Selling a Used Boat abd The Art of Boat Sales

In the used-car business, lately, there has been an interesting trend that has been confirmed by several dealers and national trade publications. The trend quite simply is there: there are not enough quality used-cars around.

Take the middle-aged couple, for example, that had almost finished paying of their car. Indeed, there were only 14 or 15 payments left in the payment book so the couple was, in the parlance of the auto business very right-side up, owing far less on the vehicle than it was worth. Indeed, they had built quite a bit of equity into the vehicle.

This was one of the reasons the dealership from which they purchased the vehicle was sending them almost monthly sometimes weekly Dear John letters, saying, We'll match or lower your car payment right now as we know your Rollskindardly has 58,500 on the odometer.

They were uncannily accurate in their estimated of the number of miles on the odometer and the car in questions was kept in good shape. So, the dealership shipped over its share of Dear John letters (as in Dear John, We'd like to separate you from more money and we have the inventory to do it. So the couple did try that dealer and they found a fair number of preowned cars sitting there ready for sale, but, for one reason or another the deal did not come off. The couple eventually did by a different model at a dealership far away. And, when they came in to check off the last of the paperwork, their car was still in the yard waiting to be worked on as it was going to become a trade.

That's the problem in the car industry, so how does this translate to the boating industry? It's simple, dealer publications such as the National Auto Dealers Assn, which publishes a marine guide to used boats, point out that there is a dearth of good, reasonably affordable preowned boats. Indeed, the organization reports almost uniform growth and activity in all segments of the used market during the second quarter.

Consumer interest in preowned boats was reported to be up over 50 percent and that makes sense, too, when you think that even a 20-foot aluminum boat today can approach $8,000 with an engine and other accessories. Finding a preowned boat in good shape in the 16-20-foot range that can save $2,000 or more for a buyer can be very frustrating for the buyer on a budget and whose budget just can't be stretched to cover the cost of the new boat. That's when the used boat becomes important and it is definitely a seller's market.

To quote the NADA report on used boats: Analysts attribute the majority of this growth to an increase in consumer demand for used boats, compared to the same time last year the month of June 2011 alone showed a 14 percent increase in unique visitors, as compared to June 2010.

The report frankly stated that consumers are closely watching the trends in NADA guides and almost as soon as they see a relatively late model preowned boat, they are jumping all over the outlet and the result, in the end, is good for the dealer who ends up with a premium-priced used model and for the owner who has turned the boat in on a newer model. Boat dealers are finding it difficult to keep used-boat inventory on their lots, according to the report.

Blue Book on Line, in a posted comment, supporting this statement reports that in July they found that there was a 55 percent year-to-year increase in interest and sales and in early August the year to year interest in preowned boats was about 52 percent. They, too, reported that dealers were having trouble keeping quality boats stocked in their preowned lots.