A typical day in the life of a Yacht Broker-An interview
Here are the Featured Business Questions form the interview with Coastal Leisure’s Nick Hart, A renowned Southampton(UK) based yacht broker.
Boatshop24: Hi Nic, can you tell our readers a bit about Coastal Leisure and how the company was started?
The company was formed as a Yacht Charter company 14 years ago (1996) and ran with this as its sole focus for years. As you know the Charter business is very seasonal and Coastal Leisure quickly branched off into Motor Yacht sales as well. We still are a hub for other charterers but this is now not the largest part of the business.
Boatshop24: What’s your position in the company?
Director – I joined the company in 2002 after a long career in Telecoms Construction and Project Management. I am an Engineer with a Masters Degree in Business and so after the 2001 Internet boom finished I looked for something else to do: I have a long interest in leisure boating yachting and sailing.
It seemed a natural business to migrate to. As I quickly found out (as many others have) that Yacht Broking is a pleasant business to be in but it is very competitive.
It is very pleasant because most of our customers are genuinely good people that are in leisure mode when we are talking to them. However they obviously are successful people that do not leave their business skills at home when they are purchasing a high capital value item like a boat.
Boatshop24: You do an amazing range of boats on brokerage what’s the biggest and smallest one you have for sale just now?
From £13,500 for a very tidy ETAP21i to £14,000,000 for a beautiful 41 m Motor Yacht..
Which one would you like to buy one?
We have taken the decision to cover as large a range of motor and sailing yachts as is economically possible.
Boatshop24: You are based in a beautiful part of the UK right in the heart of the Solent, what’s it like for cruising?
50% of the countries leisure boats are within 30 miles of here, and they are here for good reason. We are only one and a half hours from London and 2 hours from the midlands and from our Marina base here at Town Quay you can have a sail for two hours or 2 weeks.
There are so many destinations to sail or motor to nearby and further away, this makes the Solent unique in this country. i.e. that there are so many destinations that are ready and pleased to receive leisure boats.
Boatshop24: How would you recommend a novice takes the plunge into boating?
Leaving aside purchasing the £2m Azimut and getting a skipper to do everything for you. I would suggest that the novice take an RYA Sailing or Motor boat course on-the-water. The other method is to be shown the ropes from a knowledgeable friend who already has a boat.
This will quickly tell them whether this is for them. The pleasure from sailing comes from having and knowing your own boat – she becomes an extension of your own personality
Boatshop24: Would you be able to help with moorings if a client bought a boat from Coastal Leisure?
Yes. Our location and prices are second to none. we are the marina nearest to the centre of Southampton and have 24 hour access to Southampton Water.
Boatshop24: Can you help with financing also?
We have banking contacts and are licensed and pleased to arrange finance for our clients.
Boatshop24: Do you have a website, if so what is it and is it an important part of the business?
www.coastal-leisure.com is a great way to promote our customers’ boats. The website is a way of validating the company and communicating the extensive list of boats we have for sale.
The website has extensive details about buying and selling a boat, together with a database of all of our listed boats that is really quick and easy to search. Try it and see?
In conjunction with our social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Word Press, where we are known as YachtBrokerUK. This helps to widen the network of potential clients that know of us.
The website is our shop window !
Boatshop24: Run us through activities that occupy you within a typical day?
Activities in a typical day will consist of:-
- selling boats to prospective purchasers.
- securing the best available price for our client by negotiating with the purchaser.
- managing the sales process to ensure that title ownership is transferred legally and without liens.
- visiting newly listed boats and detailing the inventory
- updating the internet, by editing and uploading newly listed boat details and pictures to our website www.coastal-leisure.com and uploading these to search engines such as your own www.boatshop24.co.uk .
- matching the different needs for our www.pxboats.com clients, through part exchange.
- searching though our vast client database of prospective purchasers to quickly match with the boats Coastal Leisure has for sale.
- we like to organise the moorings and ensure that the boats have been secured properly.
- arranging the shop window and notice boards to maximise impact.
- arranging layouts for advertising
Every day in yacht sales is different. Our main objective is to ensure that we are proactive in achieving the boat sales that our clients demand.
Boatshop24: It’s been a tough year for the marine industry in general, how has it been for Coastal Leisure?
It has been a tough year for most of my customers too. It does the marine industry no favours to see the big names struggling with boat sales. We have interests and contacts in many other countries and they have been affected as well. Although we have managed to export some nice boats to Scandinavia and I am looking forward to the day that we can import them back to the UK, when the sales pick up.
As a result of our decision to be a generalist we have taken a pragmatic line and we have weathered the recession relatively well – although we could always do with more enquiries.
Boatshop24: Tell us about the most exciting deal you have done?
The present deal is always the most interesting and exciting!
Although exchanging an apartment in Spain for a Hunter 36 must rank up there. This was done through our sister websites www.partexchangeboats.com and www.pxboats.com where we exchange boats for boats and boats for houses.
Boatshop24: What sets Coastal Leisure apart from its competitors?
We are the broker that can sell any boat and we are located right next to the Southampton Boat Show where they are rumoured to be planning to site a permanent boat show. This would be good for the industry, good for Southampton and great for us!
Boatshop24: Do you have any new boat agencies and if so what are they?
We are representing Luhrs when we have specific customer enquiries, although we are not stocking boats. Having seen what happened to those that were heavily stocking we decided that discretion was the better part of valour.
There is no doubt that if you are stocking boats it must change the yacht broker’s perspective on selling other peoples boats?
Boatshop24: What do you see in the future for Coastal Leisure?
We have determined a strategy to rationalise our business – and we are in the process of rolling this out over the next twelve months. It involves segmenting different parts of our website business – it should help to make us stand out to the boat purchaser with the result of further sales.
Boatshop24: And finally how do you wind down and relax?
At the moment I am on 10 days Holiday- I have sailed every day, at home I regularly jog very slowly and go for long cycle rides.
I have just spoken with our broker he has sold a Moody sailing boat and is confident of some other yacht sales and corporate charters!
In fact having finished this I am off to view some boats!