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Old 12 September 2011, 04:43   #1
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Small Boat building business advice (not Rib)

Hello all, I am 27 yrs old I have an avon 5.4 SR and a broom speedboat, I bought my first boat at the age of 12 for 50 by washing cars doing odd jobs for Oaps etc.
I have bought, repaired and sold on around 6 boats now.
My question - I am in a 2 year contract with my present work and at the end of my 2 years I get a 20k bonus, so I fancy setting up a small fishing boat building business 16ft to 22ft (NOT RIBs) as im not very keen on inflatable tubes "to fit"

Any thoughts advice welcome

Ruari
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Old 12 September 2011, 05:06   #2
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Ruari, you probably realise this - but there are a lot better ways to turn 20k into a comfortable lifestyle or future security!

Would this be a hobby business (i.e. weekends/evenings whilst doing something else to pay the bills) or your 100% focus? As a buyer I'd be wary of the former, but financially the latter is probably more viable.

Your start up costs will include: space (somewhere that is appropriate to throw resin around the place), getting a hull design, making or buying a mould, materials to build a boat, marketing that boat (a slot at a boat show will cost thousands, magazine ads are also not cheap - how else will people find out about the Ruaricraft though? Internet marketing is a specialist skill and requires constant effort). The boat will need CE marking which for a beginner probably means you'll pay a con$ultant. Starting from scratch I'd say you could easily spend that 20k just getting your first boat on the water. What will make your boat different to all those already on the market / established?

I wouldn't discount the tubes idea. I presume you would not make your own and get one of the big names to make them for you. You could even get them to fit them for you (or a better idea would be to get them to fit the first few whilst training you, and then you do it yourself - I'm sure if you have a credible business plan and agreed to buy your tubes from a particular vendor for a fixed period that many would consider helping like this).

Where are you going to do this? On Mull? That presumably makes every delivery more expensive (especially for resin etc - which will be shipped as dangerous goods). It also makes it a PITA for potential customers to come to you and anyone on the mainland will have to pay big ferry fares to tow it away. On the otherhand their MAY be financial assistance for starting manufacturing businesses on the islands if you can show that you will be employing people.

Personally if I was going to plough 20k into a boat business I'd be tempted to find someone who already was making good boats but not strong in the local area. Then I'd offer to set up a dealership in the area, possibly fitting out / rigging boats to customer spec.
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Old 12 September 2011, 05:28   #3
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Thanks for your reply polwart, im currently a manager of a holiday park with an all round experience, web, marketing, sales, Diy. I plan to head back to the north east of scotland Stonehaven area after my contract, I have rented units there before at a low cost. There is alot of hobbie fisherman in the NE and I have a friend who runs a marina with contacts which may help. There doesn't seem to be anything north of perth. I would like to build reasonably priced small boats full time with no staff, on a small scale. Possibility with a part time job for cash flow?
Like the name RuariCraft lol
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Old 12 September 2011, 05:43   #4
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Ruari,

I don't really know the Stonehaven area in terms of boating market - but could the absence of a boat builder be that the market is limited, the cost of importing boats from Eastern Europe or the Far East is much cheaper etc... ...which combined with the short arms and deep pockets people in the NE are infamous for means a local builder will not prosper? I don't know I am just asking the question.

If there is already an existing assortment of boats then perhaps some sort of repair / upgrade facility would be better? You can always start selling boats once you've got an established customer base... ...of course engine repairs would be a desirable skill to have then.
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Old 12 September 2011, 05:45   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruari 29 View Post
im not very keen on inflatable tubes "to fit"
It is not as bad as you might think, and makes a small boat into something else entirely.
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Old 12 September 2011, 06:34   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polwart
Ruari,

I don't really know the Stonehaven area in terms of boating market - but could the absence of a boat builder be that the market is limited, the cost of importing boats from Eastern Europe or the Far East is much cheaper etc... ...which combined with the short arms and deep pockets people in the NE are infamous for means a local builder will not prosper? I don't know I am just asking the question.

If there is already an existing assortment of boats then perhaps some sort of repair / upgrade facility would be better? You can always start selling boats once you've got an established customer base... ...of course engine repairs would be a desirable skill to have then.

Your right the question has to be asked, I do think because of the area I would have to diversify and do a bit of everything. As you pointed out due to the location im not in a high footfall area with a marina so I would have to have a large internet presence.
In the current economy it would be worth me trying to start up part time to test the water. Was thinking of buying some hull and cuddy molds first, then move on to designing my own in years to come.
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Old 12 September 2011, 07:21   #7
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You might consider giving this outfit a call - they're far enough away from you to maybe feel chatty. He started up fairly recently and is at the upper end of the fitted boat market. He will know what the pitfalls are...

I saw his boats here
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Old 12 September 2011, 07:50   #8
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Thanks willk, I ll check him out
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Old 22 September 2011, 09:02   #9
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small business

Hi I have just seen on appoloduck.com under business for sale, a business for sale just like your planning? you never know regards Mark (good luck let me know how you get on)
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Old 22 September 2011, 11:00   #10
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Thanks mark will check it out, ruari
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