Controversial dealer-cost website debuts

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A much-discussed website that offers consumers information about boats – including the dealers’ cost for the vessels – went live earlier today. includes manufacturer and dealer price information, including prices on used models, as well as dealer locator information, educational articles, FAQs, finance and insurance information and the option to request a quote.

The site also will explain that the dealer price does not include items such as shipping, dealer prep, taxes, fees, rigging and other items, according to those associated with the site.

Soundings Trade Only learned about SeeDealerCost’s plans Wednesday, but agreed to the site’s request not to publish information about it until today.

Dave Taylor, an industry veteran associated with the venture, recently told Soundings Trade Only that it’s time for the boating industry and other recreational product providers to embrace a way of doing business that is friendlier to consumers.

“Customers expect easy access and transparency with information and pricing, and to be able to get that information on their own terms,” said Taylor, who was senior vice president of sales and marketing for the US Marine division of Brunswick Corp. before joining the new venture.

Meanwhile, many in the industry fear it will hurt their business.

“Why does the consumer need to know what our cost is?” asks Phil Keeter, president of the Marine Retailers Association of America. “What purpose does that serve?”

Keeter said the price on a dealer’s invoice does not include what happens to the boat at the dealership to prepare it for sale. Also, he says, there is no set invoice cost for every dealer of a specific brand. That price can be determined by many factors, including the volume the dealer does with the manufacturer.

Although he wouldn’t name the site’s creator, Taylor said it’s a business with about 25 employees and is poised for growth.

He also wouldn’t say which manufacturers have agreed to work with the site, but adds that website operators are “happy overall” with a lot of the conversations they’ve had with builders. However, Taylor added, boatbuilders don’t have to work with the site for its producers to have pricing information.

“I don’t think it provides the consumer benefit that it is perceived to deliver because it will lack substance, credibility and broad-based data support,” Larry Russo, of Massachusetts-based Russo Marine, told Soundings Trade Only.

Keeter said he has talked to many manufacturers and has not found any that say they will support the site.

“I know of no one that wants to sign into the program right now,” he said. “We’ve gotten press releases from people like Crownline and Chaparral telling their dealer networks no, no, no, no, no, we’re not involved in it.”

Taylor said he thinks boating consumers, many of them businesspeople, understand there is a cost to doing business and that dealers need to make money to keep their doors open and provide service after the sale. But he believes that taking the mystery out of the price ultimately will help the industry.

“We think it’s going to be a pretty successful endeavor,” he said.

Click here for an article on the website that appeared in the March issue of Soundings Trade Only.


61 comments on “Controversial dealer-cost website debuts

  1. bill Mckinster

    Seems like maybe the guy who is behind this listing has a problem from his last job and a way to get even???? I wouldn’t  know  , but the boat business is NOT the car business…. If things are not tough enough ,lets screw it up some more;; did this guy vote for Obama??? probably wouldn’t admit it either… just a thought  I hope my manufacture does not sign up with this site;; we sell on a very small margin… so what do I do for my customer??? GIVE THEM A BOAT  thats the Obama way;; after taxes we practically do it now.. I see sociallism coming to the dock..

  2. Tighe Curran

    If you know these guys, disown them. If you meet these guys, shun them. If you currently do business with any company that advertises on or in any way supports the site, cut those ties immediately.
    It is a perverted view of the boat retailing industry to believe that publishing “dealer cost” will help strengthen the business.

  3. Bentley Collins

    We were interviewed by an editor recently who did not discolose where his articles were going to be made public but because it was someone we felt we knew and could trust we were OK with the interviews. We found out yesterday that they were going onto this site and we are very upset about it.
    Sabre Yachts and Back Cove Yachts in no way support seedealercost and have asked that our logos and the aerticles that were published, be taken down. Let’s see if they have the integrity to honor our request.

  4. wahine31

    I can not think of a more counterproductive concept for a struggling retail boat market. The creators of this website will only win the favor of the consumer and will handcuff the dealers ability to price their boats fairly to cover their overhead. This concept clearly impacts the car industry negatively. If you talk to any car dealer, they hope to have retail profits cover their cost of inventory and make a living from their service department. They have to rely on any margin from a retail sale to come from “hold backs”. It is very unfair to carry all of that risk for little or no reward. It will just become a chess game where the pricing of the boats may get inflated so manufacturers can give dealers hold backs to cover their costs.
    A boat dealer may sit on much of its inventory for 1-3 years while the car dealer is looking to unload by months end. How is the boat dealer expected to pay interest on that if he is forced to sell the boat at $500 over invoice? The cost to insure, maintain, market, and deliver boats is MUCH greater than that of the car dealers.
    I hope the manufacturers collectively deny these people the information they need to succeed.

  5. Arch

    THIS BUSINESS CONCEPT WORKS in other industries and it can in ours too.  Personally, I don’t suport it.  I think our industry is too small, but I think over time, it can and will work and be accepted BUT ONLY IF they can weather the storm.  This is just another way for people to make money in our industry.
    No consumer advocate supports BOAT DEALERSHIPS RIPPING PEOPLE OFF by selling extended warranties, credit life/disability, and GAP insurance.  So before you start knocking this product which certainly has the potential to help the consumer, and at the very least, give them some peace of mind, maybe you should look at what you are selling first.

  6. Robby Lane

    The car dealership does not have 50,000.00 forklift and (2) people to unload boats, then cut all the shrink wrap and assemble. This is not going to help at all!

  7. Charlie

    Ok, so the litle guy gets squeezed out from the industry a little more with this program – will the site have an average dealer cost or actual to a particular dealer. We were a small Tracker Marine dealer (Tahoe) and know that our invoice for a particular unit was higher then the Bass Pro shop 90 miles away. Factor in the GE flooring rate variance from one dealer to another and the small guy has to give the boat away!
    And they thought we were stupid when stopped selling new boats – we now advise the customer on what to look for and direct them to the best deal. Our service and storage numebrs are up 12 – 15%. Maybe this is a good thing for the smaller dealer? Time will tell…..
    Boat builder need to build better relations with the dealer network and some how remove the third party (GE, BOA & etc) from the inventory requirements. Dealers would sell more units if they had inventory and did not have the flooring burden. Maybe the way to go is have the builder foot the flooring cost on the unit based on avg days in inventory at any particular dealer..


    I am from a section of the boating industry that this web site will not affect greatly. I do not see this as a industry friendly idea, nor a great help to the consumers. When selling a boat, the discussion should be price and features not the buisness model of the dealer. This will lead to misunderstanding and mistrust. However, if Bill Mckinster’s comments reflect the general thoughts behind the anti website retoric,  my discussions with my customers about this web site will certainly not alaign with his.

  9. Mark Smith

    Let’s drop the industry rhetoric, and be honest – dealer pricing has been arbitrary and over-inflated forever. One dealer will retail at $19,995, while another will be at $14,995 on the exact same package. Consumers who know dealer cost are more likely to purchase because they’ll feel confident that the margin is reasonable and they’re not being taken advantage of. The auto industry has disclosed dealer cost for years (barring rebates, etc., of course), and so should we in the recreational marine industry if we wish to truly serve our customers’ best interests. It’s about time we start cleaning up our industry, and disclosing dealer cost is a meaningful move toward ethical transparency in business.

  10. Captain Seaweed

    Having spent 15 years in the auto business and the next 30 in the boat business, they are about as much alike as an apple and an orange.
    The car biz is a 12 month a year “sale” and “rebate” driven, zero to micro profit business driven by hype and some of the biggest national advertising budgets in the world of retail.  Just tell me anything about that which parallels the boat business.
    When the cars arrive at the dealership, the truck driver unloads the truck himself and hands the check in guy the shipping papers.  How does that resemble our situation where we run our mega thousand $dollar$ forklift or travel lift to the boat hauling truck, accompanied by several of your own paid assistants who help with the sometimes very risky and  time consuming offload.  That’s not on the “invoice” !
    It’s fair to say that everyone has a potential need for a car which he will purchase or lease from a sophisticated “finance system” offered up by the manufacturer and or the dealer.  The owner will then drive this tool on endless miles of state and federally maintained highways and cart paths, park it in a snow drift or in the dessert or anywhere in between , often in a publicly funded parking space.  The owner will have his choice of any one of thousands of points to purchase fuel or “quicky” service.
    Just how many people purchase boats in comparison to those purchasing cars?  Well, we know the numbers are hugely less, and driven by a much less sophisticated marketing machine and infrastructure.  The act of recreational boating is driven by emotion and passion for the sport, not the need for a mini van to take the kids to soccer.
    Enough said !  Forget about apples and oranges.  This is more like Mars and Jupiter !!  I’m finding it hard to see any “UP” side.  Are you sure these guys aren’t a couple of retired liberal US Senators ?  That would be the only thing that makes sense in this whole foolish scheme.

  11. jpd3

    Quite a web site!  Just for grins I went to the site to see what they were publishing and how accurate it might be.  the site was down due to too many people trying to find out what its about.   I hope it takes them a long time to sort it out!

  12. Tim Donley

    I see no good this will do for ANYONE ,even the buyer, as all the information cannot be complete regarding the dealer/manufacturer’s cost of doing bussiness. This is also true for the automotive dealer. There are to many varibles, this does not work for the auto dealers.
    We struggle in this bussiness & now we get our legs cut off at the knees!
    Lets publish all SEE DEALER COST principles & investors so we know who our opposition is. Let’s also publish there income & profit margins, fair is fair.
     I don’t see how any marine related bussiness would allow themselves to be associated by advertising on this (para)site. The principles of See Dealer Cost really are not in touch with our industry.
    It is unfortunate St. Patricks Day will be remembered as a sad day for the marine industry.
    Yea, they got my IRISH up!

  13. KAA

    We are a small dealer barely keeping our head above water from the downturn in the economy, but we’re still here because we offer great service to our customers and we didn’t load up on product. However, they all think we’re making big profits. We operate on a slim margin just to get by and to remain competitive. A site like this isn’t going to help the dealers at all. Being in business is hard enough without dealing with this crap!

  14. Boat Manufacture Rep

    I see this a way Dave Taylor can try to make a buck off the consumer while biting the industries hand that feed him and his family over many years. Another example of the “me first” syndrome.
    I work for a leading boat builder and to me this effects the dealer’s ability to make Margin ….something that just recently started coming back after two years on hiatus.
    Many good dealers failed in the last 2 years due to the rough economy and now that sales are creeping back, one of the industries own has figured out a way he can make a buck and cost the remaining dealers margin…Great work Dave!
    Dave Taylor failed at Brunswick, failed at runnig a dealership in Knoxville (The Marinas) and he will fail at this too…
    Over the years I have learned that the boat builder, the dealer and the consumer all have to win for our industry to succeed! 

  15. Anonymous please

    to Gulf Coast Dealer:
    WalMart does this TO its vendors. I was one. WM requires vendors to submit margin info during vendor reviews. They use that info, and what they think the vendor’s profit margin should be, to arrive at their purchase price with the vendor. The volume is compelling. WM has used that info in some circumstances to cut out the US vendor and go straight to overseas sources.

  16. Ken lamain

    Are you kidding me?  Things are worth what someone is willing to pay for it. If a consumer thinks a dealer is too high on a price, he just calls another dealer. Sounds simple to me.  How many of these “industry experts” that think this junk up ever had to make a living selling something and taking care of a customer?  Truth is, the customer will still want free stuff and include freight, prep and why not tax?  I don’t see John Deere publish cost on a new tractor or Thor publish cost on all their RV lines.  Let me guess, these folks think that the marine industry is so strong and stable that this will not hurt.  Some of these CEO’s need to put on some common clothes and spend some time in a dealership.  Remember guys, “PROFIT” is not a 4 letter word.

  17. Industry rep

    I’ve got an idea– how about the founders of this business disclose their financial data:  Income, net worth, how much capital they invested in this business, business projections, etc.  Failure to do so only reveals them as the hypocrital industry whores they are.
    Sauce for the goose, anyone?

  18. J.P. Skov

    Simply put we do not have enough volume in our industry and the inventory turn is too low for this concept to work.
    The selling process will become even more frustrating to the consumer when they come into the dealership thinking they know the cost and we have to give them the education of the real cost associated with commissioning a boat. Lets face it when you buy a car,  once you get to an agreed price the next questions is “can I pick it up tomorrow?” Not so easy in our industry.
    Does Dave Taylor have a bone to pick with Brunswick? It looks like he had a good ten year run from 96-06′ with them, how is his relationship with his former employer?
    This is not adding up to me as a “good thing” for our industry. Just my thoughts.

  19. George East

    Looks like another way to further polarize the dealer/boatbuilder relationship. In many instances the builder doesn’t seem to care about the dealer profit margin. They just want to sell dealers boats and let them worry about making money. The average boat buyer will think that every dealer should sell them a boat at cost because times are hard. I agree with Bill Mckinster. I think this guy has an axe to grind. Why don’t he get a position with a an investment banker and help kite the price of oil and gas! Sounds like he has the lack of ethics.

  20. Marc DePeel

    Mark Smith is just way off.  Find 2 dealers selling the exact same boat at a $5000 difference and show me.  I doubt you can do it, unless they are on separate continents or coastlines.
    Arch, if selling credit insurance and extended warranties is ripping people off, why do car dealers still do it?  Why do banks do it?  What does that have to do with this discussion?  I could go into the benefits of such products, but not here.
    Anyone who supports this website should publish their tax return right here, right now.  Show us how much you make and then the dealers will comply.  I won’t hold my breath.  Why dosn’t Dave Taylor disclose who is behind this?  If this is about fairness and openness, why don’t they start?  Why are dealers bad guys when we have a bunch of faceless people telling us how we should act?  Who are these people? 
    This is still a free market system, where supply and demand determine price.  Just as in the car business.  People shop for price and value.  Dealers sell on prie and value.  Anyone else, will be out of business if they aren’t already…

  21. Ed Wiser

    This issue has raised passions pro and con and understandably. Boat pricing is about much more than dealer cost, which is subject to chnage and varies with circumstances like volume, locale, and even the personalities involved. The consumer will have a tendency to seize upon this one number “dealer cost” not understanding, or perhaps caring, that the final “cost” of a boat includes taxes, admin, freight, and that great bugbear called commissioning.
    I see this site as moderately useful for the extremely knowledgeable boat buyer who knows this industry. How many of them exist? For the average buyer it will lead to unreasonable expectations and frustration. For the dealers, you guys are going to spend a lot of time explaining every dollar on the invoice. Once more, the dealer gets the shaft. I’ve been in this busines for thirty years in a variety of roles, but never, ever will I be a boat dealer. For the foreseeable future it means too many headaches for too little compensation.

  22. ItzDon

    I am definitley against such an inaccurate protrayal of what the boat costs a dealer as it is so misleading. But, it’s here so how do you/we deal with it? First, they are sharing the boat invoice, not the actual cost of the boat. Secondly, if someone really believes the dealers are making 25% and 30% on new boat sales, they need to go and pee in a bottle. Been doing this for 20+ years and have NEVER sold a boat at MSRP. Even when the market was at capacity, MSRP was not in any dealer’s vocabulary. It is a shame that someone would go to the effort of slowing sells even further by putting inaccurate information on a website to confuse consumers even more. Somewhere there is an alterior motive by the originator of this site that will soon be exposed and when that happens, the public will then see where the credibility lies.

  23. Jon Knowles

    Every dealership operates differently with totally different business models based on their location, size, types of vessels they are selling and the services they offer their customers.You can not standardize the industry by exposing the dealer costs and expect all the good dealerships to survive. The exposure of dealers costs will only create large discount boat dealers that only know how to give boats away and eventually the consumer will suffer from lack of services that would be provided by a quality dealership.
    There is also a huge variation in the dealer margins from the high quality production boats built by manufactures building one hundred boats a year or less and the manufacturers that are pumping out hundreds or maybe a thousand of any one model.
    The thought of exposing dealer costs appears to me to be an offensive way for Mr Taylor to make money while shaking up an industry that is in total turmoil already. Your business model appears to only benefit one company, yours! What is your mission Mr. Taylor?

  24. John Shannahan

    It appears to me that this is another MBA driven idea which was never discussed across the industry up front! It may be a good step to help large dealers such as Marine Max. At the same time it will just complicate life for smaller dealers and add another layer of mistrust between the consumer and the industry. If the Mom and Pop dealers need as a result to supply more of their time and service to explain this mess to the consumer it will be tragic.

  25. Larry

    Let’s face it ! Tracker and some other Manufacturers have been moving towards Direct sales for years ! Someone ( Won’t name a Manufacturer but some of you Know who ) is just running it up the flag to see if it will work or not. All  I know is our sales practices can not change, I know what it takes to keep my  family of 12 employee’s fed at the end of the day NO Matter what the public thinks is fair.   EVER MET A POOR CAR DEALER ??? They can sell all there cars at $ 1000.00 UNDER published cost and still afford have there Giant locations and places in the sun.So much for Edmonds and all posting ACTUAL cost !!!!

  26. Dan Allen

    A consumer buys a boat because he WANTS one, not because he NEEDS it.  Does anybody honestly believe that showing consumers a dealer’s cost is going to somehow increase sales volumes?  If I sold my boats at cost, would I sell more boats?  NO!  Only a fool would say yes.  There are only X amount of buyers on the market in any given year.  Price will not somehow magically create a new or bigger market.
    Boat dealers have been selling boats at rediculously and unsustainably low margins for the past 3 years during this recession.  This website is NOT going to bring new consumers in to buy a boat.  It is only going to make it impossible for a dealer to make a reasonable profit off of the few buyers that are out there.  Those buyers are not going to increase in number just because our costs are suddenly disclosed.  This new reality is only going to make it harder for a dealer to service their loyal customers who are in to buy their second or third boat.
    To those of you who think this is a good idea, let me ask you this: what exactly should a boat dealer’s margin be over cost?  What would your answer be to your customer?  I would really like to know.
    This industry has almost a third of its dealers in the past 3 years.  I have owned my dealership for the past 11 years and it has been in my family for over 35 years.  No one in my family became wealthy from being a boat dealer and selling “overinflated” boats.  We do this because we love boating and we care for our customers.  Most dealers I know make less, work harder (50-60 hour weeks), and have much less time for their families than their customers or friends do.

  27. arayhater

    Well I for one, think it is great idea.  Being an ex dealer and also an ex rep for a major US manufacturer whose bottom line profits would curl the hair on your back, this levels the field alittle bit.
    I will bet Taylor is also a rep who was involved in this downturn as I was and was promised I would have a job going forward, but instead 400 jobs were cut including mine with a sweep of a pen and I never heard from anyone there again, almost like I never worked there. So stand up those all mighty manufactures and lets see how they do now?

  28. JRs boat

    I hate the see that this website has been done. It will hurt the dealers and the consumers. One if the dealers do not stick together then they will end up destroying each other in price wars. Just like alot of the motorycycle and atv dealers did back a few years ago. Then you will see alot of dealerships go out of business. Stong dealers are the ones that sell you not just on the boat but on their dealership on service, warranty, and storage and everything they have to offer. Here is one thing that consumers don’t think about after purchasing the boat. Where do i get it serviced or if there is a problem who will do my warranty? If anyone in the business knows that you need to keep a great Customer Satisfactory Score for you dealership. So if they buy the boat at your dealership you know who will be first when it comes to service and getting taken care of. Basically i am saying if a customer goes out there and buys a boat just because its cheaper at another dealer; it doesn’t work like taking your car to car service center and getting it taken care of immediatley. Your customers that bought boats from you come first and the person that diddn’t are taken care of sometime after. Same goes for storage. How is this bad for consumers? Less dealerships, less inventory, no haggle on pricing. Also may come to a point that manufactuers set one price just like Apple does on computers and then charge whatever they want on service, parts and warranty.

  29. Chris DeWane

    You can’t drive a boat off the lot like you can a car but I encourage ALL supporters of this nonsense site to try so you’ll keep our boating service teams busy!
    Quick buck site…no thanks!!!  It will hurt our smaller dealers (and here’s a news flash), the majority of our industry is made up of smaller dealers and it will trickle down to the manufacturers and hurt everybody.
    Competition is good and I’m a firm believer in it…but you can’t measure the great people in our industry and their time spent prepping, servicing, and maintaining the boats so we can enjoy those lazy Saturday afternoons with the family!  Last time I checked my wife and I weren’t driving around MN on Saturday in our truck/car to have fun!
    MN 2011 CAR SHOW yesterday, not one Car Salesman could tell us why the GMC gets 24mpg. and the Chevy gets 23mpg with same darn engines and body frame.
    PS.  They had to justify why the GMC is always $3500 more than Chevy I guess with 1 or more bells and whistles…and the boat industry should follow this same dishonesty model to make a sale!  NO THANKS!  WE DON’T WANT IT!!!

  30. Boat Dealer

    I am not one to post things in chat rooms or forums but these guys need a little positive press in here…
    Long time dealer for a few big companys I dont see a problem with what they are doing I feel like it will help us sell more but a few things need to happen if our manufactures have a back end program then we can sit a customer down and tell them yes you are correct here is our cost now we cannot work for free and if you can not charge a customer dealer prep to cover the cost of offload cleaning etc you are weak we charge every deal $85 per foot and if the customer understands why you are charging that they will pay it.
    Yyou have to sell the boat not just sit at your desk and tell then the price sell the product sell the dealership then price is easy..
    10% back end
    10% over cost to the customer
    charge dealer prep, Doc Fee, shipping, etc
    A Dealer or a Manufacture who is not willing to work with this site is hiding somthing and customers are going to see it and not trust them.
    I don’t care who owns the site I am just mad I did not think of it first.

  31. Bill Ward Boat dealer

    Too much noise about nothing……
    First, I will ask everyone I know to register (as long as they do not ask for fees) lets see how their staff of 25 can handle the volume of request.
    (Staff of 25 to run a web site? Has this guy ever known how to make a profit)

  32. Nick Bischoff

    This will not stop any dealer; large or small from being profitable.  It’s a mindset, if you want to get in the muck with these guys and down and dirty with the bottom feeders, go for it.  Or, you can rise above it – distance yourselves from these guys and their website, and go on doing what you have always done.  Let’s take a look at some of their advertisers: Donzi Marine (wow, that’s a surprise!), Superstock (who?), Bayou Boys (who?), Tate Insurance (guess they don’t want to be in the marine business), GMC (friend of a friend of a friend who is a 3rd cousin to the secretary of SDC), and Thunder Marine (Four Winns, Nautic Star, Hydra-Sports, and Sylvan).  I’m sure Thunder will get many “thank yous” from his fellow dealers who sell those brands.
    It’s much to do about nothing.  X industry haters who have a chip on their shoulder and want to hurt the marine industry.  If anything, I think it will make the industry stronger, and it will separate the really good dealers from the really crappy dealers, and if you’re a customer, who are you going to buy your next boat from?  The dealer who sells on price alone, or the dealer that will deliver the ultimate dream of value and service?

  33. Swabbie

    If logos from Back Cove and Sabre Yachts appear on the site under false pretense that should be the lead story in Soundings tomorrow. While I totally agree with Mr. Currans suggestion to completely shun the site and it’s advertising partners, may I offer this. As a used boat broker I hear NADA quoted day after day after day. My response never varies. “You’re right!! NADA has great prices!! You ought to buy from them.” Seems to do the trick.

  34. want2sellboats

    Real simple   the boat manufacturer should require  a mine 25000 order to  provide this information and also state not  for public use or they will be cut off . It is totally legal to set company policy if you feel  it is hurting your overall marketing  effort. So it all boils  down to this . The Reps are giving them the prices  hoping that  this will force lower prices at the retail store  driving up volue on sales. But it is not a 100 %  price purchase so  this will not work. I am recomending anyone doing business with a company that is providing this web site with pricing needs to lay the law down with the  sales  rep that calls on them and dont stop. Tell them  to keep the hell out  until they do . No one has the right to know anyones cost of an item they sell ,  only the price that is will sell at . thank you

  35. Curtis

    It is real simple guys. If the boat line you carry gives the pricing info to these guys. Tell them that they have to pay all of your flooring cost or put the boats on your lot for free and then you will pay them when you sell the boat.
    With no flooring cost you can afford to sell a boat at 10-12%. If they do not want to do that then drop the line and get another. Just make sure your dealer agreement (if you even have one) says the manufacture will not be part of this site.
    Have a nice day

  36. want2sellboats

    I should have put this in my last comment  the lawsiut that states it is legal under fair trade for a company to  dictate what a company can publish or market as far as is  from a famous lawsuit that was  the 1 800 pirates  against Schmacher  Waverly  wallcoverings . Remember  the 800 number in the back  of the magazines  people would go to the local store get the pattern number and call an 800 number  and save 40 to 60 % ? Well when Schmacher cut these people off  10 of the priates  ban together and sued, but  they lost  the courts state a company  can  sut someone off if they feel it hurts  all of the marketing they  have done . In this case it did because Schumacher and Waverly  wanted to sell more then just wallcovering and by  the person going to the 800  that hurt the full sale . So my point being this  boat manufactures ,  cut these guys off  knowing it will cause some of your accounts and loyal dealers to be hurt and that is what sells your end product not  someone knowing a rough idea of cost , thank you

  37. Tom in Dana Point

    What is so holy about the invoice price? From the hot answers it seams like there are some guys who are out of touch. I think the problem is this, (from the customers perspektive), what do I get for my money? A little office with 3 guys in Sperry,s, an offsite service place, tech people that are nomads. Now the customer is to buy a boat more expensive than his car, plunk down a deposit, and very often wait for his boat to show up a little late…The boat is made ready out in the open, still the dealer insist on charging an hourly rate as much as car dealer ship with state of the art equipment, where you car is safe inside until the work is complete. Many people who buys boats do have their own businesses, they know about overhead, so when the boat dealer is off the mark, they react. Yes, the mom and pop dealer will go away just like the small car dealers. The end user will have less selection of brands, but many are cousins anyway. Larger boats will probably be sold by smaller one – two brand dealers. It is only for boat dealers to change with the times, Boating is seasonal in most places, so parts, service, how to seminars, and driver – sailing courses are a must to keep the flame alive over the winter months.

  38. Joe Salesman

    I have been in this industry for 20 years and do it for the love of the people and the product, I have not been able to survive since 2008 in sales and living paycheck to paycheck in a business I once loved has been horrific. To any of you who think transparency or any other word Mr. Taylor comes up with to sleep at night is good for an industry that is barley surviving well, you all can go sell cars or go to Law school because that is where you will find similar minded people.
    There have been some very good points by many people I am suprised at the amount of people posting it just shows how sensitive of a nerve these scumbags have hit and we all know the reality that things have been tough enough with professional grinders over the past 3 years all they do is make it harder to get back to the good old days of being able to make a fair and honest living in a fun industry. I have been very distraught over the launch of this website and have many things I would like to say out loud but I need to show some restraint.
    I will not abandon ship I can hold my breath for a bit longer we need to do our best to support each other while making sure to shun those trying to bring us down bitter x-boat vets who have been dishonerably discharged from the industry with other greedy flim flam website developers will not thrive if we stay strong. Keep providing excellent service after the sale and implement the Golden Rule and let’s have a great boating season for 2011!!!

  39. unbelievable

    Anybody supportive of this could not possibly have worked in, or owned a boat dealership.  Clearly Mark Smith doesn’t.  You think the average consumer will thinks it’s “reasonable” to make a 20% margin on a boat when they routinely are marketed cars for “invoice”.  That’s why the car industry has so many rebates and back end money.  Mark Smith, I could agree with you, but then we’d both be wrong. 

  40. Doug, Former Boat Rep

    What does Dave Taylor know about retailing a boat? The company heads want more volume, and think megadealers are the way to go.  How’s that working for Cabela’s and Gander Mountain and Crystal Pierz and Link Recreational and Heckels?  The motor companies — especially Brunswick — invest in boat lines to buy themselves transoms.  They make a lot more money manufacturing the outboards and stern drives, and owning a few boat companies has become a necessary evil (and that’s the way they treat the employees at the boat companies!)  Considering that, where do you think that leaves the boat dealers that are (in most cases) privately owned, operated, and managed. The people that want to share dealer pricing with the consumers want to turn this into another snowmobile or ATV industry, where the end product is the same from dealership to dealership, and nobody makes over 10-12%, while the factory makes their margins.
    I am totally in support of the retail marine dealerships, and any company that provides dealer cost to the consumer needs to be boycotted. Dave Taylor, go crawl back under your rock.

  41. Kelly Avery

    It’s ironic that Dave Taylor would be associated with a firm that wants to cripple the marine industry further. You can bet when he was associated with Brunswick and Yamaha that he would have been adament about not releasing dealer cost to the public.  Go ahead Dave, sell your soul because you certainly don’t have any morals or integrity.

  42. Hammer

    If this truly affects the profitability of a dealership and the ability to sell products at a fair margin (which I believe it will), it will force a change in the way manufacturers design their pricing and programs. In the end it will be nothing more than a bunch of numbers with no meaning.

  43. Tommy C.

    Well,  I if this website makes its way into the boating industry I guess these dealerships who have survived because of service and maintenance will have to bank on service from here on out leaving boat salesman out in the cold.

  44. Stewart Campbell

    I am entering my 40th year in the yacht brokerage business in South Florida and have truly “SEEN IT ALL”. I also have an extensive software development background and a copy right software system. Having now just briefly reviewed the info/data on the “YACHT FILES”, this website is a “JOKE”!!!

  45. Capt Bob

    Well, things sell for what they sell for at retail. I worked in the wholesale end of the rec boating industry for many years during the good years and stupid dealers were always selling at lower margins just to get the numbers up to increase their rebates and out sell the quality dealers in and out of their market area. Hopefully those types of dealers are out of business now. In these hard times less dealers should equal higher margins. But when and if things ever heat up again those low margin / high volume dealers will be right back in the game again and will depress margins again as they had in the past. That is/was the true problem with the boating industy – in the good times any moron can and will get into the business and low ball margins. This problem happened before the WWW and will happen again. Also, as a consumer I want the best price and the best service. I’m spoided and I want and expect it all – as cheap as possible. What else is new? I am now in the wholesale auto industry and ya’ll are right, the two industries are nothing alike. The auto industry has on average a more professional dealer network that deals with lower margins, more competition, tougher markets, and more demanding customers than the boating industry could ever imagine. To all the whining boat dealers on this Blog, run your business by rep’ing quality products virorgusly, watch your expenses, and offer true quality value added service to your customers or get out of the business. But please, stop all your bitching about things you can’t control, such as what information published on the Internet.

  46. bob sale

    Its time for the dealer to show that the web site do not run our business and set our price to make a fair profit . We must not give in to them setting our margins, ever area has different cost and we have to let the public know that theirs more to sell a boat then just the boat, the service and after product will on be the same from the big box store they need the local dealer ,we must stick together and not give in to this outsider pressure. Stop quoting prices on the web make the customer get off their butts and come to your show room meet them face to face and sell your product its time we get back to work

  47. Tony C

    So, I’ve been trying to use the website since yesterday to see how accurate their pricing really is, and I keep getting error messages.  Has anyone else tried to use it, and if so, what were the results.

  48. Major

    The site is a major pile technically speaking which makes it even funnier that they claim 25 employees.  Whoever built this should be ashamed and whoever paid for it should be mad.  HAHAHA

  49. Jim Glus

    Just doing a quick scan of pricing and what manufacturers are listed I’m lead to believe that they (website owners) are  paying dealers or pulling in favors to get pricing for some.  I have a very hard time believing that Brunswick/Sea Ray/Bayliner would supply this guy true dealer pricing and even a harder time believing that Pax St Clair from Cobalt would do it.  Bottom line is the Builders who do not participate need to drop the dealers who supply pricing and the Dealers who’s manufacturers do supply pricing need to look for new lines.

  50. Mike Burke

    While I think it is a good idea for transparancy I think this is a bad idea….If the consumer is happy with his deal and the boat dealer can live with the numbers who cares? A lot goes into the bottom line…maybe you should ask my boss Steve Moynihan what it takes to support 9 locations and 50 sales people and 50 salary people and 5 new boat lines along with 15 pages of advertising a month at 3k a page to keep the doors open and service the client after the sale? I think if the buyer wants to know our cost then we should know whatever they did to make enough money to afford the boat we are selling so we can buy what they sell for cost? Enough said. See you at the Palm Beach show should anyone want to discuss this further…by the way we will be displaying 44 boats for the consumer to browse,climb on and open for thier convienence, does anyone care what that might cost?

  51. Jerry Brouwer

    Some excellent posts, however where do some get the opinion the information age is about knowing everyone’s cost?  The internet age has done more to protect margins with top brands doubling down to protect there image than it has proliferated wholesale pricing to the public.  MAP pricing (minimum advertised pricing) has become enforced like no other time in history.  The individuals behind this new tell all, show all site is simply an example of someone thinking they can expose or damage someone else’s opportunity to make a living to get ahead in life themselves. Unfortunately for any product to be retailed it must have distribution and or dealers. Lack of distribution is the primary reason most products never make it to market. Thinking it’s possible to take out distribution and still be effective is next to impossible. Getting product into consumers hands certainly can work with different methods, direct sales giant Amway in one example however no company has owned a category or top market share in a large ticket industry with this strategy. There are boat brands now that sell direct simply because they are unable to attract distribution (dealers)……none are in the top ten and most if not all have a short life span before they go out of business. The primary reason this does not work for complex low volume large ticket sales is because of so much more involved before, during and after a sale. A low upfront price may end up being the most expensive and regrettable purchase one could make. We have seen this firsthand many times with consumers in our dealerships; my guess is you have too. If marine products are unable to make it to market profitably they will cease to exist. I know we love our industry and its lifestyle however last I checked no one is doing this for fun. It may feel that way for many dealers that currently struggle to make a profit. If dealers cannot derive enough revenue to deliver an experience that will keep boaters joyfully boating, consumers will simply migrate to other forms of recreation. I am no fortune teller however I can predict that future successful, market share leading brands will have the most profitable distribution that delivers exceptional experiences to each customer it serves; it’s simply a law of success. What will change is how gross profit is paid to dealers and how the financial flow of money takes place. In any organization when manipulation is attempted on one side, the other side reacts with a reinvention of itself. If our reinvention is successful it will be a win for everyone involved and we will look back at this event as a positive speed bump in the evolution of our industry.

  52. Rob J

    Just starting reading the posts from #1 and what do I find?  A nut-job named Bill who posted moronic, rambling, right-wing babble with negative political comments against the President of our United States.  Please sir, it’s obvious you have anger issues and are mentally unstable but let’s have some decency here. Keep the comments on target with the article and save your political views for the next election.

  53. Arch

    MARC DEPEEL gets the Albert Einstein medal of the day.
    He defends credit life, disability, and gap insurance products by stating that it’s sold by CAR DEALERS and BANKS. 
    Yeah, you are right,.  Car dealers and Banks have the consumers best interest in mind.  Especially when selling these products?

  54. GW

    I think any magazine, dealer, supplier, manufacturer, advertiser, etc.. etc.. that associates with seedealercost should be boycotted and given a hard road to follow in the marine industry.
    I use to admire Dave Taylor’s speaking ability at the Bayliner dealer meetings, but my respect for him has been thrown out the window with this scam directed against the marine retail dealer. I feel sorry for you Dave.

  55. suprmac

    I am looking at boats and I do not care about the dealer cost but I wish there was a resource online that would show me the boat MSRPs. I have gone to boat shows and dealers and most web sites do not even post the sticker price. I do not have a $100,000 budget for a wake boat and it would be nice if I knew which boats to consider in the 60-80k range. I know that is a lot but it would be great to pair that with some MSRP figures and reviews. My 2 cents… not trying to bankrupt any dealer just need more information before I waste the dealers and my own time.

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