A guide to choosing a boat dealer

When trying to find a boat dealer, keep this tips in mind.

Once you've decided that you'd like to purchase a new boat, you're faced with a number of other choices that can feel daunting. One of the most important is finding a boat dealer you can trust to provide you with honest advice, good customer service and timely responses to inquiries. Given that many boat dealers are selling the same models, the choice comes down to which one gives you the best experience.

Trade Only Today, a boating industry magazine, recently provided a guide for readers on how to choose the best boat dealer. Here are some of their best pointers:

  • Do they have a good reputation online? There are tons of sites like Yelp, Angie's List and the Better Business Bureau that you can use to find out if other customers were happy with their service. This is especially the case when it comes to companies that are selling large items like boats and cars.
  • Does the staff of the establishment seem happy to be there? If the salesmen and administrative employees seem content with their jobs and work hard to please you, then you've proba​bly found an establishment you can trust. A company that treats its workers well will almost certainly treat its customers with the same courteousness and respect.
  • How close is the dealer to where you'll be boating? This will be particularly useful given that, if something on the boat breaks, you'll want to bring it to their facility as quickly and easily as possible.
  • Is the facility clean? If the dealer takes care of their premises and makes sure that there are no messes, that everything is uncluttered and there are no physical hazards, then they clearly care about their customers' satisfaction and safety. Ask your dealer if they have received a Marine Five Star Dealer Certification (MFSDC), which indicates they adhere to the highest standards of service and safety.
  • Will the dealer allow you to speak with past customers? Referrals are a great way to find out if the company is a legit​imate dealer, or if they have a history of treating customers poorly. 

It's important to remember that shopping for a boat is like buying a car, house or any other large, valuable possession: It's an experience that will likely take some time, a lot of research, many phone calls and involves disappointment. You'll probably view several different watercraft before you find the right one for your needs. Approach the buying process carefully and ask lots of questions of your salesperson.

If you receive anything less than the best customer service, you owe it to yourself to find another dealer. Depending on the size of the boat you'll be purchasing, you're about to hand them a very large check, so it's important that they recognize that and work to earn your business.

Once you've purchased your boat, you'll want to make sure it is outfitted with the best marine equipment available. If you'd like to see what companies like Garmin, Raymarine and Lowrance have to offer, your best source for this marine equipment is ePal. We carry one of the largest selections of GPS systems, fishfinders, chartplotters, tranducers, radios and other gear that will make your boating trips safer, more relaxing and more fun. On top of having the best prices, we also offer free shipping to the lower 48 states, in addition to flat rate expedited options when you need your equipment more quickly. Browse our site today for the latest deals, and call us at (877) 245-8649 if you have any questions!

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