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Manufacturers in the yachting industry need to wake up...

Discussion in 'General Yachting Discussion' started by Pascal, Oct 10, 2017.

  1. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    That is why I am so successful. I am honest and tell the owners I work for exactly what to expect. I have been using the best contractors and have a great relationship with them, so things get done, they get done right, and they get done on budget when I manage the yacht. I have some owners that we never speak on the phone for months at a time. They email me something and it gets done, and is ready when they want it to be, and never have to lift a finger. That takes A LOT of time to manage and babysit. And you're right, the prices aren't cheaper and many times more expensive when they deal directly.
  2. Iknownothing

    Iknownothing Member

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    Former service manager for a few bigger dealers and have had my own service business for the last 10 years. Worked all over the US and a good deal internationally. South Florida is easily the worst I've seen.

    The industry is filled with hacks. Canvas, stainless fabricators, and air conditioning companies are usually the worst of the bunch. They rarely show up when scheduled, if you can even get them to put you on the schedule in the first place. No one seems to care about their reputation since there are so many customers.

    I do a lot of warranty work for a few builders as a subcontractor. That's when I get an earful from angry captains about their open work orders. As a sub I can only do what the builder or dealer asked me to so I just pass along the info. Wont say which prominent European brand refused to ship a few hundred bucks worth of parts for almost 4 months to a client who was considering buying a 3rd 100ft+ from them.

    The whole "kickback" concept infuriates me. Routinely get yacht managers or captains asking me to tack on extra onto invoices for them. I flat out refuse to do it and have a few managers that won't work with me because of it now. Honestly I'd rather not work with them anyway if they are going to screw over their clients.

    Obviously we know the marine industry is unique and most boats are insanely complex now. Still doesn't excuse ****** customer service, lack of follow through, and just plain ignoring things.
  3. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    It s a lot easier for a captain / manager who handles a number of boats to screen and find th right people just because of the level of activity. For an owner or a full time captain on a single boat its a lot harder as you only require some services infrequently. Having used CaptJ for a boat i used to run while it was for sale in FTL i can attest to the quality of his services and the people he uses.

    Then you have the contractors whose work ethics change over the time... years ago, i had a great diver who was doing both my boat and the one i ran. Then one day i get a call from the owner asking about a $600 credit card charge from the diver. Called the guy who claimed he charged the wrong card... took him 3 weeks to credit the charge and i later learned he had run into financial issues...

    Or a local watermaker dealer which came highly recommended years ago... i may post the story separately when i get a chance, it s a good one.

    All it takes is one vendor to have problems, hire a new tech for things to go down the tubes...

    In my line of work, if i screwed up 30% of the time whether with the owners of th boat i run or with our charter guests... i d be out of work.
  4. rpontual

    rpontual Member

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    This industry definitely needs disruption, I have tried a couple of dealers and they treated me as their service is a favor. I then moved to a couple of certified specialists, one is managed by a team of rude people that ignore appointments and do not callback even when they promise to; the other is run by nice people but the job is depends on the assigned technician.

    This is not about ranting only. As way of example, after a regular generator service the technician put so much oil on the unit that it overflowed on the engine room. Then he removed a bit, did a course cleaning of the room and finished the job. After he left I decided to verify the oil level and it was way higher than the maximum recommended. On another service, this time on the main engines, the technician also put much more oil than the maximum recommended; he also did not replace one of the respiration filter on one of the engines (I only figured out about it because only one of these was in the garbage bag...).

    The industry needs to start adopting modern techniques to setup appointment and follow up with customers. This part is so annoying that I am considering doing the service all by myself.
  5. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    I try to do as much as I can myself but sometimes our schedule is such that I have to call in outside service.

    This is how I ended up paying over $4000 flat fee for an oil change on C32s... which took the guy 7 hours. That's $800 labor, $1000 for the oil and $400 filters. In the end $2200 became $4000

    Why do boat owners have to put up with this. Imagine if car dealers behaved like that ...

    That is plain dishonesty. Especially when this is done while upgrading $30 000 worth of aftercoolers

    Btw, I m still waiting to hear from Nautical Structure to put us on their schedule.

    4 days, 1 email, 5 calls. And counting !
  6. AMG

    AMG YF Moderator

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    Yes, imagine...:D
  7. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    That is the most annoying part. I too have had to deal with vendors where you're constantly calling them in order to get an answer. Multiply this by 10 yachts and it wastes an incredible amount of time to deal with a few of them that I have to constantly call and call, when one phone call to handle the issue is all that is needed.
  8. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    Car dealers do. Pascal says imagine if he did his job like these vendors do theirs. Well, I hate to tell him, but many captains do. If you say 30% of the vendors are bad, I'll tell you probably 30% of the captains are as well and 30% of those who claim to be engineers. But then so are 30% of accountants and lawyers. Now the magic percentage may be less than 30%. But the real nature of things is that some do better than others and no industry has the market on poor service cornered.
  9. rpontual

    rpontual Member

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    Which other industry worries potential customers from purchasing a new product?
  10. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    Every industry I know. I've called to try to buy products and when they wouldn't provide service then, decided if this is service when they're selling, I sure don't want to know what they do after the sale. I've encountered it on big and small things. Auto dealership repairs and parts. Parts departments are notorious. Industrial equipment and heavy machinery. Raw material like yarn or thread. One company in the local area that had a major problem responding was a major entertainment and audio/visual company selling huge installations. Their average sale was $20,000 and people would call and get no return call. People would go to the store and then be told they'd get a call in a few days. That call never happened.

    One obviously sees it more in their industry because that's where one spends time. I've tried to get bids in the past on construction projects. Would always go for three and 95% of the time only ended up with two. I recall one contractor who didn't send the bid and then failed to return the phone call. We gave the project to one that responded. They'd done about 2 weeks worth of work already when the one who didn't send a bit finally did so and called me to ask if I got it. I said, yes, but didn't matter as we'd awarded it to someone else. He got angry that I'd waste his time bidding and I told him he was in the running, missed the date, didn't return phone calls.

    How many times have you expressed interest by sending a message online through a web page and never heard from the company? Have you ever tried to get in touch with a doctor? Or a lawyer for that matter. Some are inaccessible. I've known people call a realtor on a house listed and not get a return call. That is insane.
  11. rpontual

    rpontual Member

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    Imagine purchasing a brand new car and have one year worth of problems. Imagine talking to your friends, like we all do in this industry, that if you can get a one year old boat is better than a brand new one. I am not really saying those things to sound like I am ranting, I just want some from the industry to read and change. All I want to is be able to purchase a finished product and to be able to get it maintained without hassle.
  12. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    I've purchased 11 new boats in my lifetime plus a bunch of RIB's and never have I encountered that one year worth of problems routine. Perhaps careful selection of builder does pay off as well as survey of new boats. I know one well respected boat today though with some issues on a specific model that are being worked on. I'd be trying to sell it back to the builder. I hear all the people talk about the year of problems. I don't know why anyone accepts and tolerates that. On our last boat purchase we did barely avoid it though. The boat we were leaning toward, we found out even it's passionate fans had very long punch lists. Bought a different brand, virtually no issues.

    You do point to one major weakness on boats, the lack of a lemon law. Prior to lemon laws there were a lot of cars taken back and forth over the first year. or more. I knew someone who bought an Olds Intrigue it's first year. It made something like 6 trips to the shop and spent 6 weeks in the shop at one time, all for the same problem. She at one time had put more miles on the loaner than her car. However, she loved that car more than any she'd ever owned. Then after the first year when they had the steering relatively ok, the only problem she has was window motors. Replaced 6 under warranty and 2 more after, but which were done as an accommodation.
  13. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    Nautical Structures were garbage 20 yrs ago. I have resisted several requests to spec their stuff and just explain in detail some of the problems I have had and that request goes away.
    There are a few others that need a good seeing too and not just in the small boat market or So Fl.
  14. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    I've been told that if there's a real problem, the best way to get their (NS) attention is to work through the builder, that they'll respond to the builder when they won't to an owner.

    You're right that there are a few in the industry that we'd be better off without. Worldwide. It's a shame too when they're taking business that the good companies could and should be getting. I have no tolerance for businesses that regularly provide lousy service. There are a few boat builders I feel the same about. I couldn't buy from them, because I just simply do not trust them.
  15. GFC

    GFC Senior Member

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    I don't know if it's because I'm at the opposite corner of the USA from Florida, but my marine mechanic is just great.

    For example, before we went south for the winter I met with him and told him where my Kasco deicer pump was and asked him to install it and plug it in if the marina froze over.

    He called me one day in February and said it was 2* outside and the marina had iced over during the night, so he and an employee were going down to the boat to install the deicer. He sent me this photo...
    [​IMG]

    He called about 2 hours later, said they got the deicer installed (after chipping a hole through the ice) but the deicer was tripping my 50A/125V breaker on the dock. We discussed several options including unplugging some of the space heaters, but that didn't seem to help. He suggested we plug it into the shore power pedestal on the next slip. He takes care of that boat also and said he would call that boat's owner and let him know.

    They did that and everything worked. He sent this photo a few hours later after he'd gone to the boat a second time just to make sure everything was still working...
    [​IMG]

    There were two things that really make his care of my boat exemplary. The first is that, while he was caring for my boat, his own docks at his marina were being destroyed by a heavier than normal snowfall...
    [​IMG]

    Those docks had to be torn down and will be replaced.

    The second shocker is that when we got back home from AZ I stopped by his office to pay him. His cost for two employees for about 3.5 hours each----$0. He wouldn't let me pay him, saying it was nice for him to be able to get out of the shop for a few hours.

    I sent them a $100 gift certificate for him and his wife for dinner at a great restaurant.

    People like Jim are definitely a rarity in the marine service industry.
  16. btyson

    btyson Member

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    Wow! As a three decade Midwest lake boater I feel lucky not to have had so many problems. I have had better service from some than others and when I do I make sure to write them a thank you so that they may utilize this as advertisement if they wish. I also write the Boat manufacturer and let them know of my positive experence with service from one of their dealers. This is important because this manufacturer bonuses their dealers based on customer feed back. (gee, what a novel idea.) Someone should start up an "Angies List" type of service so that those of us who may be moving to a particular area and will be purchasing a yacht and needing service will know where to look. Until then, I will stayed glued to YF.
  17. Rick Thomas

    Rick Thomas New Member

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    Hello K1W1; As the guy who started Nautical Structures 32 years ago, I pay attention when I read posts such as what you wrote. While no manufacturer can be perfect, I can tell you that we at Nautical Structures have built a team that tries to deliver the finest equipment of its type in the world with every project we supply. From this effort we count most of the better shipyards as our clients, build after build. If you have had a bad experience, I would very much like to hear about it. If you see ways we can improve our products and services, I would very much like to hear about it.

    Thank you for being willing to voice your concerns.
  18. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    I ll give you two examples of lousy customer service...

    NS platform on a 2009 lazzara 84 with a small leak on on locking cylinder. Two weeks before scheduled haul out at a yard in miami i contacted the service department to get both locking cylinders an all the hoses replaced. I was told no problem. Followed up right before haul out... "yes we have you on the schedule". 5 days later... "we re real busy but will get it done...". Three more days... " we cant do it till next week". Never mind that boat was ready to launch. Eventually i had them ship me the cylinders and hoses but despite having asked for all the hoses, they forgot half of them. Had to get them made locally. And unacceptable delays in responding to emails or voice mails

    Same boat... contacted service again about a small leak on the davit. Voicemail, delays on email responses. After a week i was told to fill out a CC form to be put on the schedule. Did that... i m still waiting after 6 months. In the meantime the leak is very small and hasnt been much of a problem but i do believe in preventive maintenace.

    Contrast this with the service i used to get from Quick Lift for their davit we had on the boat i ran before... over 8 years i had maybe three issues and every time phones were answered, service provided right away or parts shipped to the bahamas within hours.

    If you PM me your email i will forward your some of the email exchanges with the service manager in Largo
  19. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    I called nautical structure service again this morning as I now need to get the cable replaced on our davit. Voice mail (as usual)... left a voicemail and will see how long it takes to get things done
  20. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    The other main issue are manufacturers and dealers not stocking parts. How hard is it really for large dealers or manufacturers to simply stock normal wear items or things that break on a regular basis. Do you really need to order an outdoor light fixture that a manufacturer uses on many different models over many years from Europe, for example. Or more dire things like a fresh water pump, that you have to wait 3 weeks to get.

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