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Old 01-31-2006, 03:20 PM
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Default Anyone own a boat rental business?

I'm interested in starting a boat rental business. Has anyone on this board been involved with a company or marina that rents boats?
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Old 01-31-2006, 03:26 PM
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Default RE: Anyone own a boat rental business?

I worked at a Marina in Sea Isle City for 10 years. We rented small bay boats, jet skis and Hobie Cats. It was a while ago, but ask away.
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Old 01-31-2006, 05:47 PM
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Default Re: Anyone own a boat rental business?

College summers on a totaly mis-managed rental business....
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Old 01-31-2006, 05:59 PM
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Default Re: Anyone own a boat rental business?

Can it be profitable? I was just thinking the other day if I could move to the beach and start a biz, this was one that had a passing thought.
Seems like insurance would be pretty steep. (Inexperienced renters etc.)

Would like to hear more or get a PM from someone.
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Old 01-31-2006, 06:09 PM
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Default Re: Anyone own a boat rental business?

hey weekfish which marina ? vitellos,larsens,red dog or if you go way back Capt chums cove. when I used to run the chum,miss seaisle and starfish we used to back int them boats all the time
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Old 01-31-2006, 06:39 PM
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Default Re: Anyone own a boat rental business?

Quote:
finman - 1/31/2006 6:09 PM

hey weekfish which marina ? vitellos,larsens,red dog or if you go way back Capt chums cove. when I used to run the chum,miss seaisle and starfish we used to back int them boats all the time
Pier 88. Best job I ever had. rented boats, pumped gas, rigged crab traps and fluke lures, cleaned fish, reapired engines...you name it.

Caught my first fish off Capt. Chum....a sea robin But I was hooked for life so to speak. The Starfish was always the class of those head boats.
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Old 01-31-2006, 07:05 PM
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Default Re: Anyone own a boat rental business?

I have watched boat rental businesses come and go on the Outer Banks. The basic problem is clueless tourists beat the crap out of the boats. There is one operation here that seems to be successful. They rent only pontoon boats with small outboards. They restrict usage to about 3-4 miles from the docks. They seem to stay pretty busy in season.
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Old 01-31-2006, 08:05 PM
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Default Re: Anyone own a boat rental business?

Worked at one. The pontoons were the best boats to rent since they are slow and don't get real beat up too fast. Restrict where they can go to a few miles, how far depends on the area. Buy some slightly used boats and get rid of them before they get too rough and aren't sellable. Its hard to rent them when they look real rough. Center consoles get beat up badly and most people want more seating and a top for the hot days. Hire college kids to work there during the season. We'll work that job for next to nothing. Parasail also gets a ton of traffic. Jetskis are neat but take a lot more work to keep up and insure.
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Old 01-31-2006, 08:45 PM
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Default Re: Anyone own a boat rental business?

The biggest problem my operation had was that the equipt was junk and though the engines were taken care of, the hulls (boats and WaveRunners) were neglected and repaired with bondo. This led to more frequent and easy damage. I don't know anything about the insurance side, other than he apparently didn't have any workmans comp on us For the most part, the renters took decent care of the boats, most of the damage done was because the boat was junk...normally they redamaged a poorly repaired spot. I think I did a very good job educating the renter on proper operation and how not to wreck the boat...this seemed to make a big difference, and I could usually see them putting the instruction to use. They generally paid pretty good attention to any warnings. We put about a $400 "approval" on the renters credit card to cover any damage if there was a problem. This was usually more than enough.
The WaveRunners went pretty smoothly also. We had a "patrol boat" that went out with the renters to keep an eye on things. That helped keep the cops off our backs, and helped protect the equiptment. If someone was getting too carried away, a warning usually did the trick to get them back in line. I was also able to save a waverunner from sinking one day by being out with them.
The one thing you will definitly need is someone working the dock that actually knows boats (when you can't be there). I think this was the greatest problem my boss had. He knew nothing (former women's underwear factory owner from NY), fired the guy that managed the business before he bought it, and when I wasn't there, generally had some fairly trustworthy low-lifes working, though they did their best, and worked hard, they knew nothing about boats or the local waters. This led to bad advise to the customers and minor problems getting out of hand.
The other thing that I think could have helped business is to have a little profit sharing type arrangement with your employees (to encourage their extra work when its busy and to encourage them to talk up the rentals when a "browser" stops by), and give them some leeway in pricing to get someone to rent that might otherwise leave. Our prices were competitve with others in the area, but personally I think we had much worse equiptment. People would stop by, try to bargin with the price and leave because I couldn't give any. So the boat sat idle instead of going out for $5 less.
We included gas in our rentals, as we operated from our own dock...so no pumps.
Sorry if this is a bit disjointed. Its been a few years and I was just typing what came to mind...
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Old 01-31-2006, 10:39 PM
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Default RE: Anyone own a boat rental business?

There are boat rental franchises popping up all over the place these days. Check out http://www.freedomboatclub.com/ as an example.
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Old 02-01-2006, 03:10 AM
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Default RE: Anyone own a boat rental business?

Guys - Thanks for all the information. The boat rental idea is just an idea at this point. There's tons of boating and fishing in the Delta area. There are thousands of miles of river/sloughs and it's sunny everyday from April through Mid - October. This area just seems like a great place for boat rentals. There's not much competition either (except for houseboats).

Here's a few questions :

Where can you find information on legal responsibilities of a boat livery?

What insurance do you need?

How do places handle damage to boats done by customers? Jeff mentioned the $400 "approval" on the renters card (is this typical?)

Any suggestions on approaching or pitching your boat rental business idea to marina management . . . (i.e. convince them that your boat rental business is a good addition to their marina)? I imagine they'll be pretty nervous about a bunch of yahoos crashing into the docks/boats.

How do existing places protect themselves from Lawsuits?
(i.e. Waiver of Liability, Assumption of risk, and Indemnity agreement).

What did your boat rental business do well and what could it have done better?
I like the profit sharing and Pontoon Boat suggestion. Pontoons boats would be great for the Delta crowd.

What am I forgetting to ask?


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Old 02-01-2006, 03:42 AM
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Default Re: Anyone own a boat rental business?

Genmar has a boat rental business package that includes insurance, operations set-up, boat leasing (Triumph Boats), etc. I guess the Triumphs are ideal for this because they are made out of that soft plastic that really takes abuse well and they have that caddy ride that renters like. Anyway, it's a turnkey deal, you just need a location and some assets they can get their hands on if you go turtle.

A buddy of mine was going to do it but with our short season up here it didn't pencil out (lease payments are year-round).
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Old 02-04-2006, 11:01 PM
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Default Re: Anyone own a boat rental business?

Here's an interesting article, looks like a dealer only setup. What better way to sell a few huh?



(Hey, like the ride? Notice how when you crashed the dock it didn't hurt a thing? Wanna buy one? We can get you in one for only $___.__ per month!)
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Old 02-05-2006, 08:50 AM
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Default Re: Anyone own a boat rental business?

Link didn't worl out the first time, maybe this will.
http://www.bizjournals.com/twincitie...23/story2.html
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Old 02-05-2006, 09:20 AM
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Default RE: Anyone own a boat rental business?

Quote:
OceanTrvlr - 1/31/2006 11:39 PM

There are boat rental franchises popping up all over the place these days. Check out http://www.freedomboatclub.com/ as an example.
There is one of these operations at my marina.......I don't know if the guy is making money but he sure is increasing the size of his fleet....and on most days the boats are not tied to the dock.
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