Skip to main content

Upstart Florida broker eyes a big 2014

The late 2000s generally will not be remembered as a good time for boat businesses since the real estate market crash dried up the net worth of many would-be boat owners.

But for the two owners of POP Yachts International, who themselves were hurt in the crash, the combination of boat sell-offs and their own software acumen resulted in a new kind of boat brokerage that has taken the industry by storm, according to the Sarasota (Fla.) Herald-Tribune.

Less than five years old, the Sarasota company operates a national brokerage that completed its 1,000th boat sale of 2013 earlier this month, at an average price of $38,000.

The business is fueled by Internet listings that fan out to 150 sites.

"We conservatively expect sales growth of 30 percent to 60 percent in 2014," Nick Owens, chief technology officer and co-owner of the business with Scott McNally, told the Herald-Tribune.

Going into 2014, the company has 4,300 live listings that 140 agents nationwide are showing.

Besides the global Web exposure, customers are drawn by the business covenant inherent in the company's name, which stands for "Paid On Performance."

POP COO McNally came up with the concept. Sellers are only obliged to pay sales commissions if POP brings in a deal to which they agree. Sellers, meanwhile, can continue working to sell their boats on their own.

"That was one of the keys for getting so many listings," McNally said. "Customers don't like being locked into a one-year exclusive agreement. And then if they sell the boat to their neighbor, they still have to pay a broker 10 percent.”

Similarly, if the customer wants to break off an agreement with POP, there's only a 30-day break-off period — significantly less time than most brokerages. "We are not a discount firm. If we do our job, we charge an industry-standard 10 percent. But only if we do our job," McNally said.

Laden with real estate debt, McNally and Owens declared personal bankruptcy — Owens in 2009 and McNally two years later. Owen sank his information technology career profits into houses and had seven when he sought debt relief. McNally had $9.7 million in creditors' claims between his strip malls and property management firm.

But underwater real estate also has fueled POP Yachts' growth.

"We had sellers that absolutely had to get rid of their boats," Owens said. "So we were moving distressed inventory, matching out-of-country buyers with local boat sellers."

In January the company will launch a new venture with another Sarasota-based company, the National Boat Owners Association, to co-market.

Related

1_WHALESACTION

NMMA: Proposed Speed Rule an ‘Existential Threat’ to Industry

The association is calling on every marine brand, employee and boat owner to file public comment by Oct. 31 over a sweeping regulation to protect North Atlantic right whales.

1_AXOPAR

Axopar and Nimbus Renew Agreement

The boatbuilders have entered an agreement whereby Nimbus Group will retain exclusive rights to sell Axopar boats on the Swedish market.

1_IAN

Hurricane Ian Leaves Devastation in Florida

The storm left a wide swath of destruction, heavily impacting marine interests from Tampa Bay to Marco Island.

Norm

Email Is Your Ticket to Holiday Sales

Developing an effective email campaign can bolster sales and help fill winter coffers at your dealership.

1_NMRA

NMRA Presents Annual Awards

Edson CEO Will Keene and ComMar Sales president Tim Conroy were recognized for their contributions to the marine industry.

1_ PULSE.PING.2

DEALERS: Are Interest Rates Impacting Demand?

This month’s Pulse Report survey asks dealers whether interest rate increases are causing a downturn in boat sales. Take the survey here.

1_EPROPULSION

EPropulsion, Mack Boring Partner with Crest

Pontoon builder Crest will use an ePropulsion Navy 3.0 Evo electric outboard motor and an E175 battery for its 2023 Current model.

1_BENETEAU

Beneteau Reports Significant H122 Growth

The company reported that its revenue grew 8.6 percent and income increased by 30 percent during the first half of 2022.