For the record, this is the conversation that takes place behind the facade of politeness everyday in my email and at boat shows. Here is how it goes. It’s an email with some sort of subject line that says. “Smoking crack” And there is a link to some boat for sale. OK, another outboard, or U22.. BUT it’s priced at $85,000 bucks. That’s right. This is a weekly event. And to be honest and transparent, this is happening at brokers. I completely understand how it happens, the seller has dumped a small fortune into a restoration and expects someone else to cover those costs. So they list a $25K boat for the $80K they have in it. And the broker agrees to list it. Great, seems understandable..Right? WRONG?
So here is the result that comes from that. The boat does not sell, and the broker looks like they are untrustworthy. Thats right. One , just one crazy price out there and it ruins all the brokers prices. Nothing is credible anymore. The old saying, one little lie, still makes you a lier. The same goes for trustworthyness. So it turns into a free for all. Add on to that, that multiple brokers list the same boat for different prices and guess what happens, no trust and no purchase. Period. Yes, the owner of the boat is somewhat responsible for that. but in some cases there is this dirty little trick that is happening. Its called “List Poaching”. One broker grabs the images from another and lists it on there website. After all if the call comes in, they can usually find the owner. by looking up the registration number on the side. The owner wants to sell the boat, so what the hell. What the hell? What about the buyers? What about the reputation of your business? What about the hobby of classic boats? Trashed. As one very well respected boat owner we know said. And I quote.
“I have been around for a long time, participated in many different hobbies and have paid my dues.
But I have never experienced so much deception and questionable business practices as I have in the classic boat hobby.“
All at the cost of greed and sleazy business practices. I have spoken with many of the brokers out there, many of these tricks were provided by them. and it drives the reputable ones crazy. But it happens. Some have gone to the effort to water mark their photos to stop it from happening. But it still does. For example, I am helping a pal right now buy a boat that is listed at FOUR DEALERS at 3 different prices AND its stored at another dealers place. Tell me, how frieking hard do you need to make it to buy and sell a boat. My pal is new to the hobby, and this is NOT the way to enter any fun thing. The good news is that he started with a reputable dealer and they will benefit from the sale. But as the buyer started doing his own research he found this trail. For the record, that’s the owners fault as well.
What Can Be done?
First. It’s all starts with the seller. List your boat with ONE Broker! That’s ONE… Lock in your price range in a realistic way. A good broker will tell you what its worth, the Hagerty price guide can help.. Its a guide, not the law, but should give you a ball park.. Please note, #1 boats are not really pricable if they are rare or fresh restorations. But for U22’s in number 2 condition its close. If you are going to try and recoup your costs, forget it. It aint gonna happen. There is this thing called the internet, its great for information. Its not 1960 anymore. An honest price is the most critical part of creating a trusting deal.If you are going to list it on ebay, list it WITH the broker. And for gods sake, if yo live in Alaska, move the boat to the broker. They have one central location for buyers to come to. If I live in DC, do I really want to treck up to North Dakota to look at your 85K outboard. Are ya smok’n crack?
Second. As a buyer, stick with your broker if you hire one to find a boat. Don’t add to the problem. If your broker can’t find anything about the boat, FIRE HIM! and find another. A good broker should be able to find the boat fast and have better knowledge than YOU can find. If you want to do it on your own. Ebay and craigslist are the wild wild west. YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN. Another way to go is to buy a boat from a dealer that owns the boats and stands behind them. Water tested boats at Antique Boat Center are always a good bet, and at Katz’s marina they Warranty their boats for a year as an example. ALWAYS get a survey by an independent surveyor that knows these boats.. If you are an emotional buyer a good broker is a good idea, they will protect you from yourself and save you money not cost you.
Third. If you are a Broker, know your boat. You are earning 10% you should know the boat, and be able to be talk about it. Relying on the owner is a crap shoot. I know of a boat bought and sold between two very reputable dealers who both got screwed on a deal. The owner was the idiot on that one and took advantage of both. No one is immune to the crap out there.
Forth, if you write for a website on classic boats. Try and help. If you are a reader of such website. COMMENT!
Please note, we do not want any confusion of the good folks here on the site. We here at Woody Boater go to great lengths to support the good folks in the hobby. That’s all part of the brand of Woody Boater. The supporters of Woody Boater that you see on Woody Boater are good hard working folks trying to make the passion of classic boats fun and inviting. Please support them as they do you.