Making Sound Waves
If you’re a mobile electronics retailer you better move those spring or summer vacation plans to the fall. Even though the weather is still lousy in most parts of the country, dealers tell us the kids are already lining up at the installation bays for the latest and loudest sound systems (the better to hear the beat over the engine while wakeboarding), while Mr. Deep Pockets has designs on the latest and fullest home entertainment system to update that little yacht he has floating over at the mariner. The time is here for all mobile dealers to make a little extra space in the inventory room for marine audio and entertainment systems.
Most boat builders are clearly skimping when it comes to factory-installed audio systems; they might get the head unit right, but charge exorbitant amounts for mundane gear. Customers can always do better in the aftermarket but it is up to you to convey this message. Most consumers are unaware a custom car audio shop can also work on boats.
Without a doubt, marine audio can be the most challenging for a shop owner because so few customers can be coerced to trailer their boat to the shop for the installation. This means losing a couple of your good installers for a day when they are working in the marina, lake, or customer’s driveway. Moreover, you need at least one person on staff familiar with the pitfalls of boat installations. There are no common grounds—everything has to be run back to the battery, unlike an automobile where a ground can be found virtually anywhere there is metal—and fiberglass bulkheads can be tricky, not to mention itchy, for the installer. Despite those hurdles, the profit margins can be enormous.