Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

How to be a happy boatyard customer-gctid403926

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    How to be a happy boatyard customer-gctid403926

    This thread is about how to be a happy boatyard customer. The goal here is to provide advice as how to manage your experience with a boatyard to make, us their customers happy. Please post your advice on how to successfully work with boatyards.



    This thread is not going to be a forum to praise or to condemn specific boatyards. In that light any reference either direct or veiled to a specific boatyard will be removed.



    The goal is too sticky, or save this so that others can read it in the future, learn from us, and have a happier customer boatyard experience.



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

    Over the years IÔÇÖve had both good and bad boat yard experiences, sometimes from the same boatyard. What IÔÇÖve found is that the key to having a happy experience is actively manage the yard to meet MY expectations. After all itÔÇÖs my money, I am the customer.



    The first step, even prior to approaching a boat yard is to define the work I want done. I generally write out a list of services I want completed.

    After that I either take one of two approaches:



    If I really trust the boatyard I have sometimes given them the list and ask them to get the work done. The problem with this method is that I have sometimes been shocked at the bill afterward. What I envisioned to be a relatively simple task has sometimes snowballed into a very time consuming job.



    The method I more often use is an estimate, a quote, or a not to exceed authorization for work. The nature of boat work is often rather dynamic, requiring different methods to be used



    Sometimes a boatyard has looked over a job and has said ÔÇ£if everything goes well, we estimate that the job will cost thisÔÇØ This is often the case with engine work, and is almost always the case with one off modifications. The boat yard has an idea of how long the job will take, but wonÔÇÖt know exactly how long until they get into the job. As a customer I have come to expect that the boat yard will generally exceed the estimate, sometimes considerably. The better method in this case is to get the boat yard to estimate what they think the job will cost, and the maximum that the job could cost. IÔÇÖve found that then I am generally happy with the cost.



    On jobs that are cut and dried a firm quotation will always result in being a happy customer. There are pitfalls with this method though. If you get a firm quotation and once the boat yard gets into the job, they will be tempted to take short cuts to get the job done within their budgeted hours. This temptation is stronger with smaller boat yards where the person quoting the job is the person performing the work. With large boatyards it is not as prevalent, since the person doing the work is often not the person that quoted the job, and the hours are not tallied until the job is done. The reverse is also true. If you are quoted a job, and the job takes less time than the quote, you are still paying the full quoted price.



    Another method IÔÇÖve used very successfully is the not to exceed authorization. I have often tasked a boatyard with a job and said ÔÇ£If you can do the job for XX hours then go ahead, if you cannot IÔÇÖll do it myselfÔÇØ This way its forcing the boat yard to either meet your budgeted price or decline the job.



    On jobs that are estimated, not firm quotes it is extremely important to actively manage the scope of work authorized, as this is often the source of higher bills. IÔÇÖve found that I need to make this clear with the boatyard up front. Often the technician will tear into a job only to find additional work that needs to be done on that piece of the boat, an engine for example. It needs to be communicated up front what the boat yards authority to work on your boat is, and how they get authority if out of scope work is needed.



    I always define is a timeline. Off season work is the worst for this. You donÔÇÖt need the boat back until spring so you give the boat yard all winter to work on it. This has proven itself to be a bad idea. What IÔÇÖve found is that the boat yard will use your boat as ÔÇ£fill inÔÇØ work. Their efficiency will be lower because all jobs have setup time. It often results in the boat not being done when you need it. What I do is make up an arbitrary timeline for work based on my guesstimate of how many hours are involved, etc. This way my boat is done on time.



    Last but not least is payment and invoicing. Does the boat yard invoice out on a task by task basis, or am I going to get a bill for the whole job with no idea of where the funds are allocated? As customers we often do not have a say as to how weÔÇÖre invoiced out, but we can manage that situation as well. If a shop invoices out as a lump sum, and weÔÇÖre not comfortable with that then one method is to limit the scope of work to a single particular task. After that task is completed, and paid for we task them with something else.



    In summary, WE are the boatyard customers. It is OUR money. WE need to be happy. IÔÇÖve found the key to boatyard happiness is being an active customer, and managing the boatyard to meet MY expectations.



    What methods have YOU used to make yourself a happy boatyard customer?

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

    Whats the weather like on our boat
    https://www.weatherlink.com/embeddab...59665f4e4/wide


    Where are we right now? https://maps.findmespot.com/s/36S4

    #2
    Just two things I would add:

    When budgeting for boat projects always add a minimum of 20% contingency to the overall estimated costs. You'll probably go over that number but you won't have such a shock when you do.

    If you tell a yard that you decline their quote and will do the work yourself be sure, a) that you can actually do the work, b) that the yard will allow you to do the work on their premises or c) the yard will allow outside contractors to do the work on their premises.

    Many yards do not allow b and c due to insurance issues and their own economic interests so just keep that in mind when choosing a yard.

    Comment


      #3
      Agree up front when estimate is made on the specific materials to be used. If you want a specific brand and model of bottom paint, zincs, etc., agree on it in writing. If you want new sanitation hoses installed, agree on the make and model up front. Many quotes sound good until you ask questions about specific details. Sometimes even this is not enough. I once left my 47 with the largest boat builder in Seattle to install a bow thruster. Deal said cut off corner of one water tank and reweld to make room. Boat was only six months old. I left US for two months and when I returned, work not started except to tear everything apart to gain access. Problem was mgmt then decided they would only do the job if they mfg a new water tank that cost more than the thruster parts. Told them to put everything back together and remove all this work from my bill which they did.
      Started boating 1965
      Bayliners owned: 26 Victoria, 28 Bounty, 32, 38, and 47 since 1996

      Comment


        #4
        Personally if a yard goes over an estimate by more than 10% without a call asking for approval I wouldn't use them again. It's a standard practice to do so in the automotive world and just smart business.
        2000 Bayliner 3988 270hp Cummins 6BTA5.9M1
        1996 Cobalt 252 Mercruiser 383

        Comment


          #5
          My two cents worth are for the boat owner. Learn about your boat!!! Nothing is more frustrating to a mechanic than to have a pilot, car owner, boat owner, etc come to them and say "my ( plane, boat car whatever) is making a funny noise, smoking, not starting etc, without any specific details of what you've done or what you saw. You don't have to be a mechanical genius or a mechanic but learn how the systems work on your boat, learn about service intervals. Boats are amazingly complicated things, all the systems of a house, RV, car and by the way it floats! This whole forum is an extensive list of things that can go right or wrong with any boat not just your model I get ideas about my boat (3270) reading about 45's.

          Comment


            #6
            Kevin

            Thank you for the nice write up.

            Knowing your boat surely helps you and the shop doing the work.

            Defining the desired work , quality of parts to be used, timeframe and cost goes a long way to a satisfying service experience.
            Jim McNeely
            New Hope a 2004 Bayliner 305 Sunbridge Express Cruiser
            Twin 5.7s with Bravo2 drives
            Brighton, Michigan USA
            MMSI # 367393410

            Comment


              #7
              Mikalkc wrote:
              My two cents worth are for the boat owner. Learn about your boat!!!
              +1

              Read the owners manuals. Read the parts manuals. Look at the parts of the boat that go with the manuals.

              In 2011 Earl came to my boat and gave a crash course on what was going on in the engine compartment. Based on that, I was able to do my first oil change. But I realized I needed to know much more about those $23,000 chunks of iron.

              In 2012 I took a six day diesel mechanics class. I'm now much more aware on what to look for, listen for, smell for while I'm looking at the engines. And I learned what I should do, can do and more importantly what I should not consider doing. The class had one recurring theme, preventive maintenance saves you a lot of money in the short run, not to mention the long run.

              A few weeks ago, started up, port oil gauge bouncing around then it goes to zero. Low pressure alarm does not go off. I'd just checked the oil level as part of pre-flight. Bumped the throttle, gauge danced and went to zero. Did it again. Stopped the engine. Checked the connections on the oil sender (from the class and the manual knew where it was) and they were tight. So that left the gauge being bad (unlikely since it did move around), or the sender.

              Went to the shop and had a discussion with the mechanic. Told him all the details of what I had seen, what I had done and my thoughts. He thought for a few moments and agreed it was the sender. Total bill 1/4 hour of time and the part. I was also able to do that day's cruise knowing that I should be OK.

              By giving all the diagnostics and all the details that may or not be important, you can help them fix the problem.

              Remember nobody knows more about, or cares about your boat than you do.
              Yep, my 4588 Bayliner IS my happy place :whistle:

              Comment


                #8
                Another tip is to see what specials they have going on at the yard. Keeping the lower skilled yard help and the lift busy is something that the yard supervisor is keen on doing.

                We were able to score a mid-week "lift-wash-zinc check-splash" with a 20% discount by asking. The yard guys were not busy (on billable projects) and the lift was empty. We asked and an hour later I'm looking at the bottom of the boat, about an hour later that we are back floating. Clean bottom, some new zincs, I repaired the shaft mounted line cutter and cut off about a mile of fishing line, confirmed the sizes and condition of the props along with a hull damage check.

                Never hurts to ask for a discount when it makes sense to (mid week not on a busy holiday weekend). And if it's declined, be nice about it.
                Yep, my 4588 Bayliner IS my happy place :whistle:

                Comment


                  #9
                  Everyone likes a bonus. Service people are thrilled at a tip. I always tip the dock girls, no matter if I'm pumping $3.2 million in fuel or getting $5 worth of ice. Last year on the 100 degree days in August, I held "free ice cream days" for the entire staff. (Store manager kept track and billed me)

                  The shop guys stand around on Friday nights and have a few. So occasionally drop a 30-pack or slab of their favorite beverage off. The electronics guy drinks Sprite, so I drop off a 12 pack of Sprite at the same time. A preemptive 30 pack gets you a running start in the good graces of the shop team.

                  Mechanic fixes your problem on the July holiday weekend over someone else? Slide him a $20 to say thanks. Two yard guys power wash your boat in under an hour and do a great job? $10 each didn't cost you that much, but makes them remember you for the next time.

                  Recognize good service and the next time you will be recognized and get better service.
                  Yep, my 4588 Bayliner IS my happy place :whistle:

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I also tip everyone. It's amazing how much that helps.

                    The other day I needed two 8 D's removing from my boat and replaced. I found the best price was actually the local marina store. I asked them if they had a strong young guy to come down and give me a hand. The tide was supper low and this young gentleman delivered both of my new batteries to my boat. The boat is a fair distance from the shop. One of the 8 D's is down between the motors on my 38.

                    We finished the job in about an hour and I gave the guy 20 bucks for helping me. I knew there would be a charge also, but was surprised that they only charged me for 20 minutes of labour.

                    I also always tip the lift guy 50 bucks. He also works for the store where we buy the bottom paint. 50 bucks seems to keep a lot more of my bottom paint on the boat if I'm between paint jobs.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Like most people participating in this thread, I have had my share of boatyard unpleasant boatyard experiences. Specifically, I have had two of them; and in looking back at things, I was left in a compromising position because I did not have contingency plans. An underlying theme throughout this post is to make sure you have a back-up plan in case the boatyard fails to meet your expectations. I will proceed by describing both experiences:

                      Experience Number 1:

                      This experience is described in greater detail in this thread. To make a long story short, my boat was berthed at a full service marina equipped with a boat lift and servicing facility. I had the boat pulled out for a routine outdrive servicing and anode replacement. When they drained the oil, they noticed water in it. The seal in either or both the upper and lower unit had been compromised and the drive had been taking on some water. Considering I was not expecting to have a compromised seal, I felt OK with my marina doing the routine outdrive servicing -- as this procedure is not rocket science. When the bad news came, I had no choice but to get the drive resealed because my boat was already sitting on the boat lift, and lowering it back into the water would have caused my drive to take on more water.

                      I felt victim to a completely incompetent mechanic. Rick (2850Bounty) did a great job in pointing out various areas in which the mechanic lacked the necessary expertise to properly seal the drive. He was clearly the wrong person for the job. However, firing him and taking my boat to a competent mechanic was not a viable option considering the boat was sitting on my marina's boat lift and my marina did not allow other mechanics to work on the boat while on the lift. Lower the boat into the water would have caused more damage.

                      Let me re-post my hindsight comments located at the end of the above referenced thread:


                      After devoting a considerable amount of time to thinking about what I could have done differently, the most obvious answer is to have taken it to a knowledgeable mechanic in the first place. . . . Here is my long term and permanent solution: I have decided to purchase a trailer soon. Having a trailer for this boat would not only give me the advantage of pulling it out of the water whenever I want to, it will give me opportunities to look for leaky bellows, take samples of the oil, change the oil and anodes on my own, etc. It will also give me flexibility to take the boat to the right mechanic without any constraints.




                      The bottom line is, having my boat on my own trailer would have allowed me to pull the boat out of the water myself instead of depending on the marina's boat life and take it to my mechanic of choice. It would have freed me from the clutches of the incompetent mechanic taking over three weeks to perform a 7 hour job.




                      Experience Number 2:

                      This experience is described in detail in this thread. Unlike the previous experience, I had an opportunity to interview this mechanic, look at his past work, speak to his past clients, and was convinced he was the right person to do the job. To be honest, I still remain convinced he is the best person for a job with the level of complexity of my repower. HOWEVER, I feel he is not capable of properly allocating his time and has caused a considerable amount of anguish for all who have been affected by it.

                      A contingency plan for a project this complex would have been very difficult to have and to execute without placing the quality of the project in jeopardy and taking the project way over budget.

                      First and foremost, Dave is the most qualified mechanic I have been able to find. Most mechanics I interviewed either wouldn't touch this project with a 10 foot pole or appeared to have a considerable amount of confidence but lacked necessary knowledge and experience to back it up. Dave has knowledge, experience, confidence, and the resources to complete the job. So taking it to another mechanic would have caused the project to suffer considerably.

                      Second, at the time I was considering pulling the boat out of his garage, the boat remained on stands and blocks, engine and drive removed. I would have needed to have the boat professionally transported to another location, placed on stands and blocks, etc. I would have needed to transport the engine, fuel tank, drive, and a huge assortment of accessories I had purchased for it. This was not going to be an easy or cost effective endeavor.

                      The only semblance of a contingency plan was to have the boat on a trailer and to make the threat of taking the boat to another mechanic more realistic. But that would have been playing a dishonest card, and I cannot ethically carry myself out in such a manner.

                      Luckily, this will be the first and last time I will be repowering this boat. And a repower of this nature is a complex project...while not warranting six months, it does warrant a considerable amount of time and effort. We ran into a series of hurdles such as needing to redesign the exhaust system, figure out a way to get tachometer readings, and figuring out the best way to perform an engine kill. I also had a rotten transom and stringers, which needed to be dealt with.


                      The moral of this story is to ensure there is a contingency plan. In the first experience, it was a no-brainer. Resealing a drive can be done by a dozen mechanics in the area I boat in. But for the second experience, the best thing to do was to work with my mechanic, and it was at the cost of losing half my boating season.


                      Comment


                        #12
                        Astral Blue wrote:
                        Like most people participating in this thread, I have had my share of boatyard unpleasant boatyard experiences. Specifically, I have had two of them; and in looking back at things, I was left in a compromising position because I did not have contingency plans. An underlying theme throughout this post is to make sure you have a back-up plan in case the boatyard fails to meet your expectations. I will proceed by describing both experiences:

                        Experience Number 1:

                        This experience is described in greater detail http://"http://www.baylinerownersclu...in this thread. To make a long story short, my boat was berthed at a full service marina equipped with a boat lift and servicing facility. I had the boat pulled out for a routine outdrive servicing and anode replacement. When they drained the oil, they noticed water in it. The seal in either or both the upper and lower unit had been compromised and the drive had been taking on some water. Considering I was not expecting to have a compromised seal, I felt OK with my marina doing the routine outdrive servicing -- as this procedure is not rocket science. When the bad news came, I had no choice but to get the drive resealed because my boat was already sitting on the boat lift, and lowering it back into the water would have caused my drive to take on more water.

                        I felt victim to a completely incompetent mechanic. Rick (2850Bounty) did a great job in pointing out various areas in which the mechanic lacked the necessary expertise to properly seal the drive. He was clearly the wrong person for the job. However, firing him and taking my boat to a competent mechanic was not a viable option considering the boat was sitting on my marina's boat lift and my marina did not allow other mechanics to work on the boat while on the lift. Lower the boat into the water would have caused more damage.

                        Let me re-post my hindsight comments located at the end of the above referenced thread:


                        2 wrote:
                        [COLOR]#333333 wrote:
                        After devoting a considerable amount of time to thinking about what I could have done differently, the most obvious answer is to have taken it to a knowledgeable mechanic in the first place. . . . [/COLOR][COLOR]#333333 wrote:
                        Here is my long term and permanent solution: I have decided to purchase a trailer soon. Having a trailer for this boat would not only give me the advantage of pulling it out of the water whenever I want to, it will give me opportunities to look for leaky bellows, take samples of the oil, change the oil and anodes on my own, etc. It will also give me flexibility to take the boat to the right mechanic without any constraints.

                        [/COLOR]

                        [COLOR]#333333 wrote:


                        The bottom line is, having my boat on my own trailer would have allowed me to pull the boat out of the water myself instead of depending on the marina's boat life and take it to my mechanic of choice. It would have freed me from the clutches of the incompetent mechanic taking over three weeks to perform a 7 hour job.

                        [/COLOR]

                        [COLOR]#333333 wrote:


                        Experience Number 2:
                        This experience is described in detail http://"http://www.baylinerownersclu...in this thread. Unlike the previous experience, I had an opportunity to interview this mechanic, look at his past work, speak to his past clients, and was convinced he was the right person to do the job. To be honest, I still remain convinced he is the best person for a job with the level of complexity of my repower. HOWEVER, I feel he is not capable of properly allocating his time and has caused a considerable amount of anguish for all who have been affected by it.

                        A contingency plan for a project this complex would have been very difficult to have and to execute without placing the quality of the project in jeopardy and taking the project way over budget.

                        First and foremost, Dave is the most qualified mechanic I have been able to find. Most mechanics I interviewed either wouldn't touch this project with a 10 foot pole or appeared to have a considerable amount of confidence but lacked necessary knowledge and experience to back it up. Dave has knowledge, experience, confidence, and the resources to complete the job. So taking it to another mechanic would have caused the project to suffer considerably.

                        Second, at the time I was considering pulling the boat out of his garage, the boat remained on stands and blocks, engine and drive removed. I would have needed to have the boat professionally transported to another location, placed on stands and blocks, etc. I would have needed to transport the engine, fuel tank, drive, and a huge assortment of accessories I had purchased for it. This was not going to be an easy or cost effective endeavor.

                        The only semblance of a contingency plan was to have the boat on a trailer and to make the threat of taking the boat to another mechanic more realistic. But that would have been playing a dishonest card, and I cannot ethically carry myself out in such a manner.

                        Luckily, this will be the first and last time I will be repowering this boat. And a repower of this nature is a complex project...while not warranting six months, it does warrant a considerable amount of time and effort. We ran into a series of hurdles such as needing to redesign the exhaust system, figure out a way to get tachometer readings, and figuring out the best way to perform an engine kill. I also had a rotten transom and stringers, which needed to be dealt with.


                        The moral of this story is to ensure there is a contingency plan. In the first experience, it was a no-brainer. Resealing a drive can be done by a dozen mechanics in the area I boat in. But for the second experience, the best thing to do was to work with my mechanic, and it was at the cost of losing half my boating season.

                        [/COLOR]
                        Thanks for the post Ed, that was well written, and very informative.

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

                        Whats the weather like on our boat
                        https://www.weatherlink.com/embeddab...59665f4e4/wide


                        Where are we right now? https://maps.findmespot.com/s/36S4

                        Comment


                          #13
                          One of the bad habits creeping in is for some suppliers to request a 'deposit' in advance of some kind. Often they justify this because they have had some bad experiences with other owners. However my experience has been that these suppliers most tend to be the people that you have the issues with. Most boat owners I've known are fairly reasonable people & only withold payment for good reason. There are a few not so good, but for a particular supplier to have had a run of poor payment customers to the point where they demand some form of advance deposit, says to me it's most likely the payment issues occurred for good reasons.

                          So I never, never agree. If a supplier wants money up front to order parts - I ask for the details & advise that I'll buy them & supply them myself.

                          But mostly with anyone asking for a deposit I just move on. I see it a strong potential problem avoidance method.
                          Bay Seeker
                          1994 3288

                          Comment


                            #14
                            hargsnz wrote:
                            One of the bad habits creeping in is for some suppliers to request a 'deposit' in advance of some kind. Often they justify this because they have had some bad experiences with other owners. However my experience has been that these suppliers most tend to be the people that you have the issues with. Most boat owners I've known are fairly reasonable people & only withold payment for good reason. There are a few not so good, but for a particular supplier to have had a run of poor payment customers to the point where they demand some form of advance deposit, says to me it's most likely the payment issues occurred for good reasons.

                            So I never, never agree. If a supplier wants money up front to order parts - I ask for the details & advise that I'll buy them & supply them myself.

                            But mostly with anyone asking for a deposit I just move on. I see it a strong potential problem avoidance method.
                            I agree completely. The only exception I would consider is for something very expensive, like a engine.

                            Generally when a boat yard needs a deposit, its because they are "robbing peter to pay paul". If they are so short of funds that they cannot buy parts out of their own pocket then they are not very sucessful business people. This is especially true in todays age of visa cards with a 30 day minimum billing cycle.

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

                            Whats the weather like on our boat
                            https://www.weatherlink.com/embeddab...59665f4e4/wide


                            Where are we right now? https://maps.findmespot.com/s/36S4

                            Comment

                            Working...
                            X