boat costing in quantity

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by nine6, Jan 14, 2014.

  1. nine6
    Joined: Jan 2014
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    nine6 New Member

    Hey Guys. This is my very first boat building post! Yay for me!
    OK......so. I'm a complete novice. But I want to build a boat. Actually 200-400 of them. This isnt really just for me.
    So......I have no experience whatsoever in boatbuilding but I'm trying to get a grant and private funding to open a "boat building club" of persons located in the city of Tulsa. And I'd like to find a few specific boats to tailor to the persons for whom the boats are being built for, which, in this case, is public school teachers in the city of Tulsa. Its a long story. Anyways....
    So, what I'm trying to figure out is the least expensive way to build about 200-400 boats. The thing is that one of the purposes of the club is to teach the boatbuilders how to build their own boats. So the least expensive way may not be the best way because the boats need to be reproducible by the person involved in the production of the 200-400 boats and those boats may be being built in those persons own garages. (Although the 200-400 themselves will be built in more of a "factory" environment.) Also the persons involved in the construction would, in the beginning, be novices themselves. So there is also that to consider.
    From a lot of the reading that I've done, it looks like the "easiest" method of construction would be stitch and glue. I've been looking at the Devlin Boats website and have found a lot to really like there. Particularly with the Black Crown 30 and the Czarinna 35 which would suit my purposes almost perfectly.
    Another question. What is the actual cost to build a boat like a Black Crown 30 or a Czarinna 35.....or really anything in the 30-35 foot range? How much would those costs go down if we were building about 100 of them at a time or at least purchasing the materials for 100 of them all at the same time? I would have to guess we would be able to get direct from the manufacturer costing but I dont know how much that would be. I'd guess about a 50% reduction in cost of materials but I dont have any knowledge to back that up. My personal thoughts would be that the cost of a new boat built in this style would be about 50-60% less than a boat purchased singly that was built with factory labor.
    As far as getting free labor to build that many boats? Maybe in a different posting......but really its more of a 10-20 year project. We wouldnt be trying to get them all inside of one to two years. Really, at this point all that I'm looking for would be an overall cost of materials or at least, a back of the napkin guess as to what that would be.
    Also, does anyone know of any boat building clubs that work with that kind of volume?
    Also, what would be the best type of boat to build for this sort of thing? A boat that can last thru 30 years of weekly chartering by persons who live 12 hours from any given ocean? Is that even possible? These boats would not be anywhere near Tulsa and would be kept on the ocean where they are meant to be. With maybe the exception of a dozen or so kept at the Port of Catoosa which is very near Tulsa and has access to the ocean thru the McCellan Kerr navigational channel. And Tulsa isnt really known for its quality sailors. So, really, a pretty tough boat and easily maintainable boat is what we're looking for.
     
  2. SamSam
    Joined: Feb 2005
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    SamSam Senior Member

    That's what I want to hear.

    Be prepared. Everyone is going to tell you that you are out of your mind as this is a totally unrealistic endeavor. It will take people years to build their boats. All of them will lose interest, none of them will finish. Here, it costs $7-10 per foot, per month to dock a boat. It will cost hundreds of $ a day for fuel to go boating. No one in their right mind will make a 24 hr round trip over a weekend to go boating.

    There are other reasons this won't work.
     
  3. Stumble
    Joined: Oct 2008
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    Stumble Senior Member

    Seriously? Have you ever built a boat, or been involved in building a boat?

    Your plan would make this probably the fifth largest sailboat maker in this size range in the world.

    A few examples...
    J-35 they build 16 a year on average
    J-105 have been building 30 boats a year on average.

    And you are looking at building 40 a year? And whose going to buy them?


    It is possible, but you would need tens of millions of dollars in start up money to have a real shot at this project as described. And I don't know a single investor who would be willing to even take a serious look at this type of project, the numbers are just to unbelievable.
     
  4. Mr Efficiency
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    If you can "sell" this idea to any investor, you are the supreme genius of salesmanship.
     
  5. nine6
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    nine6 New Member

    I was thinking between 20 and 30 million. That was what I was planning on. Its not an "investment opportunity." Its not really that sort of thing. There wont be any money made in this project. Thats a given right from the get go. 30 million is a lot to an individual. 30 million is aggregate, however, isnt really that much money. Its the cost of a single bridge over a river or a single elementary school.

    And as much as I appreciate the animosity.....however well intentioned....the question is.......how much do you think it would cost to build a single 30 foot boat assuming that the purchase was for a quantity of 100 boats. And no, not ever even once have I built one single boat.

    As far as years of work? Maybe for one or two people it would take years of work to finish a single boat. Get about 20 people on it though and I'd bet you could get a 30 foot inside of six months.

    And as far as keeping them interested over a 20 years time span? Theres more to this than just the boats. The boats are just the central project of the "club". The project that the "club" revolves around but not the only projects that it will be undertaking. I do have a way to keep them interested for 20 years but I'm not here to talk about that just yet. Really what I'm curious to know, is how much one single boat, power and not sail, in the 30-35 foot range would cost to build. And as far as whether or not I'm crazy? Maybe just a little bit. ;-) Heck, you should see my other projects if you think this one's crazy.

    As far as slip rental fees are concerned, thats a problem thats somebody elses problem.

    Yes, it really is a long story. No, you arent seeing all of it.
     
  6. bpw
    Joined: May 2012
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    bpw Senior Member

    Margins are pretty thin in the boatbuilding industry, so don't expect to be able to build for much less than a production boat costs.
     
  7. Stumble
    Joined: Oct 2008
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    Stumble Senior Member

    As a rough average figure an unskilled worker can build 4-5lbs of boat an hour, and a skilled worker could do 7-8 depending on method. The difference in a 30 and 35' boat is huge when it comes to build it. A J-30 is around 6,000lbs while a J-35 is 10,000lbs, so that extra 5' of length equals about 75% increase in displacement.

    As for pricing them... I have no idea, and I doubt anyone in the commercial market will tell you. To my knowledge there isn't a builder on the planet that carries or uses that type of inventory except maybe Beneteau. And Beneteau owns their own suppliers and probably wouldn't share the information with you.

    Figure a J-35 carries 4,400lbs of lead, so you need roughly 5,600lbs of fiberglass/polyester. As a rough measure you would be looking at 50/50 by weight, so 2,800lbs of fiberglass and 2,800lbs polyester resin per boat.

    For quantity purchases of this magnitude you need to contact suppliers directly, since things like shipping and delivery costs come into play. You will also need to know what type of fiberglass and resin you will be using.

    There are also the OSHA requirements you will need to become acquainted with, the regulatory issues of storing this type of material, ect... That all need to be addressed.



    Frankly I don't hate what you are thinking of, but I do think it is incredibly unrealistic. Boat building is a very complicated craft that takes years of training to master, and a lot of specialized equipment, know how, and skills to do well. And if any part of it fails, you could littlerly be responsible for killing someone.
     
  8. messabout
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    messabout Senior Member

    Sam is right. I'll Start: "You are out of your mind, this is a totally unrealistic endeavor". If you want to start a boat building club for fun and profit, best forget about the profit part.

    Lets get down to practical matters that have had some limited success around the country. You build small boats, cheap boats, easy to build boats if you are to attract any interested parties. Oklahoma has a bunch of rivers and streams where a small boat can be used and enjoyed. That is the first clue.

    You can find all sorts of small boat plans that are easy and quick to build and economical too. For starters take a look at the Six Hour Canoe. There is a small book that you can get for about 10 or 12 dollars. The book details the build very nicely. The 15 foot 6 inch canoe can be built using good quality materials for under $250. A weekend warrior might get it done and ready for the water in a couple months of weekends. Once done he/she has a boat that they can actually use at a venue within reasonable driving distance. There are some programs scattered around that even have kids building boats, little boats, cheap, boats, useable boats.

    You want to build big boats like 30 plus footers, then you must figure on hiring an acknowledged professional boat building manager. Also figure on something well north of 100 grand annual salary. Let Tulsa do what it does and build aircraft. Your fair city is not an approriate place for big boats.
     
  9. nine6
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    nine6 New Member

    BPW, if the margins really are that thin, then it might be best just to buy outright instead of trying to form a club to build. We could always offshore the work. Its just that if we do it my way we could kill two birds with one stone and accomplish a lot more of what we're trying to accomplish than just getting a couple hundred boats.

    As far as building smaller boats? You cant sleep two people in a canoe for a week on the ocean and that would be our goal for the project. If we cant get 30 feet then we cant get anything.

    Guys, I would like to thank you for your brutal honesty. I do still find it to be a workable project. Money can buy anything. Plain and simple, money can buy anything. However, there is a real safety factor to consider and I do enjoy sleeping at night.

    As far as Tulsa not being the appropriate place for big boats? Depends on how you define big. I define it as something you cant put on wide load trailer. As far as not being able to find skilled labor? Like I said. Money can buy anything and this project isnt setup to be a prudent investment......ergo, private funding and not public and yes, some people are crazy with their money. It has something to do with not being able to take it with them when they go.

    Guys, I'd like to thank you for your time. If nothing else, I hope you got a bit of a giggle.
     
  10. Petros
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    Petros Senior Member

    I am curious how you came up with the number 200-400 boats to build.

    there are not very many pleasure boats of one model ever built that reach those kind of production numbers unless you are talking canoes or row boats, or over a 20 years production run.

    Even if you can build them, who would be the owners, how would you possibly get that many boats sold? Even planning on building 10 such boats, with unskilled workers, and getting them all sold, would be a major undertaking. And you want to start with 100?

    When you start small, like building one or two, you can likely recover from mistakes or corrections, if you make 100, and make the same assembly error, or wrong adhesive, etc. it would bankrupt the program. you would be unlikely to complete 100 at once without building a few "test" runs first. That will give you a chance to work out details, suppliers, tooling, amount of labor, etc. before you go on to build a big quantity.

    As for getting that number of the identical boat sold in any reasonable amount of time, that would be remarkable in itself.
     
  11. rasorinc
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    rasorinc Senior Member

    What are you smoking these days? Can I buy some?
     
  12. nine6
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    nine6 New Member

    You guys might think I'm trolling you........but really I'm just looking for an inventive way to dispose of about 50 million that accomplishes a lot more than just putting together another after school program.

    We arent planning on selling the boats. I cant tell you what we are actually planning on doing with them because I'm not at liberty to discuss that. It does have something to do with the education system, I can tell you that. I'm just an errand boy sent to get a number and it looks like the number that you are giving me is "its complicated"......which was actually sort of the number that I thought it would be.

    If I were to go to the people that I'm going to and say "50,000 for the materials to build a sea worthy 30 foot power boat in quantity" would I be very far off? Is it more like 100,000 or 200,000? Really, I'm just going to copy and paste our discussion into my report and so far you guys have given me some excellent "you probably shouldnt try to do that" sort of information. We arent looking for hard numbers right now. When they want hard numbers, they'll hire somebody other than me to get them.
     
  13. rasorinc
    Joined: Nov 2007
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    rasorinc Senior Member

    The hull is the least of the total expense of building a 30' boat. I am building an 8'-6" by 30' hull now with a large cabin and covered rear deck. Lumber, plywood, screws, bolts, epoxy and a couple of new tools + fiberglass for the bottom and sides will cost me no more than $ 4,000.00. ALL THE REST will most likely run $ 10,000 to $15,000 including outboard engine. Labor is free but boat trailer is $ 3,500 more. I will be in it a max of $ 22,000 with good luck and and praying. Not my 1st boat build. Just some home build info for you.
     
  14. Mr Efficiency
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    First, I'd try selling hot soup in a heat-wave, if that goes well, move on to this project.
     

  15. Eric Sponberg
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    Eric Sponberg Senior Member

    Nine6, Interesting discussion. This is a classic example of how to make a small fortune in boat building: start with a large fortune. I think every boatbuilding company in the world would salivate at the thought of a $50 million cash infusion.

    OK, 'nuf said. What you want are numbers. First, since you like the Devlin Boats, you should ask Sam Devlin for his advice. He probably has the most direct applicable data on costs. Take the Black Crown 30 as an example--buy the study plans, or the complete plans for that matter, you should get some material specifications with the plans. If they aren't there, then you need to do what is called a "material take-off" which is the practice of calculating he total amount of materials required as shown on the plans and specifications. In other words, you'll have to do a bit of homework to see what's required. And Sam, actually, should have a good handle on that.

    You would set up an appropriate company or partnership that will organize the business. The materials and equipment can all be purchased at 50% off retail which is standard in the business. If volume of production reaches a certain level, then sometimes an addition 10% of the 50% is granted (so total discount 55%) but from your description, it sounds like you would not reach that level. Part of a boat builder's profit comes from the mark-up on the equipment. Most production boat builders do not mark up equipment 100% as might be expected (although I am sure some do), but they don't give the equipment away for free, either.

    If you are to use one of Devlin's designs, for example, you will have to negotiate a royalty agreement with Devlin (or whichever designer you choose) for the rights to build more than one boat. This is typically about 1%-2% of the retail price of the boat that you pay to the boat's designer. It authorises you to build and sell the boat to the public.

    You will need to register your company or partnership with the US Coast Guard and get a Hull Identification Number authorization. You will assign a HIN to all the boats built according to the standard format. You will need professional liability insurance for the company. You should comply with all the necessary standards as listed in the American Boat and Yacht Council, ABYC. In addition, you will need to follow all of the federal rules governing boat building which are covered in Title 33 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

    As a boat building club, you say that you have some kind of incentive to keep the club members interested in keeping the boats going. However, I think that no matter what incentives you have, your production time is going to be very slow. Club members come and go, and not everyone will have the same committment at the same mental and personal level,and certainly not at the same skill level. It likely won't be anything like a proper boatbuilding company where the workers' incentives are the pay at the end of the week or month. A paycheck is a huge incentive to commit to the job at hand and at a reasonably high skill level (better skilled workers get better pay), whereas club membership is not. As a result, your per pound production rate will be very slow. That's just a reality to keep in mind.

    As for production labor rates, Stumble gave some figures above. I think those are a bit optimistic from what I have used in the past. A relatively unskilled worker will build at a rate of aobut 1-2 lbs/hour. A medium skilled worker will build at a rate of 3-4 lbs/hour. And a highly skilled worker will build at a rate of 5-6 lbs/hour. I think your club members will be way at the bottom end of that range.

    Once you get the costs for all these items identified, you can put them into your business plan to see how the numbers shake out. You will need at least a few professional managers to run the company to at least make sure the boat building progresses as planned. You will need support staff to help run the front office. You will need office equipment, computers, and office personnel with skills to keep the boats moving through production. All this is overhead costs that add to the price of the boat. You likely will not be profitable, but you admit that in your posts.

    I hope that gives you some insights.

    Eric
     
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