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  #31  
Old 04-30-2008
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good posts all

no matter what we do for gainful employment, we want to be paid for our expertise. as i told a colleague, i don't give my skills away, why should they.
problem tends to be a lack of understanding about the scope of any job. those that try to save a buck using unskilled labor should expect unprofessional results, 'penny wise and pound foolish' comes to mind. i have long believed you get what you pay for. the guys in my yard are true professionals and a pleasure to deal with. being an educated consumer usually eliminates a lot of the hassle. you do however, need to understand what the problem is before hiring someone. the only stupid question is one that isn't asked. so, before any job, find out what needs to be done, and what obstacles might appear. then, no surprises..
oh..and remember when talking w/ any working man (or woman), talk to them as you would like to be spoken to.
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  #32  
Old 04-30-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arf145 View Post
I would bet that most here are less angry, and more understanding, about going over budget than they are about the careless work. I know I am. If I am paying to have work done, I expect it to be done well--I can accept explanations about why it took more, especially if the explanation details other problems that had to be made right to continue. Hell, I'd be happy that someone cared to do it right.

The one job I had done by a yard--replacement primary fuel filter that I didn't have time for--was botched ridiculously. The work was presented as completed and fixed with an new air leak through a forced, torn fuel line, and with the bleed screw still open! And I hear too many other stories to ignore.

There are good craftsmen out there, and good yards like Hartge's, but it's hard to know which ones to go to.

When someone has a job done by a yard, and the job was done well, it should be posted here, so we can all benefit. I'll do so when I dare stick my toe in that pool again.

Tom
I will not defend a yard or individual that calls themselves a professional, and does not live up to it, so I totally relate to what you're saying.

Over a year ago I had one reputable yard in San Fransisco, do all the deferred maintenance on this engine that needed to be done. I basically gave them a blank check, and told them to look for everything that they could find, because I was taking this boat 500 miles and I didn't want any engine problems. Not long ago I had another professional in San Diego do some alternator work for me (rebuild), and after he told me it was all done, I took his word for him and paid him. The next time I got down to the boat I took a look at what he had done, and I found one bolt not bolted down (there was only two bolts to bolt down). A person would have to be blind to not see that one bolt begging to be bolted down, but I didn't get pissed off. I finished the job, and put this "professional" on my do not use list. He didn't come recommended (I found him myself), and maybe he does do good work (just didn't for me), but I'm now forced not to use him again...his loss not mine.
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  #33  
Old 04-30-2008
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I feel I have to comment again. I have talked to several of the guys who work here at Hartge's - all professional craftsmen in the finest sense.

I talked with one who does electrical work on boats here in the yard. He tells me he has never - that is never - seen an electrical wiring job which was done correctly, neatly, professionally, or safely by an amateur.

I, who do mostly varnish work, can echo his sentiments - though I can't say 'never' I have to say seldom.

I want to point out that if you are going to marinas who employ yard workers who are 18 or 22 years old, wear their pants around their crotch, have a constant sneer on their faces, and tattoos of godawful demons, well, you are getting no more than you deserve.

I am sixty-two years old and when I see comments like this:
Quote:
IMHO all hired boatyard projects require adult supervision if you want them to turn out well, and it will always cost more than the estimate.
That is why I do almost everything myself, it's less frustration and it get's done right.
I am insulted. Adult supervision? You say that to me face to face and I'm going to smack you. My wife tells me not to get so upset, that maybe you just misspoke - well, maybe so, but on behalf of all of the professional craftsmen who care about the work they do and the product they put out - I take umbrage.

I'd like to know what you do for a living that makes you so much better that you, as an amateur, can do better work than a professional.

I'd also like to see your boat. I'll bet it isn't as fine as you claim.

I feel sorry for the guys who have had sloppy work done on their boat. Yeah, it happens. It happens in every field. I've been given bad advice by lawyers. Heard misdiagnoses by Doctors. And I've never been too happy about dentists - (though my current one's real cute and I can forgive her a lot.)

All I can say is, walk around the yard first before you contract your hardly earned money. Look at the workers and look at their work. If you're happy with slovenly workers and slovenly work, pay your money and don't complain about it.

If your standards are a little higher than that, keep looking. There are competent yards with competent workers out there. If you will give your business to them, maybe the incompetents will take notice.

I don't want the entire marine industry to get stereotyped like the used car dealers with the plaid sports jacket and cigar and the smooth talking sales pitch. (They are not all like that either.)

It's easy lump an entire group together and condemn them all as one. This is known as prejudice. Open your eyes. Cut it out. Kwitcherbitchin. You always deserve what you hire.
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  #34  
Old 04-30-2008
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One problem Larry is that we don't all get to have our boats at Hartges (they had no slips when I looked there). It's not so easy to get a boat to a boatyard that's not right next door. And I gather--correct me if I'm wrong-- many boat workers can't or won't work in other yards. So boat owners are to some extent captives of their marina yard. Sure, if you've got a big piece of work--that still allows you to sail your boat somewhere--you can take it elsewhere. Otherwise, do it yourself, or let your yard try it.

I don't think anyone is singling out the marine industry, beyond the fact that this forum isn't about automobiles, houses, or software--all areas that you can find poor work done every day too--it's about boats.

Tom
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  #35  
Old 04-30-2008
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I hired the "fiberglass expert" from my yard to help me fiberglass my keel. We each did over on side, his side ended up having huge bubbles near the bottom and my side had none. Up until that point, I hadn't done any fiberglass work in over 20 years. He did it every day.
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  #36  
Old 04-30-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eherlihy;307427
I have just ended an exercise with my car (Audi) dealer, where I asked them to fix the rear window washer (a $100 part), and in the process the technician broke the rear hatch trim (an $850 part). Initially the service adviser said that they would replace the trim, and that they would call when the part was in stock. After a month, I called him to inquire, and the service adviser claimed that teh service manager told him that the technician didn't break the trim. After writing a letter to the GM of the dealership and the manufacturer, the service manager ordered and replaced [B
A [/b]part, just not the one that the technician broke. The technician did screw the trim peice to the underlying metal, in order to patch the part that he, or another tech broke at no charge...

I have entrusted this car to this dealership for service for over 8 years. I have never quibbled over the price for work that was performed. However in this case the service department intentionally misled me, and played a "shell game" between Service Advisor, Manager and Technician. The problem that they created was actually solved by the screw, and believe that I would have accepted this fix if they were straight with me in the beginning. Now, however my trust is gone. Guess which dealership, and therefore brand of car, will NOT be getting any more business from me. I am looking for a competent individual to whom I can take my car to get serviced. I insist that I deal with the guy that actually works on my car.

Ed

Oooh Audi.. That's a sore subject in our house! Perhaps the worst car I've ever owned, in the shop literally more than we drove it (A6 Avant Wagon), and the dealership and company stand behind nothing!

They loved to pull up the fine print of the warranty at the service desk but when I purchased it, and asked for the full warranty with fine print, they told me it was in my packet. Stupid me, I trusted it was and it was not. In fact I found out that you CAN'T even get a copy of the Audi warranty fine print or what is actually covered other than their BS glossy piece that sell you on their BS warranty..

Oh well enough of that rant, we're back to our senses and back to the Japanese cars. With 116k my wifes Honda Pilot has had a total of three brake jobs, two sets of tires (coming up on a third), one headlight , oil changes and a rear seat latch! I bring it into the dealer ship and ask them to go over it tooth and nail and they always reply we can't find anything wrong and I stare in utter disbelief because I'm expecting a 2k bill like I used to get with the Audi even though it was "under warranty"..

The Audi list, of what went wrong or broke would shut down this board....

There are good boat yards and good car dealers but the vast minority of both seem to be somewhat dishonest and give a bad rep to those that don't necessarily deserve it.

Here in Maine we have some of the finest craftsmen in the entire marine industry we also are home to numerous marine trade schools. Still I do my own work because my standards are quite high..

P.S. Larry I do all my own wiring and I can guarantee your guy could not find one issue as I own a copy of ABYC E-11 and abide by it. Perhaps, he's never seen proper "amatuer" wiring because the consummate DIYer's don't need wiring work to be done by boat yards? Also I have yet to see a yard, other than Lyman Morse, Hinckley or Morris properly compound and polish a gel coat finish because most owners would NEVER pay to have it done properly. Many yards, even good ones here in Maine, bring in "spring help" and you guessed it they hand them the buffer and give them a list of boats that need to be done..
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  #37  
Old 04-30-2008
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I recently had the opportunity to participate in the delivery of a local, year 2000, Hunter 46' that was sold and maintained by a very reputable boatyard in my local area. She had just had her fuel polished and filters changed according to the owner.
The delivery was from Tampa Bay to St. Thomas.
After crossing the Gulf Stream we were pretty much beating into a 15 to 20 knot trade wind in very sloppy confused seas. Rough enough to loosen up any gunk left in a fuel tank. I won't go into all the different fuel related problems we encountered with both the generator and the engine but suffice it to say they were numerable. We eventually discovered that there was a blob, (please excuse the technical language), of what appeared to be Teflon tape that was clogging the fuel line. They would run for awhile, then create a vacuum and shut down. I don't blame the guy who performed the maintenance on the boat for that but here's my point. The fuel filters, and I mean all of them were impossible to unscrew. We had to make an unscheduled stop in order to get the damn filters loose. Just because someone didn't know, or wasn't taught what hand tight means.

My shop is located just up the creek from this boatyard and I know some of the personnel.
The guys I know have worked there for years. They are people who have acquired many skills, from painting bottoms and spraying spars to building molds and caulking planks. Some of these guys are running the yard. Some stay in the office and some still get their hands dirty once in awhile. Some of these guys don't have any interest in running the yard and would rather concentrate on what they do best. I have a lot of respect for them but there are some that I would rather see grinding my bottom than assembling and installing my new furler.
The guys that are running the yard are expected to find, hire and train personnel who are able to perform their tasks with the same attention to detail and dedication to expediency that the owner and founder, built their reputation on.
In a perfect world, there would be people with these skills knocking on your door occasionally. In truth,
just finding people who will be honest with you is a rare treat.
While I firmly believe that the best employee is the one you have trained, in my experience, it is impossible to find anyone who will care as much about your business as you do and is still willing to work for what you can afford to pay them.
I suppose that if a company were big enough they would be able to afford to offer perks, such as health insurance, retirement plans and so on, so it might be easier to find qualified workers. But then, often when companies start getting larger, the service start to slip.
It is as unfortunate that there are unscrupulous businesses as it is unfortunate that there are so many people who will prejudge a business or individual before having ever dealt with them.
Most people in the industry are just like you and me. Many are sailors, some aren't. Some go to church on Sundays, some of them hang out at the local bar.
If you want to feel good about your experience with a boatyard then take the same approach you would with someone you trust to cut your hair. Establish a respectful relationship with them, tell them what you want and then keep an eye on what they are doing.
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  #38  
Old 04-30-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RhosynMor View Post
Two things ( perhaps more) spring to mind;
$85 an hour is not a lot of money for skilled craftsmen.
If its a big job hire a project manager- and hire them at the start, not when you feel cheated.
Learn to do a lot of this work yourself- The boat is 100% your responsibility, make your self available at any time, and check on the work each night/ morning. If there are problems bring them up at that time not at the end of the project. This way you can also keep your self updated on the costs.
No yard will really care about YOUR boat the way you do, but most all of them employ honest hard working craftsmen. Learn to work with the people doing the work, treat them with respect, stay out of their way, and if you don't know/ understand what they are doing or why, ask them, yes you are paying them while they talk to you, but in the long run its worth it.
I know this does not help your situation....
Excellent Points.... Here's what I did... maybe it helps.

Take every opportunity to learn you can. Even if that means doing some things yourself that won't come out "professional grade"... it's an investment in your own "boat education...." (No, I don't mean you should take on the engine rebuilds or standing rigging replacements just to learn....) Humility - asking questions goes a long way. Building a relationship with the craftsmen doing the work is a good thing. Make that investment.

Love *your* boat... if someone else is working on it take the time to understand exactly what they need to do to repair it. That process will clarify what they need to do and probably lead to a better quote or less surprises for you come invoice time.

All the best,
Craig
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  #39  
Old 05-01-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by halekai36 View Post
P.S. Larry I do all my own wiring and I can guarantee your guy could not find one issue as I own a copy of ABYC E-11 and abide by it. Perhaps, he's never seen proper "amatuer" wiring because the consummate DIYer's don't need wiring work to be done by boat yards? Also I have yet to see a yard, other than Lyman Morse, Hinckley or Morris properly compound and polish a gel coat finish because most owners would NEVER pay to have it done properly. Many yards, even good ones here in Maine, bring in "spring help" and you guessed it they hand them the buffer and give them a list of boats that need to be done..
Like I've mentioned earlier, I've seen amateurs do work as good as or better than professionals, but the amateurs usually have the luxury of time to get it right. This is not defending a pro that doesn't get it right the first time, but the amateur is not working under the time constraints of the pro.

I would pay for a properly done compound and polish and gel coat finish, but my cheap ass dad wouldn't (rest his soul).

Any yard that lets lose a 'wanna be pro' to do a pro's work, deserves the wrath of God by the owner.
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Old 05-01-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by knothead View Post
The guys that are running the yard are expected to find, hire and train personnel who are able to perform their tasks with the same attention to detail and dedication to expediency that the owner and founder, built their reputation on.
In a perfect world, there would be people with these skills knocking on your door occasionally. In truth,
just finding people who will be honest with you is a rare treat.
While I firmly believe that the best employee is the one you have trained, in my experience, it is impossible to find anyone who will care as much about your business as you do and is still willing to work for what you can afford to pay them.
It's the same in my line of work. In my career of done everything, and have been on both sides of the table...worker and boss. After the recession of the late 80s/early 90s, I closed down a large shop, and went back with the tools. It was just myself and one helper, and I would teach my helper constantly one on one. This is the way it has been since the beginning of time in my trade... you learn from a Master, and when you get good enough to become a Master, it becomes your obligation to teach the next one coming up, and when it is his turn he teaches the next one. I can teach to my apprentice until I'm blue in the face, but if the apprentice's brain is not in the learning mode, it's like I'm talking to the wind. The young guys 'trying to find themselves' are more concerned about getting paid and partying than learning a skill at this point in their lives. Just when I get a guy coming along to where he's going to start making my life easier, he ups and quits on me. Then I have to find another apprentice, and start the whole process all over again. I usually never know whatever happened to these guys, but I surmise that someone else hires them doing the same type of work, or they decide their pro enough to do their own thing...this is when the bad mouthing about the trade starts in...there is just no professionals anymore.

It really is a treat to find a good guy that wants to learn, and I hope to find another one before I die.
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