QUEPOS FISHING CHARTERS
1515 Trips 2018
Gross sales 2018: $1.1 Million
Net ROI: 30%
Quepos Costa Rica
32,600 Instagram Followers
26,000 Facebook Followers
History of Company
Quepos Fish Adventure started in 2007 with just one boat, the Stress Reeliever, and in the last 11 years has grown to 6. We have picked up two boats in the last two years, and with the area growing as rapidly as it is, the business really needs more boats to keep up with customer demand. All the boats in the fleet have been completely rebuilt using sound deadening, lightweight foam core called CoreCell. This cuts their fuel consumption in half, increases mechanical life and drastically increases their fish raising ability. In 2018 we were easily the busiest charter company in Quepos, and possibly the busiest charter company in Costa Rica. We also have a complete staff that has been with us a long time, including two full time salary mechanics. With a new motivated owner, and with the help of the old owner, this company should be able to make a good return for the new buyer each year while at the same time adding a boat per year. Old owner is not leaving the area and would love to stay around and help, commiting contractually to a year, but sticking around indefinitely. Old owner also has a passion for building boats, and a ready to make 31 Bertram mold is included in the sale, and the boat builders are ready to go if the new owner is ready to add boats to fleet. We have the second busiest Charter Boat Instagram account in the world, with 32,600 real followers (Quepos_Fish_Adventure) and a 26,000 person facebook following as well. In 2018 we had to turn off all paid advertising from October to February as we were already full for peak season. Boats fish year round.
Why Am I selling?
I just had my 5th child, and my wife is worried that is something happened to me that she wouldn't be able to handle 5 small kids and the busiest charter fleet in Costa Rica. As I believe Manuel Antonio is paradise, and I just got my Costa Rican Citizenship, I plan on buying a much less profitable vacation home in the area that the wife could easily take care of if something happened to me. I'm hoping the new owner of Quepos Fish Adventure would like me to stay on for a while(I am offering a year to help the transition, but will always be around), and I would really love it if the new owner was interested in building a new Bertram out at the shop. I would oversee that project for no pay (the crew obviously gets paid) as building boats is a passion of mine. Here's a 31 Bertram my crew built and I oversaw the reconstruction (for fun) back in 2012:
The Future of Quepos
Los Suenos was built about 15 years ago, and has a three year waiting list to get in if you buy a 500K+ condo. The Marina Pez Vela is much bigger, but is still being built. This is the time to get in, before everything is grown up. We have 5 slips in the Marina Pez Vela (the most of any company here), and there is currently a growing waiting list for normal sized boats. They just got approval to build a 10 story hotel, which should be finished by April 2020, and another 10 story condo complex on site. In order to get that business, you would need more boats as we are currently mostly full. But the area is expanding rapidly, and the Quepos Fish Adventure should continue to grow with the area. They are also adding another 75-80 slips for bigger boats (50-80 feet). People that own those boats will fish on the charter fleet as it's cheaper for them to do than to take their own. So the business is great now, but will have to grow to keep up with demand.
Fishing is the best now it was ever been in Costa Rica. They outlawed all big commercial seiners 5 years back. The government then started inspecting commercial long liners so they can't sell billfish when they get in, and then last year they even added a new law making them carry GPS tracking systems so they only fish outside the sportfishing zone. It took a few years for the tuna to come back, but now there is at least one school of Yellowfin Tuna in front of Quepos at all times. Because of that, the fishing seasons are now gone, there are billfish year round, the Marlin numbers are the best ever, and there are big Yellowfin Tuna out there. The best fishing in the world.
Things that can be improved for more income
A new business that just popped up is FAD fishing. Some of the charter boats out of Los Suenos started putting out FADS (Fish Aggregating Devices) about 100 miles offshore. It's a buoy out in the deep blue water that is anchored to the seafloor and holds acres of bait year round. Per day there are boats seeing 10 to 20 blue marlin releases. Our 40 footer is the perfect FAD boat, but since we are so busy on normal charters I haven't even done a FAD trip yet. We could easily conquer that Market as well though, as we have the biggest customer base here by far. And since I send overflow trips to the boats here that currently do FAD trips, they will always update us with the current locations of the best FADs. Great business that we haven't even touched yet, and isn't reflected in the very good financial numbers we currently post.
There are a lot of marketing opportunity's that I am sitting on because we are too full. I can't list them here and give ideas to other companies that are reading this, but I feel I'm marketing the company at about half of what I could if I needed more trips. If boats were added, it would be very very easy to keep them all over 200 trips, and probably better. I could fill another 30 footer with 200 trips without doing anything extra marketing wise. And in late 2018, I stopped all paid advertising from September to February because we were just full already and I didn't want to answer the emails. Another thing that would help a lot is if I answered the phone more, or put somebody answering the phone. I probably answer about 10 percent of the international phone calls that come in. I just feel I'm busy enough, but looking back it seems wasteful to leave that money on the table.
Booking houses and transport is a huge business now. I just don't need the money, so I don't book lodging or transport. But a good business person would make that income. I am current friends with a lot of house managers here so I get much better prices than the public, so there is at least 6 figures that could easily be made there every year by someone who is trying. We will move 1500+ trips a year without expanding, more if you build more boats, and when people come down it's usually for a week. There is an easy $100,000 in expense free profit there if not more making the 10 to 15 percent commission the houses will pay you. Tours are another thing I know I should be setting up but I just don't need the money(or I'm lazy). Every group that comes down would want a park guide, maybe a snorkeling tour, ATV's, or zipline tour. If a local sets up a tour, the tour company will pay $20 per person per tour That would be quite a bit of money as well. And then airport transfers are another way lots of companies make income here, I always give it at cost to the customers, but I'm the only one here that doesn't make 50 dollars each way per trip. On 1500 groups a year, that really adds up. You can also get setup with National Car Rental, and get a discount code for your customers. They will give the customer 10 percent off, and deposit an additional 10 percent in your bank account. Something else I would do if I were trying to increase the business profit.
Booking other boats is also big business. Most boats here will pay 15 percent commission for bookings, and we easily have 200-300 bookings extra from December to April. This is tricky though because the boats in the my fleet raise a lot of fish, and the captains that we have are the best. I found most of my complaints were from the times I booked boats outside my company, so I don't know if this is a great idea, but if you could find a few good boats and only use those it is another avenue for profit. The only boat I booked outside my fleet last year was the Cowboy, and I didn't include the profit from that in the financial statement we show buyers. Right now if somebody calls and we are full, we pass out other company's phone numbers so they book independently.
The Main Crew
I do NOT recommend you change anybody on the crew for at least a year. It took 11 years of hard work to find these guys, and we have the best crews. Of the guys currently on staff, we had not had even one no-show in the last year. That is unheard of in any business, and impossible in the fishing world. It is so much easier knowing that your crews will be on board, and not hung over every day when you have trips. Very few members of our crew even drink, and the ones that do drink do not do it heavily or often. This is a huge problem in other companies that we have completely eliminated. We have the lead captains of all the major charter companies from the last 15 years working for us now. We have a completely cherry picked crew, makes the job fun and easy. I believe the crews are worth more than the boats.
Grew up fly fishing in Colorado, came to Costa Rica about 20 years back and started a family here. Has been involved in Sportfishing all his years here and knows more than anybody about the business, ran several charter business as well. Handles his own complaints with customers (he can make anybody happy it seems) and in 5 years working with me (1400 trips) I've only had one customer write me to complain.
Oldest employee of the company. Can drive boats, be mate, or build 5.9 Cummins motors. He is very popular among Quepos captains, and has lots of family. I have him in charge of finding mates when we need new ones, managing people's days off, and just doing all the personnel stuff. He is good wherever you need him, but really shines at finding temporary crew members for the season or when people are sick.
Captain Junior Smith on Stress Reeliever 1
Maybe our most talented offshore fishing captain, he is just really lucky or really talented, I'm not sure. Been with us over 4 years, before that was the head captain of Luna Tours (they had a 4 boat fleet before we took their customers, they are now closed). His whole family is captains, including our own captain Leo on the No Limit, and his brother Jesse is our relief captain. He was taught how to fish 15+ years back by James Smith who drives the tournament boat Spanish Fly in Los Suenos. He is usually the last boat in Quepos to return to the dock, and I'm seeing he is becoming more requested every year. Probably about 50% of the 283 trips in 2018 were repeats. His mate's name is Pepe and is the guy in the company with the most personality, I get the most positive emails from customers about Junior and his mate Pepe.
Captain Johnny Salas on Mucho Fisho 1
Best roosterfish captain in the world. Will fish everyday if you let him, been with the company 5 years in August 2019, never missed a day of work, and loves inshore fishing. Most guys here do not like it as it's a lot harder, but Johnny is not happy unless he is looking for roosterfish. Fishes by himself saving the cost of a mate, and has at least 150 repeat customers a year that only fish with him. His dad is the only guy who sells bait in Quepos.
Captain Anthony Arce on Mucho Fisho 2
Been with the company about 3 years, but worked as extra crew member for about 8 years with me on and off. Been lead captain of several different companies, including Blue Fin Charters back when they were the biggest. Probably has 3000+ trips as captain over 20+ years. Can fish by himself, but I usually put him with a mate to help out as he is not super young. Another rare captain that likes inshore fishing, but the Mucho Fisho 2 does half inshore and half offshore trips.
Captain Leo Smith on No Limit
Grew up on Carribean coast fishing tarpon, followed Junior and Junior's dad to Quepos. Part of the Smith family as well, Leo is a really responsible guy that does not run the boats hard and does not mind fishing late. He speaks English well, as does the whole crew, and doesn't mind working in the paint shop when trips are slow. Really good at roosterfish as well. He prefers to fish with a mate, but can do a trip by himself if needed.
Captain Jesse Smith on Blue Daze Captain and Relief Captain
He has ran the Blue Daze since it's been in the water in March 2019, but ultimately will be the guy that gives the other captains days off in the high season. The boats usually have maybe 1 or 2 days off from December to April, and you can't make a captain work 180 days in a row. Jesse is a great captain so that the main captains get a weekly day off, but customers still catch fish and are happy.
James Gonzales, Lead Mechanic
Used to own his own mechanic shop until moving into the lead mechanic position for a major Costa Rican bus company. Has been on staff three years and knows everything there is to know about the 5.9 Cummins we use in most our boats and is not far behind in his Detroit knowledge. Has cheap contacts (super big discounts) on injection services, turbo services, and has a really good friend that does cheap fast and good work on marine transmissions. Also just has a lot of contacts as he has been in the diesel business for 20+ years in Costa Rica. When I am out of town, I use him to collect money on the dock, as he is super honest. Very serious hardworking mechanic that won't complain if he has to put in a lot of hours.
Benjamin Alvarez, Mechanic Assistant / Supply Truck Driver
We have a 1997 tacoma that we include in the sale that Benjamin drives. He gets the ice every morning, will make sure we have plenty of beer, coke and water and other supplies, counts the drinks after every trip and fills the boats with the exact amount they need. He also gets WhatsApp messages from the captains on fishing gear they need, or cleaning supplies and handles that side. I usually give him some money in the mornings and he turns in receipts in the evenings. Does all the small things a business owner has to do but doesn't want to do. Is also completely able to rebuild Cummins 5.9's and will do small tasks like oil changes, impeller changes, injector changes or turbo replacements if needed. Related to James but not immediate family. Has a Commercial truck driving license to drive anything (if that comes up?) Also really good at fixing my personal cars (the mechanic team handles all inspections and repairs of your personal vehicles as well).
Yoel Guiterez our Social Media and Digital Graphics guy
Yoel lives in San Jose that is super talented in anything with a screen. I used him to get me on google maps, and then found out he was doing graphic design work on his Iphone. I bought him a mac pro desktop computer, and now he charges 100 bucks a week to post a daily picture on Facebook and Instagram, and posts a daily edited video on Instagram and Facebook stories. He fixes all the shadows on the pictures as well, and is good about bringing out the color in the fish without overdoing it. He also designed our Tshirts, made this website, and can really do anything IT. He also monitors the IG account for messages and will let me know if I don't see one. We get at least one message a day though Instagram from customers wanting trips.
Other things included in the sale
Instagram Quepos_Fish_Adventure 32,500 followers
I believe we have the second biggest charter fishing account on Instagram in the world (Only two Conch in Florida is bigger that I know of, and he's a good fishing customer of our captain Johnny). We often see 2000-3000 views on our daily story videos (Free Advertising). We have a bigger IG account than the Marina Pez Vela, than Los Suenos, Maverick, Crocodile Bay, Zancudo Lodge, or of any fishing related account in Costa Rica or Panama. We have a media guy that posts a recent fishing picture and video each day, and have three years of posting something daily. The pictures come from WhatsApp messages that the crews send him while they fish. The video comes from a camera person that we have on the boats. This would be an area you could spend advertising money if you were running low in trips, but we haven't had the need to so far. We did not buy ANY followers (lots of accounts have fake followers), these are all real and it shows in the direct messages where we sell a ton of trips and get daily messages. It was ALOT of work getting this account to this size and has taken a team effort. We have 1100 regular posts from about 3 years and have uploaded more videos than that to the stories. It is growing at about 100 followers ever 2-3 weeks. We also have most of the famous Instagram fishing people as customers, which accounts for at least 100 trips a year. We have a few cameras and hard cases that come with the sale too related to this.
FaceBook QueposFishAdventure 26,000 followers
Again very tough account to grow to this size, been working on this daily for about 4-5 years. Facebook isn't as hot as it used to be, they changed up their algorythms on the main feed. But since the stories are still pretty new, we get alot of views on our Facebook Stories still. This is an area where 200-300 dollar a month can go a long way for new trips and leads. And then I try to check and respond to the comments as well. Lots of times people will tag their friends on pictures we post and write something like, "When are we going?". I always respond to that and post a link to our website and we have seen soo many of those trips materialize.
Very high ranked website in google with 11 years of fishing reports. Will show up in google organic searches when anybody mentions Quepos. Lots of other tricks here that I can explain to qualified buyers. Including various programs I wrote that keep the website well ranked.
42 other Quepos related fishing domains
We have some good ones like CostaRicaFishingFAD.com and CostaRicaFAD.com for when new buyers decide to do FAD trips. Or CostaRicaFishing.org. This is mainly to make it harder for others to compete with us in google organic searches, but an ambitious person could use these sites to book other people's boats.
Costa Rican Tourism Board Sales Tax Exemption
We have qualified for one of the few exemptions from the Costa Rican Tourism board allowing us not to charge sales tax on our trips. There are advantages to having this and advantages to charging taxes, but with the exemption you have more options!
Roof in Boat Yard
Roof in the boat yard (at the shop in the river) with space under roof for two boats with towers. All our boats fit under this roof with no tower modification, including the 40 foot Blue Daze. The only roof this size in Quepos, and the front of the structure is reinforced with a chain hoist to pull or lift a motor if needed. I let the best fiberglass guys work under the roof when we don't have a boat out and in return we always get first priority over other companies and the best prices. We usually pay half of what other companies pay as the guys really appreciate the year round shade and dry spot. I pay for this spot year round and it does not cost extra when I pull boats out, it's 350 bucks a month (for the space in the shop, the roof is ours) and no other company uses our roof.
1997 Toyota Tacoma
Perfect for the errand guy Benjamin, and does all the supplies and ice for the boats. We took the single leaf spring off the back and put springs on it from an F350 so it can hold a lot of weight. All paperwork up to date and street legal. Can easily hold any of the boat motors as well in the bed.
The Gmail account FishCRJohn@Gmail.com
Has 90,000+ emails from past customers. I have labeled any customers that didn't show up and and customers that were difficult. Makes a big difference in the high season when you can book the nice easy customers that will always show up and be happy. We have enough extra customers that if somebody is tough to work with we don't work with them more than once.
New Storage Coming Soon
We have a huge cement storage facility being built right now for us in Paquita. It is next to the diesel injection shop, will be big enough to hold a boat and will be the IDEAL spot for the mechanic team to build motors and store spare parts. We are having a high security cement building built for us, with cameras and alarms. And tons and tons of shelving.
31 foot Bertram Mold
In early 2018 we spent a few months making a complete mold of a friend's 31 Bertram. We did both sides of the hull, and then copied the front of the cabin into CoreCell foam. Before we rebuilt the Blue Daze the plan was to make a 31 Bertram with twin Cummins 210hp and a small air conditioned cabin. The fiberglass crew is more than ready to build this thing from scratch, and the lead fiberglass guy, Harold, has a dad in Puntarenas who is a naval architect that will sign off on the construction. The 31 Bertram is like the 1969 camaro of boats. There is such a HUGE following of this hull and it would easily become a 280 trip a year boat at $1050 a day. Because the cabin isn't super big you could run the air conditioner off of the alternators on the motors. Harold has already rebuilt a Bertram called the Alacran a few years back so it would be easy to do the second. Also we have about $5000 in corecell foam that is ready to go for the topside of the Bertram so it would be even lighter and raise more fish than the originals! I would gladly oversee a build like this for no cost, I could not think of anything I would enjoy more.
A ridiculous amount boat parts and spare transmissions, turbos, injectors, heads, blocks, camshafts and anything that can go bad in any of the boats. We have a spare for anything that can break on the boat, and all the boat pieces go with the sale. It would take a month to inventory, interested buyers can come and see. We also have about 5000 dollars in CoreCell foam to do repairs with or that the new buyer can use to build more boats (hopefully).
We have software that I wrote as well that helps answer the customer's emails. It's easy to use and will make answering questions super easy. One touch of the keyboard will write a full paragraph, and I took a lot of time writing the responses. Will take 90 percent of the work off of whoever is doing the scheduling, and if people write multiple charter companies, you will always be able to give the best, most thorough answer and answer the quickest with the least amount of effort. This while also help a ton with a new owner as the answers to all the customers questions are prewritten and tweaked through tens of thousands of customer interactions. There is other software we use as well that makes the company easy to run, update the website, keep track of oil changes, and help find customers, but I can't list it publicly as other charter companies might copy the ideas and we like having the technical edge!
Costa Rican Residency
This business is big enough that the buyer automatically qualifies for Costa Rican Residency when they buy it (inversionista). If a father & son buys it, we can help during the sell to make sure you both qualify for the exemption. I have a great lawyer that you will want after the sell as well, and she can easily get you through the process. Once you apply, you can live and stay in the country indefinitely. I have been through the process and can help a ton as well. Costa Rica residents have a huge tax exemption in the US (Foreign Earned Income Exclusion).
Three Costa Rican corporations
We have the boats spread out in 3 different corporations (to stay in bottom income tax bracket), all of which are up to date. These are included with the sale and you can use them, or you can move the boats to your own corporations. There are advantages and disadvantages to each option, but these corporations are included if you want them (worth 800 dollars each)