Choosing your dealer
Updated: Sep 19, 2019
The dealer is perhaps the most important decision you make after you have decided to go new. They have three primary responsibilities: 1) help in getting to the purchase contract; 2) commissioning 3) after delivery support.
1) The manufacturer has no interest in you as the buyer. It is totally up to the dealer to get you the right boat, the right configuration at the right price. This requires that the dealer know the product. Far more complicated than you might imagine. What modifications is the manufacturer willing to make? What should you have done at the factory? What by the dealer? What do you supply yourself? Many dealers are very small operations and often new boats are a sideline to other businesses such as brokerage or charter they focus on. We have been lucky historically, but when we started this process our local dealer was not all that familiar with the product and the Company. Although we had to go cross country we went with the largest FP dealer in the world. Sort of the old when “EF Hutton speaks, people listen”. When the largest dealer speaks the factory listens. Josef Buxton, my contact, has gotten rave reviews online. He is quick to respond and is a real problem solver. His “back office” is also incredible. When I send Lauren Miller an email with a question I often get an answer before I hit “send”.
2) Commissioning involves many steps including, but not exclusively getting the boat from the factory to you. For example, can the dealer help with financing, insurance, offshore delivery, taxes and third party introductions. We went with Atlantic Cruising Yachts for one reason: they had the reputation of being great commissioning agents. They have spent lots of time with me prepping for delivery. They are actually responsible for almost $200,000 of the work on the boat from the addition of the teak decks, hardtop bimini to the electronics. They also will test out all the factory systems such as generator, engines, air conditioner and water maker. Their process is thorough. Kenny Krasco is a legend in the industry. I don’t think he will disappoint.
3) So you wave good-bye as you take delivery and things start to break, or you don’t know how to use something, or you forgot. There are folks who are glad you are gone and say good luck. Having a dealer to help is key to happy ownership. The factory has said “good-bye and good riddance” the moment the boat leaves the yard. You are totally dependent on the dealer to be the interface with the factory and all the vendors who contributed to making the boat. Over the years we have scratched boats off our list because of dealers with the reputation of telling you that you are on your own. Some items are warranty claims and I understand the factory hates them and the dealer can’t be a total advocate for you, but a strong dealer can help get to the right answer. More importantly, whether it is a warranty claim or not, getting it fixed is priority one. While I don’t have experience with ACY or FP yet, I have confidence it will go well. I’ve had such good luck in the past I have to believe it will continue.