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Upholstery work / skins / interior


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OK everyone, need some advice.

I had posted last year about my interior redo on my 2000 Escape LSV.  After looking for a good upholsterer in my area with little luck, I decided to bite the bullet and do it myself (with the help of my wife).  Lots of work but the interior turned out great and in my opinion better than some of the work I see on the new boats (see linked pics below).

SO, my wife wants to do another one -- maybe 1 or 2 a year.  Or possibly just do some skins for others.  Or possibly buy something right and try to flip it.  I've found an '08 LSV about $15K below NADA and THINK I can make some money on it -- assuming no major mechanical work.  The boat has over 900 hours though so I'm not sure of the resale market with that many hours.

What do you guys think?  If I post a classified for new interior would I get a good response?  It will take us about 3 months to complete since this is a hobby.  I think I would have to charge about $3500-$4500 to redo the entire upholstery on most Malibus.  I could do skins as well but would need to have the old skin sent to me because I don't have the patterns.  I'm in Northern KY in the Greater Cincinnati area, fyi.

Thanks in advance.

Paul

http://s347.photobucket.com/user/ptagher/library/

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Looks awesome!

Be careful with projects that involve matching OEM skins. It can be difficult as materials change old ones become obsolete or running changes are made. I do like you initial thought of buying and flipping. It's a great, but risky, business model. After 25 years in retail it's likely the direction I'm headed. Set your budget and your deadline and make it happen. No customers to change orders mid build or back up the budget, nobody checking in on incomplete work, just build it how you want it and your buyer will take it or leave it. The risk comes at time of purchase and time of sell. You can have a lot of capital tied up, so you've got to buy right and sell right...er. Good luck going forward!

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Looks good! I just got a bid of 3,600 from a local shop here in Kansas to redo all the interior of my VLX so your projected price is pretty close. Only difference between you and my local shop would be the shipping costs and the 3 month wait. The turn around time for my shop is about one month. I like your idea of flipping, if you buy them right it could be a good income for you.

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The vinyl is from Spradling -- I believe the same company both Malibu and Mastercraft use as I had visited their factories before doing the boat.  They are out of the Knoxville, TN area and I actually purchased it from another upholsterer who does it in that area.

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Looks like very high quality work. I'll bet if you did it more frequently that quality would go even higher. You could get lots of smaller repair work projects too (small rips and tears).

Best of luck,

Steve B.

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I will be honest - I feared clicking your link.  I've seen too many folks here show pride in their DIY or pro vinyl work that looks awful and feared the same of yours.  Instead, your limited pictures look pretty good.  I'm not sure I love the combo for the driver's seat but it looks pretty well done.

Yours looks better than a number of "pro" jobs I have seen posted here.  The vinyl has an OEM-ish look to it.  The seams match up well enough and no loose vinyl.  Good work!

 

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Great work and way to add value back to your boat. The flip idea sounds great. You might even get an investor to limit your capital and risk but that means you will limit your reward too.

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On 1/26/2017 at 11:30 PM, Nitrousbird said:

I will be honest - I feared clicking your link.  I've seen too many folks here show pride in their DIY or pro vinyl work that looks awful and feared the same of yours.  Instead, your limited pictures look pretty good.  I'm not sure I love the combo for the driver's seat but it looks pretty well done.

Yours looks better than a number of "pro" jobs I have seen posted here.  The vinyl has an OEM-ish look to it.  The seams match up well enough and no loose vinyl.  Good work!

 

Thanks -- we initially struggled with the idea to update the vinyl to the more modern carbon fiber look vs replicating what we had. The grey carbon fiber is dark and we were worried about the vinyl getting hot but we used it mainly for accent. I ended up loving it and wanted to replace the carpet on the inside hull walls with it but ended just doing that in the bow. Everywhere else we just redid the carpet. 

I'll try to find some more pics. 

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11 minutes ago, Steve B. said:

Please keep us posted if you are thinking about getting more into this. 

Steve B.

 

Will do. We're definitely in on both -- just need a couple weeks to get our swatch samples together. In TX now to test drive a possible flip as well. 

 

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  • 4 years later...

I am looking to have the seats reupholstered on my 2008 VLX Wakesetter. Does anyone have suggestions where to find matching vinyl or skins that are available for purchase. The seats are gray and white with red piping. 

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Can't speak for the local upholstery shops, but Gabe should be able to set you up if you want factory skins.  Do a search for Gabriel Garcia on here and you'll find his info, or PM me and I'll get it to you. 

Another option is Copycat Upholstery.  I used them for my locker skins and they were a perfect match for my 2002.  The only giveaway was the stitching was slightly wider than the OEM skins, but vinyl colors and textures were a perfect match.  If you send pictures with dimensions they will quote via email.

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I'm sure Gabe does great work but the problem is you can't get ahold of him.  I've had two people this offseason contact him 12+ times phone, email and messenger and never got a call back.  I'm sure he's busy and prioritizing complete builds vs repairs but no return calls or messages is a terrible way to do business.  If you can't do it, simply let someone know and they can go elsewhere.

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I got extremely lucky with my upholstery shop.    Booked a LONG way out.    I asked them if they wanted me to pass on their info to those who’ve asked and they said NO!   Way too busy to take on more work.  

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8 hours ago, wedge88 said:

I'm sure Gabe does great work but the problem is you can't get ahold of him.  I've had two people this offseason contact him 12+ times phone, email and messenger and never got a call back.  I'm sure he's busy and prioritizing complete builds vs repairs but no return calls or messages is a terrible way to do business.  If you can't do it, simply let someone know and they can go elsewhere.

This.  I actually got him to give me a price but he then never replied after I said I wanted to move forward.  I tried several times. 

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Not responding to new business is the beginning of the end. I've reached out twice to Gabe over a two month period and the response is crickets. I'm going with a local guy who has a good reputation. He's booked several months in advance, but at least I've had a lot of interaction with him.

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19 minutes ago, Baggerlance said:

Not responding to new business is the beginning of the end. I've reached out twice to Gabe over a two month period and the response is crickets. I'm going with a local guy who has a good reputation. He's booked several months in advance, but at least I've had a lot of interaction with him.

Gabe took a page out of Michael Dell's book I guess.  Not the way I would run a business, but you are, like Dad used to say "Free to vote with your wallet".

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