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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I spent a few years working in a local Marine repair shop in Tacoma and also completed the Evinrude/Johnson factory outboard school in the early 90's. I was thinking about starting up a small repair business at my home next year doing "Tune-ups, oil changes, control cable replacement, water pumps, Inboard and outboard servicing. If I did this would there be any takers? I am figuring since I would be working at home I could probably charge about $50 p/hr. and charge 10% over cost for parts.
If I asked for parts money up front do you think people would have a problem with that?
 

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Strictly business speaking, you'll need to secure enough capital "float" to cover a lot of the initial costs of running a business (parts inventories, shop remodeling/upgrades, equipment purchases, office supplies, legal consultants, etc). It isn't out of the ordinary for a business to charge a customer say 10-50% upfront as a deposit, but that's usually for a large, custom type job. Very common in home building. But to charge a customer 100% of parts cost up front would not be wise. For engine repair, your customers will be used to paying for the repairs once they are all complete and tested/verified. Personally, I wouldn't charge the customers until the job is done for what you might be doing. Good luck if you do venture down the path of being a small business owner Tup: .
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Blue,I appreciate the the advice but I have owned a business before. What I was asking, and I guess I should have clarified it better, was since I am not a official parts dealer, and must order the parts out of my own pocket, would people be ok if I asked for an estimated parts cost up front. Since I do not want to get into engine rebuilds and all of the other heavy wrench work like that the parts cost should be a couple of hundred dollars or less. I would think that if you are saving an average of $40.00 per/hr on labor (most shops in the area that I consider reputable are charging $90.00 per/hr) you wouldn't mind putting a little money down up front. Since I wouldn't be looking to get rich just help pay the fuel bill for my own boat, if someone decided to try and stick me for a couple of hundred dollars that would really hurt.
 

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Tom, I know I'd have no problem paying for the parts up front..
 

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RiverFishin said:
Tom, I know I'd have no problem paying for the parts up front..
i dont think i would either, especially if i'm saving 40 per hour on getting the work done. do you work on mercs too :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I will work on Mercruiser outdrives, and will do routine services on Mercury outboards but am not able to do heavy diagnostics as I do not have the test equipment for those.
 

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Hey, you should ask Norm in Edmonds about that model. He's been tinkering for 50 years using that strategy. I've always paid for parts with him and so have all others up front. And you don't need an inventory, just order... Your money comes from motor trading, just like everyone else on craigslist!
 

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OB-1

That business model can work depending only on how you approach the customer. What is the difference in if they pay up front for the parts VS later? In the end they are paying for them anyway.

Also, as you get more clients and see what parts you should stock, you can slowly do that. Stuff like spark plugs, standard filters, hoses, etc.

BTW: Send me a PM with your contact info, I might have a customer for you. He has an older Merc 150 that needs to have the Tilt/Trim motor fixed and a few other things.
 

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A typical business would charge $90 per hour because:

They pay a technician a living wage, plus
FICA
SUTA
FUTA
L & I
State Unemployment
State B & O
City B & O
Property tax
Insurance
Environmental Impact Fees
Mortgage or Lease payments
Maintenance on property purchased or leased.
Power and Gas

I could keep going, but at $50 per hour you will be making more per hour than any shop. I would also check with your municipality to make sure your home garage is zoned properly, your neighbors could squash this enterprise quickly.
 

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I'm his neighbor and if he is spending all his time fixing your guys stuff then obviously he won't have time to fix mine and that will be a problem. wink:

I think what he is really trying to figure out is the interest in some boat repair for cash which would mostly include tune ups, winterization, oil changes, etc and not really running a full blown marine repair facility. The repairs would be performed primarily evenings and weekends I would guess as OB1 has a full time job. The reason for getting paid up front for parts is pretty simple: to minimize an out of pocket expense and to not end up holding specific parts in case someone changes their mind about having equipment repaired.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Rory, (Riverfishin)
I replaced the twist grip assembly on your Honda kicker motor (got good used for half the price) and added an additional throttle return spring, seems to work real good! I am going to give it test run in a barrel and then it will be all done. I also picked up the parts for your "Flushing T" for your jet boat and can install it when you show up.
 

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Tom,

Thanks...
 

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Tom/OB-1 did a great job getting my Honda Kicker working again and running well for a good price and got it done sooner than he had said he would be able to work on it.

Thanks
-Rory
 
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