Are you uncertain about whether you should get used or brand-new watersport equipment for your rental business? Tune in to find about the pros and cons of both!
Hey everyone and welcome to the Weekly Wave Podcast presented by WaveRez. My name is Greg Fisher and today we’ll be talking about the differences between buying new or used equipment for your business.
When I started my first watersport business, I chose to go with all used equipment for many reasons. First off, I was new to watersports, and I was hesitant to go all-in on new equipment when I didn’t know how well I'd perform in the first year. If the business didn’t perform as expected, I could cut my losses and walk away with minimal financial loss. If you purchase used equipment from other rental companies that have kept good maintenance logs, it could be a great deal. Most rental companies are very good at maintaining and winterizing their equipment so it might last longer compared to private owners. For non-motorized equipment, finding used equipment is a great way to get started, and the shelf life on kayaks and paddleboards is very good if they are well maintained.
Used equipment also comes with many challenges. It wasn’t more than 3 months after opening my business that two of my seven used waverunners broke down, and I didn’t have a mechanic available to work on them for several weeks. This was right in the middle of our peak tourist season so thousands of dollars in revenue was lost. In fact, the revenue that was lost could have easily purchased at least one or two brand new waverunners. It’s unlikely when you buy a used waverunner that the warranty is still valid since most expire after 2 years. But even if you have the opportunity to utilize the warranty and get it fixed, you might still miss several weeks before the equipment is fixed. If I were to do it all over again, I might have still purchased used equipment, but I’d buy a few extra in case of repairs. The tourist season can be short in most destinations, so don’t let a small investment prevent you from generating significant revenue.
For those that have access to more capital during startup, it might be best to look into purchasing new equipment. There are many benefits including a warranty, longer run-time, less maintenance, and better fuel efficiency. It’s also a perk to sell to your customers that you offer new equipment. Newer equipment is often safer, and this is something your customers will care about. Many of the most successful operators will rotate their equipment where every 2 or 3 years once the warranty runs out. For those who own larger vessels, this rule doesn’t apply, but you should have a plan to replace or rebuild your engines as instructed by the manufacturer.
In my own experience, new equipment will not only make you more money, but also reduce your expenses. My customers loved coming back with us because they were getting to ride the latest waverunner models, and that was a big selling point with our brand. I understand not every new operator will have the capital to purchase new equipment, but I highly recommend it. If you’re going to purchase used equipment, make sure to have a great relationship with a mechanic nearby that can get your equipment back up and running quickly. Or better yet, check out youtube for tutorials so you can make some of these repairs yourself, or at least figure out how to diagnose the issues. I was fortunate enough to have a few employees on staff that had experience with waverunner engines and fiberglass repair, and this gave me a small advantage.
I hope this information provides some insight when deciding whether or not you should purchase new or used equipment. There is not a right or wrong answer here, and you’ll have to decide what’s best for your business.
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