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  1. #1

    WTF? "Service" problems everywhere

    After reading all the posts on the board lately that deal with "service" issues, either repairing or high-performance, something is becoming very clear. These businesses are "telling people what they want to hear" over and over again. And they are afraid to tell you up front what the real timeline will be for fear you will take your work to a competitor. The seasons are very short in the north and these places take on WAY more than they can handle. Then they keep telling you what you want to hear to keep you happy. If I treated my customers like that I would have no customers!!! But yet, this seems to be slowly becoming the norm in the marine service industry.

    I am going to be sitting on my ass or in a buddie's fricken pontoon boat all weekend instead of cruising in my boat because my outdrive is still not done. Just like everyone elses problems, it is one excuse after another. They have had my drive AND MY MONEY for 6 weeks and 1 day. But what can I do? They have my money and my drive. My hands are tied.

    The seasons are too damn short here. I guess I am venting a little but when I read other posts (like kook's) I realize that mine is nowhere near as bad. He has A LOT more money wrapped up in his and his boat is a lot farther away.

    But the bottom line is this. I am out probably the best boating weekend of the year. July 4th, 4 days in a row off from work, an absolute perfect weather forecast AND NO BOAT!!! And I am out this weekend because I was lied to and given BS excuses over and over again.

    My first estimate on when it would be done was June 14-17. On the 17th it was next week because problems getting all the parts.

    On the 24th it was they were starting on it tomorrow afternoon.

    On the 27th the pinion gear and top gear set were "recalled" and they were waiting for the new parts.

    On July 1 ALL the parts were here and they were working on it trying their best to get it done by Weds.

    Yesterday, July 2 the mechanic told me they were waiting for one part??? If it comes on the 3rd 75% chance he would get it done.

    Called today and the owner said no part, "but were almost there, blah, blah, blah". "Bring your boat down on Monday and we'll get it done" Yippee, I have missed some of the ABSOLUTE BEST weather I have ever seen for Northern Michigan for almost 3 straight weeks.

    WTF 6 weeks and 1 day to rebuild a drive? Next Tues will be 7 weeks total since they HAVE HAD MY MONEY!

    Okay, I'm done venting. I hope everyone has a great 4th!!! I am going to make the best of mine. I guess a pontoon boat is better than no boat.

  2. #2
    Gold Member Gold Member Turbojack's Avatar
    My Boats:
    2003 Eliminator 30' Daytona
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Houston, TX, USA
    Your points are well taken.

    But if I told you you would have to wait 6 weeks you would go elsewhere. You go to another place & they tell you 6 weeks you go elsewhere. You go to person that tells you 2 weeks, even thou they know it will take 6 weeks, you go with the guy that told you 2 weeks. The first 2 lost out because they they did not lie.

    I get people all the time asking me. "If I tell you OK, How long before you get to me." My answer is it depends on Work I have Schedule when you call, Could be next day, could be next week."

  3. #3
    Really sorry to hear so many folks haveing problems this year. My experiance this year was good; there are still good shops out there.

    Mid Jan spent time with builder spec'ing the piece.
    Ordered Jan 22 for approximately end of Feb or 1st week of March delivery of long block.

    End of Jan I pick up heads after they are magnifluxed and bronze guides are installed to get ported/polished.

    I delivered the port/polished heads to builder 2nd week of feb a week late for him to finish valve job install valves/springs etc.

    Called builder about thursday of feb 21 to set up firm day to take delivery,,, bad news pistons are on back order supposedly 2-3 weeks out

    Feb 26 builder calls pistons came in yday it will be done Thursday.

    I pick up long block Friday March 1, spend next several weekends installing efi, sourceing and installing accessories etc myself. I call builder monday to take it back run/dyno test. He is booked solid now but calls me back tuesday morning says he cleared a slot for me on Thursday AM.

    I take it in Thursday it, we can't get it to run, had some bad injectors.

    He gets Injectors cleaned / flow tested Installs tests/runs and its ready following Monday.

    Part of the good experiance I wasn't just told what I wanted to hear but what they could actually do. Equally important I didn't demand they tell me what I wanted to hear or that they promise me the impossible.

    Been in the Water since early May enjoying the sweet weather we been haveing on the Great lakes this year. My thanks to Mike and Wayne at

  4. #4
    My Boats:
    88 IMP Eleganza
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Warrington, PA
    i don't know if these shops overbook or not. i know up here in the north where it does get cold and water is not as close as it should be, marine repair shops are few and far between. i feel in that situation these guys know they got you by the balls. i don't live that far from the Delaware River. it takes 45 min to trailer my boat to the ramp, in that stretch there are two marine facilities. i just think due to lack of competition in certain areas the shop owners aren't too worried about losing business because
    #1-where else are you going to go?
    #2-there are enough boats in the area to keep them busy

    that just seems to be my experiences


  5. #5

    That's part of my point

    Turbojack, that is part of my point. It is starting to become the NORM to get lied to right from the start. I was taking my drive to this place no matter what because they do exellent work. If they would have told me it would be 6-7 weeks from the start at least I would not keep getting my hopes up. And I would have done a lot of other things to my boat. Instead, I put my boat all back together with thinking that my drive would be done in 3 weeks.

    Time is VERY important in my business. When people ask how long I always OVERESTIMATE. Many times they bring up how my competition said it would be a week or two faster. I simply explain that I would rather overestimate and make them happy than underestimate and make them angry. 90% I keep the customer. The other 10% will come see me next time because they will end up very upset with their "fast" broker that took 2 weeks longer than promised.

    RCM255 is exactly right, they have you by the balls. They have your boat(or parts) and your money. What can you do? Absolutely nothing!!!

    I am always polite and never lose my temper in these situations, but it is still very frustrating.

  6. #6

    Lessons learned

    The "acceptance" stage has finally set in for me I think. Starting to think rationally. My lessons learned:

    1. Try to get your work done local, so you can keep tabs on what's going on. If things are dragging, you have the option to move the boat or part(s) elsewhere. I do not think I spent enough time looking local.

    2. Word of mouth is still, IMHO, the best advertising. But it's word of mouth from people who have gotten PHYSICAL results (proof) that count - "Joe Smith has built my motors for 10 years, and I have always been a satisfied customer".

    3. A written contract should be drawn if a lot of money (or something that means a lot to you) is involved. Unless he's your best buddy, don't just take his word - have it in writing. How I could have overlooked this critical step?!! After having a house built 7 years ago, I should have understood the importance of deadlines and written contracts - my home builder wanted his third draw signed and I was not happy that a certain issue had not been resolved - I refused to sign the check - the next day he had someone fixing the problem.

    4. Spend as much as you can on STOCK high performance, and don't plan to spend anything on high dollar "aftermarket" or "3rd party" services.

    4 brain farts so far... I know more will be coming. Hindsight you know...........20/20

  7. #7
    Registered IDRPSTF's Avatar
    My Boats:
    Whatever you missed your payment on
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    In your driveway while you sleep
    TurboJack, I have to agree and disagree with your scenario. Yes most people shop for both good prices as well as good lead times...One Time Only! I send my clients to very few, very select places out here in So-Cal to get service. Especially on High Performance Boats. But I tell them up front "Those in the Know take there boats here, so it will take a little longer and may cost a little more, but you pay one time and the boat is fixed right the first time." Most people that have dealt with the "Quick Fix" shops will respect that and give up and extra weekend or two and an extra few hundred $$$ to get it done right. I have seen service nightmares. B.S. Warranties, B.S. Lead times, and worst of all B.S. Work performed. If one person with a great reputation says 6 weeks and $2000. and another guy you heard on threw the grapevine says 2 weeks and $1800. Just remember that 2 weeks and $1800 to do a job wrong plus 6 weeks and $2000 to fix it again is $3800 and 8 weeks if more damage is not done. You wouldn't take a Ferrari to Jiffy Lube so why would you cut corners with a Go-Fast Boat? And the Guys that get taken with the fast cheep bad quality service are the ones running around later telling there friends "Dont buy one of those things, they are money pits and never run right!!!" You get what you pay for.

  8. #8
    Charter Member Charter Member Raypanic's Avatar
    My Boats:
    Formula 400SS Eliminator 236 Eagle XP
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Lake Orion, MI. USA
    When it comes to outdrives Having a spare is money well invested. Just think 6-7 weeks out of a 20 week or so season is a lot of money wasted. It depends on your situation but Figure in your payments insurance and other things like boat wells ect.. and it makes good sence in a hurry. My garage and warehouse have so many spare parts it looks like a marine shop.

    Service is awfull, I am always fixing things that are done wrong or shortcutted. It makes you wonder how these people can stay in business. But if you find a good one - Hang on to them and get to know them personally.

  9. #9
    Banned cuda's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Deland, Florida
    With drives, there are places that have them rebuilt already in stock. You can take your broken one in and leave with a rebuilt the same day.

  10. #10
    i completely agree with you guys but think about one thing. where are you guys when these guys have to feed there families in december? these guys have to make the money in the warm months or find another job , i completely agree that if it will take 6 weeks you need to know about it . i wouldnt listen to any bs about 6 weeks for parts either. if there not honest (which there not) try someone else next time , sorry to hear the bad news good luck getting it back soon!

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