Recently I decided to put granite countertops in my kitchen. I went on angieslist.com and saw a list of companies that do that work. I then looked at what their customers had to say about the service they received; the comments were most revealing and helped me quickly cull the list. Within an hour, I was sending emails to three prospective installers with my questions, and a week later the job was done.
Unfortunately, it hasn’t been as easy to find marine services. Obtaining repairs on my Catalina 34 has always been hit or miss, since there’s no reliable way to vet the repair companies or speak with their customers. But the developers behind a new app called Mariner Exchange hope to change that.
Apple iOS device users can download the free mobile app from the app store (Android version coming soon). Mariner Exchange connects boat owners directly with nearby marine services in an easy-to-use format. When considering a service, you can review ratings and contact the contractor that’s best for you, receive an estimate, and even use the online payment system where applicable.
“My original concept was to create a boat-supply and commerce website,” says founder Alex Nicholson, “but when I started interviewing boat owners, I kept hearing the same story over and over again: Their problem was that they couldn’t find reliable service people. So I went back to the drawing board and put this whole thing together.”
To date, Mariner Exchange has obtained more than 5,000 registered users and 1,000 providers, all of whom carry liability insurance and are vetted by Nicholson. The app is currently focused on the Chesapeake region, where Nicholson would like to make sure everyone is having a positive experience and leaving reviews before expanding to other markets.