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I am asking for opinions please of a tentative business idea my partner has.

He has recently retired as a police sergeant and is looking to combine his love and addiction of canals, by offering a service to other narrow boat owners.

He has had a connection to the canal most of his life, going back to his childhood and has owned a narrowboat of his own for nearly 20yrs.

Can you see a requirement/demand where you may require your boat moving for you to a new location, whether temporary or permanent.  We know the problems of wanting to be one place but the car is in another and its such a hassle, going backwards and forwards.

A further service offering, water top up, loo emptying, oil and fuel top ups, coal collection and general cleaning of inside and out.

If there are any other services that you think may be of interest, please let me know.

Thank you

Gill

 

 

Edited by Gilly1

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My first thought would be the insurance implications. Has he investigated this?

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Of course this would be taken care of.  He would  take public liability insurance out and any other required.

The proposal he has will be very professionally done, without the need to charge ridiculous amounts.

 

My partner wants to try and combine his love with a part-time job.

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Gilly,

 

If you Googled, you'll see that there are several companies that have been doing this for a number of years. They always seem to be busy!

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Thank you for this info. I will have a Google. Can you suggest what I put as my search?

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1 hour ago, Gilly1 said:

I am asking for opinions please of a tentative business idea my partner has.

He has recently retired as a police sergeant and is looking to combine his love and addiction of canals, by offering a service to other narrow boat owners.

He has had a connection to the canal most of his life, going back to his childhood and has owned a narrowboat of his own for nearly 20yrs.

Can you see a requirement/demand where you may require your boat moving for you to a new location, whether temporary or permanent.  We know the problems of wanting to be one place but the car is in another and its such a hassle, going backwards and forwards.

A further service offering, water top up, loo emptying, oil and fuel top ups, coal collection and general cleaning of inside and out.

If there are any other services that you think may be of interest, please let me know.

Thank you

Gill

 

 

Hi Gill

 

Plenty of boat movers about already. I think he will have no problem getting work doing basic maintainance though as although there are lectricians, plumbers etc around there are very few and hard come by people who will do what your other arf is envisaging. I would get some flyers printed and walk the towpaths with them and approach some boaty venues and sound them out. If he just wants a bit of seasonal work to keep him from going insane there is tons about boat wise in the summer :cheers:

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1 hour ago, Gilly1 said:

A further service offering, water top up, loo emptying, oil and fuel top ups, coal collection and general cleaning of inside and out

There appears to be a new trend for concierge services,  which go outside the traditional meaning of the word, basically they are pa's or general dogsbodies for hire. Why not consider a narrowboat owner's concierge service? Basically you could look after and arrange all of the little and sometimes larger jobs that busy owners can't get the time off to do. 

Many possibilities including arranging boat movement through existing services, being on site when work is undertaken, tidying up boat prior to sale, preparing boats ready to receive overseas owners, boat siting whilst owners are away and the other services you have listed. 

Many scenarios where this may be useful. 

N.b I wouldn't be part of your target demographic though, far to poor. 

Eta was going to register NCS Ltd name and sell it to you for vast amounts of money but find it is  already taken, another master plan down the drain. 

Edited by reg

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There are a few professional boat movers on here already, but you often read of a new owner who has to move the boat and want someone to hold their hand for a bit until they gain confidence. and as the previous post I think there is a lot you could do without any competition.

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Maybe put a notice up in a local marina. I often thought a boat valetting service would be viable. I hate washing and waxing my 60'  but thats only because age makes my back n shoulder ache for days after. But i,m sure within a full marina there would be some part time boaters would love to turn up and find her gleaming from stem to stern and pay maybe £50 for it.

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4 minutes ago, Irob said:

Maybe put a notice up in a local marina. I often thought a boat valetting service would be viable. I hate washing and waxing my 60'  but thats only because age makes my back n shoulder ache for days after. But i,m sure within a full marina there would be some part time boaters would love to turn up and find her gleaming from stem to stern and pay maybe £50 for it.

£50 for a minimum of 8 hours hard graft!? I paid £140 to have a 70 footer washed and waxed, he did it in around 2.5hrs and it looked orrible!

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Thank you all for such positive replies.  What you are all proposing are the things we are considering.

He just wants to hangout on the canal and earn a bit of money at the same time..:captain:

6 minutes ago, Markinaboat said:

£50 for a minimum of 8 hours hard graft!? I paid £140 to have a 70 footer washed and waxed, he did it in around 2.5hrs and it looked orrible!

My partner is not after earning megabucks.  His priority is hanging about canals and topping up his police pension.

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5 minutes ago, Gilly1 said:

 

Thank you all for such positive replies.  What you are all proposing are the things we are considering.

He just wants to hangout on the canal and earn a bit of money at the same time

 

Here as a bit of guff I've just found

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/37930

It looks like you can make of the job what you want and set rates on a per job basis. If your desire is to make top up money and enjoy the canals then I'm sure a reasonable rate would get you work.

If you want to get rich then go for the $125/hr but you would need to target the yacht owners for that and everyone knows there no fun (tin hat donned) 

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38 minutes ago, Markinaboat said:

£50 for a minimum of 8 hours hard graft!? I paid £140 to have a 70 footer washed and waxed, he did it in around 2.5hrs and it looked orrible!

Polish guys in sainsbury,s near me charge £10 per car. I reccon my 60' is about 5 cars worth when i clean it, it feels like i,ve done 5 cars anyway. So £50 seems ok.  I suppose thats why the Poles didnt want to do it and nor the kid sleeping in the shop doorway.  Looks like i just saved myself £50. Time to get the bucket n sponge out. And the horse linament !

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I live on a 70 footer and cleaning and polishing the cabin sides is hard work and takes ages, so much so that it hardly ever gets done. If somebody could do a half decent job at a half decent price I would be very interested, and would be extra keen to pay someone who is retired and interested in canals and boats. Lots of hand car washes have sprung up over the last few years, surprised nobody is doing the same for boats.

...............Dave

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There are indeed a number of people who make a part or full time living out of boat moving, including at least one member of this forum, matty40s. Because they're being paid to do it, they have to be set up as self employed (maybe even as a limited company?) to ensure the taxman doesn't regard them as an employee of the boat owner, and they also have to have their own insurance. My guess is that the going rate on canals is about £100 per day (gross charge to the customer), not to be sneezed at but you won't get rich after deducting your costs, and you'd need to be flexible about your diary and arrange the rest of your life around the work you get.

Then there are some like me who don't own a boat and are happy to help move a boat so they get to go boating for free, typically a week or two at a time or shorter trips if close to home. The deal here is that the owner comes along on the trip, and no money changes hands (I only ask for free accommodation and food) so that I'm covered by the boat's normal insurance, which will cover guests who neither pay (making them customers and you a business, more paperwork) or are paid (paperwork as above). People need crew for various reasons, but often the owner is someone who's just bought a boat and needs someone with the knowledge to help them move it 100 miles or so to where they'll be keeping it, probably teaching them about steering, lock operation etc. along the way. Or an experienced boater who has health problems such as dodgy knees but can steer the boat while I do the physical work of lock operation. Or just someone who'd rather not travel single handed. For someone who has the time to do the trip and is prepared to have a stranger aboard, I'm a lot better value than a professional boat mover.

There may well be a market for a boat concierge service, and I suspect that very much the best (but not only) place for that is London. If someone with a job in central London lives on a boat as a continuous cruiser, they may well struggle to find the time to move the boat about enough and do all the other work you describe, and should be willing to pay good money for someone reliable to do it. It wouldn't surprise me if there were already quite a few people making a living that way, some with the proper paperwork and some not.

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Well, I would advise him to get some real hard graft working the summer season,  find out what is needed and will bring in a high rate per hour [eg gas intallation on boats], he can always take on canal boat movements, but most marinas will have valeting services in place, and will not want random guys wandering about. he marina.

Car valeting is not comparble imho,  just find a locaton where lots of folks drive past, buy a generator and a van. You build up a regular customer base ........... cars get washed every two weeks [so I am informed!]

£15.00 per hour from home to home might just make it pay, but in my experience you soon get fed up workng for moanin' owners who want their boat washed, waxed and polished for £50!

NEVER EVER aim for the lowest priced job: whatever price you first quote is what most folks will remember, so ask them where they are, and work out how long it will take.

 

Edited by LadyG

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7 minutes ago, LadyG said:

................but most marinas will have valeting services in place,

We have used many, many different UK marinas over the years and despite looking hard, and advertising 'wanted boat washer & polisher' not a one has come forward.

Would you be kind enough to list the UK marinas where you have found this service offered ?

In the 'Med' it is a commonly available service with folks fighting each other to get the job.

 

We have now found an 'odd job' man based in one of 'our' marinas who will do pretty much anything at £30 per hour, in 'our' other marina (lumpy water) a young lad who lives aboard and doesn't appear to work has agreed to 'keep an eye' on it, and give it a wash and polish a day or two before we come. Rates not yet agreed.

Edited by Alan de Enfield

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1 hour ago, reg said:

Eta was going to register NCS Ltd name and sell it to you for vast amounts of money but find it is  already taken...

As an aside, I think you’ll find that of any three letter combination. 

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15 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

We have used many, many different UK marinas over the years and despite looking hard, and advertising 'wanted boat washer & polisher' not a one has come forward.

Would you be kind enough to list the UK marinas where you have found this service offered ?

In the 'Med' it is a commonly available service with folks fighting each other to get the job.

 

We have now found an 'odd job' man based in one of 'our' marinas who will do pretty much anything at £30 per hour, in 'our' other marina (lumpy water) a young lad who lives aboard and doesn't appear to work has agreed to 'keep an eye' on it, and give it a wash and polish a day or two before we come. Rates not yet agreed.

Ardrossan,  Largs, Inverkip.

Edited by LadyG

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2 minutes ago, LadyG said:

Ardrossan,  Largs, Inverkip.

I've lived on the cut for almost 10 years now and travelled extensively but don't recall going past any of these marinas. :D

Dave

PS I think I went to a place called Ardrossan many years ago but that was in my VW camper.

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Just now, LadyG said:

Ardrossan,  Largs, Inverkip.

None of which are canal related.

I have spent time in Ardrossan and Largs (in fact purchased a 2nd hand Honda generator from Largs marina 'shop') but it was many years ago, maybe the enterprising Eastern Europeans have moved in now.

Don't have any pictures of either but here is a couple of others from some of our West Coast cruises.

 

image.png.c5199e43c16d2ee5a68ad1b2c6299cb5.png

image.png.4ef17806ebaa498051f03082dd79a167.png

image.png.bae813baec852f9d6dffd9ce0c3e18cc.png

image.png.4617eb9173f0e2bb3c06380dc16bf16b.png

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17 minutes ago, LadyG said:

Ardrossan,  Largs, Inverkip.

But not one of them is on a British canal, they are all salt water marinas, I think the OP said canals

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22 minutes ago, ditchcrawler said:

But not one of them is on a British canal, they are all salt water marinas, I think the OP said canals

Last time I went to Scotland it was closed.

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There are a few boats on the canals, but there are far more dogs. Could you offer any services that would be useful to boater dog owners?  Just wondering, I'm not a dog owner myself.

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