The Paper Trail
When having work performed consider the differences.
Good shop: When you drop off your boat, expect an accurate work order (the initial paperwork describing what's wrong) with a realistic estimate. The nature of boats means that sometimes repairs on one thing will reveal further problems somewhere else. An estimate is just that, but a good shop will have realistic knowledge of how long most repairs take. When completed, a repair job includes a comprehensive invoice (final bill) detailing all labor, parts, and miscellaneous charges.
Not so good shop: i have seen many complaints with work orders that say nothing more than "fix engine." Such an open-ended work order is bound to end up
HOW DO YOU FIND A GOOD SHOP?
Internet reviews make it easier to find shops that do quality work. Online review sites such as Yelp and Google can be helpful in choosing a repair facility. But look carefully — a single dissatisfied customer can carpet the internet with negative reviews. Look also at the reviewers' names. Real names carry more weight than fastboatguy98. Shops with several good reviews that go back a few years are a better bet.
Anyone can throw up a website, and many shops do just that with whichever volunteer is willing to step up. But a shop that goes the extra mile by including short articles or blogs about relevant topics, as well as matters such as hours, emergency numbers, and specials — and keeps it up to date — shows it understands what people expect today.