If angling is one of your favorite pastimes, you may have considered turning it into a career. Running a fishing charter boat can be a great way to relish your days on the water while helping others enjoy the exhilaration of pulling in their first deep sea catch. Starting a Tampa fishing charter business can be fairly straightforward if you follow the steps that we’re going to outline for you below.
Start With A Business Plan
Far too often, it can be easy to jump on that first wave of motivation. Many times that can lead to being in way over your head without a strategic move forward. To save yourself the hassle, take a bit and formulate a business plan. This is going to be a clear plan that outlines each aspect of your future entrepreneurial endeavor. Your business plan will need to include a few key areas. These are:
Startup Costs And Ongoing Expenses
Money is always going to be a big factor in all your future business decisions. Figuring out your startup costs is the first place to start. For an average fishing charter vessel, you can expect to invest about $41,000. However, the cost can go up significantly from here depending on the type of boat that you want for your business.
You may want to plan for purchasing a used boat that you can get started with. There are many online sites that can assist you in finding a number of used boats in and around your respective area. Just realize that used boats don’t tend to come with any sort of warranties or maintenance plans. You’ll have to pay for repairs and on-going maintenance out of pocket.
As part of your startup fees, you’ll need to consider expenses like dockage, insurance, licenses, utilities, advertising, legal fees, and bookkeeping fees. While you may be looking at this list thinking that you can avoid the legal and bookkeeping fees, you still need to take the other ones into account. An estimated breakdown includes:
- Insurance – $2,500
- Dockage – $2,400
- Business License – $150
- Fishing Charter License – $300
- Utilities – $600
Once you get an idea of what your startup costs are going to be, you need to determine what your on-going costs are going to be. These include things like license renewal, fuel, bait, tackle, insurance, dockage, utilities, and boat maintenance. This will give you an idea of what you need to make each month to break even on your fishing charter endeavor.
Defining Your Target Market
Florida offers a variety of fish species, which can allow you to specialize your charter to target a specific clientele. Take a few moments and really think about the type of fishing that you want to do. Do you want to offer exclusive bottom fishing? Do you want to perform trolling? By answering these questions, you can help to define your intended target market. You’ll want to know what type of customers that you’re looking for so that you can consistently refer back here time and time again when making decisions regarding your business.
A big part of defining your target market is determining just how long you want your fishing trips to be. There’s a big difference between a 4-hour deep sea fishing trip and a three-day deep sea fishing trip. Determine which type you want to offer as that will be a big contributor to helping to define who your target market is.
Your Expected Going Rates
Once you know who comprises your target market, it’s time to research your competitors. Look for those fishing charters who are offering services similar to what you intend to offer. This will give you a feel for what they include in their offerings. And, it will allow you to determine what prices they’re charging. You’ll want to position your expected rates based on your competitors unless you’re able to bring more to the table.
Your Intended Business Name
You’ll need to have a name for your Tampa fishing charter business. Try to be creative and pick a name that stands out. You’ll want to check Florida’s State website to see if there are any other business entities with that name. Each state only allows a particular name to be used by one business throughout the state.
Form Your Business Entity
Once you have your business plan in hand, it’s time to file for your business entity. You can do this online at Florida’s state website. Be sure to consider what type of entity you want to file as. The most common options are LLC, corporation, partnership, or sole proprietorship. Each comes with its own pros and cons, which you should fully understand before making your final decision on which one you want your business to be.
Apply For An EIN
As part of setting up your business, you’ll need to register for your business taxes. Once you’ve established your business entity, you should receive instructions on how to obtain an EIN from the IRS. If not, there are instructions on the official IRS website that you can follow.
Open A Business Bank Account
Once you have your business entity set up and you’ve received your EIN from the IRS, it’s time to open a business bank account. It’s important to note that most banks won’t allow you to open a business checking or savings account until you have your business entity officially registered and an EIN in hand.
Apply For Your Fishing Permits
The next major step that you’ll need to take to make your fishing charter business legal is to apply for your fishing permits. You’ll need to have a Captain License, also known as a Merchant Mariner Credential. You can obtain this permit from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. You can discover more about this type of permit at www.MyFWC.com.