Avoiding the Boatyard Blues: Costs and Fees
Managing refits and repairs requires a hands-on approach for boat owners, and accurate price quoting is an essential element of this process.
If scheduling is important to you—and it should be, because projects without schedules often languish—then you should have this discussion with a manager before making a commitment to proceed. Part of that discussion should include the yard’s protocol for dealing with projects that fall behind schedule. There are few things worse, when dealing with a boatyard, than finding out on the day before your scheduled departure date that your boat won’t be launched and commissioned anytime soon. Depending upon the size of the project, the yard should be able to give you ample warning when it appears that work won’t be completed on time. The larger the project, the more notice you should be given.
Finally, for especially complex or large projects, you may wish to call on the consulting services of an independent expert, such as a surveyor, a naval architect, or a mechanic, who has no affiliation with the yard. Boatyards that are confident in their work should have no problem discussing a proposed project or having another professional inspect their work. Again, note that if you have any intention of doing this, it’s worth discussing it before the project or repairs begin.
Steve D’Antonio offers services for boat owners and buyers through Steve D’Antonio Marine Consulting (www.stevedmarineconsulting.com).
Do Your Homework
The next time you sit down with your boatyard manager to discuss a repair, maintenance, refit, or installation project, be prepared with a few questions about the boatyard’s pricing method.
• Do you quote work, and if so, what are the terms of the quote? What’s the yard’s definition of a quote? Is the price fixed, or is it an estimate?
• For projects that will be billed for time and materials, what’s the material markup protocol?
• Is the yard’s workmanship guaranteed? What happens if I’m far away from the yard and someone else has to undertake repairs?
• Will the work be carried out according to American Boat & Yacht Council standards? If so, are the folks doing the work A.B.Y.C. certified in the appropriate discipline (there are eight certifications) or supervised by those who are?
• If the work is quoted, is it billed in segments as the work is carried out?
• How often are invoices sent out? Can I call or email someone for an an up-to-the-minute progress report—or at least one that’s complete through the previous work day—on the amount of work that’s been finished or invoiced? Timely invoicing is important, particularly for T&M work. You definitely want to avoid being slammed with a huge invoice after the work on your boat is completed or nearly completed.