Thursday, 5 July 2012

The Big One (14-5)

Thursday 5th July 2012

Gas Street Basin. Shepcote Street Bridge.

A much better day, sunshine combined with an afternoon of watching tennis. Albeit with the volume turned down because of the annoying "Whooo" each time one of the players hit the ball. There were times when it felt quite warm in the sun. However more rain is the prediction for tomorrow. With estimates of up to a months worth of rain over the weekend.

We went out again for a meal in Birmingham. This time it was to a Chinese restaurant in Chinatown. The food was wonderful and from previous experience we knew that portion control was not an option. I tend not to be a city person my preferences being for small country community canal side places to eat. Birmingham and its cosmopolitan pick-n-mix is growing on me!

I have always thought that the cost of a cratch or pram cover did not seem to reflect real value for money when looking at various examples from some suppliers. I was always a bit sceptical about how they came up with the significant charges for their services. I know, it's supposed to be market forces. I have also heard all the other euphemisms that get trotted out. 

However, generally I believe that you only get what you pay for. Often the high price is reflected in the quality craftsmanship and materials.

We have been looking at a number of examples of the different cratch and pram covers made by a number of suppliers. There were one or two suppliers that we ruled out and one or two that made it onto our short list of possible suppliers. Today, Rosie was measured up for a new front cratch cover. The "A" frame was completed way back in February but we have only just gotten around to having a cover made. 

I had a long chat about how things were going in the business down turn with the cratch supplier. However, it seems that business is good but the weather is not helping. Boat cratch and pram covers are only one of a number of bespoke items he makes. (he also does bespoke replacement covers for soft-top cars

Then the conversation turned around to marina owners who apparently don't actually like him turning up on site.  Because they have a business arrangement with their own tame cratch supplier and act as the "middle man" for a not insignificant fee. Alternatively they expect a site owners fee of between 10% and 25% of his charge to be added to the bill. So now he prefer's to conduct his measuring and fitting business on the various public visitor moorings dotted around the country. 

We chose our supplier after we previously had a long discussion on the phone about our requirements and the type of materials, plus colour and layout. We have already seen a number of examples of his work and have been suitably impressed by the quality. We have also had some personal recommendations from his satisfied customers. This led us to decide that he was the supplier for us.

I think I now know why some of the cratch and pram cover suppliers charge so much. When their overheads on a job come with a marina top loading of 25% just to come on site.

There are some marinas who are happy to see him come on site and do not make any objections or make any charge. They also give personal recommendations about his work and hand out his business cards. It seems that they look upon what he does as an additional service that helps to keep their customer base happy. He reciprocates by giving personal recommendation based on his experience. 

This Weeks Solar Panel Data.
Average 16.8 Ah per day  High 24Ah Low 5Ah

Daily Total
Miles: 0.0
Locks: 0
Swing/Lift Bridges: 0
Tunnels: 0
Pump Outs: 0
Engine Hours: 0.0
Diesel: 0

Accumulated Totals
Miles: 970.4
Locks: 722
Swing / Lift Bridges: 119
Tunnels: 9
Pump Outs: 11
Engine Hours: 2250.3
Diesel: 40L (49.57)


1 comment:

  1. Mike, I know you have to pay more, but make sure it's marine grade material with stainless steel supports like ours. Oh & go for the proper fasteners not poppers & big thick heavy duty zips!

    We've seen that plastic stuff on other boats, it doesn't weather very well, goes thin & eventually splits.

    Like you said, you gets what ya pays for.

    Our lux con still looks as new as the day it was built.



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