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Covid boaters are overrunning the shops!

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Covid boaters are overrunning the shops!

Old 07-09-2020, 09:15 PM
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Default Covid boaters are overrunning the shops!

Good family friend of 35ish years owns a local marine tech business..He has a shop and does a lot of mobile work.
Discussion over beers on the 4th turned to boaters.
He offered me a bay in his shop. Jokingly.
Hes essentially been overwhelmed with new boaters.
10-15 tow ins a day all basic things. Don't know how to use trim, trailer lights,pump replacements on 18ft bay boats any number of little things. The shops apprentice is decent and works hard and does pretty good work is turning out most of these boats at a good rate...most jobs are taking him around 1hr to hr15 mins. He emptied out his parts storage so he can park his truck in there to hide it. Has people pulling up to the shop until dark most evenings. Said he's taking nearly 100 calls a day that his office girl can't get to. Said it's nearly impossible right now to actually conduct business properly. Quality help is hard to come by, disruption in the supply chain making parts difficult to receive in a timely manner and any number of other issues..
Hes had more people than even to deal with.. All at the same time, during.peak season and sees no end in sight.

Let's be mindful of what's going on when dealing with our techs and shops... They are busting their asses right now trying to juggle completing jobs, keeping customers happy, keeping staff from burning out and still have some semblance of life outside of the engine rooms.
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Old 07-09-2020, 10:05 PM
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Be grateful for having lots of business instead of whining about it, especially when many other are struggling right now?

Last edited by WaterDamage; 07-09-2020 at 10:13 PM.
Old 07-09-2020, 10:23 PM
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The marina we keep our boat at moved their boat sales and all service back to the waterfront marina early april, prob 30 new boats. They have probably 5-8 boats left, the shop space is full and a constant rotation of different boats every weekend we are there. It’s certainly an odd time, but we are taking care of the marina personnel as best we can afford. Gave the kid at the restaurant dock the only cash I had being $10 and he was very thankful...I just hope everyone in much pricier boats than I was doing the same!
Old 07-09-2020, 10:39 PM
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I’m a physician, but essentially a small business owner since my partners and I own our practice. Whenever I see a fellow business owner complain about being too successful it makes me cringe. Time to grow, outsource, hire, pay for the right talent.... but by all means be grateful and don’t complain. It’s an awesome “problem” to have
Old 07-09-2020, 10:43 PM
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Cry me a river. If you can't take the heat, don't light the fuse.
Old 07-10-2020, 02:22 AM
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You should see the boat ramps 😀
Old 07-10-2020, 03:26 AM
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Easy to understand when you drive by most boat sales places and their inventory is about 5 boats when its usually 50. And when all these inexperienced first time boaters hit the water look out.
Old 07-10-2020, 03:28 AM
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I can understand the OP’s point. Yes, shops have more business and more income but along with that comes a lot more stress of handling that business with the same staff. It is not always possible, or wise, to expand your business based on what might be a temporary spike. Even if a shop wanted to expand they need available techs to be able to do it. Even if they were able to expand that does nothing to solve the supply chain problems that the shops can’t do anything about. I’ve run into the parts accessibility problems when ordering parts for my DIY projects. Along with the problems they can’t control they probably have a boat load (rim shot) of new and old customers that want everything done yesterday and have no problem complaining about it. All that was asked is that we keep in mind that shops are maxed out right now, there’s not a lot they can do about it so don’t get pissed off and jump all over them when it takes longer to get your boat back. Seems reasonable to me.
Old 07-10-2020, 03:30 AM
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Originally Posted by MaddMac View Post
Quality help is hard to come by
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Millions are unemployed, quality help is not hard to come by now. It sounds like he's like many that don't want to pay more than minimum wage and expects to hire good people, it doesn't work that way.

I agree with the good doctor, it's time to pay for the right talent and take advantage of the good fortune that he's got in the middle of a bad situation. Not everyone is so fortunate as to have business opportunities right now. As the old farmers around me used to say "you've got to make hay when the sun shines".

I'm a pilot for a cargo airline and our business is booming because of Covid also. I've been on the road for a couple of weeks and have a couple more to go before I'll get home. The Covid restrictions in the various countries I go to are crazy and almost border on harassment, right now I'm locked in a hotel room in Malaysia with a guard sitting outside my door because that's the only way they'll agree to let us keep operating into the country, we're under guarded lockdown forbidden to leave the room until we go the airplane and leave. I've been tested for Covid so many times that my nostrils are sore from having a swab shoved into them. I've been poked, prodded, and yelled at in strange languages for not following protocols that make no sense and I didn't know existed. I would much rather be at home where I can hitch the boat up and go fishing in the gulf but they're paying me a lot of money in overtime and I'm grateful for the opportunity to pigeonhole money away for the leaner times that will inevitably come. I'm also moving a lot of medical supplies and other important things that really need to get to the people that need them and doing my small part to keep the economy going in these trying times.

The point being that as others have said, he needs to be grateful that he's got the work right now and capitalize on it. Others are much less fortunate.
Old 07-10-2020, 03:54 AM
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“Millions are unemployed, quality help is not hard to come by now.“

Yeah, but do you want that waiter/waitress or cashier working on your engine?
Old 07-10-2020, 03:57 AM
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Originally Posted by GaryCrow View Post
Millions are unemployed, quality help is not hard to come by now. It sounds like he's like many that don't want to pay more than minimum wage and expects to hire good people, it doesn't work that way....

Well, I disagree completely. Our son is an electrician with his own company. It's almost impossible for him to hire someone with the work ethic and personality to deal with his customers. He starts people out at $14/hour with ZERO EXPERIENCE or KNOWLEDGE. He had a bonus program, but doesn't offer any other benefits. Bring some amount of knowledge and experience and the pay is significantly higher. He supplies tools and is more than willing to teach people what to do and how to do it. For months and months, he's had more business than he can do and currently he has only one helper. People/young adults today don't want to work, they're making too much to stay at home, and they certainly don't want to do the "dirty" jobs.
Old 07-10-2020, 04:35 AM
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Originally Posted by MaddMac View Post
Good family friend of 35ish years owns a local marine tech business..He has a shop and does a lot of mobile work.
Discussion over beers on the 4th turned to boaters.
He offered me a bay in his shop. Jokingly.
Hes essentially been overwhelmed with new boaters.
10-15 tow ins a day all basic things. Don't know how to use trim, trailer lights,pump replacements on 18ft bay boats any number of little things. The shops apprentice is decent and works hard and does pretty good work is turning out most of these boats at a good rate...most jobs are taking him around 1hr to hr15 mins. He emptied out his parts storage so he can park his truck in there to hide it. Has people pulling up to the shop until dark most evenings. Said he's taking nearly 100 calls a day that his office girl can't get to. Said it's nearly impossible right now to actually conduct business properly. Quality help is hard to come by, disruption in the supply chain making parts difficult to receive in a timely manner and any number of other issues..
Hes had more people than even to deal with.. All at the same time, during.peak season and sees no end in sight.

Let's be mindful of what's going on when dealing with our techs and shops... They are busting their asses right now trying to juggle completing jobs, keeping customers happy, keeping staff from burning out and still have some semblance of life outside of the engine rooms.
​​


Well first glad to see folks getting into boating, gotta learn some where and it is a lot of fun

However I know what you are saying, was dropping my boat off to mechanic for swapping out new trolling motor and service and he was telling me how hard parts are to come by. He is a small shop with 1 employee He was installing new twin Tohatshu’s on a CC and guy was pissed because shipping took 1-2 longer than expected but as he said all out of his control

I am normally pretty patient person with folks and trust me I have asked a lot out of my own clients/customers last 3 1/2 months and for most part people understand. However you do have those that are just born assholes and always will be, I just charge them more or send them packing
Old 07-10-2020, 05:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Lemonbayboating View Post
Easy to understand when you drive by most boat sales places and their inventory is about 5 boats when its usually 50. And when all these inexperienced first time boaters hit the water look out.
Got that right. It's pretty much mayhem right now where we boat. People completely clueless as to any concept of navigation rules, jetskis criss-crossing the channel just trying to jump wakes (and heading full-tilt at swimming areas), people anchored in the dead center of the marked shipping channel fishing, running full tilt through no-wake zones. I can't ever remember it being like this in 20 years here.

It'll be interesting to see how many people stick with it once this COVID crap is over. I'm wondering if there will be a bit of a surge on the used boat market in about 18 months.
Old 07-10-2020, 05:28 AM
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Originally Posted by zig10 View Post
Got that right. It's pretty much mayhem right now where we boat. People completely clueless as to any concept of navigation rules, jetskis criss-crossing the channel just trying to jump wakes (and heading full-tilt at swimming areas), people anchored in the dead center of the marked shipping channel fishing, running full tilt through no-wake zones. I can't ever remember it being like this in 20 years here.

It'll be interesting to see how many people stick with it once this COVID crap is over. I'm wondering if there will be a bit of a surge on the used boat market in about 18 months.
This ^

Every time at the boat ramp I have seen something cringeworthy. After a guy in front of me got his boat on the trailer so crooked I had to tell him that he wants his trailer fenders above water. Not 2 feet under! I think its a certainty there will be a large influx of used boats for sale fall of 2021. Everyone who bought one this year with no experience, realizes they didn;t use it much next summer will sell.
Old 07-10-2020, 05:32 AM
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Handles, knobs and accessory parts all come from China...and I am out of most of my more popular ones.

Shimano Trevala rods are near impossible to get. Things are a lot worse in China than we are led to believe.
Old 07-10-2020, 05:37 AM
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Originally Posted by zig10 View Post

It'll be interesting to see how many people stick with it once this COVID crap is over. I'm wondering if there will be a bit of a surge on the used boat market in about 18 months.
Yup, used boat market will be very full in a couple of years.

Walking around our marina the past few weeks....people coming up to ask questions about the place, ask how the marina is, what boating is like, budget, etc. "Newbies to boating" probing the idea.
Old 07-10-2020, 05:45 AM
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Anyone that owns a business understands customer service and the long term impact of being too busy and having customers walk away upset. Are all these calls paying customers or people looking for free advice?

Growth does not happen overnight, finding good people is a challenge in any business. This guy needs to take a step back, determine his business capacity and manage expectations.
Old 07-10-2020, 05:49 AM
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Have a buddy that runs a similar sounding shop. It's him, 3 techs, a yard guy and a receptionist. Tech's do most of the wrench turning, and he steps in when expertise is needed.

His only complaint through all of this is the "customers" that go ape shit irate on him or his receptionist over stuff related to being busy. They want personal, immediate help, and get pissed when they have to wait their turn. Has had quite a few go nuts over the phone being busy for an hour, or having to wait on them to finish with one customer before they got their turn for 1 on 1 conversation. Not sure they think boat shops magically don't have waits like the walmart checkout does, but evidently thats the expectation for some.
Old 07-10-2020, 06:06 AM
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I fear the used boat market in the future.

Watched a guy at the ramp jump his pontoon with his truck up out of water. Ran it for like ten minutes with no water connection or anything. Shut it off and put it in water, had to put truck down the ramp to jump it again and after it got running they decided to take off to the sandbar. So there will be issues with new boaters, their boats but sea tow and tow boat will be busy as well as shops which they will come to count on to repair their issues.
Old 07-10-2020, 06:13 AM
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Called my local marine shop on Tuesday so I could have someone look my boat. 5-6 week turnaround was what I was told... Dealer said it's been a chit show the last two months with rigging of new boats, the hot weather and break downs. He went on to say, back in March/April, he never thought he would be clearing all his inventory with all that was going on.

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