how much can one earn from a small shop?

Discussion in 'Boatbuilding' started by wet-foot, Mar 4, 2005.

  1. wet-foot
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    wet-foot Senior Member

    Would like some idea as to what some of you earn from small boat building shops?
     
  2. Thunderhead19
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    Thunderhead19 Senior Member

    In most cases, not enough to bother with.
     
  3. Herman
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    Herman Senior Member

    How to create a small fortune building boats?

    scroll down
























    Start with a large fortune.....
     
  4. bjl_sailor
    Joined: May 2004
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    bjl_sailor Junior Member

    Economic reality versus boatbuilding dreams

    I'm on my third homebuilt boat, the largest of the three (19', 12' and 14'). By profession I am a software engineer with a bum back and knees -- yet all I think about is sailing and boat building. I've been thinking real hard how to turn this passion into a career as well. For me though ,I am rather economically trapped -- that is, I am rather well compensated for what I do and if I choose to build boats full time ( and was 'succesfull' at it) I couldn't come anywhere near what I make. All the same, I have just signed a lease for a 40' x 50' ex auto repair garage. Very psyched as my next boat will be a 40 foot Dudley Dix design. -- I finally have weather tighe, 'partly climate controlled' work space for my equipment and materials.

    My strategy is 'keep my day job' but I'm looking into using my computer expertise to build up a CAD CAM part time business. (I'm an Oracle DBA by trade but have about a year of mechnical design and drafting 'before I switched majors') -- I'm teaching myself AUTO CAD and it is comming along fine. I am going to build a 4' x 8' CNC router system and hopefully job out machined items as a partime sideline. This will provide me with 1099 MISC income. I can then show a loss for my part time "business" and at least write off my 'investments' in shop lease and tooling....

    Not a way to earn a living but at least a way to make it a bit less expensive...
     
  5. Paul B

    Paul B Previous Member

    I may get flamed here, but if you are interested in doing CAD/CAM I think you would be better off learning ProEngineer or SolidWorks rather than AUTO CAD.

    On the boat business front, once you HAVE to do it everyday it might lose some of the lure.
     
  6. Jack D Davis
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    Jack D Davis Junior Member

    An even better question might be; What would the expenses be.....licenses, insurance, lights, heating, power, tools/supplies, etc.? And can you earn enough to cover those expenses and still have a reasonable sum left over. These are questions I'm mulling over in my head right now.

    I'm, perhaps a little better situated than most.....Retired. Own the building and have most of the equipment and already have a going business that I'm throttling back to stay under the US SS cap until I reach my retirement age in August. I'm considering making a few welded aluminum boats to supplement my SS income and thus keep myself busy in retirment doing something I enjoy. I envision offering one or two basic designs only, but then offering anything from a bare hull for the customer to finish, to a finished product. These would be small craft in the range of 15' or less.

    I'm wondering if a state license is required? What the insurance requirments will be? Do the finished products need to be certified by any agencies? Should I offer repairs? How do I sell the products?

    Questions, questions, questions.....and where do I find the answers?
     
  7. wet-foot
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    wet-foot Senior Member

    Small Boat Shop

    I am about a year out from being able to devote the necessary time to building boats. What excites me are inflatable boats. Rather than build from scratch I prefer to convert existing boats into inflatables. My logic here is to start with a known product and turn it into something new and exciting. The idea is to start with small boats and work my way up as experience and skills progress. The real test is to build and see if you can sell it " at a profit ".

    Jack D Davis - "making small welded aluminum boats". It wouldn't be that hard to add a tubset to a 12' to 15' aluminum boat - especially for someone so skilled with metal. Another possible option would be to improve a typical small aluminum boat by adding a self bailing deck.

    What I'm really getting at here is you can start with name brand recognition and make changes to it that will appeal to a certain boat buying segment.

    I really do understand the joy of building one's own boat but going beyond that can be a tough sell. Why would I buy your 22' center console over a Grady? If I turned a 22' Grady C.C. into a super inflatable with large high quality tubes, could there be a market for this?

    Let me know your thoughts and ideas.
     
  8. Jack D Davis
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    Jack D Davis Junior Member

    Market research will answer this question. Whether you do it yourself or hire a market research firm. Time and effort here will determine whether it is worth going further. Since you're a year out....spend that entire year doing market research. If the research looks good, develop a solid business plan. Do the ground work first. Forming a sound foundation is necessary if you're to succeed.

    There are a number of boat builders around me and all (of the survivors) seem to have found their niche. Many are small builders building one at a time in their garages or shop in the back yard. Being a resident of this area since the early 50's, I've had the opportunity to watch a few grow from a garage to small factories. Koffler Boats (http://www.kofflerboats.com/) is one success story. In my opinion, starting with a toe in the water to test the temperature is a good way to go. If I decide to do it, that is the way I'll do it. One boat at a time. My advertising will probably be limited to a Yellow Pages listing and word of mouth. I'll never hire employees. That opens a great big can of worms that I'm unwilling to deal with....besides, I'm retired and want time to do a little fishing.
     
  9. Thunderhead19
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    Thunderhead19 Senior Member

    Niche markets are the thing that keeps us all in business. You can make a living at it by being your own boss, but generally not by working for someone else. Always remember anything with sex appeal will sell well. When I get my own boatyard going, I'm going to build aluminum boats that aren't anything like anyone elses. The first thing I want people to think when they see my boats is that they are on the verge of being x-rated.
     
  10. wet-foot
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    wet-foot Senior Member

    If the research looks good, develop a solid business plan ---- Very good advise.
    For the most part I agree with the one man operation, could use outside sources when needed.

    " on the verge of being x-rated " just what does an X-Rated boat look like?

    Most important thing is to have fun doing what your doing ........... if one can make a living at it this becomes the definition of success!!!!
     
  11. lprimina
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    lprimina Senior Member

    Niche markets are what keep smaller boat builders going and going succesfully too, but you have to get it going before the market is flooded with other people going for that same niche. Words of wisdom that work "If I thought of it someone else has too so I better build it better and faster" If you cant build it faster, make sure it is better.
    Ben
     
  12. wet-foot
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    wet-foot Senior Member

    Doin Your Thing

    Yes it is all about doing your own thing and building boats. As long as it doesn't turn into a stressful line of work that you begin to dread!!!!! "Niche Market" no problem, there are limitless specialty opportunities out there. The trick I believe is getting into one you can't get enough of.
     
  13. Wynand N
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    Wynand N Retired Steelboatbuilder

    Sink your money in boatbuilding :?: No pun intended
     
  14. gemman
    Joined: Mar 2005
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    gemman New Member

    I run a uccessful salvage tug company and was planning on starting a boat yard to build boats specific to my company's needs, and if someone else wants one of my boats for some reason or another I will try to accomidate. I would suggest finding an established business and client and cater to them to begin with then if you feel up to the challenge expand your business
     

  15. wet-foot
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    wet-foot Senior Member

    Yes, if you can sell it at a profit that's what it is all about. Time and experience makes
    one efficient and allows for product improvement. Should be a given ........... " I think " !!!!!!!!!
     
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