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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #51  
Old 05-01-2008
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knothead has a spectacular aura about knothead has a spectacular aura about knothead has a spectacular aura about
Quote:
Originally Posted by JiffyLube View Post
It's easy to see your point zz4gta, and there in lies the problem. If a yard wants good workers, then they need to pay good wages.

What are good wages? Yard owners probably don't think about how much their workers need in order to have a 'decent life', probably they only think about what is the going rate among other yards so they can remain competitive. So if yard A is paying substandard wages and getting the work, it kind of forces yard B to follow suit. Yard B has to say to itself "we're not going to do business that way. We're going to do top notch work, pay our workers a decent wage, and if we don't get all the work because of how much we charge, then so be it! But the work we do get will be good work, and the work that we produce will be good work. We want to be known as a good yard, to have your boat worked on by good workers that like what they do."

To my way of thinking, yard owners have a responsibility to their workers to make sure they have work for them 5 days a week (which can be hard to do sometimes), and the workers have a responsibility to the yard owner to be available 5 days a week...and do good work 5 days a week. Yard owners also need to provide on going training and proper supervision to their workers, and this applies to all business owners that want good workers. Workers need to take advantage of that on going training, so they can produce a better product. Yard owners need to take an interest in their workers, trying to help better their workers lives. Workers need to show loyalty to the owners that are trying to help them, and not drag a job out unnecessarily, or steal from the owner. Once a yard and the workers get to this point, then they have a Team. Now that they have a Team, they can start talking wages. Good wages are something a man (or woman) can take to the bank, and good wages instill pride and loyalty. Good wages are not $10 or $15.00 an hour, good and decent wages for a person working with their hands is $25 to $31.00 per hour. If a yard really wants good workers, then set up medical and profit share for them too...now we can start to justify a yard charging $85.00 or more an hour...now as customers we don't mind being charged that high price...except for people like my cheap ass dad that would still go to yard A (rest in peace).

There is one problem connected to this discussion though, and it is no matter how much you try to help someone (a worker, a boss, or a client), there will always be people that think that you're trying to screw them.

Jiff, Being a relatively small rigging business, I may be talking apples and oranges but personally, I do think about what people need to have a decent life. I can tell you that if my life is any more decent than anyone who has worked for me, it's because of personal decisions, it's not because of how much I pay them.

You can't imagine how much I wish I could pay people more or offer better health insurance and all the other things that make for a decent life.
For my little company, the money is not there.
Why? It's a vicious cycle.
If you don't grow, you can't make a lot of money. If you don't make enough money you can't attract or keep qualified people.If you can't find qualified people, You can't grow.

We have schools pumping out truck drivers, plumbers, and many other noble and well paying occupations. Most of the skills used on and around boats aren't taught in schools. It's a whole different kind of industry.

I certainly am not attempting to defend boat-yards carte-blanc, and I have had some pretty unpleasant experiences as well. I'm just saying, most of the people in business that I know do not set out to screw their employees. On the contrary, because a good man is hard to find, often people get second and third chances that they may not deserve.

Nor do they try to screw their customers. That's just ludicrous.

I am so fortunate to work with someone who is qualified and gets along with my wife and me. He has been with us for years and makes as much as I do and more than my wife.

Wish I could clone him
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  #52  
Old 05-01-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by knothead View Post
Jiff, Being a relatively small rigging business, I may be talking apples and oranges but personally, I do think about what people need to have a decent life. I can tell you that if my life is any more decent than anyone who has worked for me, it's because of personal decisions, it's not because of how much I pay them.

You can't imagine how much I wish I could pay people more or offer better health insurance and all the other things that make for a decent life.
For my little company, the money is not there.
Why? It's a vicious cycle.
If you don't grow, you can't make a lot of money. If you don't make enough money you can't attract or keep qualified people.If you can't find qualified people, You can't grow.

We have schools pumping out truck drivers, plumbers, and many other noble and well paying occupations. Most of the skills used on and around boats aren't taught in schools. It's a whole different kind of industry.

I certainly am not attempting to defend boat-yards carte-blanc, and I have had some pretty unpleasant experiences as well. I'm just saying, most of the people in business that I know do not set out to screw their employees. On the contrary, because a good man is hard to find, often people get second and third chances that they may not deserve.

Nor do they try to screw their customers. That's just ludicrous.

I am so fortunate to work with someone who is qualified and gets along with my wife and me. He has been with us for years and makes as much as I do and more than my wife.

Wish I could clone him
knothead, I totally understand what you're saying, and I'm sort of in the same boat as you. I should have clarified that my ramblings were aimed more at larger companies with many employees. Now that's not to say that all companies are bad to their workers when it comes to wages, but we all know those companies are out there. Once I had a larger company doing what I do, and for the first time I was able to practice what I preached, but I had a lot of volume then which was key. I had a lot of good men working for me, most all of them willing to go the extra mile for me...and they knew I would take care of them. Those times allowed me to build a company that had as much as possible, all the good things, and a minimum of bad things, that I had experienced as a worker in other companies. But like you mentioned good men are hard to find, and I admit I had a few workers that I would have replaced in a heart beat, if I could have found qualified people to replace them with...very frustrating. Sometimes I would think "How can I soar with the eagles, when I'm flying with turkeys." I think most bosses dream "If I just had 6 more men like me I'd be rich!

When I closed down that company the during the last recession, and started back up as a 'one bucket' shop, I couldn't do those benefits again for my sole worker. Now I do what I can for my 'main man', but I know things could be better, and they will once the building trades turn around again.

I guess I became a workers advocate in a way, but I do understand mangement's problems too.
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  #53  
Old 05-20-2008
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I love the yard that takes care of my boat. I don't have the option of self maintaining, since I live 2000 miles from where I sail. They are full service, and IMO charge a reasonable price for outstanding service.

I give them a first use date in the summer, and on that day the boat is on a mooring, spotlessly clean, and (usually) everything works. I have to iron out kinks that you only discover when living aboard for a few days, but overall these guys are pros.

I think they charge about $50/hr for a varnisher, and you simply cannot believe the results. The hours are high, but it's done right. When it's not, they fix it.

They do give estimates, but point out up front that they are estimates. I had one interior curtain job go waaaay over budget, and the yard ate everything in excess of 20% over estimate.

I've sent Christmas presents to some of the yard crew, including an electrician and mechanic who have been very helpful. When I pull up to the yard needing any kind of midseason work, they are fast, thorough and pleasant. The hands are working people who take a lot of pride in their work, and sincerely want the customer to be happy.

When I get my bill, I usually pay it that day.
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  #54  
Old 05-20-2008
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Sorry to hijack but a lot of yard talent is reading this thread
I'm looking for a yard in Annapolis that will pull a Gemini; the one I live next door too (Fairwinds on the Magothy) quit hauling them because they refused to listen to owners as to where the lift points are and eventually damaged one who's owner objected.

DIY work must be allowed.

Anyone know of one please PM me.
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  #55  
Old 05-20-2008
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There are several large Cats including a couple Gemini's on the hard at Herrington Harbour North. I'm sure they can accommodate you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucklesR View Post
Sorry to hijack but a lot of yard talent is reading this thread
I'm looking for a yard in Annapolis that will pull a Gemini; the one I live next door too (Fairwinds on the Magothy) quit hauling them because they refused to listen to owners as to where the lift points are and eventually damaged one who's owner objected.

DIY work must be allowed.

Anyone know of one please PM me.
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  #56  
Old 05-20-2008
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As with any group of people or industry...there are some people who will do a fantastic job, with the proper materials and proper preparation, and then there are those who will do a half-assed job and in many cases the price between the two are the same.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
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  #57  
Old 05-20-2008
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Thumbs down The boatyard blues . . . .

With almost ten years professional experience in the yacht brokerage business I have to admit things are pretty bleak for a boatowner.
On the central North Carolina coast there are several boatyards. Some of them are reputable, expensive and even embrace DIY owners. Some of the less reputable yards want contracts until they need more money, then they become null and void. One year long contract was voided after two weeks.
One of my personal favorites. We are refitting a boat and recently received a "retroactive" bill going back 8 months and for $500. When questioned, the yard owner said that he hadn't charged for the two masts on sawhorses. There had never been a suggestion of such a charge. Nothing written anywhere. Needless to say we moved the boat to an adjacent yard, the best yet.
Some yards are run with pride and scrupples but most are doing OJT on our boats with $10/hr labor. The bathrooms are disgusting, the owner is a predator and they wonder why nobody supports them.
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Old 03-19-2009
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In my opinion this is the single most important issue in boating if you are a person too busy to do everything yourself. I got back to sailing last year after a more than 20 year absence because of career. My memory as a child and young man was that I liked everything about sailing – right up to including sanding the bottom…

What I didn’t know was that my dad had protected us from the nightmare that is boatyards and marine contractors.

I am a very busy person, and stupidly assumed that $85 to $110 an hour would get good customer service. Boy was I wrong. We put the boat in a famous yard in Annapolis and had an experience so bad it made me rethink my decision to have this be an avocation. Their behavior would have been reportable if it was a car dealership.

The only thing I can think is that we boat owners need to organize in some manner and demand reasonable customer service…
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Old 03-19-2009
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i happen to be a master electrician, who had my own company. when i had my company and i would right an estimate i always put 10 % or so extra on it for unseen stuff, it happens. if i found nothing i refunded or did not charge the extra, its amazing how many people loved this and talked me up to everyone.
i know people miss things and when it comes to estimates they should figure it at the worse case scenario. an estimate is that, we think it will cost this, not we are going to say this to get the work then spring another 30 % on top.
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Old 03-19-2009
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May I suggest that you put into your contracts completion times with penalties. At that point you create a contract provision with a time certain date due and consideration for failure to meet the provision.

The yard agrees to have the work complete by the end of business on mm/dd/yyyy. For each day the work is not complete, the yard shall deduct $xx or xx% from the amount due.

As in building contractors, good ones won't have a problem, others require you to go shop somewhere else. By the way, bonuses for early delivery is also a good incentive on your part. Offer a similar incentive for completing the work ahead of time.

As to quality, the only way is word of mouth and reference. As in any business, there are good and bad. Size doesn't always matter. The small guy could be a craftsman and the large yard hire illegals as day laborers. How you write in standards is tough because there are so many aspect. Example, a paint job should specify the color AND that it would be applied according to the manufacturer directions for preparation and to the recommended mil thickness and curing. (no early delivery because you can't use it until it has cured)
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