Boating and floating season is upon us, and that hopefully means big business for marine dealers.
It might seem strange to think about, but most personal watercraft spend most of their time on land. That means storage and transportation are a huge part of ownership. Many buyers will be so excited by thoughts of hitting the water, they might not consider the details and logistics of ownership when not riding the waves. Helping them make the right decisions can turn a first-time buyer into a lifelong dealership customer.
Here are some helpful points to cover that will make buyers safer and happier while increasing your bottom line:
Even if you don’t sell trailers at your location (better if you do!), you should be able to answer customer questions about the best one for their new purchase. They’ll need to consider points like:
- Vehicle towing capacity
- Distance to travel
- Type of launch (will the trailer often be mostly submerged?)
- Type of trailer suspension
- Boat size
Choosing the right trailer is especially important for boats that will be stored on a trailer long term, as proper weight distribution is important to avoid damage to the hull.
Not-so-fun fact: According to BoatUS marine insurance claim files, 73% of stolen boats are taken while on their trailers. Which leads to our next point…
If the owner parks the boat on a trailer at home, they shouldn’t leave it in a spot visible from the street. If there is no enclosed garage or storage unit, they should park the trailer behind or beside the house, with access to a driveway as limited as possible. This means positioning the trailer so the tongue doesn’t face the street. They could also remove one wheel from the trailer, or chain the trailer to a tree or other stationary object. These measures might be a little inconvenient for owners, but will make a quick getaway inconvenient for anyone with bad intentions.
If they’re keeping it at a marina, it would ideally be well-lit and patrolled by security, who could be made aware of when the boat is authorized to leave.
In either instance, owners can increase security with the installation of a GPS tracking device. Instant alerts of a change in location let owners know the minute something isn’t quite right.
Accessories and Advice
In addition to GPS tracking, there are other transportation and storage add-ons you can recommend or sell, including:
- Trailer wheel locks
- Load guides
- Tongue jacks
- Safety bars for cabin or hatch doors
- Fuel or electricity cut-off devices
- Boat covers
You can also help out with some general safety tips for storage:
- Don’t leave the keys anywhere on or near the vehicle.
- Take off any removable accessories from the boat and trailer (outboard, license plate, trailer lights).
- Record all the important numbers: hull identification number (HIN), state registration number, serial numbers (engine, transom assembly or outdrive, electronics).
- Take pictures of the entire watercraft (exterior, interior, engines, unique designs, aftermarket additions) for identification and insurance.
You can take the opportunity to help each shopper make the right choices to protect their investment. Providing an exceptional customer experience adds value to the sale for both of you.