Projects that do lend themselves to quoting are, among others, hull and deck painting, varnish, hardware and equipment installations, and complete vessel refits. Expect a reasonable number of caveats with any quote; however, when I wrote quotes, I was careful not to make too many exclusions, which negates the value of a quote. If a boatyard drills into your deck to install a radar mast or winch, and the bit pulls up sodden, rotten balsa core, expect the quote to be amended.
Good Communication Is Key**
There's an easy way to avoid misunderstandings and disputes, and it involves the simple act of placing all of your communication with a yard in writing. Avoid stopping yard employees midstride and verbally dictating work requests or modifications to current projects. You should only be making these requests to those who are authorized to take them—managers and service writers, for instance. Be sure to follow up the conversation with an email reiterating your thoughts.
If your vessel is in the midst of a refit or a major undertaking such as an engine replacement, rewiring, or paint job, it's reasonable to expect weekly updates. Smaller projects may require you to request an update. All reports and updates should be received in writing. You should also be made to feel welcome to visit the yard during any repair, refit, or service work.