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-   -   Promo/demo driver? (http://www.wakeworld.com/forum/showthread.php?t=796840)

tomk 02-04-2013 8:56 AM

Promo/demo driver?
So I have the opportunity to become a demo driver for a local dealer, I would by the boat on a loan at their cost with the idea that I would sell it at the end of the year hopefully with their help for a small profit. Has anyone done this, how did it work out, seems like a good idea but wondering about selling the boat and the luck I would have making any $. Maybe I am not quite understanding the program...

boardman74 02-04-2013 11:44 AM

I guess I don't totally understand. So you have to buy the boat and then I am assuming do their bidding with the boat. As in take people out, demo ride, do all their shows demo's etc. I am not sure what actual cost is and if that would translate into a profit. Boats depreciate pretty significantly the first year and if you only make a few payments your not going to knock the principle down much. Plus the boat is going to have more damage and wear as you will have a bunch of people who don't know better or don't care as much as you as it's just a demo boat to them.

Plus then you need to price your time and resources. Are they going to pay you a wage while you are demoing. Are they paying for your gas. If you own the boat you better have insurance for all the people you are taking out and do you need the coast guard 6 pack license, as you really will be a vessel for hire at that point. If you own the boat your really a contractor. Do you need a business license? There is a lot of liability that is going to accompany this. I might suggest consulting a lawyer also.

I know a couple of the dealers up here do that, but they "loan" the boats. They don't have the people buy them. Those boats also get ALOT of hours. I looked into buying one and it had about 2x's the normal hours. The person gets to use it, but it needs to be on the water always ready to demo.

May not be terrible if you want a new boat every year. But I think you will earn it and then some. If you like to ride it's not a good idea for you. Most of the demo's will happen on weekends and ruin your riding time. I guess it all depends on what they expect out of you and how they are going to compensate you. If you have to cover your own gas and expenses you could lose money fast. Customers don't pay for demo's normally.

psudy 02-04-2013 11:50 AM

What happens if you can't sell the boat for whats owed?

behindtheboat 02-04-2013 12:01 PM

This has been done and common in the wateski part of the industry for years, but has really slowed down on participation from all sides. It's really about the need for you to have a new boat, that you take care of it and keep it pristine, and you can re-sell it. The main problem is when you are all set on next year's new one, but you're still sitting on last years promo. Also, the fact of going into this as a "small profit" opportunity is what ruined this opportunity for many. Whether it happens or is true or not, don't go in with the expectation or someone giving you that expectation. That mindset and thought put the wrong people in the position doing promo's, and one bad year and they were done. It should be a two way working relationship, you get a good deal on the boat and likely a new every year or 2 years, and the dealer has a used boat at good value that can be used for competitoins, demos, etc. Not that it isn't worth it, but if you're just doing it to get into a new boat, it can backfire pretty easily and you're stuck with a boat, and the expectation of getting another.

boardman74 02-04-2013 12:04 PM

Thats a good question. Are they going to guarantee a buyback? I see your from MN. What dealer is it offering this.

wakebrdr94 02-04-2013 12:05 PM

I had a buddy who did this. He'd get a boat at cost, and all he needed to do was when he's out on the water, show the boat. New boats generally attract attention anyways. If some one wants to check out, show them the boat, give a pull, whatever. Give him the dealers card, and be on his way. He didn't need to leave his home lake or do anything special other than show up for a photo shoot once in awhile. At the end of the year or season, he'd sell the boat vs storing it. Generally would make a small profit on it, but the money made in profit would help pay the taxes on the next boat purchased in this fashion. In theory you'll be ponying up a couple grand grand every to upgrade to a new boat. If you have the cash to do so it's worth it. It's not something I would want to do carrying a loan, you'd really like the first boat paid off, then go from there. Some years he'd make enough to cover the cost of the new boat taxes included, some not. But If you can get an address and have it registered in a state like MT where there is no sales tax, then you'd pretty much come out on top every year. But as others have said, you still need to sell it. Usually the dealer helped him sell it

boardman74 02-04-2013 12:29 PM

If thats the deal, then why not. Show the boat off, smile shake a few hands and pimp your dealer for a cheap boat. I'd be in for sure. I am going to suspect they will want alot more out of you than that, especially when you are titling the thread demo driver. Also consider the hit boats here in Minnesota take in the fall trying to sell. You might end up waiting till spring to sell and then your making payments all winter while your storing the boat.

tuneman 02-04-2013 1:34 PM

Tom, look into what the monthly payments will be and make certain that you can afford to hold the boat over the winter. If you can't, don't do it. Also, I guarantee that you won't make any profit, especially the first year since you'll need to cover the sales taxes.

If you sell the boat back thru the dealer, you'll only need to pay sales tax on the difference for the next boat. You may want to get something in writing with the dealer, as far as how they'll work with you to sell at the end on the season.

Also, have the dealer beat up on the manufacturer to get you a smoking deal. After all, you'll be using it in the water ski shows and that's HUGE advertising for them. Heck, I bet they'd just let you use a boat for shows.

tomk 02-04-2013 7:25 PM

Thanks for all the info so far, not 100% sure on all the details yet, I will keep you posted, once I find out more I will update,.

My main concern is the selling the boat part hopefully there are a few people out there that have done this and have experiences both ways that can weight in. Planning on talking to the dealer this week so I will find out more then

tuneman 02-05-2013 7:11 AM

Selling does take a bit of time, especially in this economy. One bit of advice is to list the boat for sale as soon as you get it. List it as a demo boat to be delivered to the buyer near the end of the season.

PM Iron Jay and ask him about his deal with Marine Max.

cwkoch 02-05-2013 8:06 AM

What boat are you looking at Tom?

ironj32 02-05-2013 10:03 AM

The ease and resale on it is going to be fairly dependent on what model of boat it is....probably the same thing that Charlie is illuding to.

simplej 02-05-2013 10:09 AM

pay cash if you can and make them buy the boat back in trade at a set amount. they get their money and advertising and you're guaranteed a new boat for short money in the spring. you dont wanna be stuck with payments on a boat you cant unload because its been used and abused by eager demo's.
i would rather lose 2-3 grand a year on a new boat then be stuck with a boat and having to unload, risking interest, payments, and losing more money to sell it.

chattwake 02-05-2013 10:30 AM

You need to pay close attention to resale in your area. There are tricks to ordering a boat a certain way, which allows you to save a few thousand dollars on the front end, which helps you break even at the end of the season. Your dealer should understand this. It boils down to which options are overpriced (like factory stereo components), which options are must haves (like the perferred motor size), etc. Also, the more neutral you can keep the boat, the better. Not everyone wants a lime green boat, or a jamican flag colored boat, etc.

If you are responsible for buying the boat, then I'd want to have a very clear understanding with the dealer as to what your responsibilties are relative to using the boat, how many hours will be put on the boat, what happens if the boat is damaged during a promo event (who pays for the repair), etc.

jbird 02-05-2013 10:51 AM

It's more of a ploy to help the dealer, then it is to help you...Is it worth your time?

bjames 02-05-2013 3:18 PM

To me it seems like a ploy for the dealer to sell you a boat and have you bring in business. Anywere you buy a boat, the dealer thinks he giving you a screaming deal. Today invoice price (at least on automobiles) are not much lower than what anyone would pay.

My understanding of a 'demo' vehical is that the dealer 'loans' you the vehical and pays for all maintenance/repair. The gas you would pay yourself. Once your done with it, you give it back to the dealer.

In this case it sounds like the dealer has found a creative way to sell a boat.

cwb4me 02-05-2013 4:15 PM

Most boats have a 30 to 35% margin,depending on the options.

wakebrdr94 02-05-2013 4:35 PM

There are a few things that can make this a win, win deal for both parties. For the dealer, he sells you a boat at a smoking deal, get free advertising, gets a satisfied customer out there pushing his product, with no liability should something happen to the boat. It would be crazy as a dealer to "loan" a boat to a non employee. Can you imagine loaning a 100k boat and it get destroyed on a fwy or lake and people die? From a dealers stand point, I'd rather give you a good deal on the boat and get the same benefits. Like I said my buddy did it, but he had a good relationship with the dealer. Dealer would post the boat on their website toward the end of the season, and help him sell it. The boat was one of the big three, so it is not a hard sell at the end of the season. Although, sometimes he does sit on it until the start of the next season as that is when boats tend to sell better. He gets a new boat every year and the cost for him is minimal. Has chatt said, there are ways to save on it. How well do you trust your dealer?

boardman74 02-05-2013 4:36 PM

If nothing else may be a way to get a great deal on a boat, if you are in the market. If you aren't or can't afford it then probably not. I assume the dealer is going to want you to take their top of the line boat. So even if there is 30% margin your still looking at spending 70K+. Unless your putting a big chunk down that translates into a pretty size able payment.

Also something you may want to consider....what is this dealer selling other people boats for? If he sells you a boat at say 30% off and sells everyone else for MSRP(100%) then your good. But and it's a big but, if they are selling everyone else boats at say 22-25% off MSRP and you get it for 30%, not much difference and you will never catch up in a year. Unless you are going to sell it somewhere else in the country.

Like others said its going to be alot of work. You will earn it for sure. Like I said above if your in the market anyway and it's the boat you wanted, then its probably a win-win. If you weren't or don't have the cash to tie up to probably break even at best, I think you will be sorry in the end.

boardman74 02-05-2013 4:41 PM

Like Dave is getting at, your not going to make much if any. You may break even and just pay tax to get a new boat. But you are paying each year to get another one. Didn't say putting cash in your pocket and get another one.

I don't see anyway your going to make money. You will be making a payment to have a new boat just like the rest of us. Just might be a little smaller payment!!

tomk 02-06-2013 11:17 AM

wow, what a great response from everyone! I have always heard of people doing this but never really had the chance until now, I am excited about the idea but still a little leery, this thread has helped answer alot of the i wonders

wakebrdr94 02-06-2013 2:40 PM

Good to see censorship is still alive and well

boardman74 02-06-2013 3:17 PM

You saw that too, huh dave?????

andrew_moreton 02-06-2013 3:34 PM


Shoot me an email if you have any other questions. A lot of my experiences have been shared above, but I did something very similar this year and just sold my 2012 boat.


wakebrdr94 02-06-2013 9:11 PM

I don't see what the big deal was with that dude posting the formula of how his former employer (who is out of business) prices their boats. Any idiot can use google these days to get an invoice price, even for boats. I did a quick serch a minute ago and found a site. Let's say cost was 60k on a 80k boat. Big deal, that doesn't mean they have to sell it to you at that. It's like going to buy a car, some people get better deals than others because either they can negotiate, or the dealer does enough volume to sell a little cheaper than some other dealers. Just lame sometimes what this site does

polarbill 02-06-2013 9:43 PM

Dave, I told Dave to take it down. I probably shouldn't have posted it and even though I am not sure it matters too much since the dealer is now out of business I assume other dealers might not want everybody to know how a lot of dealerships price their boats. It just wasn't worth it.

wakebrdr94 02-06-2013 10:50 PM

If it was by your request, then I'll retract my previous statement

ripr 02-07-2013 6:28 AM

I are my first 'promo' deal in 2003, and will be ordering my '13 soon. I've done this for 10 years and here is my advice:

1-love the BRAND of boat you'll be promo'ing. Establish and maintain a good relationship with them and make sure they are on board with you and the program.

2- work your ass off for the dealer(s). Work boat shows, sell boats on the side, spend time with them, become a valued member of their team.

3- if you can't afford the boat at retail and aren't prepared to sit on it all winter, you have no business in the game.

Unfortunately, there's alot of dealers who try and tell regular customers that they're on the promo them, or they're getting a boat 'at cost' when they really are not. You see this a lot with lesser known brands and new dealers that need to move inventory. Be careful.

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