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Charter business full time

Old 04-15-2019, 08:22 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Virginia Beach
Posts: 8

Thanks for the info guys, there are some good advertising places around the VA beach area I have seen before. I don't know how much it all is but im sure it isn't cheap. I know most charters around here are on trip advisor and such. I have someone that can do a website for me but I still will have to learn on how to maintain it regularly. im ok with putting money out on the table as long as it is making money in return. Have to spend money to make money
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Old 04-15-2019, 09:17 AM
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Location: St Thomas USVI
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Have you considered the option of running a boat for someone else for a year or two to learn the business and decide whether you want to put it all on the table and do it?
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Old 04-15-2019, 09:34 AM
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im ok with putting money out on the table as long as it is making money in return.
To be honest, there is not much boat owners making money, most of us do it as we love it and hopefiully can pay or reduce the cost of ownership and use of our boats.
The must given answer on the question " How to make one million with boating" is "invest two millions and work for a few years, then you will wonder where one million dispeared"
Run your landscaping company most of the time and on the weekend start charters
Have a clever accounting guy to first make you a serious calculated budget and then help you to keep taxes/expenses as low as possible.

Trust me, go slow, get a smaller, economic center console or fishing boat to start with, after some time you will realize that as bigger the boat is, the maintenance costs explode.

The world is splitting apart, poor people and vrich people, middle class is disapearing, so you need to adapt your project to this,
either luxury cruises/fishing with a luxury boat, cheap fishing with a cheap boat or mid tier and size boat for the leftover middleclass.

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Old 04-15-2019, 09:50 AM
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Location: Margate NJ Barnegat light NJ
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Originally Posted by GrandSlammer View Post
So I have been browsing THT for a few years now trying to gather information on starting a charter business full time. I joined in hopes to gather even more information, either good or bad. I grew up offshore fishing out of hatteras with my dad all the time and in high school landed a commercial fishing job in virginia beach as that's where I am from and currently still live. skipping a bunch of stuff, I am 29 years old with a wife and 2 kids. I approached my wife with the idea of starting my own charter business as I am over the 9-5 job deal just for a steady paycheck. I did own a small landscape business for 5 years on the side so I have general knowledge of the business side of things. I really would like your thoughts, opinions or experiences in anything on making the jump into chartering full time with a family to still take care of. Is it something to start on the side and keep the fulltime job until the charter becomes busy enough to leave your other job? Any and every response is much appreciated.
Congrats on starting your business. I am in the same position right now fortunately I have a very supportive wife that makes a lot of money. I am going to go full time in the next 2 years. I advertised heavily the first 2 seasons and now have a decent following and a steady flow of clients. I am in NJ so my season is cut short which makes it tuff to go full time but I can do it, I'll just be poor lol. What I did do is hire a captain to run the boat on the days I am not available. I still make 200 bucks and he is happy making 25 an hour plus tip. I do this not for the extra money so much as I do for the additional long term clients I am making. I need to run 150 trips per year to make it a total win. Do the math and see what the break even is and what you will need to do to make money. Create a niche in your market as well that sets you apart from the competition. Do not claim to be the best fisherman or post pictures of a bunch of dead fish in a cooler, that does not work. I do better with families on vacation taking the kids on a 4 hour bay trip so catch a few fish and just enjoy a day on the water than I do on meat excursions. In fact I promote 99.9 percent catch and release and will not take many "meat fishing" trips if any at all. I can run 2 trips a day easily with very minimal costs and a sunset cruise that profits over 60 bucks for an hour. Good luck with it!
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Old 04-15-2019, 10:37 AM
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if u can pull off eco tours your profit margin is high- the kayak+paddle board guys in the keys are stomping it
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Old 04-15-2019, 04:02 PM
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If you want to get divorced do it,if not don't.thats a tough job for lots of reasons.
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Old 04-15-2019, 08:43 PM
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Originally Posted by fishstretchy View Post
If you want to get divorced do it,if not don't.thats a tough job for lots of reasons.

It's a sad fact--very few women are geared for being married to a fisherman.

Last edited by luna sea II; 04-15-2019 at 08:52 PM.
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Old 04-15-2019, 09:41 PM
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Fish because you love it, and work to earn money.

My daughter wants to be a writer. I told her the easiest way to learn to hate writing is to rely on it to pay bills. When you have to go fishing to pay the bills, it will lose most of the enjoyment. Then, something you now love becomes something you dread and possibly hate.
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Old 04-20-2019, 12:49 PM
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I learned my lesson the hard way. Running charter boats in the Keys for years absolutely destroyed my love for fishing. I took my hobby that I used to love to do and killed it dead. Took me several years before I even owned a boat and am just now getting my desire to fish for "fun" back. But as I mentioned earlier...pursue your dream with both eyes wide open as you are only young once.
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Old 04-20-2019, 02:19 PM
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If I was going to run charters these days I know what my plan would be. Shark. Sharks are like fleas. They provide excitement,are very accessible,and success with them is fairly easy. You donít have to burn tons of fuel either.
Depending on location, a Spanish mackerel, shark, and near shore jogging trip combo should bring fairly easy success while keeping overhead low. 3-400lb test leaders with circle hooks, Clark spoons and buck tails.
Shark charters will keep you busy in areas of high tourism. It would be more of a numbers game. Lower rates to fit vacationers budget. Hey mom dad can we go catch a shark? Thatís the only way Iíd charter these days. Donít run far and usually fast action.
Hope it works out for you!
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Old 04-20-2019, 03:14 PM
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You have to run the numbers and be realistic. You are fishing out of Virginia Beach so you are limited in what you can do. Peligic fishing is a far run and you are not going to have that many fishable.

What Virginia Beach does have is tourism. I think you could most likely get 60 fishable days maybe more over the summer running 2 charters a day for 500 each segment. Go out front troll for blues and Spanish and call it a day. Thatís $60k now supplement that with some offshore trips and you may be able to squeak out a living. Bottom fishing is garbage in Virginia Beach and would be harder to charter then trolling on the ocean front.

You can also run 4 hour shark charters for $500. You donít have to go far from the beach for a 200lb sand tiger.
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Old 04-21-2019, 05:19 AM
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Realistic numbers.

Your sales will be half.

Your expenses will be double.

Your relationship with your spouse should be excellent. It will be tested.

If I had to do it over I wish I listened to people around me and not blinded by my fishing passion.

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Old 04-22-2019, 06:02 PM
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I began my first charter operation in 1987 at the age of 20, my wife married a charter captain and accepted that from the beginning in 1990. My biggest regret was the summer of 2005 when my then 5 year old son came into the kitchen shortly after sunset on a summer evening. I had been fishing the last 40-50 days straight. He walked up to the counter dumped a bag of small coins on it ans asked me if that was enough money for me to take him fishing. I had the next 40 - 50 days booked already and had no good answer for him. I blew an engine and a transmission that season, ended it with expenses paid, but no money in the bank. If I had 2005 to do over again, I would have been fishing on my days off from my 9-5 with my 5 year old boy. On his spring break from his freshmen year in college this year, he asked if I'd take him and his friends for an evening....I cancelled my planned trip and took him... life is too short to make the same mistake twice. (I now have a 9-5 and fish on the side. Boat is actually paid for and money goes into a retirement fund every week, this never happened charter fishing)
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Old Yesterday, 03:05 PM
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Location: Margate NJ Barnegat light NJ
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Originally Posted by DarcizzleOffshore View Post
Not a charter captain, but know a ton and have seen them succeed and fail as well. I would also suggest looking into being an inshore charter. You'll have fewer cancellations due to weather and season yet a bigger percentage of anglers that inshore fish
and that can afford your charter. Also cheaper boat, slip, gear, gas, etc. Bass is even better if you are into that. Best of luck either way.
Inshore or bay flats trips are where the money is. I run a 25 Contender bay and can hit the inshore reef 2 times a day with 2 charters and still be home for dinner at 5.I prefer the back water and bay trips 4 passenger family type trips, it is the easiest money and almost no stress or pressure to put a big catch together especially when the bit is bad. The stay in the bay family trips are almost no cost, 25 bucks total at most and I can run 2 4 hour trips per day easily.
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