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  #1  
Old 05-02-2008
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Boatyard/Boater Contract

In light of all the recent discussion about boatyards and the negative experiences that some have related, I wonder if all the great minds assembled here might come up with some ideas to improve the situation.

Perhaps there could be decided, at least among us here, to agree to a particular set of commitments as to what we expect, and how we behave with each other when we do business together.

Just for fun, lets ask the business owners to commit to keeping the customers informed as to any new developments that may end up costing them more than they were expecting. Email, fax, phone, whatever.
There is no good excuse for spending someones money without their authorization.

And lets ask the owners to actually give a crap. To answer the phone when they are called and to take an interest.
If they usually screen their calls, then maybe they can agree to change their habits while their boat is being worked on. And to realize that when work on their project comes to a halt awaiting their decision to replace a certain component or piece, time is wasted and their bill may increase.
Is an inconvenience to the worker and costs time to have to wait for approval to continue a job.

I said in a previous post that the marine service industry is different from many others. I believe that.
As a former truck driver, I will never disparage another's occupation.
But having said that, I think that the guy working on your boat is someone you really should trust. At least to some degree. You may not even know that you know the guy who fills up your local gas station in the middle of the night. (That was me) Even if he lives in the same marina. But you damn sure ought to know the guy who is fixing your boat. And you should feel good about them.

If someone is the kind of owner that says "I came to you because you are the professional, I trust your decision." That's great.
I hope they have done their homework.
Did they check the local BBB? They should.

If a business doesn't have a good reputation, or is just starting out, it would be foolish to take this approach.
Also, the business owner should be aware that it may take a little more effort to gain that kind of trust, and be willing to commit to going the extra mile.
If on the other hand a business has been around a while and people say good things about them. Then sure, trust them.

Trust and verify.

I'm sure that you all can come up with more and perhaps more pertinent stipulations. After all, isn't this just another of the problems that are mostly a result of a lack of communication?

I feel confident that the vast majority of businesses in the marine service industry, are trying to please their clientèle.

I also feel that most boat owners want their local craftsmen to succeed, if only because they don't want to grind a bottom or climb a mast anymore.

I see my customers when I am sailing. I ran into someone in the Azores once who I had worked for.

It's a small world and a small community. Let's help each other.
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  #2  
Old 05-03-2008
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I agree with your comment.

When I hire a professional to do work for me on my boat, I make myself available to them at all times...even while I'm working. I know that when they have hit on a problem, and need a decision ASAP, they want me to repond to them ASAP...the same way I want my clients to react to me.
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Old 05-03-2008
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artbyjody is just really nice artbyjody is just really nice artbyjody is just really nice artbyjody is just really nice
I think the problem with it is - that from a customer perspective you spend so much time waiting. They say this time - you show 1/2 hour early - it becomes this time, then this time...

IN conjunction with another thread - there are great boatyard people. Then there is the person you deal with that bills you.

A prime example - is putting in a transducer. $250 for 2 hrs time - I was there - it took less than 11 minutes. Quite honestly since I didn't know what to expect I was glad I didn't say I three of them as after the first one - I promptly did the remaining two myself...

But it didn't take two hours... not even close and they never verified it all worked or anything...

So that is the issue with it - in terms of T&M... great you the owner will be there - but what is your recurse? Quite frankly, the best "yards" to go to are often the most expensive - why - people pay to get rushed - but not necessarily on quality of job...

I like the concept - and in my own business - most of what happens in a yard would garuntee I never got paid...but marine wise - its about "supply and demand"... which is a bunch of bs if you ask me but there are more than enough yahoos to make it a reasonable excuse or business guideline - that ends up dictating where we go...
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  #4  
Old 05-03-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by artbyjody View Post
I think the problem with it is - that from a customer perspective you spend so much time waiting. They say this time - you show 1/2 hour early - it becomes this time, then this time...
That is a problem. Boatyards, just like your doctor should not keep someone waiting for inordinate periods of time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by artbyjody View Post
IN conjunction with another thread - there are great boatyard people. Then there is the person you deal with that bills you.

A prime example - is putting in a transducer. $250 for 2 hrs time - I was there - it took less than 11 minutes. Quite honestly since I didn't know what to expect I was glad I didn't say I three of them as after the first one - I promptly did the remaining two myself...

But it didn't take two hours... not even close and they never verified it all worked or anything...
A recent two hour visit to the dentist for what they called a deep cleaning, cost me over $1500. I wish they billed time and material.
This is an example of where an agreement beforehand would be handy.
If someone has a problem with a charge on their bill they should be able to discuss it but better yet they should not be surprised at the end by unexpected charges.

Also, any decent craftsman should be willing to prove and demonstrate the quality of their work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by artbyjody View Post
So that is the issue with it - in terms of T&M... great you the owner will be there - but what is your recurse? Quite frankly, the best "yards" to go to are often the most expensive - why - people pay to get rushed - but not necessarily on quality of job...

I like the concept - and in my own business - most of what happens in a yard would garuntee I never got paid...but marine wise - its about "supply and demand"... which is a bunch of bs if you ask me but there are more than enough yahoos to make it a reasonable excuse or business guideline - that ends up dictating where we go...
I'm not sure what you mean here, but there certainly are a lot of yahoos out there. I call them Fly By Nights. These are the guys down the dock who claim lots of experience and ask for more per hour than I make because they don't bother to get a business license, pay taxes or buy insurance.
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Old 05-03-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by knothead View Post
A recent two hour visit to the dentist for what they called a deep cleaning, cost me over $1500. I wish they billed time and material.

This is an example of where an agreement beforehand would be handy.
If someone has a problem with a charge on their bill they should be able to discuss it but better yet they should not be surprised at the end by unexpected charges.
I've had a deep cleaning done before, but not for that much...must be a real good dentist!


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Also, any decent craftsman should be willing to prove and demonstrate the quality of their work.
That is kinda hard to do sometimes. If Pro shows them a picture of what they did, how do they know they really did that work? If the Pro gives them references of people they worked for, how do they know they're not giving them the best jobs they ever did?...not the worst jobs. Most of the time you can't show them the work that was done (at least in my trade), because homeowners don't often like strangers coming into their homes...even if I go along. The only good way I can demonstrate my abilities is to have them call the general contractors I do work for, or through word of mouth. [/QUOTE]




Quote:
Originally Posted by knothead View Post
I'm not sure what you mean here, but there certainly are a lot of yahoos out there. I call them Fly By Nights. These are the guys down the dock who claim lots of experience and ask for more per hour than I make because they don't bother to get a business license, pay taxes or buy insurance.
Samething with us too.
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Old 05-03-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JiffyLube View Post
That is kinda hard to do sometimes. If Pro shows them a picture of what they did, how do they know they really did that work? If the Pro gives them references of people they worked for, how do they know they're not giving them the best jobs they ever did?...not the worst jobs. Most of the time you can't show them the work that was done (at least in my trade), because homeowners don't often like strangers coming into their homes...even if I go along. The only good way I can demonstrate my abilities is to have them call the general contractors I do work for, or through word of mouth.


Sometimes I don't make myself very clear. Sorry.
What I was trying to say in response to...

"But it didn't take two hours... not even close and they never verified it all worked or anything..."

...was that a good craftsman will demonstrate that what they repaired or installed is working correctly.

BTW, All the dentist did was give me the shot. And only on one side too. It was an assistant who did the work. Although in all fairness the x-rays were included in the price. But still, $1500.00 for two hours???
I know some pretty good lawyers who don't charge nearly that much.

Anyway, I was really hoping that we could come up with some more ideas here. With all the discontent that I have been noticing, I thought there would be a little more interest.

But then most people would rather bitch about something than try to solve a problem by coming up with constructive solutions.
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Originally Posted by knothead View Post
Sometimes I don't make myself very clear. Sorry.
What I was trying to say in response to...
Don't feel bad about that, as it seems I do the samething from time to time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by knothead View Post
Anyway, I was really hoping that we could come up with some more ideas here. With all the discontent that I have been noticing, I thought there would be a little more interest.

But then most people would rather bitch about something than try to solve a problem by coming up with constructive solutions.
I don't think I was complaining except my rant on workers pay for good work. What about an example of what ideas you were looking for?...might get the ball rolling.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JiffyLube View Post
I don't think I was complaining except my rant on workers pay for good work. What about an example of what ideas you were looking for?...might get the ball rolling.
Jif, your comments such as this...

"Tell the yard or contractor what you want, ask them for suggestions if they see something you don't, get a proposal listing the work they're going to do, a price for doing the work, and a time frame when it will be done. If these people come recommended, and you have a good feeling about them, sign the contract and give them a deposit. If you get a bad feeling about them, move on to the next contractor until you find the one you like. Plan on the work taking longer to get done and costing a little more, as there is always the chance of some unforeseen problem...they don't have x-ray eyes."

...is exactly what I was looking for.

I don't think you were complaining at all.

I realize it's a little idealistic, and probably silly, but I was thinking that maybe we could come up with a kind of written agreement. Addressing specific issues that when ignored lead to unpleasant experiences on both the businesses and the owners parts.

As I said before. I am a very small business. I don't presume to compare myself with large companies.
However, everyone starts somewhere and I believe in my heart that even the companies that have grown, and perhaps grown a little impersonal, still care about customer service and satisfaction.
Maybe I'm wrong but I don't think so.

(When I say companies, I mean the founders and the men and women who take pride in their work. If you are talking about board of directors, then all bets are off.)

It won't hold water, won't stand up in court, won't mean crap to a lot of people. But if it were well thought out and addressed the issues fairly, then I would sign it for a customer if they brought it to me and I would also offer it to them if they didn't.

I,m thinking about things like -

maybe businesses could promise to take digital photos of progress and complications.

maybe they could promise to offer the customer all the alternatives to solve their problems. Not just the most expensive one.

Hell, I don't know, you guys are a lot smarter than me.

What do I know, I'm just a rigger.
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Old 05-03-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by knothead View Post
I,m thinking about things like -

maybe businesses could promise to take digital photos of progress and complications.

maybe they could promise to offer the customer all the alternatives to solve their problems. Not just the most expensive one.
Are you looking for ideas to expand on your sevices to customers that don't really cost more to do?

Quote:
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Hell, I don't know, you guys are a lot smarter than me.

What do I know, I'm just a rigger.
Hell, what do I know, I'm only a glorified tilesetter...lol
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Old 05-03-2008
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Are you looking for ideas to expand on your sevices to customers that don't really cost more to do?
I think I am worse at making myself clear than I imagined.

No, I'm not looking to expand on my services at all. I'm looking to make people who ask me, or others, to work for them feel better when the experience is over by coming up with a clear and fair set of guidelines for each party to agree to beforehand.

Like I said, I guess it's idealistic and silly.
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