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Old 02-19-2016, 12:01 PM   #1
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What the heck is wrong with canvas people?

I need a new enclosure and bimini made for our FB. It's a big job, I'm expecting it to be along the lines of five to seven thousand dollars.

Our boat is in Stuart, FL, right next door to Sunset Bay Marina. Stuart is LOADED with boats, it's one of the boating capitols of Florida. There are at least 6 marine canvas guys in a 10 mile radius of our marina.

I've called all six of them at least four times each over a three week period. One of them was professional enough to let me know that he was too busy and couldn't take the job. The rest all say "yeah, I'll get out there tomorrow to take a look and give you an estimate." Not one of them has been on my boat yet.

Is there that much business that they can just ignore a job of this size? Do they not want the work? I haven't told anyone I'm in a hurry, nor have I told them I want it cheap.

Really crappy service.
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Old 02-19-2016, 12:09 PM   #2
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Just a wild guess but it might be they want to be a subcontractor to a marina so they are assured to be paid.
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Old 02-19-2016, 12:13 PM   #3
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Welcome to the marine industry in general. It's not just the canvas guys.
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Old 02-19-2016, 12:31 PM   #4
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Ever thought about doing it yourself?
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Old 02-19-2016, 01:24 PM   #5
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I had the same thing happen last year. I talked to a guy twice and he never showed.
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Old 02-19-2016, 01:28 PM   #6
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Welcome to the marine industry in general. It's not just the canvas guys.
I'm sad to say it's not just the marine industry either.
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Old 02-19-2016, 01:31 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Dougcole View Post
I need a new enclosure and bimini made for our FB. It's a big job, I'm expecting it to be along the lines of five to seven thousand dollars.

Our boat is in Stuart, FL, right next door to Sunset Bay Marina. Stuart is LOADED with boats, it's one of the boating capitols of Florida. There are at least 6 marine canvas guys in a 10 mile radius of our marina.

I've called all six of them at least four times each over a three week period. One of them was professional enough to let me know that he was too busy and couldn't take the job. The rest all say "yeah, I'll get out there tomorrow to take a look and give you an estimate." Not one of them has been on my boat yet.

Is there that much business that they can just ignore a job of this size? Do they not want the work? I haven't told anyone I'm in a hurry, nor have I told them I want it cheap.

Really crappy service.
I have a friend who is a yacht manager in the area and he went through the same thing with canvas guys, even ones he had dealt with many times in the past. They seem to have more business than they can do. I do think as someone else mentioned a lot of them are doing a lot of subcontracting for shipyards and they realize they have a lot of business riding on doing it right and on time, so that's their priority. Still I would have thought someone who manage many boats would have gotten their attention.
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Old 02-19-2016, 01:33 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by River Rat
I'm sad to say it's not just the marine industry either.
The flip side...my son is a successful small electrical contractor. People get POed at him when he says he is too busy; can't handle it. Like he should just hire more people.
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Old 02-19-2016, 02:06 PM   #9
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I don't think canvas people are any different than other small contractors. Not showing up helps you weed out the unreliable ones.
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Old 02-19-2016, 02:10 PM   #10
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Its just not your area. On the Columbia River we have the same problem. The guy I use does great work, but took him all summer to outfit my boat. The guy is extremely busy but when he tries to hire someone they either fail the drug test or want $40 an hour. So it isn't just Florida.


May I suggest visiting some of the shops and talk to them. Try not to impress you want the job done yesterday, rather once you agree on the price, offer to pay half, then discuss a deadline. What happens if he misses the deadline? Some free work, extra work or as I did a "fine" of $50 a day when he misses the deadline. I also got little freebies like flag covers, BBQ and winch covers for free......
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Old 02-19-2016, 02:14 PM   #11
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I'm sorry you're having such trouble getting someone to look at your canvas.

I recently had the opposite experience with a canvas company. Had seagulls try to open clams on top of my bimini. Got a local recommendation, guy showed up the next day. Following week, had new Bimini, fits great. Best part is they use a CAD machine to do their work. He said if I ever need replacement, call him he can ship identical Bimini anywhere, as long as the frame doesn't change I'm good.

They're not all bad, hope you find a good one soon!
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Old 02-19-2016, 02:16 PM   #12
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Quote:
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Ever thought about doing it yourself?

I can sew a little bit, but our FB is huge, crafting a bimini and full enclosure for it is not a job for a first time learning experience.
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Old 02-19-2016, 02:22 PM   #13
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Had a similar experience here in Campbell River, but then I heard about Will at Friendly Bear Fabricators. Excellent - he got back to me in a timely manner, came to the boat and took measurements, and shortly after installed perfectly fitting canvas covers. Highly recommend him.
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Old 02-19-2016, 02:35 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dougcole View Post

Is there that much business that they can just ignore a job of this size? Do they not want the work? I haven't told anyone I'm in a hurry, nor have I told them I want it cheap.

Really crappy service.
Find this to be a common (half-the-time) occurrence.
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Old 02-19-2016, 02:45 PM   #15
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I needed genset work. Major dealer guy broke 3 commitments over 6 weeks w/o call.
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Old 02-19-2016, 02:50 PM   #16
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Not just in boating but how many people know at the end of the season, something needs doing, sleep on it all winter and then want it done when everyone else does?
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Old 02-19-2016, 02:52 PM   #17
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To add to the shipyard/boatyard theory, I had an acquaintance who got frustrated on his canvas, took it to a boatyard, and in less than two weeks, the canvas maker who wouldn't return his call had done it for the yard.
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Old 02-19-2016, 02:58 PM   #18
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Not just in boating but how many people know at the end of the season, something needs doing, sleep on it all winter and then want it done when everyone else does?
Yup, thats why we had a long list of things that needed work, so we took the boat out of the water early November and got right to it. Most things are done and we're looking good for a shakedown trip in a few weeks.
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Old 02-19-2016, 08:35 PM   #19
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I had a major project done last year, winter of 2014/15. Had the water tanks replaced, lots of surgery and barrier coat and bottom paint. I started talking with the marina about it during the middle of 2014 about what I wanted. It was launched in April of 2015 with everything finished except a transducer install the mechanic forgot about, they hauled and installed it while the boat was in the slings, no charge for the haul. Not waiting till a month or so before the season to get your project in the pipeline is the best way to get a major project done.


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Old 02-19-2016, 09:08 PM   #20
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Yeah, Stewart is that busy. I've called for numerous services including canvas, and gotten very slow service, albeit good quality. Same with genset, main engine and fiberglass & paint. If you want quality in Stuart, you're going to have to wait. Indiantown isn't any better. One way around it is to pull your boat and contract to a yard, somebody small but experienced like A&J Boatworks down in Manatee pocket. They have limited yard space and lean on the contractors to keep schedules. The last work I had done there was by G&G Canvas. Took a while but good quality.
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