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PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2008 5:44 pm 
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Location: Wilmington, North Carolina
When I talked to my local dealer the other day he mentioned that When I order my AI in Spring That because it is not a model they have ever sold or stocked that I will have to pay Freight. Did you all just buy from a dealer who had stock or did you pay freight for it? I wouldn't pay freight if I bought off of the "shelf" (only a outfitter in stock)!! I think the dealer might want to consider helping me out as their business for these will shoot way up once I am seen about the local waters in it as I have never seen one in person to date anywhere and This area is perfect for the AI. Should I offer to advertise for them to get a break somewhere? What was your purchase experience like?
Thanks for answering.

PS. Yesterday on the water in 15-20 MPH winds in the Rec Kayak surfing the wind waves and paddling like mad yelling out WHERE IS MY AI..... I'd really be flying...!!! :lol:

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2008 6:29 pm 
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Location: Northern VA
You pay the freight so they can receive a boat to sell you? What are they on? You're right about one thing. Once there is one AI on the local water, there will be others. If your dealer can't afford to ship in a boat to sell (for their profit), I'd be wondering about how long they will stay in business. Reminds me of a computer shop I once worked at. They wouldn't build or order a system until it was sold. They're not in business anymore either. You can find online and new ebay boats for sticker price, or sometimes less. They will have shipping charges (from them to you), but they're likely doing enough volume that they'll stay in business.

Seriously though, these things sell themselves. My dealer told me once that she can trace at least half a dozen sales directly to me, just from my having talked to people who stopped me while I was on the AI. And that was just in the first summer I had the boat. It's been a whole year since she said that, so the number has likely increased. Your dealer isn't seeing the big picture.

Good luck,
- Jim L


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 1:44 am 
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Location: Ettalong Beach, Central Coast, Australia
ElementAI wrote:
When I talked to my local dealer the other day he mentioned that When I order my AI in Spring That because it is not a model they have ever sold or stocked that I will have to pay Freight.


WOW. As someone with 20 years retail consulting experience, I am astounded. What a retailer wants is STOCK TURN. When you offer to buy something that they don't have in stock, they suddenly are facing making a profit with almost zero investment. Because you will likely pay for it before they pay Hobie, or the Hobie distributor.

I said to the salesman: "What are you going to offer me today, that will make me buy this kayak now, as opposed to me waiting and buying it after winter?

To which he said: "I will throw in ........." (was about $200 if I recall, not a lot)

Traditionally Hobie has offered dealers very low margins. (My information is 20 years old) I can't say if that is still the case, but it's probably the reason why the H cats don't absolutely dominate. It was simply a line that was not hugely profitable to dealers. Folks wanted to buy them, so they stocked them. Period.

Geoff.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 6:33 am 
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Location: Punta Gorda, FL
Geoff wrote:
What a retailer wants is STOCK TURN. When you offer to buy something that they don't have in stock, they suddenly are facing making a profit with almost zero investment.

Well, not really. If you order a bunch of boats from Hobie, the price per boat goes down, as does the shipping price.

The retail price includes a modest dealer markup, which obviously gets better and better for the dealer if more boats are ordered. It does not include any allowance for getting the boat to the dealership, nor for unpacking and assembly.

Basically, if you order one boat and do not charge anything for the shipping and setup, you make little or no money on the boat. Stock turn without profit is spinning wheels.

BTW, this is standard practice in the boat industry. We charge freight and setup on Precisions, Com-Pacs, and Ranger Tugs, and we did charge it on Catalinas and MacGregors when we sold those lines. In all cases, the retail markup includes no allowance for freight and setup. It costs a lot of money to get a MacGregor from the factory in California to our shop in Florida and set it up. If we don't charge for that, we can't stay in that business. We charged a LOT for that, and just covered costs. To get a new Precision, I drive up the road for an hour and tow it back. Doesn't cost much, but isn't free. Our shop riggers, who are also not free, then have to assemble the boat. We charge a little money for all that, and basically cover costs.

There's a reason we are the only sailboat dealership in SW Florida. It's not hugely profitable, and is just done by people who love boats. If we don't charge for shipping, it's not profitable at all.

As for getting Hobies out on the water as a sales tactic, let me share my sad experience. We have taken the AI's to a large local kayak festival, to the local town "block" party, to boat shows, and to many events such as the 4th of July Freedom Swim across the harbor, exposing them to thousands of interested people. My wife and I sail our boats at least a couple of times a week. Almost every time, some interested person talks to us about the boats and asks for my business card. On the web, we are the top two google results if you search Hobie Adventure Island FL. Our site has my two youtube movies, with a combined 15,000 views. On Sunday, we sailed down to the meeting of the Port Charlotte kayak club, where I was showing off in front of about 40 kayaks. As usual, an interested customer was snapping pictures, asking questions, and got my card.

Apart from boats sold to my wife and myself and one kind of "captive" customer who just can't stop himself from buying stuff from us, we have sold one Adventure Island at Gulf Island Sails. One. I personally have sold zero. Zero point zero. I don't understand it. People love the boat, don't mind the price, and just don't buy it around here. Unless this turns around, we will soon drop the line. I feel terrible, because taking on Hobie was my idea, and it has cost the owners money.

Sorry for the long, rambling post. Just thought you guys might like to hear from the other side of the fence.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 6:39 am 
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call around and get quotes from stocking dealers and see how much itd be to ship one to you. It seems to be very common for customers to pay freight from "some dealers"

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 6:57 am 
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One more devil's advocate.... Bought a new car lately? Did you noticed the delivery charge?

While we don't typically charge for in-bound freight, it depends. When someone wants a boat in a color we're out of and wants it yesterday, well... That costs money.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 7:24 am 
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Location: Punta Gorda, FL
I should add that Adventure Islands are the only boats we (hope to) sell for which we do NOT add a freight and setup charge. We ordered enough of them that the shipping charge was not too bad, and we decided we could absorb it.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 8:59 am 
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Location: Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Howdy!

I'm the proud owner of 2 2008 AI's and a Hobie tandem trailer.

In Fall 2007, I told my dealer (Rendezvous River Sports) I wanted to purchase this setup. He explained to me they make a yearly big order in November for the following spring. This delivery arrives in a big truck from Hobie. He offered free shipping if I put money down on this venue.

I ponied up a 50% deposit (my life savings), and got free shipping that way.

Here's a tip for dealers. Our local shop buys an AI each year and parks it with sail unfurled a bit on the grass in front (curiously, the papaya color doesn't fade). He rents it out for $50/day. At the end of the year, it sells for a big discount.

While he hasn't sold many boats, this display is GREAT advertising. Everybody in our small town is aware of the boat, and he gets a lot of walk-in business from people checking it out. The display boat this year was sold to a tourist from Puget Sound.

Happy Trails!

Chris

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 Post subject: Ai dealer
PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 2:09 pm 
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Location: Scotland east coast
My local dealer is 20 miles away, he never bothered to answer my phone and e-mail enquires, so I brought from a dealer 300 miles away he gave me free delivery and threw in a free trolley, I was informed of the progress of my delivery at every stage so when I wanted a new paddle leash I window shopped at the local store and purchased the leash from my AI supplier, he even advised me to purchase the cheaper of the two I was interested in. You can make a lot of phone calls in the time it takes to visit your local store, shop around.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 2:59 pm 
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Location: Ettalong Beach, Central Coast, Australia
Tom Ray wrote:
Basically, if you order one boat and do not charge anything for the shipping and setup, you make little or no money on the boat. Stock turn without profit is spinning wheels.


Thanks for providing an insight that the margins are still low. But stock turn is the name of the game, and food retailers operate on bottom line profits of 2 or 3 percent, but much of their stock turns weekly, some things turn daily. However, their gross margins, on the cost of the goods, are more like 25%, because you have to pay rent and have staff on hand, and handle product. Same with boats I am sure. If you don't cover direct costs, which certainly includes freight, no amount of stock turn will compensate.

But my purchase experience included a far closer dealer, who had a salesman that was working his first day, and was uncertain whether he could arrange a demo day. Sailing Scene in Sydney does them every Saturday, with a guy who knows all the kayaks. Guess who got my business.


Geoff.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 3:06 pm 
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JacksonHoleWyoming wrote:
Here's a tip for dealers. Our local shop buys an AI each year and parks it with sail unfurled a bit on the grass in front (curiously, the papaya color doesn't fade). He rents it out for $50/day. At the end of the year, it sells for a big discount.


The very first AI I ever saw was out the front of the Australian Hobie master dealer way out in the country, at a wonderful place called Huskisson. I was intrigued, and bought one shortly there after. So it sure works.

Geoff.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 3:08 pm 
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The Dog wrote:
One more devil's advocate.... Bought a new car lately? Did you noticed the delivery charge?.


It depends. Right now you almost get the car free. When I bought my VW EOS, before it was available in Australia, I got zilch discount. Take it or leave it, the waiting list is six months!

Geoff.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 3:41 pm 
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Location: Punta Gorda, FL
Thanks for your comments, guys. Unfortunately, I already have all those bases covered. Our AI's are frequently out front on US 41, the main road in this part of Florida, with sails out if wind permits.

Demo rides? You mean, as in, I get to go home from work, drag my boats out, and go sailing, and STILL CALL IT WORK? I LIVE to do that, and beg customers to ask me. None have (except the one captive customer mentioned above, but he was buying anyway.)

We also looked into rentals, but the idea was nixed once our insurance guy told us how much it would cost to cover such activities. Now I'm trying to sell a couple at our cost to a local rental outfit.

But I'm more than open to ideas I haven't already tried! :D


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 8:45 pm 
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Location: Wilmington, North Carolina
*Freight: This is what it would cost to ship a single boat from the manufacturer to one of our store locations. When you purchase an in-stock boat as an in-store purchase, this Freight Cost is already included as part of Our Price. This Freight figure is useful for approximating freight costs associated with a special order to one of our store locations. If you need a boat shipped to your home address from one of our shops, please inquire with one of our stores for an exact freight quote.

The MSRP is $3399 The Freight is $390 The Instore purchase Price??= $3399

There isn't any Instore when you never have stock or have ever had stock or a Demo or Product to be seen by a customer. I went into the store with all knowledge of the product in my head from this forum and website and reviews. One guy at the dealers was well informed and I should probably only deal with him.
I am appreciative of the fact that the economy sucks and people are not buying stuff and retailers are hurting. This Christmas season is not looking good for Stores either. I do not know what the profit for the dealer is on the AI or any Kayak brand they carry but I don't think looking for a deal for myself is a bad thing. I also do not expect setup from them as i really look forward to doing that myself ( have read and studied the manual many times).

I appreciate everyone's input on this so far. I am truly stunned by Tom Ray's difficulty in closing the sales on these. I fully expect to be bothered and bombarded with questions and inquiry once on the water. I guess the inquiry excitement and the closing of the Sale are quite different things. Might try that calling around to more dealers just to see maybe yield new results. Thanks for your replies on this matter and feel free to continue to post your opinions and Stories as it is interesting to hear from all sides. Cheers. E

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2008 5:45 am 
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ElementAI wrote:
I am truly stunned by Tom Ray's difficulty in closing the sales on these.


Yeah, me too! ;)

Got a call yesterday at the office, and the guy said he knew me from the Port Charlotte Kayak Club. He then said that he had seen us out playing in the river last Sunday. FINALLY, I thought! If you have enough fun right in front of enough kayakers, eventually SOMEONE will want an Adventure Island.

I must be a slow learner. The guy proceeded to ask me questions about the malfunctioning kickup rudder on his old Catalina 22, and whether I had any suggestions for him. At least I finally got a call from a kayaker who had seen me out on the water in my AI. That's progress, I suppose. ;)

Moving our AI's down to the Fort Myers Boat Show today. I expect they'll attract lots of attention, as they always do. I also expect I'll probably sell a Ranger 21 or a Com-Pac Sun Cat, since those are the things that are really selling these days.


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