sion to finance a new boat, build that
sale by up-selling into a matching lift.
That way the new boat is best protected
from the elements, the client’s investment is cared for and they are likely
financing anyway. It makes sense to get a
Downie offered several other good
ideas. Shoreline is critical. He noted that
on the affordability scale, expanding the
client’s dock area delivers an unbeatable
waterfront outdoor patio that can evolve
into a whole place for entertainment.
The dock isn’t just where you tie the
boat up anymore.
We spoke to Buckeye Marine in
Bobcaygeon who has created a waterfront accessories display with ladders,
benches, tables and convenience features that has been a winner for them.
Barrett Marketing Group has
ShoreMaster across the country and they
do have dealers but Downie
admits, some of the most successful ShoreMaster retailers
are specifically in the dock
business. He emphasizes that
service is the key to success.
People don’t expect something for nothing. In some
ways, the big profits are made
For every dock or lift
retailer, make it easy to buy
the product. Doug said it’s all
about making the boat buyer
happy. His best dealer sells
high-end ski boats and when
they make a sale, they literally walk the customer over to
the display lift and dock system and say, “This is what you need for
your new towboat.” Doug says that dealer is successful about 25% of the time. It
makes it easy to finance the complete
package as an all-in-one and that makes
sense when they’ve just made a major
purchase like a new towboat.
On selling lifts, Doug believes that a
proper cover on the lift means the boat is
protected from the wind, rain and sun
fading. Over the years he has observed
that a lift with a good-quality canopy
really encourages the owner to use their
boat more. That‘s a winning formula!
float system. This product
is designed to sell through
dealers and you can achieve
anything from a 27% to
100% markup. New dealers
start with a $26,000 investment for a truckload of
product and a display.
So, some dock and lift
product lines are well suited
for marinas to stock and sell
while the higher-end docks
and lifts generally need a
greater commitment to be in that business. Otherwise, the marina should just
connect the customer for a finder’s fee.
Although on commissions and finder’s fees, Brad Hutchinson who sells Sun
Stream has a different perspective. He
works with well-established dealers in
some of the most prestigious cottage
areas. They’ve learned that those dealers
Easy-to-retail Jet Float
cubes (inset) can be
expanded year after year
We talked to Jan Butterworth at
Dockside Equipment. They work along
with the Naylor company building some
products for Naylor and getting some
Naylor products to sell. Dockside
Equipment emphasizes service and
wants a dealer to have a qualified installation team.
Talking about product design,
Butterworth pointed out that people
care about their environment in the
sense that they want less visual pollution. That means that cottage owners
want nice-looking hydraulic lifts and
handsome, clean-lined docks. They
don’t want to see a boat lift that is a
cheap cage of wires and levers.
Product lines that are more tuned into
retail sales by marinas include the Dock
In A Box line. This product line is better
sized and suited to owner installation.
Dock In A Box provides the marina
with an alternate revenue stream by selling docks, lifts and various parts and
they have a casual dealer program for
that. It is an innovative company and we
also discussed a program where a marina can lease lifts.
Their special arrangement allows the
marina owner to generate income during
the high season and then pay later in the
fall. For six months, they make the payments starting a month or two into their
high season and the payments end six
months later, so no further payments in
the off-season. Renting lifts at your marina can generate larger revenue than regular slips. Dock In A box can also handle all the labour.
For perhaps the simplest retail
arrangement, Jet Dock has their open-ended modular interlocking plastic
This elegant ShoreMaster set
up makes the most of swampy
shoreline and includes ladder,
patio, bench and lifts with
just want their customers looked after
the best possible way. In fact, Brad said
that some marinas do not want the customer to think that they got a commission by referring them.
Doug Downie at Barrett Marketing
Group sells ShoreMaster who offers one
of the widest lines of docks, lifts and related products. The ShoreMaster docks go
from big commercial units to modular
starter-level residential and Barrett
Marketing group sells through dealers.
With that focus, Doug Downie said
that when a customer has made the deci-