don't not want to stray too far from topic but please explain the overhead of the bimini maker to me. The examples you site as a dealer for your car have extreme overhead; building, machinery, staff, huge insurance premiums.....not even the same or even close!
Yep car dealers have huge over head. I have a college room mate who is a car dealer. He has one of the largest most expensive homes in town (property taxes alone are roughly 50k per year), a house in Aspen, Sugarloaf & a private island off the coast of Maine (that I know about).. He seems to be doing just fine..
My canvas guy on the other hand drives an old car and lives in a very modest home. He also does not own multiple Rolex, Omega and other multi-thousand dollar watches..
The canvas maker who did our current boat has about 10 people on the payroll, has a huge waterfront sail loft to support and up until last year had two locations but with the economy & a lack of "qualified help" he had to close one and consolidate. His insurance is pretty outrageous because he also does rigging and has employees up spars. We use the same insurance agency so have commiserated about insurance costs before. He has the lowest labor rate of any of the local canvas or sail lofts in the area. Still did not make my canvas project inexpensive because it all comes down to the sheer number of hours involved in a quality job..
He also charges me fairly for an honest hours work. He works for an hour, I pay him for an hour. He works for a half hour I pay him for a half hour. There is no "shop rate" book for boats so he does not work for 15 minutes and charge me for 1.25 hours of work....
His operation is quite different in scale from the Mom & Pop car garage down the street who charges the same exact labor rate, has less employees (two to be exact), a smaller lower rent shop, but does the job in 15 minutes and still charges customers for the 1.25 hours the book says...
My point is that boating labor is often not any more or less expensive than other comparable work. Heck the local awning maker is more expensive than our local canvas & sailmaker. One of my customers now uses this same guy to do the canvas work for all his local restaurants. He discovered this because the local "awning company" was about 50% more and had less attention to detail. He was sure glad he had him make a sail cover this summer because it saved him big money on the new awning that got blown off the building during Hurricane Sandy.
My canvas guy is actually less per hour than these other local services:
Oil Burner Service Tech
My Wife's Hair Dresser ($140.00 - $170.00 for about 35-40 minutes)
Landscaper ($60.00 to mow my neighbors lawn in 20 minutes)
Snow Plow Guy (my neighbor pays $40.00 per plow and it takes less than 5 minutes)
I prefer quality work and am willing to pay for it, some are not. I see lots of crappy canvas work out there that can destroy the aesthetics of an otherwise pretty boat. Not what I want to pay for but you can if you want to......
BTW the tan dodger in post #8 still looks just as good today as it did then. It still fits perfectly, not s single thread has blown out, the windows are still clear and it has held up perfectly due to a great fit and great installation. You would never know that dodger is going on 13 years old. The ugly green one in that post was just four years old and pretty much junk when I replaced it. I fully expect that the current owner will likely get 16-20 years out of it.