If you’re looking to make some extra income and own a boatslip, renting can be an attractive alternative to selling. Rather than one big chunk of change, you can have a stream of income and retain the option to use the slip yourself if you change your mind.
However, you’re only going to get that monthly cash if you price your slip for rent correctly. Too much and you won’t get any takers; too little and you’re missing out on valuable income. So how do you know what’s competitive but not too cheap? First, understand that pricing should be based on three basic variables: location, size of slip, and time of year. Read on to find out how each of these factors should figure into the total rental price.
Price Factor 1: Location, Location, Location (and Amenities)!
A recent review of American boat slip listings found they are renting anywhere from $12 to $240/foot per year—a pretty wide range. So how do you narrow down what’s right for the market you’re in?
The most important component of how much you can charge is where the slip is located. A slip located in a marina in San Francisco will command a much higher price than one in Galveston, even if the amenities are similar. The more high-traffic an area is, the higher the rent you can charge per foot. You can charge even more based on whether the slip is located in a luxury marina, if the area has been dredged, and/or how close it is to the most popular sailing areas.
Other amenities should also figure into your rental price. Does lift access come with the slip rental? Does the marina provide free internet? Make sure you list out all of the amenities so that you can charge accordingly.
Even with this general advice, slip rental rates are extremely variable. A good way to get an idea of the baseline rent in your area is to check existing boat slip listings, especially if you’re in a marina or yacht club (private slips are generally going to rent for less money due to having fewer amenities). You can then decide if you want to go for market value, or price the slip to rent quickly.
Price Factor 2: How Big is the Slip?
Since most slips are priced per-foot, the size is obviously important. It’s not just the overall length of the slip that’s important, however. What is the draft? How wide is it? For example, you can charge more for slips that can accommodate a catamaran. Make sure you have all of this information handy and include as much of it as possible in your rental listing.
Most boat slips are between 24-72’, as these are the most popular size boats. You may need to adjust your pricing if the slip is smaller; there may be less demand for it.
Price Factor 3: On-Season, Off-Season, or All-Season
Supply and demand are key factors in pricing your boat slip, and demand drops when it gets cold outside. If the slip is located at a temperate latitude, rental prices may vary quite widely depending on the time of year. If you’re wondering how much to adjust, figure on charging 50-70% less in the winter. If you’re in a place with a relatively moderate maritime climate, you don’t have to provide quite as deep of a discount.
By the same rules of supply and demand, forget adding a deep winter discount if you’re in an area that is always popular with sailors. For example, are you located in a city like San Francisco where many marinas always have a waiting list, or a city like Miami where the weather is usually nice?
Other Factors to Consider When Pricing Your Slip to Rent
If you want to rent your slip successfully, you also need to make sure that people can find the listing. Once you’ve decided on a competitive price, make sure you’ve taken good photographs and written an easy-to-understand, professional-sounding, and informative description. You can put the listing on Craigslist or a dedicated site like Moorforless. For more on the best and worst ways to reach potential customers (or tenants) on the internet, check out this handy guide.
Consider what kind of tenant you’re looking for and adjust the price accordingly. Would you be willing to give a discount to someone who makes a longer-term commitment (usually 6+ months)? Will you charge more for liveaboards?
Finally, have patience. Understand that renting your slip may take time unless you’re willing to spend money advertising it. Boat slips are a very specialized market with a limited number of potential renters. When in doubt, price it slightly below market value to get potential tenants interested. After all, getting rent from a competitively-priced slip is better than having it sit empty.