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.
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.
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.