Buying a ship building business in Australia

Discussion in 'Services & Employment' started by hugoK, Sep 26, 2012.

  1. watchkeeper

    watchkeeper Previous Member

    Sorry but this statement is simply not believable. A production boat dealer selling low cost alu or GRP OB drive day boats for fishing may get several calls daily from serious buyers but not boat builders.

    A boatbuilder in Aus would be happy getting two calls a fortnight from serious buyers.

    I own Australian company Lyner International Pty Ltd based in Brisbane that offers custom build and stock design aluminium leisure, commercial and govt service craft that I build in China at much lower cost the any ANZ builder. If I got several calls a day I would be talking to my bank manager about an OD to finance some serious stock.
  2. watchkeeper

    watchkeeper Previous Member

    I would recomend that someone with no boat build experience wanting to buy an existing business find one thats primary income is general jobbing engineering/welding work, marine engineering refits and shut down maintenance contracts with a dozen or so good staff that builds a few aluminium boats on the side to sell on spec or build to order.

    Thats the only kind of boat building business guaranteed to survive and produce a steady cash flow that can build value into the business, expand sales and services and grow their regular custom/client base.
  3. Petros
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Petros Senior Member

    or it was bill collectors and suppliers wondering when they were going to get paid.

    It is possible you could make this work, presuming the seller is honest about everything, but it will be a major undertaking in terms of time and commitment.

    Best thing you might do is hire as a sub contractor a licensed Navel Architect on an as-needed basis. Than you will need a long transition for the owner to teach you the business. this means you will have no extra time for anything, including children or family, for a year or two, and it means there will be little extra income for you either. Both you and your partner will have to move your households into much cheaper accommodations so you will not have as much living expenses.

    Have you looked how the seller lives? what kind of car he drives, what kind of house he lives in? If he drives a rust bucket car and lives in a shack, you might reconsider. If both of you expect to be supported by the business better figure about half each what the seller lives off (and only that if the income stays the same).

    how much are you willing to commit to make this sucessful? are there other sucessful similar buisnesses around the area? If not better find out why this seller thinks he is better than the others, what makes his buisness thrive while the others did not.

    Also, I hate to tell you this, but partnerships seldom work out in the long run. I know lots of painful stories, even in successful business. So if you two are friends now, what happens if things go bad? What is the division of work between you? How can you keep it fair and not have resentment build between you? It might work out if one is only an investor (and keeps his regular job), and understands the risks. And only works as a part time advisor/manager.

    I am also an engineer and was not happy working for others, so I have started several businesses, I attempted several with partners and I will never do that again. I have been bankrupt once, a very painful and costly process. Trust me, it is FAR FAR easier and usually more profitable to just keep a good job and collect a pay check. make boats as a hobby if you like the idea.

    Even after several costly failures I kept going back at it and have something that supports us now. At least as an engineer between the failures I could always find a well paying job at a large company. I have been self employed full time now since 1994, I do not think I could go back to working for someone else again (I have been "damaged" as an employee by working for my self too long). I have been through very lean times the last few years, better now, but it can still happen any time. There have been stressful times between wife and family, but we have survived the worst of the worst (married 29 years now), it has not been easy. I really enjoy what I do and my freedom, I have resolved myself that I will never get rich doing what I do. In fact I liklely make less now than I would have if I stayed an areospace engineer. That is true for the vast majority of self employed people.

    I have determined that it is a form of mental illness to want to be self employed, related to masochism. You just can not help yourself, no matter how attractive a regular paycheck might appear, you will do it anyway (and in my case, do it again, and again, and again until you finally figure out how to make it work). I think it is hereditary, comes from my mother's side of the family.

    If all this sounds good to you, than nothing we can say will stop you and you might as well give in to, give it a go, and get it over with now. the itch to leave your employer will never go away, and that itch will make you very unhappy your whole life.

    Just make sure your wife understands why you are doing it, and that she has determined your relationship with her is more important than money or a "regular" lifestyle.

    If the regular paycheck means "security" to her, keep up appearances with friends and relatives is more important, I can tell you right now your marriage will not likely survive struggle with a small business. Than you have to decide what is important to you. Marriage troubles on top of financial and business trouble is not ever a good combination. It was only luck and by the grace of God that our marriage survived.

    With a boat building business at least you can fit out a good boat and sail away into the sunset, leaving the bill collectors to wonder where you went.

    Good luck
  4. watchkeeper

    watchkeeper Previous Member

    Thats been done more than once. The biggest boat con was achieved by a Canadian businessman that managed to convince the then Qld state govt Premier to invest $17m as re-financing the Canadian's planned recovery of a failing Qld boat building company.
    The refinanced yard built a superyacht for the new owner to be the first of many but the CA owner sailed off and never returned or paid for the yacht.
    CA +$17m
    Qld Tax payers -$17m
  5. MikeJohns
    Joined: Aug 2004
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    Location: Australia

    MikeJohns Senior Member

    Presumably this is a boat building enterprise?

    There is no accreditation to the yard only to the individuals who work therein.

    You can design and build anything you like for the private market in Australia, but you are personally liable and as a mech engineer the courts will consider you sufficiently qualified to be personally culpable.
    You are best to design to class rules and get your plans approved, there are good services from DNV and Lloyds here. You can also go through flag approval for design.

    For commercial use you must design to Class or Flag scantling rules and to Flag stability requirements.
  6. hugoK
    Joined: Sep 2012
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    Location: Australia

    hugoK Junior Member

    Thanks for sharing us. Petros
    I couldn't agree more with your story.
  7. hugoK
    Joined: Sep 2012
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    Location: Australia

    hugoK Junior Member

    Thanks Watchkeeper.
    if I get into this business, I might need a lot of your help.
  8. hugoK
    Joined: Sep 2012
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    Location: Australia

    hugoK Junior Member

    Thanks Mike!
    that was my initial question that I wanted to know
  9. joz
    Joined: Jul 2002
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    Location: Melbourne, Australia

    joz Senior Member

    If you are serious in wanting to become a "Ship Designer" then you should start to attend an accredited institution as there is no time like the present to start studying thats if your interested.

    Here are some schools in OZ that you should look at

    These are full time courses

    Curtian Univeristy
    Uni of NSW
    AMC Tasmania

    if Outside OZ

    Southampton Institute
    Strathclyde Uni (Scotland)
    and others

    Westlawn (USA - Correspondence)
    McNaughton Group (USA - Correspondence)
  10. Frosty

    Frosty Previous Member

    You say this yard builds boats 4 M to 20M.

    Im kind of un easy with the word 'ship' building. Ive owned boats over 60 foot but never called it a ship.

    A ship design is hardly its cosmetic appearance infact it is inconsiquential . What is important would be its carrying capacity and fuel consumption.

    Now your getting some serious sums.

    4 M is a dinghy.
  11. Mr Efficiency
    Joined: Oct 2010
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    This story reminds me of a prominent barrister, who upon retiring from the legal profession decided there was a future in leisure-related businesses, and bought among other businesses a boatyard. It wasn't in business for too long after that. I think most people who have been successful in business realise you have to have a solid grounding in the activity being engaged in, or you are going for a swim in a pool full of sharks.
  12. Frosty

    Frosty Previous Member

    We are slowly but surely getting closer and closer to the truth.

    Forum rules on etiquette and politeness are making members hold back the real truth
  13. swabbie

    swabbie Previous Member

    I agree with WK reply and as far as I'm concerned my jury is still out on whether HugoK is a fair dinkum post or just trolling the longline.

    Something doesn't cut the mustard: re engineer speak ?? and whats an economist partner. They're not button counters nor financial whiz, usually a guy who does government of banking statistical projections.
  14. slow fred
    Joined: Feb 2011
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    Location: florida

    slow fred Junior Member

    Here is a couple of old sayings, that I have found very truthful over the years. (1) A good baseball player should not try to play football. (2) The only time to have a partner is when he has all of the money. If you already have 50% you don't need a partner, go to the bank and get the rest.

  15. hugoK
    Joined: Sep 2012
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    Location: Australia

    hugoK Junior Member

    Thanks guys.

    I totally agree with most of you guys.
    I will reconsider what is the best for me.
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