Will You Be Overcharged When You Work On A Superyacht?
It is a large demand for provisioning, outfitting and supplying superyachts. Ultra quality products and services are essential for the owners of superyachts and the people working on them.
Superyachts often enjoy very generous departmental budgets to help ensure that only the best products and services are used by crew.
But are Marine businesses overcharging yachts for these premium products and services?
"Claire", is a Chief Stewardess working on a superyacht based in the Med "I think that service providers for yachts have taken advantage of two key things when it comes to yachting - the inflated budgets that many yachts enjoy and the often small window of time that crew are given to provision a yacht, obtain a luxury service for guests, and acquire very specific items," she says.
But a 2nd Officer of a well-known superyacht believes that it's because of the short notice that justifies suppliers asking for premium prices.
"Yachts will very often arrive in a port requiring some carpentry or steel work, for example, and they need that work done immediately because the owner or charter guests are due to arrive within days", he continued, "under these circumstances the service provider can charge above the rate that say a commercial vessel would pay because they would have booked the work in advance."
However, Bennett-Pearce says that some yachts are overcharged, simply because the product or service is targeted at the maritime industry. "Engineering spare parts are a classic example, yes they are precision engineered, but more so than that of a car? The answer is most often no, but you'll pay through the nose because it's got 'marine' stamped on it."
However, in some instances the mind can only wonder at the circumstances surrounding prices being charged to superyachts and the people working on superyachts.
Trust is the delivery of expectation and sometimes, as in this example, crew expectations are simply not met. Claire reveals an odd situation she came across while out looking for supplies at a shopping mall in Nice, and wearing her Stewardess uniform.
"Having picked up half a dozen decorative pieces, a couple of tissue boxes, some small place mats and eight small to medium sized teak effect baskets, we found that the bill was well over €2,000", she continued, "Hardly any of the items were clearly marked with the price and I wasn't even shown the total before my card was put through the payment system!"
"After my initial shock I started to argue about the cost of the items and then endured a farcical situation where for half an hour after I repeatedly said no to the price she was charging; she would then reduce the price by a fraction until she was prepared to give me the baskets for €50 instead of €150," says Claire.
Claire puts this situation down to the fact that she was wearing crew uniform. "Had I walked in on my own not looking exactly like a Stewardess, would I have been taken advantage of in this manner? Probably not.
The trouble was that I needed those baskets because they fitted perfectly, were in keeping with the interior décor, and were an answer to a storage conundrum but if the price can be reduced so dramatically under pressure from me, why were they so expensive in the first place?"
However, someone might have reasoned that in comparison to what is spent overall in a yacht's budget that is a comparatively small amount for things you need to make the interior of a yacht "work". Claire summed it up by saying, "If you think it is too expensive, it probably is."
So when is it appropriate to pay a bit more than market rates?
One determining factor is quality of service.
Bennett-Pearce agrees that quality of service is not something to be taken lightly. "If what I was purchasing directly affected the safety of the vessel or if it was something that affected the owner's trip in a negative way, then I would be prepared to pay a higher fee on condition that quality of service was not affected and that the job could be done within our time constraints," he says.
"On one occasion, we had a life raft serviced in Sri Lanka, only to discover at the next annual service it had been filled with old car tyres and the raft stolen.
There are more companies today, offering products and services to the megayacht industry than at any other point in its history and this trend can only benefit crew in the long term as fighting the competitive game on products and services is most likely to lead to "lowest price" scenarios for the industry.
With the apparent myriad of choices now available to crew working on superyachts, it's important to remember that the price you pay will be dependent upon the circumstances at the time, the alternatives available to you, the perceived risk and your level of urgency.
Sourcing a "fair deal" has never been easier than it is today but no matter what you are trying to producer, remember this: The true value of any product is the price you pay for it.
Former superyacht deckhand, author and founder of The Superyacht Access Club: a website dedicated to showing you how to realize your dream of working on superyachts. Get our *free* insider guidebook by visiting =>