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silverski
06-19-2008, 04:36 PM
Anyone ever tried a mobile marine service? I have heard of them but never tried one. My latest experience has me thinking that there is an incredible business opportunity. This is not meant to bash the dealer, but thought I would share why it has me thinking this way.

June 2nd – The steering cable has become so stiff that I need to get it replaced. Call the dealer on a Monday. Think that I have the ability to bring it up that day and get the boat back by Friday. Take off work early, go home pick up the boat and make the 60 mile trip to the dealer that day as they said they wouldn’t order the part until the boat was there. The mechanic is at the service desk, sign the boat in and try to confirm that I would have the boat back by Friday. I must have had a misunderstanding as the mechanic states nicely that there is no way I will have the boat back on Friday. Have plans for the weekend so decide to take the boat back with me to use for the weekend and they would order the part. (never actually looked at the boat)

June 10th – Bring the boat back in as I was home that day even though they hadn’t called to say the cable was in. The computer system is down so they have “no way to tell” what the shipping status is. They say they will call me as soon as the computer comes up to tell me the status. Leave the boat as I see the mechanic moving boats around the yard.

Drive the SUV to work for the next three days hopping that they will call me to say the boat is done and I can pick it up on the way home from work saving at least some of the time and miles. I call them on Thursday to learn that the cable had arrived. Call on Friday expecting to confirm that it was complete. I am told that they it isn’t done and won’t be today. The only mechanic (yes, the one at the service desk and the one moving boats in the yard) that can work on it worked last Saturday, so won’t be working this Saturday so it won’t be done till next week. No boating for the weekend. (yes, it was the nicest weekend of the year),

June 18th – Get a call the job is complete. Leave work early to go home and get the right vehicle and drive to the dealer before it closes. Wait 10 minutes for someone to help. Pay my bill. The salesman that sold me the boat drops the boat in the yard with the cover flopping in the wind. A friendly hi how ya doing and a “you might want to check the cover” and he leaves. In a shirt and tie, I hook up the boat, take down the half applied cover with supports laying in the storage cabinets and examine the obvious rain that had gotten in the boat, and drive home.

In summary, for 2 hours of mechanic labor, I got:
3 trips to the dealer for 180 miles ($55 in gas)
4 phone calls
2 days leaving early for work
4 hours of my time
A lost weekend of boating
My time writing this post
A wet boat
And a new steering cable

Why didn’t I just do it myself? Good question.

Again, not meant to bash the dealer as stuff happens. A mobile dealer could come out at a scheduled time, diagnose the problem, have the part sent to me and come back when the part has arrived to complete the work. No overhead for a shop, yard and staff. If you add up what it “cost” me to do this, a premium paid to the mobile guy would leave me better off and create a nice living for the mobile man. If nothing else, you would think that a dealer would be better off putting a guy in a truck and fixing stuff on location.

Thoughts?

kaneboats
06-19-2008, 04:47 PM
I see these guys advertising on Craigslist all the time. They come to you. Of course, you don't know who they are and they may or may not be legit. They may not have insurance. They may be judgment proof. For small, non-warranty jobs like steering cable replacement I think one of them might be a good option.

If it was me I'd ask on these boards how to do it and then do it myself after somebody gave me a thorough explanation usually with accompanying photos. That's not always possible though for everyone. Get references from recent customers. If they don't have references, then they probably aren't worthy of your time or money.