While there are some similarities between a car dealership and a boat dealership, you may be surprised at how much they don’t have in common.
Sure, they both have showrooms, shiny new vehicles and salespeople. But with few exceptions, a car purchase comes down to function and price. And even if you wind up getting your automobile serviced at the dealership, it tends to be a fairly anonymous event. Buying a boat, however, could easily be characterized as starting a relationship. And because of that, it’s worth putting a little time into finding the “right one.”
Here are some pointers for narrowing down your choices and settling down with a boat dealer who will be by your side for the long haul.
• Do you feel comfortable? If you’re feeling pressured or stressed or tense in the showroom or at the boat show booth, you may want to keep looking. Anxious excitement is part of the boat-buying experience and should be enjoyed. Those other things, well, who needs them?
• Do their customers rave about them? Good dealers would love for you to meet and talk to their customers. Nobody does a better job of selling a dealership than satisfied customers. Remember, this is a relationship that will last for years. Longtime customers are a sure sign that the dealership appreciates their patronage and support.
• Do they have a busy service department? This one may seem a little counter-intuitive because you want to be first in line. But think about it. Who has more experience solving common issues? Who has a well-staffed, well-trained crew? Who can offer great rates because they are doing volume business? More than likely it’s the busy service bay.
• Do they host events on the water or showroom? Many times a dealer will gather customers of a certain brand for an afternoon of socializing with other owners. Sometimes there’s a parking lot cookout with face-painting for the kids. Other times, they turn their showroom into a movie theater in the middle of winter. There is just something wonderful about mingling with others that share your love for the water.
The point is that your boat-owning experience can be and should be just as exciting, fun and rewarding as your boat-buying experience. Good boat dealers get that. More importantly, good boat dealers go out of their way to make sure that you get that!