Boat Broker-Possible Career?

Old 01-07-2008, 02:44 PM
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Default Boat Broker-Possible Career?

Is it possible to make a Career out of being a Boat Broker? Please put aside "most are scumbags, but some are good" comments. Anyone here a Broker, work for a broker, have friend, enemy, brother, sister, mom, dad that are brokers. Is the risk worth the reward? How dependent are sales in relation to the economy? Is it better to own the business with all the overhead, or more simple to work for someone and hand over a % of the commission? I know it's a lot of questions I am throwing out there. While most people own a home, they may not be able to speak about real-estate agents, but boaters have a more in depth knowledge of what's going on around them. Thanks for the insight...
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Old 01-07-2008, 02:51 PM
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Default RE: Boat Broker-Possible Career?

Are you retired?
Sounds like a interesting venture, can you work on 100% commission?

I may take this up myself.
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Old 01-07-2008, 02:56 PM
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Default RE: Boat Broker-Possible Career?

Certainly you can. The more knowledgeable you are, the better you'll do it it. I have a good friend who is a boat broker and he is a fine person. However, the current economic downturn does not bode well for "Boat Broker" as a career choice.
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Old 01-07-2008, 02:57 PM
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Default Re: Boat Broker-Possible Career?

It can be an honorable and rewarding profession. It is what you make it. This is a great time to start as the markets are in turmoil. Salespeople are leaving as sales shrink. This is opportunity!

You meed to find a financially sound dealer selling a make or type of boat that you believe in. Factories and large dealers such as Marine Max are investing thousands of dollars in employees with training courses. Not just product but sales and marketing courses as well.

Depending upon what you sell, the economy will play a large part in your success. 25' and under are way off in sales and 40' and up are steady to slightly soft. Sail is picking up again.

If you can afford to own a boat business you wouldn't be asking that question.

You would be entering at a difficult time. If you think you can sell and the dealer you work for is sharp, knowledgable, and finaancially sound, you could use the downcycle to learn AND gain seniority and come out swinging on the other side.

What product you are selling and for whom you are selling are the big questions. I would expect you would change jobs 2-3 times in the first 5-6 years.

Good Luck
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Old 01-07-2008, 04:38 PM
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Default Re: Boat Broker-Possible Career?

Thanks for all the replies. I am m strickly talking "used brokerage boats", not a boat dealer per say trying to unload new boats off the showroom floor.
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Old 01-07-2008, 07:22 PM
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Default Re: Boat Broker-Possible Career?

There is money to be made. In my opinion to be successful,you have to be knowledgeable about your listings and not a salesman. Selling the boats is the easy part. Getting good quality listings is the hard part. The most successful brokers usually have the cleanest listings, repeat customers and referrals.
Boats are still selling, despite what you might hear or read. When the economy is booming, theres 100 buyers with cash in hand and 10 quality boats. When the economy is on a down turn, there's 10 smart, liquid buyers and 100 quality boats. After 23 years and starting from scratch, I've seen the worst and the best. The best advice would be, to be careful who you align yourself with. Reputation is everything in the brokerage business, if you get involved with a company that has a bad reputation it will follow you for ever. One last thing, should have at least a years salary/savings to get you through the first year or so. You never want to be in a position that you " have to make the deal no matter what"just because you need the commission check.
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Old 01-07-2008, 09:05 PM
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Default Re: Boat Broker-Possible Career?

Good advice so far.

I'd like to add that you also need to be prepared to work all weekends and most holidays. Most brokers around here are open 7 days a week during the season (April - October), and then close Tues and Wed during the "off-season".

Lots of brokers have folded up shop around here. There are a few prime waterfront locations that have been vacant for a few months now, and those had been constantly occupied for over 20 years!

Best of luck!
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Old 01-10-2008, 06:02 PM
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Default Re: Boat Broker-Possible Career?

I've wondered the same. I think were in for a 2 year recession which bodes poorly for recreational boat sales. The folks who are going to get squeezed are the middle class boaters. When money gets tight, the first thing to unload are the toys. Many who get out of boating will not return. Other can not get out because they are upside down on their notes - they can make the payments but can't write the check to bridge the difference between what's owed and the sales price.

Here's a recent trade article that pretty much backs up my assessment.

The only market I believe will fair well in the near future is the $1,000,000 and up boats. Those folks don't have to worry about getting laid off or economic uncertainity.

I hope I'm wrong, but after spending a day at an almost deserted New York Boat Show, I'm not optimistic on the near term prospects of boat sales. My advise is to find a more lucurative career and pursue boating as a pasttime.

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Old 01-10-2008, 06:53 PM
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Default Re: Boat Broker-Possible Career?

You might try selling used cars for a while to get a feel for what dealing with the buyers is like. Much more experience in a shorter time but very similar IMO.
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Old 01-11-2008, 06:08 AM
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Default RE: Boat Broker-Possible Career?

I am a broker and have been doing it for the past 4 years in North Carolina. Last year was my best yet. I attribute that to having good quality listings and being attentive to my clients needs. Today, you need to be extremely knowledgeable about your listings and be prepared to work all hours, weekends and holidays, because that is when the buyers have the time to look. I specialize in cruising sailboats, because I lived aboard and cruised for 12 years in the islands. (Yes, it was a rough life, but somebody had to do it.) You have to be prepared to live on 100% commission, and the first year you starve. It can be a rewarding career if you are honest and straight with your clients.
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Old 01-11-2008, 06:35 AM
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Default Re: Boat Broker-Possible Career?

Along the same lines, I've always wondered how much schooling and what else is involved in becoming a marine surveyor. For the many of us who are obsessed with boats and everything related to boats, it could be a pretty enjoyable career.
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Old 01-11-2008, 08:23 AM
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Default Re: Boat Broker-Possible Career?

I would not put too much value on that article from Pascoe, sounds like he is trying to inflate the doom and gloom to sell his book.

I have been a broker for 11 years, its a job I absolutely love but would not recommend to anybody. You really need to know you want to do it as it can be difficult, but can equally be fun. Its more of a lifestyle than a job as hours are dictated by customer needs. Finding out Saturday night that you need to drive 2 hours to show a boat on sunday is not uncommon.
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Old 01-11-2008, 08:26 AM
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Default Re: Boat Broker-Possible Career?

Call Bob at Angler'sEdgeMarine. An interesting way to make money selling boats. Google him and ask someone who is walkin the walk.
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