I understand what you're saying, Doug!

                          However, knowing this up front, he could have offered; "Ed, I'll be getting busy, and I'll fit you in when I can! Are you OK with that?"

                          Perhaps instead he offered; "Ed, sure..... I can do that!"

                          Edit:

                          Again, Ed.... I dont' want to sound to harsh on this mechanic. There are no doubt several things that he may have run into that we may not be privy to.

                          But I do believe that this project required some thorough research and planning from the get go..... and it has the appearance that this may have been lacking some.

                          These are simply observations that have been made remotely.

                          .
                          Rick E. Gresham, Oregon
                          2850 Bounty Sedan Flybridge model
                          Twin 280 HP 5.7's w/ Closed Cooling
                          Volvo Penta DuoProp Drives
                          Kohler 4 CZ Gen Set

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Impossible for us to know. Nothing beats looking a guy in the eye and judging not only his words but his actions.

                            It isn't a simple repair/replace of a known system. He may have misjudged what it takes and found himself needing some cash flow work to keep him going.

                            Who knows but it sounds like his ability isn't in question here. That means something. You don't want to jump from the frying pan into the fire by changing mechanics in mid stream.

                            Its a built in reason they are not responsible for problems.

                            Doug
                            Started boating 1955
                            Number of boats owned 32
                            Bayliners
                            2655
                            2755
                            2850
                            3870 presently owned
                            Favorite boat. Toss up. 46' Chris Craft, 3870 Bayliner

                            Comment


                              #15
                              itsabowtime2 wrote:
                              If I may ask, where are you as far as scope of work vs. what you have paid him thus far? If you have paid for more work than he has completed it may be difficult to get that money back, and if he has done more than what you have paid so far, you may be responsible to pay for work completed before movong the boat, or he could file for a mechanics lien.

                              If it was me I would call for a meeting, have a witness present, and attempt to get a time line in place for the completition of the work. Maybe even do something similar as Kevin did and offer a "bonus" if they come in on time. (and at budget?)
                              With regard to the first question, we are even. I paid him for what he has done. If I were to walk out , I would have lost no money nor gained any work I did not pay for.

                              I like Kevin's approach; but it won't work here. I bonus is not going to get an extra body into the shop to help with all the other boats he is working on and the new boats he is bringing in. The problem is he needs extra help and is buyring himself deeper as he is allowed to go on in this manner.

                              2850Bounty wrote:
                              1.... I actually said that there's no sense in speaking with an attorney if you do not have a signed agreement with a time line. "Time Line" being the key words, and it would appear that you do not!

                              I fully agree about not damaging a relationship....that is important.

                              But just what is that relationship if your work is not being finished and if you are unhappy about it?

                              Who threw the first damaging stone? (metaphorically speaking)

                              2... I think that he made somewhat of a mountain from a mole hill at the beginning. Any additional work could have then become T&M.

                              As said earlier (with regard to the Borg Warner aspect), this is a relatively simple and straightforward project, IMO.

                              The transom core replacement did add some time to this.... but that is understood.

                              Just for fun... take only that work scope that was not anticipated, and let's put that into the T&M category.

                              If you were to add these hours, how many were accumulated for this T&M work?

                              Was it 10 hours...... 20 hours.... 40 hours?

                              This should be the extended time for completion....yes/no?

                              Ed, as with any of us who would have contemplated taking this on:

                              We had the opportunity to look at the Perkins engine.

                              We sure as Hell would have looked at the rear engine flange and flywheel.

                              We'd have known of the Borg Warner adaptability and available components for this work.

                              We'd have known that the AQ series Volvo Penta lends itself to Borg Warner.

                              We'd have known about the BW/V/P PDS adapter housing that allows the two to join.

                              We would have AQ series Volvo Penta experience regarding ratio, etc.

                              Years back, I walked one of our members through a very similar conversion via email and phone conversations. He adapted an engine that had not been used by Volvo Penta in the AQ series line. The Borg Warner parts got him there, and he did just fine with it, and he was not a marine mechanic.

                              Your guy is a qualified marine mechanic!

                              The above may sound rather harsh.... but these are fairly honest and factual comments.

                              .
                              I can't make any predictions as to how much longer the project has in store for it in terms of hours. As we spoke on the phone, there were a number of things that need attention:

                              1. install transom shield

                              2. fabricate blocks, align and mount the engine

                              3. fabricate a harness and run the wires

                              4. install kill selonoid and wire it to a switch

                              5. fabricate a platform for the new fuel tank and install and plumb tank

                              6. install upper and lower drive units, fill with oil

                              7. fix tilt mechanism

                              8. launch boat and sea trials

                              dmcb wrote:
                              I suspect the real problem here is your mechanic is a one man shop. He has regular customers. You more or less are a one shot deal.

                              Not saying its right or fair but he is going to look after his regular customers. They are his bread and butter and their return is important to him.

                              He cannot shove all of them aside to take care of one customer and live to eat another day.

                              I think that is where you are now. Maybe something on your project took him longer than he thought and put him behind, maybe he isn't good at planning, who knows.

                              The key here is how much he wants to make it right. That means he burns some midnight oil to satisfy everyone.

                              If he works regular hours and goes home, you have little hope of getting a reasonable outcome until his regular customers are satisfied.

                              I think you have to talk to him. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. If you have allowed him to think your job doesn't matter, you get shoved aside.

                              My thinking is I wouldn't want to take this project to another mechanic. Your guy knows where he is in the project and more important, if he is good, he knows where he needs to go to finish it.

                              A good frank talk should show you where you are and more important what you need to do. Its a major project and maybe its worth losing a large part of a boating season to have a good job when its finished.

                              Jmo.

                              Doug
                              The problem is he has not been straightforward with me regarding the timeline. If he had told me in the beginning it would take well over three months, I wouldn't have had second thoughts about bringing the project to him.

                              Doug, you're right... Looking at the larger picture, I can leave this here for months and end up with a quality project. But that is far from what I had agreed to. If I allow him to proceed on these terms, I will have lost my boating season. One cannot put a price on that. Allof this careful planning and the timing of it was done so the boat would be on the water by early spring.

                              2850Bounty wrote:
                              Good and fair point, and I understand what you're saying, Doug!

                              However, knowing this up front, he could have offered; "Ed, I'll be getting busy, and I'll fit you in when I can! Are you OK with that?"

                              Perhaps instead he offered; "Ed, sure..... I can do that!"

                              Edit:

                              Again, Ed.... I dont' want to sound to harsh on this mechanic. There are no doubt several things that he may have run into that we may not be privy to.

                              But I do believe that this project required some thorough research and planning from the get go..... and it has the appearance that this may have been lacking some.

                              These are simply observations that have been made remotely.

                              .
                              I'm privy to everything he has run into. We share a very close freind who knows him very well and talks to him and his wife on a regular basis. He is simply overwhelmed and stretched for cash. Those two reasons alone attribute to everything that has happened thus far.

                              [COLOR]#ff0000 wrote:
                              However, knowing this up front, he could have offered; "Ed, I'll be getting busy, and I'll fit you in when I can! Are you OK with that?"

                              Perhaps instead he offered; "Ed, sure..... I can do that!"

                              [/COLOR]

                              That is exactly what happened! You couldn't have put it better, Rick!

                              Comment

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