The cost to sell your boat range from free as a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) project to paying a boat broker a commission.
Boat industry commission rates are about 10% on the sale of a boat. Currently, this fee is more negotiable because boat sales are across borders, sight unseen. This phenomenon means that there may be different services that you pay for other than through a straight commission.
Commissions are lower if, for example, your boat broker is in one country and your boat is in another. You can also negotiate lower fees by doing the viewings yourself.
One of the questions we ask boat sellers here at BASCO, is “Are you interested in doing some of the work yourself in return for a lower commission rate?” In particular, this can include taking photos and videos or doing the viewings. If you are interested in a lower commission on the sale of your boat, then we can work with you.
Exclusive vs Non-Exclusive Listing Agreements
If you choose to list exclusively with a single boat broker, they are more likely to charge a lower commission rate. This is due to knowing their brokerage firm will eventually close the deal and earn the commission. This gives the boat broker more predictability. Therefore, they may agree to negotiate a lower commission rate to entice you to sign for a 6 to 12-month exclusive listing agreement.
Signing a non-exclusive listing means you list with multiple boat brokers. Consequently, this also means that there is a good chance that another boat broker will make the sale. So, there is little incentive for the non-exclusive boat broker to do much work on your sale, other than listing your boat on listing websites. These websites could be global boat listing sites or their own website. But then they sit and wait for a buyer to find the boat online and contact the broker. There is little incentive to put in extra effort over and above the initial matchmaking opportunities, neither is there much incentive to reduce the commission rate.
Are there any other costs or charges apart from the commission?
From a traditional brokerage perspective, generally no. Free to list, sit and wait and cross your fingers. The traditional broker will check their networks, hoping to find a buyer and make a quick and profitable “OMG, that’s Amazing!!!” boat sale. From time to time this happens, and to be fair its exactly what everyone wants, the boat owner and the boat broker. It’s an ideal situation!
In the absence of the easy deal (which is most of the time), some boat brokerages offer more service choices to their boat owner clients. The additional services kick into place when the easy deal isn’t happening. We call this Enhanced Brokerage.
Along with the above, an enhanced brokerage will include additional marketing services. Choosing enhanced marketing from the get-go often includes marketing with drone footage, for example. The broker arranges for these additional services and offers them at a fee. When the value or attractiveness of your boat is high the boat broker might think there is a good chance that your boat will sell quickly. In this case, the boat broker might offer these services free of charge as an incentive to sign an exclusive listing.
Boat dealers typically sell new boats and have agency agreements with manufacturers to represent their new boats in a geographical region. Often, the boat dealer will have boats they own in stock as a stocking dealer. This gives them further buying discounts and higher margins in return. A non-stocking dealer will place an order with the factory once a buyer decides to sign a contract. They pay a higher price for the stock item than a stocking dealer.
Boat brokers typically sell secondhand boats, similar to real estate agents in the housing market. They don’t own the boats and are marketing and selling them on a commission basis for the boat owner.
Different Types of Brokerages
Boat Dealers who have a Brokerage Division
The boats listed for sale in these brokerages are largely listings from existing boat clients who upgraded. Clients who bought a new boat and then the dealer lists their used boat in their firm’s brokerage division. If a buyer is looking for a particular boat, for example a Princess, they can review the Princess dealer’s brokerage pages to find secondhand Princess boat for sale.
Traditional Boat Brokerage Firms
A traditional boat broker has no new boats and only lists secondhand boats for boat owners who want to sell. The boat owners look to a broker and their extended network to find a buyer for their boat. These boat sellers don’t have a buyer in their network, or don’t have the time, confidence, or inclination to sell their boat themselves.
Traditional boat brokers usually operate in a small geographic location. For example, within a city or even at a single marina. In fact, a larger marina may have enough boat sales to keep a small brokerage busy.
As a local business, with little social media footprint, they rely on their physical office at the marina or their website for enquiries.
Agents and Wheeler Dealers
This is a good time to mention self-employed agents or “wheeler dealers” who are in the industry. They are typically individuals who operate on a deal-by-deal basis. Some have been around for a long time and have their own personal network to connect buyers and sellers. Others deal as a side hustle and put themselves into the market on a transaction-by-transaction basis. Unfortunately, many times they are looking for a quick buck. The reputation and business practices of these agents demands due diligence so you are fully aware of who you are dealing with and can manage any risks.
Digital Boat Brokerage Firms
Digital boat brokers solve the pressing problems of both their boat owner clients and boat buyers. Rather than the traditional “sell, sell, sell” of boat dealers and traditional boat brokers, a Digital Boat Brokerage serves their boat owner clients by solving their biggest challenges.
From our years of experience, we’ve identified six common goals boat owners want when it comes to selling their boats:
1. Boat owners want to sell their boats fast and at a good price.
2. They want trusted and reliable boat buyers and boat brokers.
3. Sellers want ease and convenience.
4. They want reliability,
5. Safety of a transaction, and
6. Low transaction costs.
In the virtual world, Digital Boat Brokerages are well established, with a large social following, and broad reach. In addition to their personal networks and relationships they enjoy industry and global connections. These firms may or may not have a physical presence as they operate internationally and across borders. Unlike dealers or local brokers, physical location doesn’t limit digital boat brokers. They run remote teams in addition to local, boots-on-the-ground Senior Boat Advisers.
Beyond the benefits of a Digital Boat Broker’s reach, network, and global connections is their willingness to access potential buyers for your boat. They offer a more comprehensive range of services for boat owners who want to sell their boats from Boat Pricing Advisory and Strategy to Digital Marketing Plans. They also offer a Guaranteed Results Package: such as guaranteed enquires, price feedback and offers.
Specialist Boat Marketing
Boat sellers that have specific goals and objectives or who are looking for guaranteed results should consider signing up for a Specialist Marketing Service provided by a Digital Boat Brokerage. Sellers pay the fees for this service via a monthly subscription, then refunded upon the sale of their boat.
1/ Traditional Boat Brokerage, it’s free to list, operate on high commissions, a sit and wait style, or occasionally an “OMG, that’s Amazing!!!” boat sale may happen. Otherwise, it’s fingers crossed for a sale from enquiries generated from the “Pull” marketing strategy, pulled in from the global boat listing websites. Limited reach, but greater than the network and reach of the boat owner.
2/ Enhanced Brokerage offers lower commissions with paid marketing packages to choose from. Sellers get fees refunded from the eventual sales commission. By using both a “Push and Pull” marketing approach generates enquiries and leads. Digital Boat Brokerage’s use their extended network, reach and social following.
3/ Specialist Marketing Services, offers the lowest commission. The comprehensive service combines the skills of a digital boat broker, a project manager, and a marketing consultant all in one service. This generates maximum enquiries and guaranteed offers/price feedback for your boat for sale in a specified time frame. A “Push, Pull and Promote” marketing strategy and a tailor-made marketing/project plan expedite your boat sale. Sellers pay a monthly fee for the service then offset against the eventual, super low, sales commission. This service maximizes the reach to hundreds of thousands of potentials through paid target marketing.
What it costs to sell your boat and the best way to sell your boat depends upon your goals and objectives, when you want to sell your boat or if you are simply testing the market. Search out a Boat Advisory firm in the first instance to help you understand your options and what may be the best approach for your boat for sale.
About BASCO Boating
We provide a Boat Sale Strategy Session (free of charge) to help you understand the exact three things that you should be doing right now to sell your boat faster at a good price. If you want to find out how to triple your boat enquiries, viewings and offers in 90 days, click HERE to make a time to Zoom.
BASCO is the most reliable and effective boating platform in Asia-Pacific. We strive to address issues faced by the boating community in the traditional boat brokerage by investing our time to understand our clients and their needs so as to provide accurate information and present our best practices to help them achieve their innermost dreams about life at sea.
BASCO consists of 3 divisions, BASCO Connect, BASCO Advise and BASCO Trade.
Here’s the services we provide
1/ We educate boat deciders/searchers about boating and boat buying
2/ We help buyers buy boats
3/ We help boat owners sell and maintain their boats and
4/ We help boat service providers get more work and grow their businesses.
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