A View from Here

Bill's Sisson's weekly Trade Only blog

Marinas should plan for improvements even in tough times

During a tough economy, many marina owners are reluctant to tackle capital improvement projects. Even if an owner isn’t ready to renovate or expand, owners should consider initiating advanced planning, feasibility studies, and design so that a project will be ready to go when financial standings improve.

This is an especially important time to start the permit approvals process. In many areas, obtaining approvals for a new marina or a major renovation/expansion can take from six months to two or more years. An owner who postpones a necessary renovation until the economy shows signs of improvement may have to wait two or more years before construction can start!

But marina owners who have done the legwork for a renovation or new project will be able to move quickly to construction when they are ready, putting themselves in a strong competitive position. Construction in a depressed economy offers owners the savings of lower fuel costs, surplus materials, and contractor availability. The proactive marina owner may benefit from reduced agency permit backlog at this time as well.

Whether or not a capital improvement is necessary, most marinas could benefit from a detailed examination of their financial position, operations, competitive environment, and marketing strategy. Facilities that aren’t planning major changes and have kept up with maintenance could benefit from an operations audit or pro forma “tune up” to improve revenue generation, reduce expenses, and identify cost-effective improvements that can maximize their attractiveness to patrons.

Now more than ever it is important for marinas to maximize margins and attract new patrons in order to weather these tough financial times.

Greg Kelahan, E.I.
Engineer/Project Manager
Applied Technology & Management
Gainesville, Fla.

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