One of the biggest initial capital expenses of any tour operator or guiding company is the purchase of their fleet of kayaks. A small fleet can typically starts at around $20,000 (10 boats at $2,000 each) and keep going up from there.
To help keep those initial costs down, Seaward Kayaks partnered up with Dominion Lending Centres and developed the Advantage Plus Leasing System. The first of it’s kind in the industry.
Very similar to leasing a car, small business owners will be able to lease a fleet of kayaks directly from Seaward for one fixed monthly cost. When the term of the three year lease is over the owner has the option to either buy the boats outright at a reduced cost or return the kayaks to Seaward and renew the lease with a brand new fleet.
To get some more information about the program I contacted Doug Godkin, Director of Marketing and International Sales at Seaward Kayaks.
“Rather than tying up cash flow within the season,” Doug said, “the lease program is based on 1 days rental income per month per kayak leased.”
“Our goal is to offer guiding and rental companies the ability to continue using North American manufactured high quality fiberglassed and thermoformed kayaks. Seaward Kayaks started in the paddle sports industry 25 years ago as a primary supplier to guiding companies and we will always maintain our support and dedication to this area of the sport.”
Like anything in life, there are questions to ask with leasing compared to buying. There are a couple of questions to ask regarding the leasing program. What happens to my kayaks at the end of the lease? Seaward has indicated that at the end of the lease the operator has the ability to purchase the kayaks from the leasing company for a very small residual amount. From there the business owner has the freedom to sell the boats to their customers and generate further revenue for their business. If the operator decides to enter into another lease with a new fleet of kayaks, they can then keep their fleets rotated and new.
I think that the advantage of having a lower initial capital expense will be very appealing to new start-ups but to me the biggest advantage is knowing that as a business owner, you are going to get new boats for your clients after three years of use. I can’t tell you the number of times that I have seen tour operators and paddling schools try to put their clients in worn out and broken boats and hope they won’t notice. They do and that doesn’t win you any points.
More info: Seaward Kayaks
Update [Feb 10, 2012]: Doug Godkin from Seaward sent me this response after posting with an update:
Another advantage to the leasing program is like a business leasing a fleet of automobiles, their payments could be tax deductible as a cost of operations. This is another strong feature of the program as it keeps much more operating capital in the hands of the operator to manage the day to day expenses of their business.
Flickr Photo Credit: Dakiraun Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
For a while now they have been building paddle designs based on the local canoeing tradition. Just looking at them, you would think that they were once hanging over the mantel of the local hunting lodge or the dining hall at a kid’s camp.
Paddlers who want to tap even more into the rich history of canoeing the lakes ofMinnesotawill be interested in their new line of painted paddles. For $35 extra, buyers can have a painted shaft design added to any canoe paddle in the line-up.
Of the four designs available I think my two favourites are the “Dorothy” (named for Dorothy Molter who was the last person to live permanently within the Boundary Waters Canoe Area) and the “Nessmuk”; which is in honour of author George Washington Sears who wrote for Field and Stream in the 1880’s and an early pioneer for lightweight canoeing/camping.
In the world of advertising there is that classic phrase, “You are not selling the steak; you are selling the sizzle.”
The reality is that anybody can make a paddle so the trick is how to figure out what sets you apart from the guy down the street. Nostalgia is very powerful andMinnesotahas a very long traditional canoeing heritage so why not tap into it? If you can do it right you will be successful. Heck, L.L. Bean has been selling their products that way for almost 100 years and look where they are?
Jim Moss from the highly educational Recreational Law Blog posted an internal memo that was sent out to all OEC Instructors. Hopefully it’s not real!
To: All OEC Instructors
From: Nat OEC Program Director
Subject: Training Practices
It has been brought to my attention that during some of the refreshers being held this year, individuals are being injured as a result of two much enthusiasm being projected during practical exercises. This is not acceptable. We need to insure that during the practical exercises, the students demonstrate that they know how to perform the skills but not to the extent that their volunteer patients sustain real life injuries.
A few examples would be:
Don't perform real CPR on a pretend patient
Don't tighten a tourniquet on a pretend patient
Don't apply tension when demonstrating the Posterior SV dislocation reduction on a pretend patient...
You can read the rest of the memo over at the Recreational Law Blog.
Flickr Photo Credit: Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License by las - initially
The canoe and kayak industry is a pretty competitive world. Combine razor thin margins on boats and a small group of people looking to get a new boat and you need to be on your game to get people in the door buying your product.
I just got the monthly newsletter from my friends at White Squall Paddling Centre. They are one of the larger boat dealers here in
The problem is that they are located way out in the sticks. Folks from Toronto need to drive about 2.5h just to get there. Of course that was never a problem when gas was half the price 5 years ago. Now that it costs $37 to drive down the block to get milk, people are not as willing to drive so far.
So how do you tackle the problem? Pay for people’s gas when they purchase a boat. White Squall just announced that for the month of June, they will give you $1 for every 10 kilometres you drive to get to the shop. There is a cap of $100 but at the end of day unless you are driving a massive SUV you pretty much get a full tank of gas out of the deal.
Boat manufactures have also been forced to get creative as well. Jackson Kayak just a tweated that they are celebrating, “Lets Go Boating Month” and offering 10% off all new boats and 20% off blemished models. No word if you need to order direct from them or if it’s available 10% through stores.
If you haven’t heard of Groupon.com then I’m not sure where you have been. The idea behind it is that they offer super deep discounts to local items based on the idea of group purchasing power. It’s a formula that has proven to be highly successful and they are growing by leaps and bounds. CNBC recently called them the fastest growing company ever and were on track to exceed $500 million in revenue for 2010. They feel they have so much potential that they recently turned down a $6 BILLION offer by Google to buy them out.
Back to paddling. If you are the owner of a store, paddling school or outfitter look into Groupon as a hot new method to introduce your product to a new group of people looking for a good deal. Heck, we all know that paddlers are naturally cheap people so Groupon users could all be potential paddlers for sure.
Today for example you can get an intro to kayaking for only $29 compared to the regular price $65. It’s win win. The customer gets an experience they wouldn’t normally participate in for a deal and the business owner gets a whole pile of new customers to show off their wears to. The last time I looked at their page over 180 people had purchased the deal. That's 180 people going to walk through their door that most likely wouldn't have before today.
Finally, I love reading the descriptions for the deal of the day that Groupon always writes to hype up the deal. They are funny, sometimes sarcastic and the sales pitch for this deal is no different.