If you sincerely enjoy working with boats and have an interest in the industry, you may want to start a business selling boats. According to Entrepreneur Magazine, selling boats is a billion-dollar-a-year industry with potential commissions as high as 25 percent on boats selling for under $5,000 and as low as three percent on high-ticket items. Although the start-up costs typically range from $10,000 to $50,000, the ultimate profits can be substantial.

Things You Will Need
  • $10,000 minimum start-up capital

  • Business license

  • Property and damage insurance

Step 1.

Check with a boat brokers association, such as the Yacht Brokers Association, to see if a license is required to sell boats in your state. There are currently no federal licensing regulations, as each state has its own boat industry requirements. If necessary, follow the appropriate procedures to obtain your license.

Step 2.

Research the surrounding competition. Find out how many boat dealerships are in your area. Take note of their inventory, location, prices and special deals. Use this information as a basis for what to incorporate into your own boat dealership, so that you can separate your business from the competition and best-serve the needs of expected customers. A unique selling point could be as simple as offering product delivery to all customers; something like this could set you apart from other boat businesses and give you a competitive edge.

Step 3.

Find a location for your boat business. Make sure that your lot is big enough to house your maximum inventory in way that will allow browsing customers to comfortably walk to and around each boat. An overcrowded lot can be both dangerous and off-putting to potential customers.

Step 4.

Secure a boat dealership business license from the proper issuing agency. A government agent or representative in your business' city will be able to direct you to the correct department. If your license is approved, you will receive written notification.

Step 5.

Get the proper insurance coverage for your company. Your city may require a specific type of insurance policy for your boat business. Ask the business licensing department about the insurance requirements that apply to your company.

Step 6.

Obtain inventory for your boat business. Shop around and evaluate prices from boat wholesalers to ensure that you get the most for your money. Purchase the variety of craft that will make your dealership appealing to the widest target market.


To make yourself more appealing to buyers, it may be a wise choice to get a boat brokerage license, even if it's not required by your state.