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Author Topic:   Outboard Service Shops Delays
Jefecinco posted 05-11-2015 07:06 PM ET (US)   Profile for Jefecinco   Send Email to Jefecinco  
It's past due for the service on my 135 HP Verado. I was shocked to learn that two to three week delays are the norm for getting a service done. Since the majority of engines in the Mobile Bay, Gulf Shores and Orange Beach areas are Yamahas delays for service on those engines may be as bad or worse.

To compound the problem many shops don't work on an appointment basis. One of the most touted Mercury Marine shops by the Mercury web site does not use an appointment system. Their backlog is two and a half weeks. To get in line you must bring your boat to the shop for the wait. So to get the powerhead and lower unit oil changed at that shop your boat must be out of service two and a half weeks. Wow!

The closest Verado qualified shop to me is about a half mile away. It's the Bass Pro's Tracker Marine Shop. Happily they will do work on an appointment system so the wait there, at least as of today, is two weeks.

I'm not a big fan of big box shops but Bass Pro, at least, steps up in my area. Plus my boat is available during the waiting period.

If I was going to go into business I would consider the outboard engine repair regardless of the high start up costs. Their certainly seems to be a big demand here. Perhaps a mobile shop would be a less expensive way to break in.


contender posted 05-11-2015 08:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for contender  Send Email to contender     
or a moblie set up
seahorse posted 05-12-2015 05:42 AM ET (US)     Profile for seahorse    

When I evaluate a marine center one of my suggestions is to designate one day a week as quickie day, usually a Wednesday.

Only fast turnaround motors are serviced that day including oil changes, 20 hr checks, pre-purchase inspections, and engine computer diagnostics. That way a facility can knock out a number of engines in a short time, alleviating a long backlog. This makes the shop money not only from the repairs but from being more efficient, plus it helps the customer avoid long waits for routine needs.

Many repair shops shy away from appointment servicing. Historically a large number of boats do not show up when scheduled, then the owner comes in a day or two later demanding that the boat still be completed for the weekend, even though he missed the scheduled appointment that was agreed upon and that disrupts the scheduling for the rest of the week. It also affects any parts ordering as they may not be able to be delivered with time for installation prior to a busy weekend in season.

Jefecinco posted 05-12-2015 09:33 AM ET (US)     Profile for Jefecinco  Send Email to Jefecinco     

That seems like a good way to keep customers reasonably happy. As a consumer my inclination is to buy my repair service from a shop that seems responsive to my needs for routine maintenance. If I were to ever repower the shop with hte most responsive service would almost certainly get my business.

I understand the difficulties and frustrations involved in doing work on an appointment basis. Since I'm an old guy I have more than the average number of preventive medical and dental appointments each year. I get a reminder call a day or so before each appointment. Some are automated calls. It's annoying to get all these calls but I'm sure I wouldn't be getting them if it was not necessary. Some of the reminders also state that if the appointment is missed without prior notification I'll be charged a fee. I wish I could charge a fee for all the appointments when the practice keeps me waiting for an hour or more.

Although probably a pain to set up an appointment system with automated reminder calls would probably be a good thing for marine engine businesses during the busy season.


boatdryver posted 05-12-2015 09:36 AM ET (US)     Profile for boatdryver  Send Email to boatdryver     
What works for me for routine pre-season service is to get it done in February or March before the facility gets swamped. That time of year I don't care if they have the boat and trailer for 2 weeks. Sometimes they don't.


Whaler_bob posted 05-12-2015 03:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for Whaler_bob    
"Outboard Mechanic" is a dying breed- it's not going to get any better as the older guys are starting to leave the field.

Even the "rigger" jobs are getting hard to fill...

Last month, I had the dealership just unbolt my old Johnson V6 and bolt the new E-TEC on the transom, I already de-rigged the old outboard and was going to rig the new E-TEC myself. Four nuts and the steering cable- that's all they had to do.
As I was walking into the service yard- they were just finishing up my boat- the "riggers" were having a problem w/the engine cover? They were trying to put it on backwards!!

A two to three week wait is nothing... how about having qualifying people work on your boat?

Jefecinco posted 05-12-2015 07:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jefecinco  Send Email to Jefecinco     

In the Mobile Bay area we boat year round. There is no off season although there is certainly less boating December through February. It's also nice if our maintenance hours or time interval conincides at least somewhat closely to the non-off off season.


There are plenty of shops out there but only a few are "Verado Qualified" and that is part of the problem.


jimh posted 05-13-2015 09:43 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
In the initial article in this thread, Butch (JEFECINCO) proposes the idea of a mobile outboard engine service shop. That idea has apparently already come to one of the local marine dealers in my area. They have begun a mobile service shop option. The mechanic comes to the boat instead of the boat coming to the shop.
jcdawg83 posted 05-13-2015 11:50 AM ET (US)     Profile for jcdawg83    
One issue with the mechanic coming to the boat is the United States Longshoreman and Harbor Workers Act with regards to workers compensation insurance. If an employee of any kind is working on a dock, pier or vessel on any type of navigable waterway they are eligible for increased benefits under the USL&H Act. Most workers compensation carriers will not write coverage for risks with USL&H exposure. Carriers that will write coverage generally charge much higher premiums.

Most boat dealers/mechanics get around this by claiming their operations are "shop only" and they do not do work on the water. If there is a claim on the water, the dealer/mechanic would likely have their coverage non renewed and have a very difficult time obtaining workers comp coverage.

hauptjm posted 05-13-2015 11:52 AM ET (US)     Profile for hauptjm    
An acquaintance of mine started Mobile Marine, Inc. about 20+ years ago here in New Orleans area. He does occasional work for the local yacht clubs, and many, many individuals that need "driveway" type service.
contender posted 05-13-2015 02:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for contender  Send Email to contender     
Whaler Bob, I agree with you 100% not only are the marine service mechanics a dying breed, very few are waiting in the wings to fill the positions. Another problem with the workers they get do not care or do a good job. I went to the local Evinrude dealer and question them about purchasing a new engine and the rigging. Per the dealer the new engines must be rigged by the dealer. They stated that they (the dealer) have to run the engine and make sure it is in specs and everything is connected and working correctly. I got them to agree with letting me rig/mount the new engine as long as I returned to the dealer for the start up. My reason being I know I would do a better job rigging my own engine and not take any short cuts. Just doing electrical connections I crimp, solder, heat shrink, and coat with a marine grease. I know the dealer would just crimp.
wannabe posted 05-13-2015 06:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for wannabe  Send Email to wannabe     
I agree with boatdryver in that it is best to get routine service done before March 1. The shop I use even has reduced winter rates until then. Up north many boat mechanics get laid off or hours cut in the winter months.
David Pendleton posted 05-14-2015 07:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
I'm trying to get upholstery and canvas work done this year. I can't even get people to return my calls.

Based on my conversations with others, this is also the case with mechanical, electrical and glass work.

Because our boating season is so ridiculously short, technicians and craftsmen are overwhelmed.

Peter posted 05-14-2015 07:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
My Whaler 27 WD with a 10 foot beam was too big to trailer to the shop even if I had a trailer for it. Whenever I needed service, my Evinrude dealer came to my boat at the marina. Usually the service was rendered within two or three days of my call for service. Of course I had pay for their travel time.
wezie posted 05-20-2015 09:40 AM ET (US)     Profile for wezie    
This year, I missed the rush!
I was forced to start early.

At the dock and on the water service is avail and will be. It does have costs.
Tools people and euipment do not travel un-assisted, and do not float.
Liability and employment laws are a hassle and a reality. You gonna to watch me work off your docks every day?
Marina owners do not want into the repair business.
AND the old EPA along with it's minions is always watching for you to allow a drop of oil to touch the water. Who pays if The mechanic drops his oil succker into the water? The owner, the mechanic, the marina owner?

This time of year is just an annual rush.
Diagnose one, order parts, install, test, order more parts. Install. Discover that the owner was totally wrong about the problem, or lied.
Find your tail, and start over.
If you add this To the de-winterization the northerners must go theough, it will aleays be a problem.

Captain Cook had to sail all the way around the world to get his ship fixed.

Jefecinco posted 05-29-2015 07:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jefecinco  Send Email to Jefecinco     
This afternoon I picked up my Montauk from the Bass Pro Shop Service Department. They had it for three days which was quite acceptable.

The work order stated "service engine and lower unit w/impeller and adjust cowling latch.

The cost was a whopping $542.58 including sales tax. Wow, that was a small shock but with a labor rate of $100 per hour for Verados it isn't too bad. Three filters were replaced, two fuel filters and one oil filter. At $42.75 for a fuel filter. Full price for Mercury parts soon adds up. Dropping the lower unit to replace the impeller was the largest share of the 3.5 manhours charged. They also hooked up the computer for the final engine test and that was another expense. Tax for everything except the labor (which is not taxed) was 10.5%.

If not for my arthritic hands and lack of tools I could do almost all this work myself and save about $400. But, I would not have a computer sheck of the running engine and I would have had to gather up the parts, clean up the mess and dispose of the oil and filters. Those are tasks for a younger man.

Overall I'm pleased with the outcome and the service. I'll do it again next March or April without the impeller replacement.


masbama posted 05-31-2015 10:31 AM ET (US)     Profile for masbama  Send Email to masbama     
Hope John did the work. He did a great job on my boat.
Mambo Minnow posted 05-31-2015 11:21 AM ET (US)     Profile for Mambo Minnow  Send Email to Mambo Minnow     
Hard to do in Northern climates in February and March when there is still a lot of snow on the ground. This winter was particularly bad.

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