I must issue a disclaimer right away at the start of this blog; there is no wealth to "share", but this blog is about our approach to how we choose who works on Swing Set and where we purchase equipment and supplies. "Share the wealth" refers to our method of spreading around the money we spend to the vendors and boat yards in our area. I contemplated "Swing Set Spreads it Around" for a title, but rejected that title during a rare moment of discretion.
When we bought our boat in 2004, it was a one owner boat. All of the work on the boat had been done by one boat yard in the area, so we patronized that yard for all of the service work on our boat, figuring that they had experience with our vessel for about eight years already. During our period of initial ownership, we found out during our conversations with the other boat owners in our area, that some of the boat mechanics in our area had better expertise at some things, and others mechanics were better at other things. The way we have been operating for the last 6 years were that our original yard has done major mechanical work, another father/son outfit who are strictly a mobile enterprise, have done some other minor work. We purchase our fuel at a neighboring boat yard, (our harbor is private and offers no services) for one reason because they not only offer Valve-Tect fuel, but they offered the lowest pump out price. Unless we are traveling, we spent more on pump outs than we do on fuel. In this way, we have three different places that are familiar with us, they all three have no known animosity with each other, and if one source for our mechanical needs is too busy or is less experienced with a certain problem, we have another source at our disposal to get things done in a timely manner. By this same token, we have used a couple of different canvas suppliers/repair vendors, one upholsterer for exterior work and another outfit for interior work. We have yet another person for the entertainment system, as we have upgraded the T.V. and stereo systems. The boat service business it tough these days, and in the winter, it's even tougher. We like to spend our money in various places so everyone benefits some and we are not held hostage with one vendor or yard.
We also have used a variety of sources for equipment purchases. We are on a first name basis with the local West Marine dealer. Our faces are familiar at most of the parts counters at the local boat yards. The local Marine Max returns our voicemails, and we are updated regularly on any "deals" offered by a variety of marine vendors on the internet.
By this same logic, we try to frequent all of the restaurants and drinking holes in our area on a revolving basis. This allows everyone to experience our charm and personality, be it a blessing or a curse.
So just about everyone in the area has gotten some of our money except the relatives. They'll have to wait.