Hi everyone, I would like to start a boat building business. I need suggestions from you guys

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by somaero, Nov 28, 2019.

  1. Chalermpol
    Joined: Dec 2019
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    Location: Thailand

    Chalermpol New Member

    I also planning to start to built the Airboat. So we may can join.
    My location in Thailand that Labour is good for start some business
  2. fallguy
    Joined: Dec 2016
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    fallguy Senior Member

    or maybe he is watching my painting hell and running away
  3. Ike
    Joined: Apr 2006
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    Ike Senior Member

    I used to compile the data every year for boatbuilders in the US. There are about 4000 to 4500 depending on the economy. About 400 people startup a boat building business in the US every year. Everything from canoes to Mega Yachts. Paradoxically about 400 go out of business every year. Not necessarily the same people. Most of the startups last less than a year.
    Here's a quote from the business portion of my web site. The major reason why many beginning boatbuilders fail, is they forget they are running a business!
    That pretty much sums it up.
  4. waikikin
    Joined: Jan 2006
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    waikikin Senior Member

    FREE STARTUP tooling on a similar vessel- the MACH 28 & cooler that a Mac, time to step up & get amongst it
    Power Sailer Yacht Molds Mach 28 FREE | eBay

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  5. hoytedow
    Joined: Sep 2009
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    hoytedow Carbon Based Life Form

    I would just add:
    If you do choose an inland site, make sure your route to the marina is free of low bridges(overpasses), low electrical lines, low overhanging branches and other obstructions of the sort that would impede transit.
    bajansailor likes this.
  6. hoytedow
    Joined: Sep 2009
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    hoytedow Carbon Based Life Form

    One factor influencing why I chose my last boat was comparison of the electrical circuitry layout. Some looked cleanly organized, while others were a mass of unkempt wires more reminiscent of a spilled dish of spaghetti. Attention to detail will help you build your brand.
    bajansailor likes this.
  7. Kayakmarathon
    Joined: Sep 2014
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    Kayakmarathon Senior Member

    Every graduation ceremony should begin with that advice. Especially those for Business Majors.
  8. bajansailor
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    bajansailor Marine Surveyor

    Welcome to the Forum Nat.
    Would you like to tell us some more about how the OP should start his boat building business please?
    I am sure that many other folk would also be interested.
    hoytedow likes this.
  9. Ike
    Joined: Apr 2006
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    Location: Washington

    Ike Senior Member

    I would like to hear that too.
    hoytedow likes this.
  10. JudithMiddleton
    Joined: Jun 2022
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    Location: USA

    JudithMiddleton New Member

    Interesting idea you have, but I would consider it very costly. The business of building and selling boats is lucrative, but it should be opened where there are bodies of water or at least some area where they would apply. I think you should read up on franchise tips and think out of the box about how to get around the cost plan. Otherwise, they'll be too high, and you'll have to start from scratch. And a franchise gives you the opposite result, even though it takes longer to get there. But it's more hopeful.
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2022
  11. ChrisVJ
    Joined: Nov 2021
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    Location: Kelowna

    ChrisVJ Junior Member

    Do twenty years in the business. Build a very, very comprehensive list of people who love you, will be your agent, promoter and recommend your product. Be that guy that everyone knows for quality work. Be best friends with every supplier and parts manufacturer. Design and build a boat that has at least two important advantages, and preferably three, over any other and still have the money to promote it, guarantee warranty and wait out a black swan event (like covid.)

    Alternatively build one small product that is just utterly beautiful, (say a kayak.) Sell it and build two. Sell them and build three etc, etc, etc.

    In the last fifty years I have seen eight or nine people get into businesses they did not have enough experience in and ALL failed. (Don't ask me how I spent a million and ten years in a business I loved but didn't understand well enough.)

    Wish you the best of luck.
    Resident cynic.
  12. jshaley
    Joined: Mar 2022
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    Location: Rochester, NY

    jshaley Junior Member

    This response is from someone with zero experience, discount as such...
    1. A firm with 4 engineers may be "top-heavy" for boat building but sounds ideal for boat surveying.
    2. Love the advice of locating down the road from waterfront property for lower operational costs.
    3. Way to have a client "trust" a new firm is to use an established design. Your neighborhood seems to have a great representation of well-respected designers (Lilliston, Oughtred, Storer, Welford, sure-I'm-missing someone). If I was in your shoes I'd take a hard look at Storer's riverboat designs, a modern take on Bolger and several in use. It is a relatively simple design and may lend itself to economies of scale (if you have a job to fabricate a part, do 5 of them...) There is a company that is making fiberglass Scamps - an established design with a cult-like following from a renown designer.
    4. Another differentiator is adapting "new" technology. The hydrofoil discussion scares me a bit. I would see a catastrophic failure inducing a legal feeding frenzy. But solar would be interesting, appealing, relatively simple (compared to foils), and timely (spike in fuel costs). Again, in my uneducated opinion, Storer's riverboats lend themselves well.
    5. For every hour you spend learning about boat building spend two learning about business - or be prepared to hire that out. No shortage of firms willing to handle payroll, accounting, etc. Do that which only you can do.
    6. For every hour you spend learning about business spend two learning about relationship building. 360 (clients, employees, contractors, neighbors, inspectors).
    7. So a new product can be revolutionarily new (ex iPod) or it can be a new assembly of existing parts (ex iMac). In Formula 1 racing some teams fabricate their own engines - down to milling steel/aluminum. Others install engines "off the shelf" from reputable established manufacturers. Your design can be "new" while still being comprised of established components.
    8. I just returned from a 1-week lakefront vacation. Variety of small boats at the dock. If I had to guess which one had the biggest margin I would go with the "bass boat" dedicated fishing boat. Guys with $40k trucks towing $30k boats apparently have discretionary income. Second place would be the pontoon boats due to (again UNQUALIFIED) seemingly simple construction. Totally bypassing fiberglass.
    9. Don't underestimate perception. From an engineering perspective, that fiberglass hull may not need "Carbon Fiber" or "Kevlar" but if you use either of those terms in your marketing literature you grease the checkbook (ex "the integrated carbon fiber cooler will keep your beverages chilled and ready to celebrate when you catch the big one"). Sure the cost of that cooler stand-alone would be outlandish but bury it in the boat cost, and it more than offsets itself. Slightly slimey?
    10. If you get a commission for a specific design, think about building two. Often in manufacturing the "set up" costs are big. Like, if you "bought the molds" but only produced one boat. If you built 10 that would require way more start-up money and you'd have to sell the other nine which could be daunting. Building two allows the savings in setup costs to chip off some of the material costs.
    DCockey and bajansailor like this.
  13. ClarMander
    Joined: Feb 2023
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    Location: USA

    ClarMander New Member

    Starting a boat-building business sounds like a great idea; building airboats could be a unique niche. It's good that you're taking advantage of the local labor in Thailand. I would recommend creating a solid business plan to help guide your venture. You can check out this link from OGScapital for a sample entrepreneur business plan that includes an international mobility program: https://www.ogscapital.com/business...ility-program-c11-entrepreneur-business-plan/. This could give you some ideas and help you organize your thoughts as you move forward. Best of luck with your new business!
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2023

  14. Ike
    Joined: Apr 2006
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    Location: Washington

    Ike Senior Member

    As I said above. The reason most boatbuilders fail is because they forget they are running a business. I included item four because that is good advice. There are savings in volume. That's the basis behind mass production. You don't have to be a ford (BTW Ford did not invent the mass production line. The Peloponnesians were using mass production and interchangeable parts 2500 years ago to build ships to fight the war with Greece. Ford invented the moving production line.) But the lessons learned are good even for a small business.
    bajansailor, TANSL and Barry like this.
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