Boat question - local dealer or BPS showroom?

Dennis in MA

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I've decided on a specific pontoon boat to buy before the season starts. It's a SunTracker, so Bass Pro product. I can buy it in Foxboro or at Captain Whatever's which is about 15 min from the cabin on local roads.

Some things that are giving me pause:

1. I'm looking to put some above-average electronics and trolling items on the boat. At least I think I am. My INKLING is that BPS will know a ton more about this than my local guy. And I'd like to deal with people that have put a bunch of electronics and trolling items in pontoons - not just "yeah, this one works for most people because that's what we sell."

2. I'm also thinking that BPS might be better in knowing the ins-and-outs of getting the boat and trailer registered. I'm thinking this will come in probably some time before Memorial Day. So I suspect the boat registrar whatever and RMV will still be a cluster-bleep. But I could be wrong here too.

3. The drive from Foxboro to Lakeville scares the crap out of me. Lakeville to Lakeville seems a lot easier on my nerves.

4. Obviously the local guy is going to service it going forward. Any concerns there with NOT buying it from him?

5. Pricing is a non-issue. I MIGHT get a cover from the local guy versus BPS. That's it. Tracker Boats doesn't dicker. The price is the price.

6. The local guy isn't well liked in town. Which is funny. Because everyone OUT of town thinks he runs a good business and is helpful. But my neighbors all hate him. LOL. I've had no real issues with him but he's not 100% Mr. Personality.


Any experience and/or thoughts on this??? Am I making too much of #1 and 2???

I bought a boat from the local guy a decade or so ago. I think he filled out all the forms for me and sent me to the whatever and RMV on my own. But it was so long ago I've forgotten. I always felt they used some cheesy wiring on my current trolling motor. I had to replace the whole plug thing in the front. Although I'm plugging and unplugging all the time in the Summer. (I fear trickles pulling all the juice from my battery. Maybe I'm all wet and it's all my fault.)

Thanks for any experience and advice.
 

BlackwaterFence

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Think of the BPS salesperson as you would a car salesman.
If the price is close, I would use the local guy. If you need service unexpected before a big fishing trip, he should remember that you bought from him and do the right thing.
 
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I would put the money in the hands of the local guy. And I put BPS in the category of Lowe’s and Home Depot. Do you fell confident in asking them plumbing or electrical questions? Or even where you can find a specific item?
 

Evtide

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I think you owe it to yourself to at least have 'the talk' with Capt. Bubs. Crazy name, I know, but I've dealt with Hugh and Joe on a professional level for a number of years and don't have a bad thing to say about the operation. Regardless of which way you go, good luck with the new boat.
 

Lone Wolf McQuade

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You may want to ask if an NMEA certified tech will be doing the electronics installation. ( National Marine Electronics Association) They provide courses for the techs to take, and many of the shops I used to deal with would have their techs framed certificates on the wall in the shop.
 

EMTDAD

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I would put the money in the hands of the local guy. And I put BPS in the category of Lowe’s and Home Depot. Do you fell confident in asking them plumbing or electrical questions? Or even where you can find a specific item?

I don't think you realize, but the service guys at BPS are professionals there full time, and have been there servicing boats and ATVs for years. Any of them could walk out of BPS tomorrow and work at any of the local boat shops. They are compensated well and aren't just min wage speedy-lube type guys.

now if your comparing buying at local vs BPS.. that's another story.. OP doesn't have a relationship with local guy. The local guy may not be able to compete on the boat or package price, and he probably knows it. IMHO he shouldn't hold it against you. But if he does a good job and treats you right for service, you'll obviously come back. Maybe even buy a boat there next time if things work out.

it really surprises me how many here would do shitty business dealings or treat potential customers shitty for ridiculous reasons. You never know where that next customer or even a good referral comes from.

3. The drive from Foxboro to Lakeville scares the crap out of me. Lakeville to Lakeville seems a lot easier on my nerves.

495 to Rte 1 is pretty darn easy..
 
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I’ll admit I haven’t dealt with service guys there. So maybe I was a little presumptive in my statement. But it’s a big box type store and they’re not hiring experts for most departments.
 

EMTDAD

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I’ll admit I haven’t dealt with service guys there. So maybe I was a little presumptive in my statement. But it’s a big box type store and they’re not hiring experts for most departments.

there are guys that have been there doing their thing for a long time. "Experts" is a relative statement. Sure, there's not really much to know in apparel or gifts.. but some of the guys in archery, fishing, marine, hunting, and guns know a shitload about their stuff. Not saying everyone knows absolutely everything about everything in their department, and there's always some new people shuffling in, but I'd put some of those guys up against anyone in their respective fields. Sometimes you have to remember that they aren't necessarily limited by their expertise, but by company/store policy.

there's similar types in HD or Lowes.. sure, you could get the guy who knows nothing, or you could get the retired master tradesman who knows more about the subject than you'd ever think. I can assure you, that for the most part, they try to fit the right people in the right department.

I covered for camping one night. Am I an expert outdoorsman.. no.. but I've camped enough that I know what worked for me in my experiences. I shared what I know with people who asked for help. Like there's no way I could ever do archery there.. I might be ok behind the gun counter, but I sure as hell don't know everything. I know shit about fishing other than to throw a worm on a line. However I do know the right person to talk to in each department to get the best knowledge I can, and if I'm snagged to answer a question I don't know the answer to, I call the person who can. I'm not sure what else you can ask. Remember, there's always someone more knowledgeable than you.

I think in general, there's no respect for retail workers. Especially the ones that face the customers. I'm in the back, so I don't really have to deal with a**h***s. People think because you work retail, you're some lesser human, there to be berated, put down, sneered at, to serve them like royalty.. Honestly.. a place like that would be great for an active retired worker with great knowledge.. talk about fun stuff all day.. get good discounts, and get some extra cash to do it.
 

Penniepup1

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Think of the BPS salesperson as you would a car salesman.
If the price is close, I would use the local guy. If you need service unexpected before a big fishing trip, he should remember that you bought from him and do the right thing.
This^^^^^ BPS will sell you crap you won’t need, kinda like undercoating for a new car. Go local, you get into a jam and they are there. BPS sales guy, he won’t remember you after signing the purchase agreement.
 

ccm75

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I've never purchased from them, but I have had good luck with getting my boat serviced at USA Marine on Rte 20 in Worcester.
And they have an nice indoor showroom....
 

whalerman69

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Capt. Bub ain't no Capt. and has the personality of a rock. His son is ok. You are going to pay the same set price either way. The only benefit is the proximity to the lake and if you have a problem with the boat/motor he is right there. With the 9.9 ( ;) ) motor restriction, the Mercury sucks and I had problems with mine right from the start...Good luck
 

Evtide

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I've never purchased from them, but I have had good luck with getting my boat serviced at USA Marine on Rte 20 in Worcester.
And they have an nice indoor showroom....
Another great dealership. Bob and Mark are both customer-oriented and great to work with.
 

JoeA

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I’d also go with the local guy who’s going to be doing the service work on it, especially if you feel the “price is the price”, although I prefer to do my own work on my boat.
I live down the street from Marine USA if driving to Worcester is an option for you, they’re pretty good.
Either way best of luck.
A boat is just a hole in water you keep filling with money 😉
 

AHM

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@one-eyed Jack owned a pontoon boat in NH,
and this thread is useless without his .02¢.

6. The local guy isn't well liked in town. Which is funny. Because everyone OUT of town thinks he runs a good business and is helpful. But my neighbors all hate him. LOL. I've had no real issues with him but he's not 100% Mr. Personality.
You need to make your neighbors elaborate about why they hate him.
Not hearsay - what did he do to them.

Does he pad the bill with fake service?
Does he constantly slip schedule?
Does he forget to put the drain plug back in the pontoon and sink it at the dock?
Does he forget to put new crankcase oil in the engine and roach it?
Does he run into boats with the yard tractor and deny the damage?
Does he do half-assed electronic installations that never work right?
Does he stiff his vendors and staff?

Or does he just charge full market price for sales and service?
 

one-eyed Jack

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@one-eyed Jack owned a pontoon boat in NH,
and this thread is useless without his .02¢.


You need to make your neighbors elaborate about why they hate him.
Not hearsay - what did he do to them.

Does he pad the bill with fake service?
Does he constantly slip schedule?
Does he forget to put the drain plug back in the pontoon and sink it at the dock?
Does he forget to put new crankcase oil in the engine and roach it?
Does he run into boats with the yard tractor and deny the damage?
Does he do half-assed electronic installations that never work right?
Does he stiff his vendors and staff?

Or does he just charge full market price for sales and service?

@one-eyed Jack owned a pontoon boat in NH,
and this thread is useless without his .02¢.


You need to make your neighbors elaborate about why they hate him.
Not hearsay - what did he do to them.

Does he pad the bill with fake service?
Does he constantly slip schedule?
Does he forget to put the drain plug back in the pontoon and sink it at the dock?
Does he forget to put new crankcase oil in the engine and roach it?
Does he run into boats with the yard tractor and deny the damage?
Does he do half-assed electronic installations that never work right?
Does he stiff his vendors and staff?

Or does he just charge full market price for sales and service?
My boat was 28 footer. I/O. I had it for 10 years. Had my own ramp on the property. Did all the service myself. Jack.
 

Dennis in MA

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Major complaints are the dads lack of joy and the prices. But everyone outside of town thinks their prices are fine.

I think the latter is like everyone complaining around here. Lol

my concern is the wiring for my trolling motor was thin. Was it to code? Yes. Was it going to last for many years? Nope.
 

Dennis in MA

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Capt. Bub ain't no Capt. and has the personality of a rock. His son is ok. You are going to pay the same set price either way. The only benefit is the proximity to the lake and if you have a problem with the boat/motor he is right there. With the 9.9 ( ;) ) motor restriction, the Mercury sucks and I had problems with mine right from the start...Good luck
I’ve got a 9.9 Merc on my 14’ Jon. They are a pain. But 90% of my issues is being on the north side of the lake and lots of wave action against the motor itself. Mostly sand in the water intake constantly.
 

AHM

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Did all the service myself. Jack.
This thread is now useless without your price chart.
80e35ac23757b405b8cead9ff36ee692.jpg
 

greencobra

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i think you have all the answers, you just want us to think you're a mere mortal like the rest most of us.
 

moojpg2

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A monkey could install a fish finder and trolling motor on a pontoon destined for local lake use only, regardless of how fancy they are. I wouldn't stress over it, NMEA stuff is what would be followed but again, I wouldn't stress too much over it unless it's a boat you are gonna trailer different places or run in very large bodies of water or go in the ocean with as trolling motors and fish finders are not exactly life critical pieces of equipment. I would buy it locally if you're that nervous about trailering it. If you buy it at Bass Pro and have Bass Pro install the accessories, you should expect to have to trailer it back there to have any issues fixed, at least in the short term or while it's under warranty. Nobody like's fixing someone else's work and I wouldn't expect a local place to troubleshoot Bass Pro's install, it's just not a reasonable thing to do.
 

Dennis in MA

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i think you have all the answers, you just want us to think you're a mere mortal like the rest most of us.

Yeah. I wish. I wandered BPS boat Dept today. No one offeeed any help. They were busy breaking down boxes. I gotta find a time to go see Bub. Im still in a quandary but maybe BPS made my decision for me.
 

Mesatchornug

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Yeah. I wish. I wandered BPS boat Dept today. No one offeeed any help. They were busy breaking down boxes. I gotta find a time to go see Bub. Im still in a quandary but maybe BPS made my decision for me.
As a person who hates being harangued by salespeople, did you try asking anyone for help? If I were the one browsing, I'd say they did right by me in staying out of my way.
 

EMTDAD

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Yeah. I wish. I wandered BPS boat Dept today. No one offeeed any help. They were busy breaking down boxes. I gotta find a time to go see Bub. Im still in a quandary but maybe BPS made my decision for me.

next time you go in, ask for Ira.. tell him Vin referred you. Maybe call first to see if he's working.
 
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