Posted: July 1, 2012
BoatU.S. offers 10 tips to get repairs done right.BoatU.S. has a Consumer Protection Bureau, so it hears about the disagreements between boaters and repair facilities. Over the years, those disagreements have given the organization the information it needed to create this list of 10 tips for getting repairs done right:
1. A tight budget is OK. It’s even expected these days — just make this clear before the job begins.
2. Write it up or take your chances. Get a written estimate before work begins, and remember that it is based on an approximation of how much the job will cost and that unforeseen problems may arise. Ask the shop to obtain your authorization before proceeding with unforeseen repairs or when work goes beyond the estimated price.
3. Ask for evidence, in the form of old or damaged parts.
4. It’s OK to second guess. If you’re not comfortable with the first estimate, get a second opinion from another mechanic or a marine surveyor.
5. Follow a plan. Once you approve the estimate, a work order should be drawn up. Ask for a target completion date, and write this into the work order.
6. Keep everyone in the loop. Be sure the actual mechanic working on your boat has a copy of your work order when the project begins.
7. Get help with the big stuff. For complex repairs, it’s wise to consult a marine surveyor. Consider having the surveyor serve as a liaison with the repair shop.
8. Know the payment plan. For large jobs, repair shops often require payment at various stages of completion. Verify that each stage is complete before paying.
9. Don’t be hasty. If you are unhappy with the work, do not stop payment on your check after you pay your repair bill. This can be interpreted as intent to defraud the repair shop.
10. Know when to walk. You may not get everything you want, and that’s normal. On the other hand, walk away if you get the feeling a marine repairer isn’t interested in helping you with most of these basic protections that get the job done right. Reputable shops know the importance of customer service.