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Are charter brokers worth their fees?
Harrison Faull
Posted: Monday, July 15, 2019 10:10 PM
Joined: 15/07/2019
Posts: 1

Hi everyone, 

    I'd like to hear your opinions on how much commission charter brokers take. My family and I have been lucky enough to charter a few small yachts, and charter brokers have charged us 15-20%. 

I know that they do serve a purpose if you don't know what you would like to charter, but once people know what they want to charter why don't people just go directly. 

The amount of work they seem to do appears to be minimal, relying heavily on the captain to build an itinerary and their local knowledge. 

In your experience have you found them to be worth their fees?

Posted: Tuesday, July 23, 2019 9:22 PM
Joined: 15/12/2017
Posts: 1

I've been a captain for over 20 years and been in command of many charters on sail and motor under 60 meters. Probably over 250 charter weeks, with lot's of repeat clients in Asia & The Pacific, Caribbean and the Med.

During this time I have worked with excellent brokers who go the extra mile and really assist with all the little details and planning and are not paranoid, giving me clients contact details early on and they make a real difference. They earn their commission creating fabulous trips (sometimes their comm is split with a 3rd party travel agent for eg so it's often reduced down the food chain). 

And then I have worked with other charter brokers who are absolutely useless and in over their head. They ARE paranoid that we'll poach their clients and wait till the last minute to make an introduction and then leave us to it. They are unorganised and maybe got lucky with a nice looking website, frankly I have no idea how they attract some UHNWI, but they do!

So basically some brokers are worth it and some are not. Some are small independent operations and some work for the larger and more established houses, it depends on the individual.

Going direct to me as a captain is a "Slippery Slope" and whilst it's been on the table quite often towards the end of a charter and they are thinking of re-booking for next year it's not something that I or my co-captain (I am on rotation) would ever do. We all need the business so will stick with brokers and never poach a client- no matter what a client might think of their broker.

Posted: Friday, August 2, 2019 7:29 PM
Joined: 13/01/2009
Posts: 2

I like this Captain's reply and agree with him wholeheartedly!  There are good and bad in every bunch!  And that goes across the board in any industry!  One thing I want to point out is that the charter client is not charged 15-20% out of pocket.  This is quite misleading.  There is a 2 tier set up.  There is the Charter Manager, the wholesaler, who earns 5% if they book one of their fleet yachts with a Retail Charter Broker.  The Retail Broker, who deals with the clients, earns 15% commission for their company.  Most Retail Brokers have to split that commission with the company they book for, breaking it down even further.  These percentages are paid out of the charter fee.  Someone who quotes it the way this poster did is wanting to go direct and eliminate that cost.  So, let me point out that your Retail Charter Broker is your advocate, your source of information and the person you'll turn to if something goes wrong for sure.  If you have no advocate in between you and the owner of the yacht, then what?  Most Brokers I know earn their keep.  If you don't feel they do, look for another Broker!  A good way to know you are working with a respectable Broker is if they belong to either the AYCA (American Yacht Charter Association), MYBA (Mediterranean Yacht Brokers Association) or CYBA (Caribbean Yacht Brokers Association).  In some cases they will belong to all 3!  Thing are not always as simple as they seem.
 Average 4.5 out of 5