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The Buyer Journey: Deciding on new builds

Advisors within the new-build sector discuss buyer best practice in terms of choosing a shipyard…

One of the most important considerations for a buyer when deciding on a new build project is which shipyard to choose. While the profile and budget of the project will, in itself, produce a shortlist of viable shipyards, buyers will still be presented with a broad spectrum of expertise and array of specialisms. Price will certainly play a part in dictating where clients can build, but so will factors such as usage, styling, availability and delivery times, level of customisation, and so on.

In short, what the client wants from their boat, how quickly they want it and how focused they are on ‘perfection’ will ultimately guide them to the yard that is most able to meet their brief. “Superyacht owners often prefer a particular shipyard based on either brand recognition or their previous experience,” advises Derek Munro, director of Divergent Yachting. “A full review of all capable shipyards before issuing invitations to tender is paramount.”

Munro adds that the key questions that need to be asked include; Can they offer the correct security (financial, insurance and physical)? Do they have the right team for the yacht project? Do they understand the client’s ultimate goal, ethos and use of the vessel? Do their past projects meet the quality expectation of the client? And, what is the availability to start works and deliver on time? 

Additionally, AJ Anderson, CEO of Wright Maritime, advises that the owner’s representative knows the potential builders well enough that the builders’ specifications can be adopted to meet the owner’s expectations with appropriate technical and aesthetic details to ensure minimum complication of production changes, a.k.a. change orders. “In other words, the final build specification must encompass the owner’s expectations,” he comments. “The build contract will identify the specification as the final arbitrator. The most comprehensive is recommended.”

Jim Eden, president of marine consulting company Northship Inc., agrees. “Leave nothing to chance!” he cautions. “You are building a ‘small floating city’. Improper planning is the number one cause of change orders. ‘Change orders do not benefit the owner or shipyard’ has always been a caveat of mine. The shipyard cannot price a change order with any profit left and make the price seem fair and every owner thinks they are being overcharged by the quote. The reason is simple: change orders disrupt build sequencing and shipyard workers’ schedules.”

Within the recently-published The Superyacht Buyer Report, the chapter entitled ‘Deciding on new builds’ provides detailed accounts from some the market’s foremost new-build experts on how to perfect the customer journey. If you wish to read more from Anderson, Eden and Munro, click here to download your complimentary version of the chapter.

Image: REV Ocean under construction by Guillaume Plisson

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