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Whats wrong with the marine industry in this country.

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You'd think it was prompted by the boat show wouldn't you, but I just relaunched my boat and opened a bill from a company who did a small amount of work for me.

They did a great job, terrific workmanship, prompt , very happy until I discovered they charged me $140 for two bits of pressed out stainless steel.

I reckon they're would have cost less than $5 or $10 to make ( the reality is probably cents), was mentally prepared for about 25 or 30 each . But no , $70 each.

So that can only be margin , on margin on margin on margin,each at 100% until it becomes this ludicrous figure for a couple of bits of tin.Or gross profiteering.


Can I afford $140.00? sure. Will I look at them every time I go to my mast and think about how ripped off I have been? Sure.


So what these guys don't take into account is that that $140 is going to cost them thousands if not tens of.Being ripped off is being ripped off no matter what the amount, and I don't deal with people who rip me off.


I believe there's an ethic or culture in the marine industry here. They're so used to ridiculous profiteering margins that they look on their customers as ' punters' to be taken.

And, because they look down on the rubes that buy from them at stupid prices , they regard us rubes as stupid.

I've actually witnessed this attitude at a boat show two years ago. The man I was walking around with, who has done a lot of sailing, and who has spent a lot of money on the stuff you need to have to go sailing offshore, walked off, and the people on the stand giggled and laughed and talked behind his back about how much he'd bought( naming a figure). They were sneering.


C*&%s, I thought. Miserable, smart arse little do nothing C*&^S ,not fit to lick his boots.


There's a culture , and its wrong.

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It's an attitude across many industries unfortunately. Small trades hate "quoting" for small jobs but when this sort of stuff happens, regrettably you have little option other than seeking a price for just about everything before you buy it, which in turn drives up the price.


I hate doing that, it slows down what should be a quick and easy process but because of the greed of some it is becoming just about essential unless you know and trust the firm and the people within it.

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Easy to justify JohnB...



B - bring

O - out

A - another

T - thousand.


Actually you did quite well. :-)


But seriously This is a breakdown of your bill...


Material - $5.00 (actually cost $.05c, but supplier has- storage, accounting fees, computer cost, phone bills, tax, compliance, osh, wages, insurance, assurance, wages, water, freight, power,rental, vehicles, rates, allowance for staff taking 6 months "have a baby" leave ...)


Labour - @$50.00 per Hour = $50.00


Margin for engineer - 70% but should be 20-30% but due to storage, accounting fees, computer cost, phone bills,petrol, tax, compliance, osh, wages, insurance, assurance,petrol freight, rubnish disposal, staff coffee, wages,power,rental, water vehicles, rates, allowance for staff taking 6 months "have a baby" leave ... it is 70%


JohnB. Remember you live in the big smoke where Local body (that's Len) and governmental taxes etc along with MONOPOLIES/Cartels can charge what they like to ensure the shareholders are paid a nice dividend.


If you think NZ is a cheap place to live... your in LaLA land.


But hey at least your house is worth millions... at the moment ;-)

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My experience with the marine industry in this country has been nothing short of diabolical.

As a small boat owner my impression is those in the industry don't give a f*ck. As someone wrote above, they hate quoting small jobs. 


However, as an exception to the rule, I got to say KM's outfit have been bloody excellent.

Ummm...how much for that Sarca Exell again Grant?

 heh heh

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I started a  thread along these lines a few years back, and as a noob on the site, I was promptly shut down and told I was wrong.


I asked why I could import blocks, cleats etc. from the UK for a third of the price of buying locally.


There were some replies with guff about GST and other overheads, but to be fair, I was paying full retail from the UK, plus freight. I continue to import if I need more than a few items, and pocket the savings. Loyalty doesn't pay the bills, sadly.


That said, it's not just the marine industry. When I first returned from nine years in Europe, I had been working as a trainer in a gym, writing programs, performing inductions and assessments etc.


I applied to a rather large gym chain that was hiring "trainers" and the entire interview was about my selling. Apparently looking after people was not important, but selling gym memberships was what their trainers had to do best. 


Money money money. Drag people in, rip them off, send them on their way.


Probably stems from the leadership example set  by government. Drag in foreign investors, turn a quick buck, and send them on their way back home. Where they can live off the rent's that stop kiwi's saving for a first home.

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madyottie, yes you are right in many respects. But sadly it is the retailer or guy providing the service that is at the end of the long chain and thus is the guy that faces the customer. It all starts with the Gvt yes. That is both Local and Central, with all the red tape and the charges and compliance etc etc that has to be met before actual business begins. Then there is the cost of Rent, Insurance, power and so on. These costs have become huge now and all the above are costs that have to be found before the stock gets put on the wall.
Mark up is a difficult one. But the rule of thumb has always been, 33% mark up. Some charge more, some charge less. But the average has always been that since the days when Adam first opened his corner dairy. In the past, no one really complained. Interestingly, I have a retail catalogue from back in the early 60's of Marine Chandlery and I am shocked at what items cost back then. But I digress. NZ retail will never ever be able top compete with overseas business selling on line. Yes there is GST, taxes, duties, freight and the real biggy, margin. Many of these overseas business have such large turnovers with less costs, that they can afford to make margins in single digits.
Then there is us the consumer.
I believe the first major cause of Boat decline in NZ starts with the cost of having a Marina Berth. Once again, not entirely their fault as the cost of building and operating a Marina these days has increased significantly also. But simply, most of us normal income people see a Marina as nothing more than a dream now. Add to that, the cost of compliance to be allowed to keep the boat in the Marina. Insurance, Ewof and so on.
Every single charge or requirement at the beginning, cascades and increases costs on down the line to the folk at the end, being us. And that is called.... User Pays.

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33% would be low Wheels, very low. In many cases 33% just wouldn't kept the doors open in a lot of business models. I know of many 100's of % mark up in places.

Yes you are right. I forgot to mention this in finishing off my post. Basically because the costs of opening the doors of a business now are more expensive, the retailer/service provider has to charge more. Minimum wage is yet another cost. Costs all have to be met somehow and the only how is to increase margins or sell more. But the market in NZ is shrinking, so selling more is not always an option. Or selling quality is not always an option either, unless you are nothing more than a super market in the industry and don;t care about quality, just turn over.

And everything I have stated has a "But" and has a relationship to everything else, so there is no hard and fast rules to anything I have stated.


By the way, a development that has just happened last week here in Marlborough. 10yearly consent for Marine Farms here is now up for renewal. Although a Mussel Farmer has to apply for renewal, it is little more in reality than a rubber stamp. What has hot the fan is that Local Council are charging what will amount to a total of $40million dollars for a ink stamp on a piece of paper. I wonder if this means the Council are intending to give royal treatment with Gold thread on the hand towels and the most soothing of lube gels used when they ask the poor farmer to bend over.

And while on that soapbox, it's not just Marine farmers. Another argument that has broken out is rates to Farmers on the land. I had not realised how it worked here. The Council charges rates based on the potential of what your land can earn, and not on the value of the property. So if you are the owner of a hectare of land growing grass, you are charged the same rate value based on the farmer next door who has a hectare of land in grapes and what he can earn from that hectare.

Righty now before you all say yeah so? it goes one step further yet.

So a Farmer has a small Farm that due to the Town growing overt time, is now on the edge of Town. First issue, he is rated based on what the same area is earning growing grapes. But he has bare land. He can not lease the land to someone like Talleys to grow say Pea's, because 10yrs ago, the Water use rights thingy was issued here. How that works is, that if you were a land owner, you had to apply (at a cost) if you were wanting to take water in the future. Of course for many who were not into grapes back then, they didn't apply, due to not knowing they would have a need and the cost. So back to this guy, he can not irrigate but he can not get consent for water use. So he can not produce anything in the farm to pay the cost of rates. So he then figured he would give in and lease the Land to someone that can grow grapes. Now here is the kick in guts. The council said no you can't grow grapes because we want a belt between the Town and the Grape growers of no grapes. So the poor guy can not grow grapes but is being charged rates based on land growing grapes. So he said Oh well I will have to sell the land to an investor and put it in sections for Housing. Council said, no we are not allowing the Town to expand in that direction. The guy is stuffed no matter which way he turns. I said that maybe this story needs to go to Media, but I can't see it getting anywhere.

These is just two stories of "please bend over while we serve it to you" here in Marlborough at the mo.There are another two similar I could tell. One I am losely involved in re another company having it's operating contract increased behind closed doors and in a sneaky way and an opposition being pushed out by Council in a way that makes it look like Council are using Rate payers money to protect their service provider under contract. It may not be the real case, it's just that it so awefully looks like it, it smells of fishyness.

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A conversation I had last week  -


Bloke - How much to replace my chain?

Me - What size is it you need?

Bloke - the usual anchoring size

Me - Yes but we do have over 20 sizes and it's very important to get the right one to match your winch, so we need to know a size.

Bloke - Why are you being so difficult, don;t you want to  sell me some chain.

Me - Yes we do want to sell you some chain but we also want to make sure it's the one you need.

Bloke - So how much is it?

Me - Without knowing what size all I can say is somewhere between $6 and $200 per mt.

Bloke - Now you're just being a w^$@r, I'm going elsewhere.


Then stomps out, hops in a new 7 Series and fires off nearly spinning he wheels and mowing a pedestrian down.


Hmm, wonder of this could be the same guy. Or close relation.

The Hospital had a guy just like this fellow. He was being totally unreasonable, grumpy and very rude to the Nursing Staff. One particular morning, one of the Head Nurses entered his room and told him that she had to take is temperature. He grumped and went on about it all, but eventually he opened his mouth. The Nurse said oh sorry, this one has to be taken at the other end. He rolled over and she inserted the thermometer. She then replied, I will be back in a mo and she then pulled back the curtain, walked out the door leaving it wide open, so anyone walking past could get a full view of his Butt on display. He waited and waited and everytime someone walked past, he would hear giggles and murmers and he grumpily was making comments under his breath. After nearly an hr, a Doctor walked into the room. He saw the gentleman and made a comment about what he was doing. He grumpily replied, what's that matter, haven't you seen a guy having his temperature taken before?? Well yes of course was the Dr's reply, but not with a Daffodil.

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I'm happy to pay a fair price for anything I buy,a standing family joke is about me insisting on paying the guy sticker price at a market when he was trying to give it to me cheaper. I just bought a 4 wheeled toy in the south island for list price because the figure was fair for what it was.

I'm happy to pay these guys for the work they did, they're probably expensive but the job is good.

The total bill for the work was 700 odd and I'm only pissed off about the 140.


No , I'm talking about 2 stupid little pieces of stamped out metal which cost cents to make and which even with marine written in front of it could only conceivably be worth something around 30 bucks. Thats what I think , thats what the 10 or 15 other boaties I've shown it to think, and at that its already highway robbery.( which we all have come to expect)


$70... $140 for two, that is nothing short of cynical profiteering.

But thats OK , I know who the supplier is now. Either him or the people I dealt with as a bit of a tester for all the future work are the greedy ones.


So I'll just pay em and vote with my feet. they just walked away from potentially 10's of thousands of business on the refit work I'll have to do for cat 1,but what do they care ,they're obviously making money hand over fist and don't need it.

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There are many times though, that the mark up is not at the retail end. I know of many many situations where items like those little stamped out pieces of tin are....well....like those little stamped out pieces of tin. The mistake perhaps, was the fact they did not call you and tell you that item X was stupid expensive, do you want us to provide item Y instead, or we could make a version of that may not look as flashy, but cost half.
If you had a job done in the Marine industry and it cost only $700, I think I would have been very very happy. However, if they said it should cost $200 and then sent you the account for $700, they should have warned you and you have a ligit reason to complain. If it were a quote, you have a ligit reason for paying 200 only.
The big mistakes and lessons many of these industry folk need to understand more is communication. They MUST let their customer know when something is not as they expected. Nine times out of ten, the customer will say yes go ahead. I imagine if they had of called you and said, look these stamped out pieces of tin are far more than we expected, what should we do, you would have said, oh well go ahead. But if for some reason the job was suddenly, shoot we just found an enormous problem and it s going to cost $dollars you don't have, then you have the chance to say, STOP!! Can't afford that. Which I wish happened to me when a $5K job turned to $18K without being told and I had to borrow the money from a loan shark at 26% which I am still trying to fekin pay off!!.

Oh and be careful about walking out the doors f one, only to walk in the doors of another and find them worse. There are a couple of very bad reputations around. I would go back to them and talk about the bill and ask why. I expect they will have a good ligit excuse for the why and you never know, they just might bend over slightly themselves on the next job you have with them. If you get face to face and feel like they are trying to rodger you, then you can walk with the satisfaction that they are losing a bog job.

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Correct wheels.


What is annoying is the companies who are quoting on something that is very easy to price to within 2-3 % and yet they get it horribly wrong!


Enginners, who have been in the job for years, who verbally quote for a simple pad eye and are 50€% out are just wankers who are trying to screw you over.


Get a written quote for everything! With experienced operators there shoul be very little mystery in anything these days!


A qualified and experienced person should be able to diagnose the problem! and quote accurately.


I had a local engineer quote be $1500 each to CNC some alloy fittings.


By the time I got to a third company I had a fixed quote if $350 each.

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indeed SJ, I agree. Plus doing a tender/quote for every item, is time consuming, and if you don't get the job, the jobs you do get have to have the margin to pay for the wasted time...

Best just to try to be 100% realistic in your pricing, and try to be transparent with your charges.

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Disagree, unless you are a complete idiot with technology.


With simple spread sheets / templates and formulations you can set up a easy quote and tendering system that makes the process easy and accurate.


many industries tender, price and quote on much more complex projects than a. Engineer cutting up some stainless, shaping it , welding it, and polishing it.


From what I have seen of most marine engineers and enginnering shops in NZ. They are still "seat of your pants" operators with the wife quoting and pricing of a cigarette packet calculation.


The three I got to quote where complete muppets who did not know the price of materials nor their CNC operators/process cost.


the fourth guy I dealt with had a spread sheet of costs/charges on his puter then when he ticked the appropriate boxes required for the job a complete quote was printed and all this in three minutes.


All his office lady does is upload price rises into the spread sheet and that way they are 100% accurate and on top of their costs/margins.


The quote was detailed and accurate.

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OK, Ketchup, that I can agree with. it is basic business. 


However, not all jobs are that simple. Take, as an example, supply and fitting a new plotter to a given vessel.

Plotter price is easy. Fitting may not be. Every vessel is different. Electrical cables will be routed differently and different lengths on every individual boat. There may or may not be any spare suitable switches on the switch panel. There may or may not be any space on the Bus bars, the available power supply might be sub standard due to corrosion/wrong wire sizes etc etc. It could be a simple 1/2 hour job, or it could be several days to rewire/upgrade the existing systems to cope. To be able to give an accurate fixed price, it will take a visit to the boat, and some close inspection. In some cases. It will sometimes take as long to quote it as to do it!


Not everything is simple, and boats are pretty good at sucking up time and resources!

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Agree. but if your doing this (chartplotter install)full time as a professional then you should be able to quote very accuratley after inspection.



Not quote extra to cover something you shpuld have seen/may miss, or charge extra after doing the job because of aforementioned.


Also boats do not suck up time and resources!... only piss poor planning, design, quality, products do thus and they all relate to piss poor decisions/management/maintenance from piss poor people.

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