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Old 08-26-2010, 11:40 AM   #1
AmericanBoatClub
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Lightbulb What boats?

So as you may have seen we are creating another way to get out and enjoy the beautiful lake next spring, via Lake Winni's only boat club. This forum seems like the perfect place for some collective brain storming.
We are planning to start the 2011 season with 4 boats just to start. A good sized bow rider, a center console fishing boat, a nice pontoon boat, a cuddy cruiser, and maybe throw a set of wave-runners in for hot days.
But I am real interested to hear what you all think? Any suggestions?
Thanks
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Old 08-26-2010, 11:51 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by AmericanBoatClub View Post
So as you may have seen we are creating another way to get out and enjoy the beautiful lake next spring, via Lake Winni's only boat club. This forum seems like the perfect place for some collective brain storming.
We are planning to start the 2011 season with 4 boats just to start. A good sized bow rider, a center console fishing boat, a nice pontoon boat, a cuddy cruiser, and maybe throw a set of wave-runners in for hot days.
But I am real interested to hear what you all think? Any suggestions?
Thanks
I would like to hear more about what you are doing and on what part of the lake. Grown kids who visit infrequently want to do boating for sure.
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Old 08-26-2010, 11:57 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AmericanBoatClub View Post
So as you may have seen we are creating another way to get out and enjoy the beautiful lake next spring, via Lake Winni's only boat club. This forum seems like the perfect place for some collective brain storming.
We are planning to start the 2011 season with 4 boats just to start. A good sized bow rider, a center console fishing boat, a nice pontoon boat, a cuddy cruiser, and maybe throw a set of wave-runners in for hot days.
But I am real interested to hear what you all think? Any suggestions?
Thanks
Without knowing more details about the program it's hard to make any real recommendations.

You say there is unlimited usage options, but how do 4 boats effectively serve more than 4 or 6 members? What is your budget for these boats? EG: I'd like to see a 40ft SeaRay, a 38ish foot Donzi, and a smaller (say 26') classic Chris Craft (a real Chris, not a knock-off) in the fleet, yet I doubt these are realistic options.

What is the profile of your typical user? Someone experience who visits the lake infrequently enough to justify owning their own boat? A newbie who wants an alternative to the common rental options? Someone who already owns a boat, but wants some occasional options?
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Old 08-26-2010, 12:05 PM   #4
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Default synopsis

Short and sweet synopsis of what the American Boat Club (ABC) is.

A member gets unlimited use of our fleet of boats all over Lake Winni to do what ever pleases you within the laws of our great state. You reserve the boat (you are allowed 4 reservations at any one time, so you can not reserve the whole summer , but as soon as you use the boat it frees up another reservation). You show up for your reservation, we will have your boat waiting for you all fueled up, nice and clean. Go have fun, and return the boat with a full tank of gas. We take care of all the cleaning, maintenance etc. Never deal with a trailer, dock fees, mechanics, old bimminis, dead batteries, etc ever again.
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Old 08-26-2010, 12:13 PM   #5
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Without knowing more details about the program it's hard to make any real recommendations.

You say there is unlimited usage options, but how do 4 boats effectively serve more than 4 or 6 members? What is your budget for these boats? EG: I'd like to see a 40ft SeaRay, a 38ish foot Donzi, and a smaller (say 26') classic Chris Craft (a real Chris, not a knock-off) in the fleet, yet I doubt these are realistic options.

What is the profile of your typical user? Someone experience who visits the lake infrequently enough to justify owning their own boat? A newbie who wants an alternative to the common rental options? Someone who already owns a boat, but wants some occasional options?
There are certain reservation restriction, see my last post, and as the club grows we will be adding more boats

All of the profiles of the people you just named are potential members, and I am sure there are more.

I am interested in what you would like to use if you were in the club, for "day boats" and yes I would love some of those boats you named but we are trying to keep the cost as low as possible for members so more people can have access to the lake.

Keep the ideas coming
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Old 08-26-2010, 12:39 PM   #6
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Are you a division of Freedom Boat Club or a private entity?

Freedom has sites all over the country (60 in total I believe, 1 in Portsmouth, NH and 9 in Mass). It must be a successful model. A friend of mine in Tampa belongs to a club there, probably a Freedom.
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Old 08-26-2010, 12:42 PM   #7
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Default independant

We are not part of the Freedom Boat Club franchises, or any of the other ones out there. But the ABC is virtually the exact same business model.
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Old 08-26-2010, 01:24 PM   #8
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Default American Boat Club

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We are not part of the Freedom Boat Club franchises, or any of the other ones out there. But the ABC is virtually the exact same business model.
Except that a member of ABC is limited to Winnipesaukee only, right? It is my understanding that members of FBC can use boats at the other FBC locations, which seems to justify the price a bit more in my mind.

We really like renting a tri-toon when we are up at Winni and have a larger group. I would also recommend a bowrider and possible a deck boat.

I think you have a great concept and hope it works out for you!
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Old 08-26-2010, 01:33 PM   #9
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For the moment we are limited to one port in Winni, yes, and why would you want to be anywhere else . FBC is a good club.

Thanks for the recommendation on the deck boat.

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Old 08-26-2010, 02:34 PM   #10
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Here is my profile...

We're up at the lake almost every weekend. I have a 24Ft Cuddy (but have been thinking of upgrading to a pocket cruiser). At various times I've wished I had a center console for a day of fishing, or a 'toon to gather up some friends and go for a cruise.

Personally, I'd say you're probably better off with 2 bow-riders and no cuddy cabin to start with.
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Old 08-26-2010, 02:45 PM   #11
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I have been looking for something exactly like this! Great idea. I would agree that you should have more than 1 bowrider in your fleet.
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Old 08-26-2010, 03:39 PM   #12
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I would agree with the additional bowrider, possibly a large and a small, instead of a cuddy.

I am sure nothing is etched in stone but I think we are all wondering the big question...Whats the ballpark figure on an initial buy in? And what are the annual dues?

I have briefly looked into Freedom Boat Club but get immediately turned off by their lack of ever giving a monetary figure. I wish someone would just post the price and let the people decide rather than "trying to sell me".

Hope you guys can learn from their mistakes.

HCG

P.s. Where are you thinking for a homeport on Winni?
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Old 08-26-2010, 04:10 PM   #13
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Default What boats ?

Great idea.

If you are marketing to the family group, think "heads" to take care of those concerns. Also, think safety, as in stability, comfort, and ease of operation.

Bowriders are particularly convenient, but only come with "heads" in certain larger sizes. P-toon boats are stable, great family group platforms, some come with "heads", very safe, but, can be awkward to operate in certain wind and wave conditions.

Personally, as much as I like to slam the throttle forward, if I were renting boats to other people, I'd be concerned about speed.

Keep researching your plan, keep us posted.
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Old 08-26-2010, 04:11 PM   #14
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I didn't know if it was frowned upon to post the price but we don't shy away from putting it out there, people have been asking us all kinds of questions on Facebook and I put the price up for them, if you would like I can put it up here? I will send you a private message with it. Or Check us out on Facebook
http://www.facebook.com/?ref=logo#!/...5126999?ref=ts,

http://americanboatclubnh.com/

I am liking the idea of the two bow riders maybe make the 5th boat a cuddy, and our port will be at Akwa Marina.
The cost will be less then your average boat slip lease per year!

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Old 08-26-2010, 08:11 PM   #15
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As I've researched it a bit, it's more like leasing than owning, only different

The average unlimited boating plan with a major club was around $5k per year. And that gives you some choices when you travel. If you think you're going to get something akin to a rental, stay renting.

It's a great plan for someone that doesn't want the hassle of winterizing, etc. But they come with monthly costs, every month usually.

Not a bad idea, if it fits your idea.
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Old 08-26-2010, 09:51 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by AmericanBoatClub View Post
So as you may have seen we are creating another way to get out and enjoy the beautiful lake next spring, via Lake Winni's only boat club. This forum seems like the perfect place for some collective brain storming.
We are planning to start the 2011 season with 4 boats just to start. A good sized bow rider, a center console fishing boat, a nice pontoon boat, a cuddy cruiser, and maybe throw a set of wave-runners in for hot days.
But I am real interested to hear what you all think? Any suggestions?
Thanks
I think you should also consider a few sunfish. They are cheap, very popular, pretty much idiot proof to sail. Or maybe something like a smaller Hunter "day sailer" type of boat.
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Old 08-27-2010, 06:17 AM   #17
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As I've researched it a bit, it's more like leasing than owning, only different

The average unlimited boating plan with a major club was around $5k per year. And that gives you some choices when you travel. If you think you're going to get something akin to a rental, stay renting.

It's a great plan for someone that doesn't want the hassle of winterizing, etc. But they come with monthly costs, every month usually.

Not a bad idea, if it fits your idea.
After looking at the facebook page the best direct comparison I could draw is that it is like joining a country club.... A one time induction fee... and then monthly dues indefinately..... depending on the types of boats involved I can see this make sense, but I see someone needing to get a very high amount of usage to make it worth while and we have a very short season....

Does American Boat Club have other locations that members joining the Lake Winnipesaukee location would have access to with out any addition charges?
That is the real question.... at 3600$ a year after a 4000$ joining I would be hard pressed to get enough usage out of it....to feel like it was worth my investment. (prices from their facebook page)... Unless I had the oppertunity to take boats out while on vacation in other parts of the country.... Rental cost would be cheaper......
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Old 08-27-2010, 08:58 AM   #18
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After looking at the facebook page the best direct comparison I could draw is that it is like joining a country club.... A one time induction fee... and then monthly dues indefinately..... depending on the types of boats involved I can see this make sense, but I see someone needing to get a very high amount of usage to make it worth while and we have a very short season....

Does American Boat Club have other locations that members joining the Lake Winnipesaukee location would have access to with out any addition charges?
That is the real question.... at 3600$ a year after a 4000$ joining I would be hard pressed to get enough usage out of it....to feel like it was worth my investment. (prices from their facebook page)... Unless I had the oppertunity to take boats out while on vacation in other parts of the country.... Rental cost would be cheaper......
At the moment we are just one location . It is best not to compare the ABC to rentals, people will not be able to rent our boats, the boats will be much nicer and you will be happy to take them out (no decals). All our members will have to be fully licensed, and we will take them out in the boats training until we feel they are capable boaters (no capt boneheads).
It is best to think of being a member of the ABC as an alternative to buying a boat, and it will not be for everyone. I for one see the real value as never having to clean by boat again, other people will find some other aspect attractive. Such as going fishing in the early spring for salmon in a real fishing boat and then taking out the pontoon boat to Braun bay later in the day.
When you think about how much it really cost you. I attached a little comparison from one of our brochures, all the numbers are obviously up for a little bit wiggle room, but it helps get the point across.

Also I love the sunfish idea. Thanks
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Old 08-27-2010, 09:51 AM   #19
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Numbers are a bit high (), but I get your drift. The depreciation has been pretty harsh the last couple of years, something many fail to account for. I think if people just looked at a $3,600 a year figure, and not think of it monthly, it makes more sense by way of comparison.

My slip is $2,400, plus winterization, insurance, storage, payments, etc... So it easily tops $3,600 a year.

The one thing that would worry boaters is freedom and availability. Are boats available when they want one? With a great weekend like this one coming up, I'd imagine everyone would want to be out.

But it's a great concept, and has worked fairly well over the years. I wish you luck.
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Old 08-27-2010, 10:03 AM   #20
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ABC,

Please don't think I am trying to bash the idea, or draw an unfair comparison. Depending on an individuals need and circumstances I do actually see the advantages. As I originally pointed out I see this mostly a kin to the joining of a country club for golf. If it suits your life style it indeed works out just great and has its advantages. However my point is that a person look at this needs to grasp the entire picture, and make sure that the picture fits. Certianly you are planning to have boats that a rental outfit may not have especially if you get into having a larger Cuddy or Cruiser in your fleet... and for someone that wants that size of a boat and only makes it to the lake a few times a year, and plans to take part in the club for many years this make sense. However if you are someone that comes up here several times a year and likes to take a jetski out for a couple of hours here and there through out the summer... the financial might not work out so favorable.

I personally think your plan has merit, its a sound idea... for some people I believe it may indeed be the correct way to go, especially if they intend to be a part of the club for many years to come... However it is something people need to think entirely through, as if it isn't fully utilized it can be a costly endeavor, that was needlessly taken.
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Old 08-27-2010, 10:17 AM   #21
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Default yup

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ABC,

Please don't think I am trying to bash the idea, or draw an unfair comparison. Depending on an individuals need and circumstances I do actually see the advantages. As I originally pointed out I see this mostly a kin to the joining of a country club for golf. If it suits your life style it indeed works out just great and has its advantages. However my point is that a person look at this needs to grasp the entire picture, and make sure that the picture fits. Certianly you are planning to have boats that a rental outfit may not have especially if you get into having a larger Cuddy or Cruiser in your fleet... and for someone that wants that size of a boat and only makes it to the lake a few times a year, and plans to take part in the club for many years this make sense. However if you are someone that comes up here several times a year and likes to take a jetski out for a couple of hours here and there through out the summer... the financial might not work out so favorable.

I personally think your plan has merit, its a sound idea... for some people I believe it may indeed be the correct way to go, especially if they intend to be a part of the club for many years to come... However it is something people need to think entirely through, as if it isn't fully utilized it can be a costly endeavor, that was needlessly taken.
I completely agree, couldn't have said it better myself. All of your point are spot on and they also apply to if you are thinking of buying a boat. The ABC is an alternative to boat ownership.
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Old 08-27-2010, 01:09 PM   #22
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Welcome ABC,

My concerns would be operating hours, 8 to 5 wouldn't cut it as fishermen would like to get out earlier and others like a sunset cruise.

How about a less expensive plan for Mon - Thurs boaters who dislike the busy weekends?

If it was my operation all members would be required to take the USPS or USCG Aux course. Should also lower insurance costs.

I would also recommend each boat have the same make and model of GPS with a decent chart like Bizer's in it. This would be part of the initial training for each operator.

To me your rates seem comparable to operations in Florida with their 12 month season but here we're lucky to get a 4 to 5 month season.

In any case best of luck in your venture.
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Old 08-27-2010, 01:28 PM   #23
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Default Hours

You bring up some great points, the official hours are 8AM-1PM then 2PM-7PM. You can reserve both slots in a day for a full day of boating. We also realize fishermen need to get out much earlier than 8AM, so as we get to know a member we will work with them to get them out fishing as early as they want.

In the beginning we plan to keep the pricing and structure simple, as the club grows we plan to expand our offerings into plan like Monday- Thursday.

I agree the same GPS with Bizer's Chip is an absolute must.

We truly feel the $3600 is a good deal for what we are offering, if you were to buy just one boat you would possible pay more than that just for the slip rental. We are talking marina patrol about Safety Courses.

Thank you to everyone for the help, recommendations and wishing us luck. If you ever have a question for me I can always be reached on my cell @ 603.231.6002
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Old 08-27-2010, 04:25 PM   #24
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So what you're offering fractional boat ownership? Or is this simply a rental scenario?
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Old 09-04-2010, 09:36 PM   #25
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Unfortunately we can't stay the entire summer, so it will still be much cheaper to rent a boat as needed than to join this club and pay monthly dues + joining fee. I would have to use a boat at least 15 times a year to be cheaper than renting for 3 years. That would mean boating at least once a week all summer.

It would be great to get out on the water every week, but we don't get up to the lake enough for this to make financial sense.

If the cost was significantly lower and offered a limited number of uses, then I would consider joining.
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Old 09-06-2010, 08:29 AM   #26
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Default Price comparison is not realistic

Quote:
Originally Posted by AmericanBoatClub View Post
So as you may have seen we are creating another way to get out and enjoy the beautiful lake next spring, via Lake Winni's only boat club. This forum seems like the perfect place for some collective brain storming.
We are planning to start the 2011 season with 4 boats just to start. A good sized bow rider, a center console fishing boat, a nice pontoon boat, a cuddy cruiser, and maybe throw a set of wave-runners in for hot days.
But I am real interested to hear what you all think? Any suggestions?
Thanks
I realize that it is just a sales pitch but you use examples to illustrate the price of owning a boat that are at least three times higher than I have seen in 40 years of boating on Winnipesaukee. I don't know what you consider "$900 supplies" to be. I am paying less than 1/2 of what your insurance estimate is with adequate insurance and the $500,000 liability coverage required by a liability umbrella. My boat is in the general class of what you propose to rent yet it has depreciated less than 1/3 of what you estimate as annual depreciation. The payment numbers you use in your illustration seem sufficient to have a boat with cooking and sleeping facilities onboard which would also enable a tax deduction for the owner. That is not shown in your example.

You also have to be prepared for 1 or 2 of your boats to be down for maintenance at any time. Without adequate back up boats people will be really upset when their boating plans get cancelled because the renter before them ran aground.

I am not sure that there will be adequate demand for what you are selling. People that live on the lake or have a marina slip probably will not use it. They will want their own boat. Your target market has to be the day tripper or the family that comes up for a week or two in the summer. Most of your business may be during a season that lasts roughly 10 weeks before the kids go back to school. When a family with disposable income looks at real numbers thay have to decide if it is worth $3,600 to have the partial use of a boat during their short vacation. The day tripper has to decide if they will drive to the lake often enough to make the expense worth it.

I wish you well and hope you make it. Realistically, this is a very difficult area for a business to succeed. There is a very short Summer and then the Lakes Region turns into a ghost town for 9 months. You will have to be very successful during the three active months to cover your expenses for 12 months. Good luck.
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Old 09-07-2010, 08:36 AM   #27
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Default curious...

At first, this sort of intrigued me a bit.
Having the chance to use different types of boats, based on that day's needs...
But, really, upon reflection, it seems a bit pricey, although I may be wrong. I have no reference point, as I have never priced such a thing.
It would seem, after the $4000 sign up fee, you are sort of married to it for a while, as I assume, if you want out after a year, you're $7600 lighter. I would guess the $4000 fee is gone forever.
Also, It seems to me, the example given of a typical year's fees is grossly over stated. We currently pay $3000 per season, for unlimited valet service, for a 24' bow rider, and the $3000 includes both winter storage and winterisation. I'm not really sure where they come up with a fee of $3700 for a slip, and another $1000 for winterising. Seems a bit strong.
We've formed a "shared boat and fees" between two families (everyone related) , and it's worked quite well to keep things affordable...and in 5 years, there has only been one conflict with regard to dates.
Anyway...just some thoughts...
Been quite a year!
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Old 09-07-2010, 09:25 AM   #28
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Smile Been busy

I want to answer many of your question. I am on the road, but will give it a shot. The pricing og the boat slip is based on what Akwa Marina Charges 150 per foot based on the boat not the slip. So this number will actually be light for many of the boats we plan to have in the fleet. You really think a 50k boat will depresate less than 3k in its first year of ownership, that's a good boat. All the pricing was from calling around the lake. Supplies are rope, bumpers,gps chip, etc.
I realize this is not for everyone, most people on this forum seem to be fortunate enough to have a lake house or own a boat. A lot of people can not afford to do this and 3600, to be able to boat all summer long and never have to worry about breaking down etc. Is a good deal for these people. Or the guy that is sick of charging batteries or fixing tow seats etc.

One thing I have been wanting to post is the club is going to a limited number of people. So getting boat usage will not be a problem. We will also have boats ready as back ups incased of a brake down.

We will also be doing promotional rates at first, they will be changing, it will be things like club membership at akwa will be included, or cut deals on the sign up fee.

Also this is not our main biz, so the winters etc are not really a problem. We are really just creating a few seasonal jobs for some lucky people, adding an alternative for people to boat ownership and adding some another option for the people of Meredith Bay (and the public)

Ps sorry about spelling this is via cell phone.
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Old 09-07-2010, 01:10 PM   #29
brk-lnt
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AmericanBoatClub View Post
The pricing og the boat slip is based on what Akwa Marina Charges 150 per foot based on the boat not the slip.
To be realistic though, you should recognize this number seems high compared to other slip rental/leasing options around the lake.

Quote:
You really think a 50k boat will depresate less than 3k in its first year of ownership, that's a good boat. All the pricing was from calling around the lake. Supplies are rope, bumpers,gps chip, etc.
Well, there's part of your problem, extraneous fees. Boats don't have or need "ropes"

Considering that a user of this service would have to almost by definition be a "casual" boater, it would also be more realistic to compare the boat purchase price to a lightly used (2-4 year old boat), which will have suffered the most significant single depreciation hit. A boat that was 50K new 3 years ago, could be had for ~$30-$35K today, and would depreciate much slower over the rest of it's useful life (20-30 years).

Quote:
A lot of people can not afford to do this and 3600, to be able to boat all summer long and never have to worry about breaking down etc. Is a good deal for these people. Or the guy that is sick of charging batteries or fixing tow seats etc.
I admire your enthusiasm, but I also think it's slightly unrealistic to frame this as being able to boat "all summer long". The simple math of maintaining your operation dictates that the number of subscribes to boats is going to have to be a 10:1 ratio (or greater). You have two usage periods per day... consider a 3-day weekend (Friday-Sunday). That is 6 usage periods per boat during the peak/best time, which means at least 40% of your customers are going to be unable to use a vessel on any given weekend (in theory). I'm sure part of the model is based on some subset of those people wanting to use boats during off-peak hours/days, like the family that comes up to the lake for the week once a year, but at the same time that family would probably want to use a boat at least 4 out of 7 days. There are about 14 prime boating weeks on the lake. The simple math just seems to make it very hard to fit everyone in to a schedule that makes this valuable to all subscribers AND makes this a viable enough business model for someone to feel comfortable that their buy-in price is going to amortize over enough years to make it a worthwhile purchase.
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