Put it in writing

Atwood Lake Boats has offered services related to pontoon boat service and storage for years, but business soared after the company put together a rate sheet that has become part of the sales process.

“We make it as easy as possible for people to own a boat,” says Brian Valot, owner and president at Mineral City, Ohio-based Atwood Lake Boats, which has two full-service locations and two concessionaire locations. The company is the largest pontoon boat dealer in Ohio and handles about 800 launch and haul-out orders a year. The company had been offering a number of winterizing and storage services on an a la carte basis, but Valot hit upon the package idea about two years ago “because we wanted to convince our customers to do more with us.”

The pontoon service package includes taking the boat out of the water, acid washing the pontoons, winterizing the motor, shrink wrapping the boat, servicing the pontoon the following spring and free hauling to the company’s lake cottage. The more expensive storage package includes all of the above, replacing hauling to the lake cottage with outside storage.

In the first year, 11 customers chose the service package, and 136 opted for the storage package. Last year, 65 took the service package and 249 chose the storage package. Owners of nearly half the boats Atwood handles choose one of the packages, which saves customers about 10 percent over the per-piece rates.

Selling the packages starts during the boat-selling process. A rate sheet is included in the documentation that goes to each new boat owner. They are also mentioned during the boat’s on-the-water demonstration.

“We sincerely feel that the easier we can make the boating experience, the greater the comfort level the customer will have. It’s a no-brainer,” Valot says of the rate sheet. “Our people spend more money with us now because they don’t have to worry about taking care of their boat. They just love it.”

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