Boat Dealers and Brokers in Tampa
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BOAT DEALERS AND BROKERS IN TAMPA
HOW TO FIND A BOAT DEALER IN TAMPA
Boat dealers should be very easy to track down. Manufacturers all have a dealer network, which is typically available right on their website. Keep in mind that the dealer you buy from matters, as they may be the ones servicing your boat after purchase. You want to find a dealer with a good reputation for service, not just one that will sell you a boat and never talk to you again. When doing your research, ask if the boat dealer permits sea trials. You want to be able to get a feel for the boat on the water before purchase. If you are outside the Tampa area, then you can go to the Mariner Exchange Dealership Search Page and enter in your location to search for boat dealers near you.
WHY BUY FROM A BOAT DEALER?
- No pre-existing issues: Buying a new boat for sale from a dealer eliminates the potential of surprise repairs that need to be done if you were to buy a used boat. The boat will be brand new and also under warranty, so any issues will be dealt with by the manufacturer.
- No warranty hassle: In that regard, the dealer tends to service the boats it sells, which will make your life a lot easier while the boat is under warranty. The dealer can deal with the manufacturer on your behalf for warranty work.
- Expertise: Boat dealers are experts in the brands that they sell which means you’ll get hands on service and in-depth knowledge about the brand you are buying. There are nuances to each manufacturer that the dealer will be able to help guide you through.
- Boat financing: Boat dealers will typically be set up to provide you with a loan to purchase the boat. They will likely have boat financing partners that they work with and can take care of the loan process in the dealership for you.
- Customization: If you want that extra loud stereo or neon underwater lighting, those are things a dealer can help you with. They can order custom parts and electronics for your boat from the manufacturer so that you get exactly the boat you want when it’s delivered. Given it’s relationship with the manufacturer, the dealer will also get access to the manufacturer’s latest technological innovations.
TIPS ON BUYING FROM A BOAT DEALER
- Seasonality: In the winter, especially in seasonal boating regions, boats are just sitting in empty showrooms. During the off-season, you can get better deals. If you live in a perennial boating region, you might consider looking at a dealership in another region but be mindful of transportation costs.
- Model: The dealer will be trying to get rid of old inventory, so buying last year’s model could result in some good discounts.
- Custom vs. In-stock: Any boat that is in the showroom had to be financed and stocked by the dealer. If you order a custom boat through the dealer instead, that means a lower cost of sale for them. You may want to highlight this and see if you can get a further discount.
- Boat Shows: Nothing motivates a dealer to sell like a boat show. The environment pits all of the dealers against one another and they want to sell as much as possible during these shows to move inventory before the season ends.
- Service: Before you get in bed with a dealer, check their service department. You can read reviews on which dealerships have the best service departments on Mariner Exchange. This will ensure that you not only get on the water, but that you can enjoy your boat over the long term and not get stuck in the repair shop with issues.
- Research: Don’t walk into a dealership totally blind. You should research the type of boat you want, have an idea of what engine you’d prefer, and know generally what you’re looking to spend. This background knowledge will cut through the BS and help the dealer hone in on exactly what you want.
- Sea Trial: You wouldn’t buy a car without test driving it first - the same goes with a boat.
HOW TO FIND A YACHT OR BOAT BROKER IN TAMPA
Finding a yacht or boat broker is very different from a dealer. Unlike a dealer, brokers will likely have a broad range of knowledge about numerous manufacturers. If you are looking for a used boat for sale, you’ll likely find the boat first and then you’ll have to deal with the broker. Rarely would the broker be your first point of contact. However, if you have one you trust, they can be a great ally in navigating the used boat market. If you bring your own broker to a deal, the listing broker likely will not be pleased since it will reduce his commission on the deal. If you want to find the broker first (rather than the boat first) the best thing to do is search online for one that works with the manufacturer you’re interested in. If you live outside the Tampa area and don’t see brokers on this page, you can visit the Mariner Exchange Brokerage Search Page and enter in your location to find boat brokers near you.
TIPS ON BUYING FROM A BOAT DEALER
- Used vs New: If you want a used boat, and that boat is over 16ft, you should probably use a broker. You’ll likely deal with the seller’s broker regardless if you find a boat on your own.
- Breadth: Boat brokers are very familiar with the used boat landscape, which will save you hours of scouring the dozens of used boat websites. Of course, if you are the one selling your boat, the broker will know every nook and cranny where your boat can be advertised.
- Negotiation: We deal with enough negotiation in our day jobs. If you don’t feel like going through the hassle of negotiating for a boat, then a boat broker is the way to go. A yacht broker would be even more critical in this regard - the larger the vessel, the more nuances and angles there are for negotiation so that’s where the broker can really earn their keep.
- Sea Trials: Nobody wants to meet a stranger they met on the internet in a remote area. Brokers will set up a sea trial for the boat you are interested in so that you don’t have to deal with the owner yourself.
- Valuation: Nothing depreciates in value faster than a boat. This becomes very tricky when you are trying to value a used boat that maybe you want to get a loan for. Boat brokers are experts at navigating the valuation of used boats and have their ear to the ground as to what boats are selling for on the secondary market.
- Paperwork and Transaction: Maritime transaction paperwork is a nightmare. Brokers will have access to tools like YachtCloser to get the paperwork done fast and efficiently. The broker can also be helpful with the transfer of funds and ensure that you don’t get burned by the seller.
THINGS TO REMEMBER WHEN DEALING WITH A YACHT BROKER
- Market Knowledge: You’d be hard pressed to find another individual that has a wider range of knowledge about boats. Yacht brokers know many more manufacturers than a dealer does and can help you find the right type of boat for you.
- Leverage their Network: A good broker will have a large network of contacts across financing, supplies, and service. Use your broker to determine where to get a loan from, where to buy supplies and parts for your boat, and ultimately where to take your boat for service. The post-warranty service landscape is much more difficult to navigate.
- Survey: If the yacht broker doesn’t want you to get a survey on the boat you’re considering, then you should probably get a new yacht broker.
- Compensation: It’s important to know how brokers are paid to keep incentives aligned. Brokers get a fee out of the transaction which is paid by the seller. The typical fee is 10% of the sale price of the boat. You want to push hard on price, but not so hard that your yacht broker is no longer motivated to close the deal.