You’ve decided to start your very own day charter business, and are already getting excited about making sailing your business. We congratulate you! Making the business a reality is not overly complicated – but it takes some planning. The busy season will be here sooner than you may think…
PREPARING THE BASICS
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
If you have gotten this far, then you probably know your location, down to the marina or launch, and you probably know your fixed costs. But let’s make sure the boat is a good fit for the location. Will your guests be swimming? Will you offer dive tours? Are dinner cruises and fireworks nights an option? Will you target the upper end of the market? If so, lets match the boat to your requirements. If it will be cold at some times of year then you’ll need cockpit clears or other protection. Need a big drinks bar? Better have that checked. Unlike a brokerage boat – an owner boat that’s poorly adapted to the economics of day charter, your boat can be built for the market, and really stand out from the crowd! This is a great time to stay excited, and spec up a boat to suit your business.
Considering that location, do you have environmental considerations? Local or national government support is available in many locations in support of eco-tourism, so don’t forget to check if this can be a huge benefit to your business, and add to the USP of your business. If the boat should be “green” then it’s time to look at electric propulsion. And depending on the location, you may be better off financing the boat, or paying cash. Business lease payments are tax-reducing overheads in many places. And that may influence your next decision…
If you’re financing your business in order to keep costs down, then you might consider electric propulsion. It’s not just good for the environment. Electric drive costs more up front, but drastically reduces your ongoing fuel costs. That means you’re financing your fuel. If you’re more comfortable with conventional propulsion, then versatile outboard motors are a great choice, and diesel sail-drive is also available. The choice of propulsion is near-central to the business. Seawind 1160 Electric Propulsion is provided by our partners at Oceanvolt.
DIFFERENTIATION: Offer it
What will you offer, and how does this set you apart from the competition? Let’s make sure your boat is the only game in town – offering fun, excitement, and economy in the proportions you see fit. Our team are familiar with many of the best business models on the market, so don’t be afraid to speak to us on ways we can help your business to differentiate. And many Seawind 1160 RESORT owners are repeat buyers – that means they have tried and tested experience in the commercial world of day charter.
THE KEY METRICS
The key to a successful Day Charter business lies in managing the key metrics including:
- Length of season
- Trips per day
- Average passenger load and price per passenger
- Managing multiple locations (or moving the boat) depending on the season
- Marketing / booking systems
- Crew management including the skipper (perhaps yourself), crew roles, and customer service
- Guest entertainment – detailed entertainment plans adapted to the season
- Hitting the launch date – Start with a full season. It can take 6-12 months to build a new day charter boat to match your unique requirements. Orders are already arriving for the Summer of 2018 (Northern or Southern hemisphere).
- Licensing / local authority issues
For more resources on setting up your day charter business, check out Article 1.
Still unsure? Send us an email with any questions you have about what your next steps should be and how to determine if this is the right choice for you.