Drive Success in Your Pre-Owned Boat Business

One of the most significant opportunities to fuel your bottom line, especially in today’s market place, can be found in your pre-owned boat business. If you can create an effective system for securing, servicing, marketing and selling pre-owned inventory, you can boost your dealership’s revenue and profitability while also creating more stability for your team and your business. This page and accompanying MRAA Guide to Pre-Owned Boat Sales is designed to be your shortcut to success, a resource packed with knowledge, experience, tools and proven process gleaned from those already finding success.

Improving your pre-owned game, however, is something that will serve your dealership well, both now and into the future. Long after the Covid-driven inventory shortage is a distant memory, those who excel in the pre-owned boat business will have a more stable, more profitable dealership that attracts more customers, provides a better overall experience and serves those customers throughout a longer boat ownership journey. Get started with improving your pre-owned business today.


Trade Only Column by Matt Gruhn: Confidence in Your Pre-Owned Boat Business
Of all the profit centers in your dealership that challenge your path to profitability, the pre-owned boat business is among the worst offenders. It doesn’t have to be a challenge. These seven steps will help you drive confidence (and profitability) in your pre-owned business.

BLOG: 5 Tips to Get More Pre-Owned Boats Approved 
Many marine retailers turned to selling pre-owned boats, because there are great opportunities for them to gain new customers, as well as hold strong margins. The majority of customers finance these used boats, much like they do with new boat purchases. Even if you have some that pay cash, chances are they got the funds from a bank. Here are some tips from Jared Zimlin, Director of Business Development, Elite Recreational Finance —an MRAA Education Champion — to help your team get more pre-owned vessels approved and avoid traps within this process.

BLOG: 11 Best Practices to Guide You to More Success in the Pre-Owned Boat Market
Allegedly, expert advice doesn’t carry with it the same weight it used to, or at least it has lost some of its merit or value for some people out there. But not everyone feels that way, especially when it comes to capturing information in the form of insights, best practices, tools and tactics that can help them improve. The MRAA is one of those types that still firmly believes that it’s the knowledge, experiences and education (both schooling and other in day-to-day life) that can be used to help other transform their approach to business, attitude and more. That’s why the Pre-Owned Boat Market Article Series was built, to help lead dealers to better results in the pre-owned segment of the marine industry. 

BLOG: Get Used to Pre-Owned Boats
The recent Pulse Report survey asked dealers to share their feedback about what is and is not working for them, and also included a couple other specific questions about pre-owned boats and how they approach this part of their business.  

BLOG: Delivering Value (and why it is especially important now)
In a recent and timely blog by Jerry Mona of Left Brain Marketing, he writes, “However, manufacturers of new products still need to contend with the rising cost of production and materials and so prices will continue to rise. As a result, the gap in Used vs. New prices will likely increase driving many back to pursue pre-owned products.”  
VLOG: Tactics and Strategies to Enhance Lead Generation

In this Marine Dealer Sales Training video, Mike Escorza, Valley Sales Coaching and Grant Cardone Licensee, shares tips and tactics that can help you secure more pre-owned boats by working with your sold customers, unsold customers and the “for sale by owner” group. CLICK HERE to get your free downloadable resource from VSC. 

MRAA’s Ultimate Guide to the Pre-Owned Boat Market
The pre-owned boat market represents a $10 billion opportunity  that is ripe for helping you build your bottom line. This largely untapped market place can deliver you a competitive advantage, the most unique product line in your territory, and the best possible link to attracting first time boat buyers into your dealership. But there are many questions and hurdles to succeeding in the pre-owned market. MRAA’s Guide to the Pre-Owned Boat Market will help you navigate all of the unknowns and capture the business you deserve. MRAA Members can sign up to read this 48-page resource complete with tips, insights and tactics to help you find more success in the pre-owned boat realm. 

MRAA Conversation with Jason Walz, Director, MRAA Certified Pre-Owned Program
Certified Pre-Owned Programs dominate the auto market, yet the boating industry has rarely seen successful, long-standing CPO programs. This reality is fueled by the complications found in the used boat space: Quality used boats are hard to find, hard to evaluate, hard to value, hard to sell and hard to make money on. Until now. An all-new, unique program that has been designed to help dealers eliminate the difficulties and hurdles with pre-owned boats gives dealers an opportunity to capture their share of the $10 billion pre-owned market. Check out this interview with MRAA Certified Pre-Owned Boat Program Director, Jason Walz, to learn how this program can help your dealership create a process, properly inspect and analyze boats (with a look inside that engine, as well!) and make good money in this all-important market place. Check it

WEBINAR: A Dealer’s Case for Pre-Owned 
A persistent lack of new inventory and volatility from a number of world events has kept you plenty busy. While there’s simple fix for these issues, pre-owned boats present opportunities to enhance your profitability and, when done properly, elevate your dealership in the eyes of the consumer.

Join us at 11 a.m. CDT/12 p.m. EDT, May 25, 2022, for the MRAA Ask the Expert webinar and an in-depth conversation with Joe Lewis, owner of Mount Dora Boating Center & Marina in Central Florida. Register here for the free webinar.  


Interested in getting the pre-owned market to drive you to greater profitability? Here are some great courses to help make it a reality. These courses are free to MRAA Silver and Gold members.

NOT an MRAA member? Join now.
NOT yet a Silver member? Upgrade now.

Get Ahead of the Pre-Owned Opportunity: The last two years have seen a tremendous uptick in new boat sales. Previous trends demonstrate that many of those boats will end up on the pre-owned market sooner rather than later. Is your dealership ready for that? Use this course to ensure you’re prepared to take advantage of the enormous pre-owned boat opportunity coming your way. 

How to Seek and Sell More Pre-Owned Units ProfitablyIn the midst of the pandemic, if you’ve found yourself wondering where you can find more inventory, whether or not you should take on a manufacturer, or how you’ll meet demand in the future, you are not alone. And the good news is that there’s a simple, realistic and attainable solution for you. This session will show you real world data to support the need for seeking, acquiring and then selling more pre-owned units, as well as the necessary steps to manage your pre-owned inventory and keep your margins high.

Dealer Case Study: Buy & Sell Pre-Owned Boats: At Buckeye Sports Center in Ohio, an eight-part formula for buying and selling pre-owned boats has driven incredible success. The dealership has grown its inventory — and bottom line right along with it — as they and other dealers have struggled to secure new boat inventory. Tune into this interview with Buckeye Sports Center President Bob Armington to learn how they did it.

Dealer Case Study: Pre-Owned Boat Photos & Videos Your new boat inventory comes with a lot of shiny new photos, videos and marketing materials? But what about your pre-owned inventory? Just throw ’em on the lot and hope they sell? Not so fast. Certified Dealership N3 Boatworks out of Indiana has developed a best practice approach to marketing and showcasing its used boat inventory online through photography and video shoots. Check out this interview with Co-Owner and Operator Mark Dougherty on how they built and use this process on a small budget.

Want The Best Courses ALL THE TIME? 

We know how difficult it is for you to come up with a training plan for your team. We also know how difficult it can be to sift through more than 200 courses in MRAA’s catalog to find the one that would be best for you at this moment. 

That’s why MRAA created Training ‘N Tactics, or TNT, a monthly educational program for our Silver and Gold members. On the first business day of each month, MRAA introduced a moderated version of the most timely and relevant course that can impact your business. The opportunity for you is to use that course to educate your team. Watch it and discuss it as a group; or assign it out, watch it separately, and then gather to discuss what was learned and what you can improve upon. TNT’s course of the month for MRAA’s focus on buying and selling more pre-owned boats is the Dealer Case Study: ‘Buy and Sell More Pre-Owned Boats” with Buckeye Sports Center’s Bob Armington. Learn how to shift your approach and mindset when it comes to pre-owned units, as well as get a closer look at Armington’s successful 8-step formula that has helped his dealership grow its inventory and bottom line.


The pre-owned boat market can seem like a mystery that’s difficult to solve. It’s hard to find good, quality used boats. It’s hard to know how to properly evaluate them. It’s hard to buy them right, market them and sell them for the margins you deserve. Sound familiar? It turns out that your customers find themselves in the same predicament … it’s hard to find good, quality entry level boats at a price they can afford. It’s hard to know what they’re worth. And it’s even more difficult to have the confidence that they’re buying something that won’t sink the first time they back off the trailer.

The all-new MRAA Certified Pre-Owned Boat program has been designed to deliver you and your customers the confidence you deserve in buying (and selling) pre-owned boats. It provides a proven process, quality third-party inspections and analysis, and direct pathway for you to both differentiate your inventory AND make a sizable margin. Check it out here: