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6/11 Washdown's Canceled + your response needed

All Thursday Wash downs are canceled for this week.  I apologize for late notice, In the last post I promised I would try once more to hire two qualified staff members and train them the the best of my ability. I broke that promise by hiring and training four that have all to date abandoned the position. There is no feasible way to washdown the 23 requested boats myself on top of maintaining all operations on the retail end. Washing only a partial amount of the sum general leaves some unhappy clients, not to mention takes me twice the time alone. Despite my Inherent instinct to please you the customer. I am worn thin and have to evaluate if this service is worth the torture it has been. I can most confidently answer that absolutely not. However I am again moved buy a sense of duty on your behalf. This effort speaks for itself with the results you recieve for wash downs. Going the extra mile to spot dry stainless with a hand chamois, open and clean around hatches, anchor lockers, taking the time to remove carpets to washdown the cockpit area from he roof down, sponging behind seats, treating nonskid and soft glass with different product and brushes are all things you the boater may not consider that goes into this dance.

 I call it a dance because it is one. I start as the leader, the male figure that scrubs and dictates the course and direction. the problem is my followers are novice, clumsy, slow to learn. It holds up the entire process and I need to improvise until they become more accustomed and proficient.  It takes time to become aquinted with this job, Time that too many employees care not to take. The last person that quit said he would rather work construction because you "only really work like 3 hours and get paid for 8" even though he was making $6 more per/hr with me. I wish I was exaggerating. I am always blindsided by the way these staff members choose to quit. they all say they love the job, love the pay, love the boats, love the free sunglasses and boat shoes, love the pizza on friday then they fall off the face of the earth on monday never to be heard from again. So why are these guys falling like dead flies out of no where? The answer is simple. It's "work." you have to think for yourself, work as a team, use common sense. These people are not at all overworked. I give breaks and refreshments whenever needed, No one works more than 7 hours a day god forbid you couldn't pay these people $100 cash for one extra hour of there time. And when you do (as I have) you never see them again.  

The reason I share these details is not to vent out frustrations but to educate you the boater on the nature of this job and what you are or were paying for. I would also like to take time to address a far to redundant question I am always asked. I get many calls, some last minute some with lofty request to do what may seem to be rather simple. as follows:

"Hey mitch, could you please get to my boat tomorrow, we have guest coming up and if you could get around the inside too." ... alright, around the inside? the cockpit? 

I know what you mean by inside but what this customer is asking for is a favor. the second I mention surcharge, they might say something like "well just see what you can do, just the bugs around the windows, the carpets, the seats you know"

no. 

I have been extremely generous in doing "touch ups" for to long. This requires a minimum half hour of hustle in a 120º enclosed cockpit trying to find power switches to plug in the vacuum, removing carpets to say out bugs, treating the vinyl ect. all things that I have stressed are strictly weekday extras. we don' have the daylight to waste on an inclusive cockpit detail. the reason we do this separate and charge is because we can take the time to do it RIGHT. The client that ask for these favors is often disappointed in finding the edges of the back seat cushion still was grimy, or "there were waterspots on the inside of the front center panel"

well good news is you didn't have to pay for it, and If I did add a $15 surcharge to cover materials you got more than what you paid for. so next time how about we treat your glass or clear vinyl inside and out during the week that way it stays hydrophobic and looks great all season?  I am always happy to meet with anyone that would like to go over any specifics as always. I don't want anyone disappointed in the service, so its important to know what your paying for and what options you have. 

In conclusion I have a two request to ask. First, If you do have the time please e-mail, or submit a request with details of exactly what your expectations are with each washdown. i.e. in notes you might add, "I would really like the carpets vacuumed each week" or "what can you do to the inside of our clear vinyl" "please fog for insects" and so on. I have not had the time to make contact with everyone on these extras. 

secondly. I would like your feedback concerning my exit. As is stands I have two options. I'm sure by now you can guess my number "1" choice, however I find it weighs to much on me to abandon all services without giving some alternative or option. My assumption is that I will still have many clients willing to take the ride and have their boat washed so I had to address some things prior to my arrival of this statement. 

1. Abolish the service 

2. Continue with new crew without my assistance. 

Unpacking option two: My Supervision throughout the season will be variable but my orientation and initial guidance extremely thorough. I realize this option does not take my name off the service, nor insinuate that my involvement is completely absent. Choosing option two only gives you a fair chance of routine wash downs with no guarantees. I do have Frank Harden apart of our team and I have much faith in his good work, however he has limited time to work as you may see him bussing your tables at the TI club later that night. taking Option two you might expect a bumpy start. maybe a few missed wash downs. Maybe they leave some spots behind ect. Considering both Frank and Carston (new hire) Have experience around water and boats were not off to a bad start.  It is also plausible this final team might knock one out of the park and prevail with success each week. I'm not guaranteeing anything. If your boat misses the list it misses the list, maybe next week. I have been negotiating potential turn overs of the service but considering my margin on wash downs being 17% (last year) It's not an easy sell. With that said Rates will stay the same so I can pay these kids. As stated in the last e-mail I will continue with topside correction and protective coatings. This List is growing by the day and out until the second week of July already. This service is my hands only and for another article so for now I will leave the fate of wash downs in your hands. anyone that would like to jump ship or continue please again respond at your soonest connivence.  Depending on who shows up (pending) I may be able to get to some boats tomorrow if its absolute essential. First call first serve basis. 

Thank you again for your time in reading this and your business. I look forward to your response. 

Mitch

 

 

 

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Insight Detailing and weekly Boatwashing 2015'

Rumors has it Insight better known as Mitch and staff will not be washing down boats this season. Some of you may have heard that said while I was in the process of washing down a boat. So what is it?

It is both yes and no. 

I have strived for years to make this business model operate efficient and effectively and in short it simply makes absolutely no sense to continue. Good news is you can still have your boat washed, bad new is there are absolutely no guarantees and therefore no season long contracts. While it will be necessary to request a weekly block for your washdown we will only honor what we can handle and any scheduled washdown will hold a risk of cancelation.  

Differences and Drawbacks

washdowns  will be performed by two employees that will be properly trained as in years past. Only this season I will only bill per treatment, and will not re-training/re-hiring after the initial two-three initial hired staff. So if a staff member decides to quit then boat washing will be solely responsive to the other employee(s) whom will not be able to effectively complete a thursday friday wash list. This would result in some wash downs being performed earlier in the week. 

There are many predictable and unpredictable variations to how this may work out. It is also possible Insight finds a fine crew to maintain your boats all season long, but if history repeats itself Do not hold your hopes up. Below I will address the reasons of why this is. 

Staff

The subject of all turmoil and grief is hiring and training new staff each season. While some of you may struggle finding good help in your own practice there a few significant twist that make this business model a Chinese finger trap for anyone ambitious enough to pursue it. It is important to note that the majority of qualified applicants for this position are deterred from applying due to the seasonal aspect of the job. Not many people want to re-locate after a short summer season or be burdened with finding another short term job afterwards. Previous staff members will usually find a job that can pay 12 months of the year.  This leaves me fishing in the pond of applicants that generally prefer not working X-months of the year and are quite content drawing unemployment whenever possible. Despite offering housing incentives, extended 7 month season of work, and higher wages to out of state residents with experience. I have yet been able to cast into a better pond for employment. 

Fun Facts from the past 

• 8/10 employees have absolutley no experience around water or boats 

• I pay more than what any applicant has initially request for wages 

• Average employee retention is 4 weeks. 

• Losses and damages from staff to date is $9,880

• 2/68 employees have owned a pair of boat shoes prior to employment. 

• All staff members are provided with uniforms, boat shoes, sunscreen, water and drinks of choice, paid breaks, and staff lunches

• I have had three employees leave during a lunch break never to return... All three immediately qualified for Unemployment benefits   

There are well over a dozen shurhold brushes at the bottom of the st. Lawrence 

• I have never refused any staff menber a break or requested leave of absence. 

• I give raises and bonuses often and despite work performance to boost morel

Staff wages are not garnished for any reason other than purchase of extra boat shoes. damages, call backs, and any overtime are compensated for. 

• I have had more than one staff member leave the position for a job paying wages 20%-40% less than they were making at Insight.  

• I have hired age ranges male and female from age 18-56. 

ect. ect. I mean in no way to undermine or defame previous staff members these are just the facts. and the details are much more alarming. In defense of the lack of experience you must admit Boat detailing is not a common trade know to many resumes. The standard is set high and the learning curb will take even the savviest member a few weeks to have down pat. Without common sense or basic problem solving skills this position is nearly impossible. There are also so many variables to treatment techniques that take so much time to become accustomed with. On top of that these need to be fully understood and balanced with a co-worker, and with such short retention it is often very difficult for boatwasher to find rhythm. Not to mention the model of training changes with each and every boat. Instruction can not be as simple as A-B Top to bottom. Look at a 24' Center counsel and then a 55' motor yacht. where do you start? what do you do when a corner will not drain? who does what and when? I can be even more elaborate to explain timing is of imense importance to a team of boat washers. a few seconds late on a rinse will result in the scrubber re-doing that entire section. Not thoroughly rinsing soap results in a non absorbent and streaky chamois finish, and so on. 

You can begin to see this job requires more than a quick scrub and rinse. It is a complete test of my patience each and every season to coach so many staff members that ultimately hold very little passion, attention to detail, motivation, and to many of witch are quite content with walking off the job on a hot friday and drawing unemployment the rest of the season. 

this job quickly becomes more of a task for me to instill pride, motivation, incentive, and even of fun in this position. I treat all staff with upmost respect and when a 46 year old man can't properly tie a cleat 4 weeks in on the job I kindly show them again as if it was the first day of work. These are not exaggerations, most job training disasters are to embarrassing to share. Yet amongst the chaos I can always look back and smile, I still pat the guy on the back that holds the record for lost brushes. I smiled all last season when my crew would come back to the dock and forget two of our hoses and water filters at tennis island. And of course leave it to the college grads to figure out how to use an entire gallon of wax to wash down a boat. I smiled then because I had accepted that this cycle would never change. I have tried it all, including a per/boat pay structure with incentive. this quickly failed as staff would miraculously complete 13 boats before noon and claim they have been properly washed. only to have 10 furious customers call me back the following day. the other three were away that weekend. Without a solid crew this business dissolves and I have no more time to improvise and correct the process. 

Conclusion 

At this point I hope I have given you some better understanding of some of the difficulties in continuing this business. I see no reason to continue suffering through another season of this. However I realize the importance and value it holds for the entire boating experience in this area. and so I have resolved to offer something over nothing. Money is the last factor in this equation. for anyone that doubts that consider this simple math. Two staff members paid $20 per hr. to wash a 45' boat in 1.5 hours. materials, fuel, insurance, damage and call backs aside I think you will see this service is borderline charity on a good day. and in the event a crew poorly performs on 8 boats and I have to refund an entire workday you can see why this ship has sunk. I terms of service available to you there will be no compromise in expected standards on wash downs and extended service treatments. Again the only thing changing is the billing frequency and the fact that I can no guarantee this will last an entire season. After orientation and training staff will be released to work independently as I also am in charge of all operations to the wake.  Splitting my time between the two has been incredible trying and wearing the past 9 years and It is time to cut the dead weight off. I am working insane hours to get both business up and running so I apologize for any late response's at this point. treatments for protective coatings i.e. compound/polish/sealants will continue as normal it is only the weekly wash downs that have the chance of going extinct at this point. Following this I will be sending this seasons rate forms. It is important you respond stating If you would like your boat done weekly or bi-weekly. This will ensure you are set on a weekly block as in years past. I sincerely appreciate everyone business and cooperation over the years.

 

 

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