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Self Fit-out Cost Saving

In Grahams Books and WW it is frequently stated that fitting out a shell yourself generates cost savings over having one fitted out for you.
Does anybody have any ideas on a typical saving on a narrow or widebeam against the Commercially Quoted Prices.??
I.e. Commercial 1,000-1,250 per foot for narrowboats

Asked by: PAUL BROWNETT  | 8.28am, Tuesday 22 March

WW says:

Hi Paul
A difficult question to answer without knowing the capabilities and experience of the person who is doing the fit out. I have seen owner fit outs completed to a standard which is far better than some of the professional offerings, most owners manage to produce a very acceptable boat while making substantial savings over the commercial prices you quote.
Generaly speaking it will take a lot longer to complete a fit out a bare shell than you might think! I know of several boat shells which have been in the process of being fitted out for several years.( with dedication completion takes most fitters about 12 to 18 months) You need to know that the job can take over your life completely. The main advantages of DIY are that you can have a bespoke boat made to your exact spec rather than a standard item off the shelf.( if you ordered a bespoke boat from a builder the prices you quoted above would be about 50% to low) You can also afford to use the best quality materials and appliances and set a high standard of finish since there are no labour charges to pay.
Buying a bare shell and fitting an engine that you have marinised yourself will show greater savings than using a "sailaway" with engine, windows, insulation foam, and doors ready fitted.
OK, now for the bit where I stick my neck out by making a guess at possible savings.If you were to do all the work required on a bare shell I estimate that you could save about 40% of the normal price, and get a personalised boat. I expect you to get other responses which differ with my estimate in all respects, but this should be to your advantage in terms of picking up information.
If you go on to seriously consider this as a project suitable for you,I suggest that the next step is to talk to as many self fitters as possible and read as many articles and fit out " blogs" as you can find. Most of us boaters are happy to talk, and, with luck will provide you with advice and help with tools, suppliers,and other contacts.
Best of Luck

Mike Jordan  | 1.15PM, Tuesday 22 March

Hi Paul
You seem to have both the skills and previous experience to undertake a fit out and get just the boat you want. Working on it full time will keep things moving at a good pace and keep up the interest. Enjoy the experience!

Mike Jordan  | 3.31PM, Wednesday 23 March

Do make sure that all your work is upto the required standards for the BSS. If you are going to keep the boat for more than 5 years, you just need to get a Boat Safety Certificate, but if you might sell the boat before 5 years is up you need to get RCD certification.

Rupert Smedley  | 3.47PM, Sunday 27 March

Readers say:

Dear Mike,
The plan is actually for a widebeam 57' long 13'4" wide. Once the shell is built then ARS are installing Hydraulic Drive. From then on its me. Qualified carpenter/joiner and have built a few houses and done refurbs. I know enough about plumbing - a bit light on boat electrics i.e. 12v. I will be doing this basically full time (retired) so hope to complete in les than normal time for a self fitout. Have looked at many self-jobs on the web but none mentioned their estimated savings against "Off the shelf" or Custom built. Its just would be nice to get an indicator from someone that has done it - not going to hold anyone at gunpoint over it. But does give indication of whether to just buy off the shelf instead - for time constraints - if any.
Many thanks and will look forward to Readers replies
Paul Brownett

PAUL BROWNETT  | 9.14PM, Tuesday 22 March

Did a self fit out in 18 months whilst working shifts full time plus some overtime, started from hull with engine, and fitted hydraulic drive. Hard on you, but can be done.Sailaway would be so much faster...

RA  | 1.19PM, Wednesday 30 March

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