In a world that demands convenience at every turn, marine service technicians are taking repair to the customers and their boats, instead of requiring the boats come to them. Nearly 40 percent of Top 100 Dealers offered mobile service to their customers in 2007, compared with only a handful in 2005.
Customers are willing to pay a premium to have someone travel to their boat rather than taking time out of their day to drop a boat off for service or pick it up afterward.
Slalom Shop Boats & Yachts (Ranked 5) has gradually built up its mobile service operation so that now the service department operates more than half the time at dockside. The Lewisville, Texas-based company has 11 mobile service and delivery trucks, and each of its four senior techs has a mobile service vehicle to handle away-from-the-shop repairs. At least two or three of its technicians are on the road every day.
“We service a dozen area lakes from one to three hours away,” said Darrell Wilson, owner. “We offer the same service dockside for the customer that does not buy a trailer or buys a yacht that is unable to come to our facility for service.”
Slalom Shop sees mobile service as a given for its customers at slips or boathouses on other lakes and not a burden the dealership has to carry. The amount of off-site service the company does correlates with the size of the boats it services, which include pontoons, runabouts, ski boats and yachts.
An added bonus for Slalom Shop customers is that the dealership offers mobile service free for the first year of ownership as long as the boat is located within its area of primary responsibility.