considering starting a part time boat building business

Discussion in 'Fiberglass and Composite Boat Building' started by srimes, Sep 20, 2010.

  1. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    If you really want a successful start up, which should keep you busy through this economic down turn, turn toward bed bug removal. I'm not kidding here. With the current media attention and the fact that Americans just will not tolerate the little beasties, a bed bug start up is all but guaranteed to do well. Naturally, it needs to be managed and run properly, but this is assumed. Just pick your method of destruction, "hot or cold" then some equipment purchases. You think I'm kidding, but I'm telling you, this is the best and most energized start up going at the moment.
  2. Submarine Tom

    Submarine Tom Previous Member

    "Tom: I know the odds are long, that's why I place a lot of emphasis on a good plan. I won't jump in head first unless I'm confident I can swim."

    Yippeee kiyahhhhh, have at 'er!

    Bed bug business 'eh, now that's got legs...

  3. Landlubber
    Joined: Jun 2007
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    Landlubber Senior Member

    ...depends if you are buying or selling bed bugs, PAR how can you suggest bed bugs as being profitable....this really bugs me mate.
  4. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Folks outside the USA at the moment may not know of the big bed bug scare that's taking the country by storm. In many places this is just a fact of life, but in the USA it just will not do and a huge ramp up has begun. I'm telling you, get a second mortgage on the house and employ the son, daughter and ex-wife. In the next year this will be one of the big start up opportunities. You can get in on the ground floor or wait until they bite.
  5. SamSam
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    SamSam Senior Member

    Plug and mold making delve into body shop type skills. Unfairness and wavy surfaces that you swear are good become unacceptable or mediocre when finished to a high gloss.

    In the 'marketplace' section here under 'molds for sale' just a few days ago were some flats boat molds. It's doubtful you're going to create something new and unique, you might be able to get what you want at a fraction of what it would cost you to do it, and save a whole lotta time also.

    Before you get too involved, understand the liability issues with selling boats. You are the responsible party if things go wrong.
  6. daiquiri
    Joined: May 2004
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    Location: Italy (Garda Lake) and Croatia (Istria)

    daiquiri Engineering and Design

    That "part time" part of the business plan bugs me... If you want to deliver a boat on schedule, I'm affraid that just a part time dedication to the job won't be enough.
  7. Ike
    Joined: Apr 2006
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    Ike Senior Member

    Your idea is sound but you need to do a bit more research. So far everyone has given you good advice, even if some of it is negative. But that is the reality of the current economy. Start up boat building is notoriously difficult, and it takes a long time to break even and start making money. In the meantime you need enough money to survive and still feed your family without having to sell or re-mortgage your house. I have a web site (free) for start up boatbuilders. You may find some good info there. New Boat Builders Home page
    2 people like this.
  8. susho
    Joined: Dec 2006
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    susho Composite builder

    you won't believe what kind of crap is being sold here, some boats have more waves then the waters they sail on. As long as it looks kind of nice for the price, it will sell.
  9. dskira

    dskira Previous Member

    If I understand well it will be in fiberglass in your own backyard.
    The smell of styrene will be on you coffee, on your closet, everywhere.
    After the fifth boat, you will have the neighbours calling EPA, and you will be for a good fine.
    You have to be on a industrial park, and with an air extractor and filter.
    One boat, the styrene stink, five, it is unbearable for a house and neighbours.
    But beside that, yes it is feasible. Something special and cheap, start to sell to your friend, complete ready to go with a little outboard, so you don't have to bother to stock the fittings to much.
    Simple and cheap. And do what you want, guessing what other want, even GM went belly up. It is impossible. Its a guessing game.
    Make a good website to advertise, and keep the business light and ready to shut down on any given time, without loosing your house and your wife :p
    No debts, is the secret, even the credit card for the business should be pay in full. No credit line from bank, no equity loan, nothing. All in your own dime, little by little. At that moment one think you have (as a part time business) is time, this is you commodity, it is very valuable. No real business has that.
    But you will be exhausted, and perhaps fired from your job, because boat are more addictive than cocaine.:D
    Anyway, good luck, I like your idea.
  10. mydauphin
    Joined: Apr 2007
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    mydauphin Senior Member

    You can build it in Epoxy and save the the stink. Build one for yourself, use it a month a then sell it as a used homebuilt. That way you are not really running a business until you sell about 5 or 6.
  11. srimes
    Joined: Sep 2008
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    srimes Senior Member

    So I've been thinking a bit about the type of boat to start with, and I agree that simple and cheap is the way to go. I'm thinking that it may even be better to go with a 1 piece mold (no molded cap). That's how the trout boats here are made, and isn't that how carolina skiffs are constructed as well? I went to montana a few months ago and it looks like the fiberglass drift boats are that way.

    What are the advantages of a molded cap? Looks, of course, but what else?

    And yes, I plan to only use epoxy, including for the mold. I have no interest in poly.

    Something small an cheap, say 10'-14', no more than 400 lb. The main competition would be jon boats and aluminum bass tracker type rigs. Still looking at flats skiffs and scooters. I want it to handle river and lake chop better than a flat bottom, so either a v or a catamaran. I like the idea of a cat for the beam and stability, but I haven't settled on it yet. I also like the idea of low sides and self bailing.
  12. Ike
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    Ike Senior Member

    If you decide to do driftboats; A pic of a driftboat on the Yellowstone River:

    drift boats are popular all over the western US. They would have to inexpensive, because there are a lot of DIY driftbodats built out here mostly of plywood. As you said, in Montana it seems like everyone has one in their driveway. But there are some pecularities about driftboats. Because of the intended nature of driftboats, drifting down western rivers, most of them have no flotation. they are intended to sink and stay put if swamped or capsized, because other wise they become a missile killing anyone unfortunate enough to be in their path.

    However to build a boat of this type without flotation requires a grant of exemption from the US Coast Guard. You would have to apply for one if you decide to build drift boats. This not a difficult procedure but takes a while, 3-6 months, before it is granted. e-mail Alston Colihan at USCG HQ,

    If you go with soemthing else like jon boats or flats boats then they would have to comply with the regulations.

    If you decide to do this make sure you get a manufacturers ID code (MIC) from the USCG at, or Cost nothing and takes 2 or 3 days. All you do is fill out a one page form and send it in.

    Why a cap? It strenghtens the hull, helps keep flying spray out, and as you said, looks nice. A cap is not necessary though. It also gives a place to put flotation (under the cap) to float the boat level in a swamping or capsize.

    Oh, by the way if you are building boats for the purpose of sale, whether you build one or a thousand, you are a manufacturer. That is the law, both US and in every state. Just get a MIC, put a Hull Identification Number (hin) on it and be done with it.
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2010
  13. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Also the cap comes out of the mold finished, which isn't the case if the hull hasn't a liner or deck cap. When the cap and hull are married, it's surfaces are finished, not so with a hull shell only.

    Don't limit yourself to a narrow market, such as drift boats or jon boats, etc. Select a hull that can be easily upgraded with different liners or deck caps, thus quickly offering "new" models, yet using the same hull mold. A moderate deadrise hull with shallow water enhancements can take on deep water without pounding, can run shallow in the flats for bass fishermen, can become bow riders, center consoles, cuddy cabin weekenders, serious fishing machines or pure party barge deck boats, etc. Of course you'll need a designer that's capable and understanding of these needs.
  14. srimes
    Joined: Sep 2008
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    srimes Senior Member

    I do like drift boats, but a) there are established manufacturers and b) I think the market would be too limited here. The relative equivalent here would be duck boats. But I don't duck hunt so don't want one of those.

    Thanks for that advise PAR, and I'll keep it in mind if I make it to model #2. But #1 will be too small (12'-14') to be drastically different. It could be offered in tiller steer/side console/center console, and self bailing or not, to get some variety off the 1 hull mold.

    Check out these trout boats:

    1 piece mold, glassed in decks and seats. Simple, light, cheap. I'm not ruling out a cap, and one could be built later.

    RE: power ratings: how is this boat rated for 70? I get 45 with the cg formula.

    Also, what's defined as "flat bottom?" If you have a 2 deg v is it no longer a flat bottom? What about a flat bottom catamaran?

  15. Ike
    Joined: Apr 2006
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    Ike Senior Member

    The Coast Guard Defiines Flat Bottom as, If you can lay a straight edge on it (side to side) and it is straight it's flat bottom. If it has curvature or any vee it is not a flat bottom.

    You can download their BoatBuilders handbook Here

    Try Safety Standards For BackYard Boatbuilders. It's a little dated and the USCG doesn't publish it any more but it is a good reference.

    As for the shawnee. If that is the Classic you are looking at it is 20 ft 6 inch long. The USCG requirement applies only to monohull boats under 20 feet. So they can put on what they want. They are obviously not following the ABYC (voluntary) standard either.
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