Info on new boat building venture

Discussion in 'Boatbuilding' started by JUSTJR27, Apr 14, 2014.

  1. JUSTJR27
    Joined: Mar 2010
    Posts: 2
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    Location: florida

    JUSTJR27 New Member

    Hello every one I am new to this site. I would like to tell you all about myself I live in Miami FL, and have worked in the boat building industry working for several large boat builders & for myself on the side for 15 years. Now at 35 I have decided to get into building new small boats 14'-18' boats at first part time while still making a living until I can get a few boat under my belt. I already have drawn out a 18'x8 hull on my own now looking for a designer to help me bring it to life. I also am planning on enrolling in a naval design program so that I can produce all the designs I have in my head.

    I have always wanted to do this but the financial point of it as always detered me of doing so, but I have grown tired of making the other man all the money on my skills & sweat plus I don't want to have to punch in for the rest of my life. Plus I don't want to be a mass producing boat builder like the one I work for now that all the parts are built separately then glued together. My boats are going to be built like the commercial boats my grandfather/father built when I was a kid. Only the hull,cap and hatches are going to be built out of a mold everything else is going to be glass into the hull of course using all composite materials. My goal is that my boats will last a lifetime with the minimal stress cracking involved in these mass producted boats.

    Anyways enough ranting and I apologize for the boredom I have induced upon you guys lol. The reason I am writing this is after so many years I have never learned what is required to be able to build and be to have it titled with your business name has the make instead of for instance homemade/custom. Also what permits etc would be needed even for a part time operation.

    I thank you all again for all your knowledge ahead of time and again apologize for the long post. Looking forward to talking to all of you and getting aquianted with everyone.Be Blessed
    New Poster
  2. Mr Efficiency
    Joined: Oct 2010
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    Location: Australia

    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    My first thought was, those ideas floating around in your head will need to have outstanding merit, or you have little to distinguish yourself from the next, probably struggling, small builder. You need some kind of "edge" over the opposition.
  3. keysdisease
    Joined: Mar 2006
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    Location: South Florida USA

    keysdisease Senior Member

    If you look in the molds section you'll find plenty of molds for sale, some from very reputable builders, some from South Florida. Just recently I saw an 18ft Seahunter mold for sale here, they may be abandoning the small model for the more profitable larger boats which is an excellent way to start. Starting from an idea in your head through a Naval Architect for your first model calls for deep pockets, where an existing design has already done that work.

    First: You will need to comply with all the laws for any corporation, sole proprietorship or limited liability company

    Second: Comply with OSHA and local fire codes at place of business

    Third: Comply with all SSI and IRS rules regarding employees, I think the cutoff for keeping it simple is 2 or 3 employees before the paperwork increases.

    Next: Insurance, liability, workmans comp

    Next: Get a CG ID number which will get you your HIN number

    Next: Get a FL sales tax resale certificate

    That should cover some of the basics, and it all doesn't need to get done at once or before you open your doors.

    You will also need to set up accounts with resin and core suppliers as well as at least two local general marine distributors. Also U-Line or Grainger or McMaster Car for tools, maintenance, packing and shipping supplies.

    Get started. :cool:
  4. Westfield 11
    Joined: Apr 2008
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    Location: Los Angeles

    Westfield 11 Senior Member

    When buying a mold from another business you need to find out why it is being sold. If a well known established builder cannot make money on it, why can you? And valuing your labor at a low rate is NOT the answer either...... Once you get known as "the guy who makes cheap versions of XYZ's" it is very hard to raise prices. As a builder of cut-price knock-offs you will be competing with used versions from the original manufacturer with your new builds: not much room for profit...

    If you decide to go ahead, the very first thing is to set things up so that any financial fallout from failure will not bleed over into your personal finances such as retirement savings, home equity, the kids college fund, etc. Be sure to find a good insurance broker and get a good product liability policy as well as slip and fall plus employee coverage.
  5. Mr Efficiency
    Joined: Oct 2010
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    Location: Australia

    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    Where does it say he intends to make cheap copies of existing boats, or use existing moulds ? The way I read it, he wants to build original designs of his own, but does not feel he has the expertise to translate his ideas into finished designs. Key is, are the ideas any good, if they are basically just more of the same, or worse, inferior to existing product, the business is still-born, imo. Aside from the aspect of having long-lasting quality as a selling point, which is always going to be handicapped by having to step up the price, you really need a superior design to carry it, my advice would be build a one-off and test it thoroughly on the water, and only if it excels, consider building them. Otherwise it is too speculative, and what worries me is these ideas "in his head" are seemingly not that well digested that he can even put them to paper. Are they ideas of improved ride and handling, running economy or styling innovation, or something else, maybe he should elaborate ?
  6. Ike
    Joined: Apr 2006
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    Location: Washington

    Ike Senior Member

    Wel first take a look at It will give you a lot of insight into starting up a boat building business. There is a lot more to it than just building boats. You are running a business, so like any business you have to be able to

    1. Make profit

    2. pay yourself enough to live on.

    3. Market your product

    4. comply with local, state and Federal Laws (USCG, EPA, Etc)

    5. Pay your taxes (both state and fed)

    and a whole lot of other things, because although you are building boats (that's your product) you are in business to make money (profit) without which you will not be in business very long.

  7. Petros
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Location: Arlington, WA-USA

    Petros Senior Member

    to start I suggest keeping it simple, build the first one, your test bed, as a homebuilt, just like any other hobby builder. keep track of all of the material costs, and separate it from any tools or tooling you make or buy. Build it to commercial standards, when done you will have a better idea of material costs and marketability, and retail value.

    with a working boat to use and show, and a better handle on costs and perhaps total labor required, you can than formulate a business plan. At this point if you determine you can not make any money with it, you still have your day job and at least to get yourself a boat to play with. If it looks like a viable business, than go the next step and either incorporate or created an LLC, and get all the necessary licenses.
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