How To Start A Fishing Charter Business

Posted on May 2nd, 2012 by Mike

So you want to start a fishing charter business? Do you have what it takes to run a small business? Most small business fail within the first year. Becoming an Entrepreneur is exciting and can have lucrative rewards. Creating a good business plan and sticking to it is a key to success. Most businesses start out small and need to follow federal and state tax laws This customer service business relies heavy on good marketing. Catching fish is half the battle. If this sounds right to you, you might be a good charter boat captain. However, it takes much more than just bending rods to run a successful charter fishing business.

Running a charter fishing business is become increasingly popular among coastal communities. There are a few key components to this custom service oriented business that must be taken into account:

Captains License
You must have your USCG captains license to take people out on your boat for a fee. Once you have your 6 pack license you can take up to 6 people out on your boat.

Boat
Your fishing boat should be dependable and seaworthy. We suggest boats over 25 feet and twin engines for offshore use. Customers don’t want to go out on a boat that doesn’t seem reliable and will take time away from what they came out to do, FISH! Your boat should also have a head (toilet area) where men and women can use the bathroom when needed.

A cooler should be provided aboard where clients can bring food and drinks. Whether you plan to provide ice is up to you, but highly recommended.

Fishing Gear
As the captain, you should provide all the fishing gear and licenses. Your fishing gear should be maintained regularly as losing fish due to poorly maintained gear is not an option. You should be able to tie and rig quickly. We suggest rigging before you even get on the water. Have everything ready for when the customer comes aboard.

Rates
Your rates should be competitively priced within your industry. Don’t sell yourself short. The price of gas is at record highs. You have maintenance and repairs to keep up with and need to have a solid profit margin on each trip. We suggest inquiring from the local charter fishing businesses before setting your rates. Get an idea of what the average cost per fishing trip is and go from there.

Sport Fishing Website
Web marketing has revolutionized the fishing charter business. Now clients can find out everything they need to know about your fishing business via your website. A cutting edge web design is a must. Features such as fishing reports and client photo gallery will intrigue customers to want to come out on your boat. Your sport fishing website will act as a 24 hour store working while you are working or not. Customers can log on anytime of the day or night and get information that they need to make the decision to go out with you. You will want to explain the different type of fishing trips available, what to bring, captain bio, boat info, etc. SFC Design group offers the hottest package available for charter fishing captains. See Sportfishing Web Design for more information.

Print Advertising
Rack cards and business cards act as good networking tools. Give all your clients ample business cards to give to their friends. Leave rack cards at local tackle shops and fishing stores.

Safety
There is nothing more important than practicing safe fishing. Life jackets, flares, etc should all be up to date and easy to access. Your customers should be aware of where the safety products are located. Your VHF and GPS should be checked before leaving your port for functionality.

A fishing charter business can be very fun and profitable just like any small business. Setup a business plan and stick to it. Figure out your break-even point. The break-even point is defined as the point where sales or revenues equal expenses. There is no profit made or loss incurred at the break-even point. This figure is important for anyone that manages a business since the break-even point is the lower limit of profit when setting prices and determining margins.

When you start any business there is a learning curve. You will need to learn basic bookkeeping, marketing, purchasing, budgeting, and market planning.

Learn more with the How To Start A Charter Business Kit.