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The Captain's Journal, what others won't tell you!

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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Why All Florida Marine Survey Can Keep Its Rates Low

Sometimes, I receive the question, “Are you a member of ………….?” I proudly answer, “No.”

To be a marine surveyor, you are required to have earned certain credentials, but it is not required to be a member of any organization. Let me dispel the myth. By law, no insurance company, nor lending institution, is legally allowed to prefer or deny a marine survey because the surveyor is not a member of an organization.

Whenever I see a surveyor touting, “Member of ……”, I question how many clients have been hooked by this bait.

I am a member of several excellent organizations that I feel promote educational, ethical, and safety benefits for boat owners and the marine industry. However, there are two popular organizations I wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole. Although, my requirements, credentials, qualifications, and experience are far above and beyond what is needed to be a member of both popular organizations, I have specifically chosen not to become a member. I am sure these organizations offer some good things, but the bad things are what I want to avoid.

These organizations try to regulate the pricing range which members may charge. I believe the organizations promote a higher than necessary price range to charge clients and enforce it in large numbers; thus, it is a manipulation of the industry that harms the client and benefits only the members and organization. Simply put, I retain my right to charge lower rates.

Aside from being able to price my services more fairly to clients, the other reason I prefer not being a member of two popular organizations is because I like to choose my own advertising and marketing avenues and content. I like control over this aspect of my business, because I retain my right to be more informative to clients. Doing my own marketing requires me to have a better scope of the marine industry as a whole. I can better serve my target market because my website can communicate clearly to potential clients. My website is not a frustrating cookie cutter brochure, with a phone number, and no pricing information. My website may not be pretty, but it does say what needs to be said.

Sure, I have had potential clients misunderstand the role Marine Surveyor’s organizations actually play in the industry, so I hope I have dispelled some myths. I have never had a survey rejected by an insurance company or lending institution. If one ever does get rejected, I will return the full cost of your survey and give you $100.00 cash. I guarantee my surveys acceptance and I try to give my clients the best possible service at a fair price.

Later Gator,
Captain Trip Vawter

2:33 pm est

My Recommended Buyer's Broker List

It is a historic day! Yesterday, a Yacht Broker made my very exclusive Recommended Buyers Broker List. For years, I have less than 5 Yacht Brokers I would even consider recommending. I have met thousands of Yacht Broker throughout my career. 90% of my surveys have some involvement with a selling agent, selling broker, or buyer’s broker. Most of the time these people don’t even bother to show up, but if they do, I find they are ONLY interest in commission. Often they are trying to see if I am going to squelch their sale. Sometimes, they actually lie to me about repairs or the condition hoping I will mistakenly report something favorable about a defect instead of the true assessment. Yacht Brokers often consider the surveyor a threat to their commission. Well, yesterday, I met a Yacht Broker that was sincerely dedicated to his listing. His commission was not the forefront of his services. Wow!

He showed up two hours prior to the survey. He made sure everything on the boat was in working order. He was openly honest about any defects. He had even personally washed the boat prior to my arrival!  He was courteous and informative and extremely knowledgeable of the vessel. He also, made arrangements for the seller, who was located in New Jersey, to be flown to Florida to be present for the survey and sea trial. Having the seller present for a survey is helpful because I can obtain even more history of the use, maintenance, upgrades, and repairs of the vessel to add to my reports. This selling agent actually offered and helped me carry my survey equipment bags after seeing I had a knee brace. The vessel was in tip top condition as advertised, for once. Survey finished. Boat sold.

The worst thing about this survey was that this tip top Yacht Broker had to split his commission with a lazy Buyer’s Broker that didn’t bother to show up, had never personally even set eyes on the boat, and was certainly not truly representing his client. He collected a commission for doing absolutely nothing! Nothing except, hurting the buyer! I personally know the buyer and had consulted with him on several occasions trying to help him find a boat that would fit his needs. I gave him the name of my favorite and most honest Yacht Broker on my recommended list, but he chose someone else to represent him saying I have a friend that knows a broker, and so on. So he chose a Buyer’s Broker independent of my recommendation. The Buyer’s Broker he chose talked him into buying a boat that was the polar opposite of a boat that would fit his needs. The buyer wanted a fishing boat. What he purchased instead was a luxury fishing boat. Sure, the boat was in pristine condition. Sure you can fish off the boat, but it’s like comparing a rugged beer mug to a delicate Waterford Crystal wine glass, with a price tag to match. This expensive vessel, nearly twice the amount he wanted to spend, is not user friendly by any means. It must be treated delicately, with its expensive custom details, and high operation and maintenance costs. The Buyer’s Broker had talked him into an expensive luxury vessel that cannot take the wear he is going to place on it, nor his lifestyle. In addition, the gas consumption is going to eat him alive because of the heavy wooden hull. Also, another down point, is that this vessel requires constant cosmetic upkeep because of the extensive use of teak wood detailing, even on the rub rail.  

I know the buyer didn’t want to buy a luxury money pit. He was financing the boat with his brother and is not a big money guy. He wanted a fishing boat. To sum up this experience, the lying, lazy, con man, Buyer’s Broker cashed in on a commission and has considerably harmed his client.

This morning, when the client asked me for help learning how to operate and maintain his new luxury boat, I just shook my head in pity for him. I am so sickened by his purchase. I know there is very little I can do now to sincerely help him. He made his bed and will have to lie in it.

Those of you that read this Blog, fell free to call me if you want to have a great experience selling or buying a boat. I will happily share my list of recommended Yacht Brokers with you. I have helped hundreds of people already by offering my recommendations or consultations. I am extremely selective and experienced.  I want you to have a Yacht Broker that will actually HELP you buy or sell a boat.

11:12 am est

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Shark Circling Prey!
Even if you have VIEWED a vessel, I would recommend you use a Buyer's Broker to make offers, negotiate, and finalize the sale. The Buyer's Broker is paid out of the commission, NOT YOUR POCKET. Buyer's Brokers help to keep pricing fair for you, handle the paperwork, and protect YOUR BEST INTERESTS. Too many times, I have seen a Seller's Broker behave like a shark circling prey!
8:32 am est

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