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Starting a charter business


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Father "Rebel" tells it like it is. It's like any other job. You have to work at it, and I mean work. You won't be going fishing, you'll be going to work.Think hard before you start, and then jump in with both feet.

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QUALIFIER:  Capt. Dane L.(L stands for LONGTIME) Brown of Get-A-Way Charters   IS OLDER   than Capt. Jerry of  REBEL Charters


And when you figure out what you make per Hour at Chartering..... It is VERY Minimal when you actually figure in your True  HOURS into.   Like both  Dane and Justin  said, You have to work Hard at something you love to do




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The hourly wage is definitely not where its at:) I once did a small business plan before I retired from my long term job as I was thinking of chartering. As a requirement of the small business course we had to compute an hourly wage at the end of the process. When I added it all up (expenses) the total hourly wage was $2.76 per hour:lol:

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Have to agree with a lot of what has been said. I'm a retired teacher and guided summers on the SLR for 18 years. Mine was more of a hobby business but I do know it would be tough to depend on only guiding for a year round income.
You certainly would need good business sense and breakdowns can quickly cut profits. I would certainly start out part time, build your clients and see where it takes you.
One other thing, it does become a job. The recreational enjoyment goes away and you look forward to a change from days on the same water. I downsized and now enjoy taking friends and family and can affordably do it with my smaller boat.

Sent from my iPhone using Lake Ontario United

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So you want to make a million Dollars Fishing, Easy, Start with 2 million Dollars….


When I took my Capt course about 10 yrs ago I kept in contact with several of the guys and at this time me and one other guy r still at it.  The other guy only does a few trips here n there and has a full time job.  I also know a few long time capt that either have almost no trips or have sold their boats and moved on.  

  As far as the drinking on boat goes, No hard liquor is allowed, some beer is fine but I've turned away 120 qt coolers that were chuck full of beer.  

  I'm retired so no big pressure with the money, I started as a part time sideline and it got better,  lots of guys doing more trips for sure but keeping the expenses down is huge.  building a client list is huge but not all of them will fish every year so new clients will have to keep coming in.  

   Putting clients on the fish is another ball game, it took me 20 years of playing until I felt confident enough to take strangers out.


Capt. Dave  

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I am not a charter captain or Guide but this is my take on it.


It only takes one government rule change to sink a charter business.  I saw a lot of businesses struggle with the marine fishery and this is mostly due to regulations.


I too thought about guiding, however, I know skinny water, and I also am aware that several people may want me dead if I guided these areas.  Also, the pressure of success - probably would kill me.


Story for thought.

Several years ago, My boss's kid came and helped set up my router for me and clean up my computer and he absolutely whizzed right thru it.  He looked like one of those actors on tv where you know they are just hitting random keys acting like they are experts.  This young man did the whole thing in like 5 minutes.  It was his part time job at college.  So I say to him.  "Why are you going for a chemistry degree instead of computer science?  You are a natural."  His reply stuck with me.  "This is what I love.  I do not want to mess with my passion by making it a job."


My advice is to offer a ride on your boat this season to strangers on this site.  See if you can handle that first.   Justin invited me to fish with him and I never met him previously.  So you have to get use that awkwardness of having a complete stranger on your boat.  I have another friend at work and he is a fanatic as well with the knowledge and the gear and I suggested that he doesn't entertain it because of his temperment.  If you have nice things and want them to stay nice then you may not want to charter.


Good luck, Joe

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The IRS Office suspected a fishing boat owner wasn't paying proper wages to his deckhand and sent an agent to investigate him.
IRS Auditor: "I need a list of your employees and how much you pay them." 
Boat Owner: " Well, there's Clarence, my deckhand, he's been with me for 3 years. I pay him $1,000 a week plus free room and board. 
Then there's the mentally challenged guy... He works about 18 hours every day and does about 90% of the work around here. 
He makes about $10 per week, pays his own room and board, and I buy him a bottle of Bundaberg Rum and a dozen Crown Lagers every Saturday night so he can cope with life... He also gets to sleep with my wife occasionally."
IRS Auditor: "That's the guy I want to talk to - the mentally challenged one."
Boat Owner: "That'll be me. What'd you want to know"?
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