The price of being in a “people” business

Andy Adams

May 14, 2024

One way or another, I see boating as a “people” business. For many boaters, it’s the boat that brings them together with their friends and family; the boat is the centre of the experience, the reason to get together. On the other hand, for some boaters, especially anglers and solo sailors, the boat gets them away from the mad whirl of humanity and into the peace and tranquility of being on the water and away from it all. 

To serve all those different people, our customers, we need people. I’ve seen automated boat storage systems and there are many new apps being developed to automate delivering some services to boaters but at the end of the chain, a person is still needed…maybe several people. We continue to struggle to attract the young people we need to staff our yacht clubs, marinas and service facilities, particularly during high season. So, it was concerning to learn that according to Statistics Canada, the country added 90,000 jobs in April, far more than the roughly 20,000 that economists were expecting. The “people” competition heats up!

Bloomberg reported last Friday that the stronger-than-expected showing caused markets to reprice the odds of a rate cut next month, although they’re still about a 50-50 chance. Prior to the jobs report, the odds were nearly two in three of an interest rate cut. The very rapid rise in interest rates were the driving cause of the boat sales decline last summer. So, we lost new boat sales but I think it’s safe to say that a good many boaters just kept their old boats, and probably needed even more service. 

The price of being in a “people” business is that we need people and to get them, we will need find the resources to pay them enough to attract and retain them. The recent jobs numbers make it clear that we are competing with many other industries here in Canada.

In the last few years, Canada has allowed a large number of people to immigrate here but I often wonder what their background and skills are? Will these people bring the skills to help us? Well, I am encouraged by an email I received last week from a man in Cuba. Yes – Cuba.

Somehow, he discovered Boating Industry Canada and subscribed to News Week Digest. He reads it every week and wants to come to Canada to work in the boat business. I don’t know the first thing about this person and this is no recommendation either, but if you place a “Career Opportunities” posting here, don’t be surprised to get an application from Cuba!

ANDY ADAMS – Editor 

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