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Pakboats Contact
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Author:  FunN4Lo [ Fri Apr 01, 2016 7:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Pakboats Contact

I emailed info@pakboats.com on March 26th. I have not gotten a response. Does anyone have another contact for the company?

Author:  siravingmon [ Sat Apr 02, 2016 5:01 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Pakboats Contact

Maybe they've been away for the Easter break. I suggest you call Toll Free
in the United States & Canada at: (888) 863-9500
- or call the regular line: (603) 632-9500

Author:  chrstjrn [ Sat Apr 02, 2016 9:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Pakboats Contact

My experience with Pakboats is that they are extremely responsive, helpful, and responsible... but they aren't so consistent with the electronic communication. Pick up the phone and give them a call. There's almost always someone there.

Author:  overland [ Fri Apr 08, 2016 10:45 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Pakboats Contact

I agree. They are extremely helpful on the phone. I bought a used Pakcanoe--I didn't buy it from PakBoat directly but from a private seller--and yet Alv has been very patient with my questions about all manner of things.

Author:  KerryOnKayaks [ Tue Apr 12, 2016 6:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Pakboats Contact

I'm going to post a contrarian comment about Pakboat's customer service. Yes, it is usually possible to get someone on the phone and get basic questions answered. But I just had my third frustrating experience in a row with them. Today it was the arrival of the foot peg assembly I ordered for my recently purchased Quest 135. It came with NO instructions whatsoever, just a box with an invoice in it. Before you say "but didn't the boat come with instructions for the foot pegs?" let me say that the kayak itself was ALSO shipped to me last month with zero instructions. I had to rely on another Quest owner from the forum to provide them. Prior to this I'd ordered a replacement deck for my older Puffin -- even sent them the serial number so they could assure I got the right version -- but they sent me one that was wrong -- a full 3" too short. Though Alv offered to take it back (he seemed puzzled why it did not fit) I decided it was less hassle to modify it and had to cut it in half and reconstruct it to add the needed length.

How difficult is it to make sure instructions are included when shipping something as assembly-complex and critical as a folding kayak? This is like Customer Service 101. And they don't even have their assembly manuals (such as they are, and they are not great) posted on their website. Feathercraft does that even for discontinued models. Feathercraft is a small outfit too and they even make their boats on site, but they manage to "get it" about how to market their products and service their buyers.

II've started to feel conflicted about recommending Pakboats to people. I like the boats' designs, think they are a good value and am on my third model, but they are so haphazardly marketed and their website is so vague and rarely updated that it's hard to know what to tell people about them.

OK, rant over. But, really, I wish they would pay more attention to how they are perceived by customers, both potential ones and long time ones.

Author:  Apathizer [ Wed Apr 13, 2016 12:24 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Pakboats Contact

KerryOnKayaks wrote:
...
I've started to feel conflicted about recommending Pakboats to people. I like the boats' designs, think they are a good value and am on my third model, but they are so haphazardly marketed and their website is so vague and rarely updated that it's hard to know what to tell people about them.

OK, rant over. But, really, I wish they would pay more attention to how they are perceived by customers, both potential ones and long time ones.

I understand what you mean. When figuring out what kayak to get I emailed Trak a few times, and they always responded promptly. When Folbot was in business they also responded promptly.

I agree though, and I can only speculate as to the problem. I think part of it might be generational: Alv is about 70, and I get the impression he might be sort of semi-retired, and in my experience with older persons (my parents are about the same age) generally aren't as technologically astute or at least interested. I think the other 1-2 people employees are also engineers/designers.

Their organization has benefits. Since they seems to be exclusively designers and engineers who are really into folding boats: consequently, they make highly practical and efficient boats that are a great value. But the disadvantage of seemingly having no or very limited marketing and web development, and lackadaisical customer service can be frustrating.

I hope you didn't have any problem with the foot-pegs for your Quest. I don't think there were any specific instructions for them with my Quest, but fortunately installation is very simple and intuitive.

Author:  flatwater [ Tue Apr 19, 2016 10:46 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Pakboats Contact

Just a thought.
The last I talked to Alv in person was at Canoecopia in 2014 - 2 years ago.
He stated plainly then that he was looking for a buyer. He said he was getting old and didn't want to run the company anymore.
I think perhaps his heart isn't in it the way it has been for the last few decades.
That can have a noticeable effect on responsiveness and innovation.

Author:  Apathizer [ Wed Apr 20, 2016 3:24 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Pakboats Contact

flatwater wrote:
Just a thought.
The last I talked to Alv in person was at Canoecopia in 2014 - 2 years ago.
He stated plainly then that he was looking for a buyer. He said he was getting old and didn't want to run the company anymore.
I think perhaps his heart isn't in it the way it has been for the last few decades.
That can have a noticeable effect on responsiveness and innovation.

Thanks for the info. As we saw with Folbot's demise, running a small, independent niche' business like folding kayaks is probably very demanding. I'm only 45, but plan to retired from full-time work no later than age 66. [I'll probably volunteer occasionally and maybe work part-time just to keep busy and for a little supplemental income.]

At his age I don't blame Alv for wanting to either retire or do something less demanding. I hope he finds someone who's passionate about folding boats and committed to the business. We'll see.

Author:  flatwater [ Wed Apr 20, 2016 11:23 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Pakboats Contact

Apathizer wrote:
I hope he finds someone who's passionate about folding boats and committed to the business.

Yeah.
I guess Phill Cotton didn't find one. Both of the subsequent owners were in it for business reasons.
Dave and Tony bailed after running Folbot only about 4 years.
Eric has run it for about 4 as well.
We need somebody willing to put in all the hard work to revive Folbot knowing it'll never make him rich.
Or even well off.
Sigh.
:(

If you know the story of Verlen Kruger you know it can be done. He found a kindred spirit in Mark Przedwojewski who is still making boats 12 years after Verlen died.

Meanwhile, I too hope that Alv can find someone to carry on in the same spirit.

Author:  siravingmon [ Wed Apr 20, 2016 11:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Pakboats Contact

I just spoke to Pakboats over the phone to order some spares and they were as helpful as ever.
I also got a very good impression from Alv the last time I spoke to him of their commitment to further developments - it was just after the announcement that the Quest was no longer to be available and he was already talking about a possible simpler replacement some time in the future.

Author:  Apathizer [ Wed Apr 20, 2016 6:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Pakboats Contact

flatwater wrote:
I guess Phill Cotton didn't find one. Both of the subsequent owners were in it for business reasons.
Dave and Tony bailed after running Folbot only about 4 years.
Eric has run it for about 4 as well.
We need somebody willing to put in all the hard work to revive Folbot knowing it'll never make him rich.
Or even well off.
Sigh.
:(

If you know the story of Verlen Kruger you know it can be done. He found a kindred spirit in Mark Przedwojewski who is still making boats 12 years after Verlen died.

Meanwhile, I too hope that Alv can find someone to carry on in the same spirit.

While I don't have any direct insight, I get the impression the Pakboats operation is financially sustainable because their overhead is really low compared to other manufacturers. It's my understanding there are only about 3-4 employees, and their manufacturing facility is minimal - mainly for spare/replacement parts. Most other manufacturers have about 10 employees (designers/engineers, advertising/marketing staff, accountant, etc.) and an expensive manufacturing operation. Of course this means Pakboats can offer quality products for a much lower price, but their marketing isn't as elaborate.

siravingmon wrote:
I just spoke to Pakboats over the phone to order some spares and they were as helpful as ever.
I also got a very good impression from Alv the last time I spoke to him of their commitment to further developments - it was just after the announcement that the Quest was no longer to be available and he was already talking about a possible simpler replacement some time in the future.

That's good to know. As I said before, some of it is probably generational. Many 'older' persons seem to prefer more direct, personal communication to impersonal newer methods like email. To some extent this is understandable; dealing with persistent email and text messages can be a PITA.

Author:  Joebh [ Fri Apr 22, 2016 3:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Pakboats Contact

I contacted Alv about who is out of town about your concerns . He asked me to post his response until he gets back to NH and he can more fully address them. Also he has recently changed his factory from China to Indonesia

Joe,

I am in Florida for a few days and don't have the information to get into the forum. I can understand that there may be some concern about retirement etc, considering that Folbot seems to have gone away (their auction of material inventory and equipment was yesterday). We have had a severe production delay this year, due to our supplier's move, but Mike is now at the factory overseeing our 2016 production. We are a bit "picked over" in terms of inventory, but we do have most models in stock. We will be back to normal sometime in May.

A lot of people know that i am old enough to retire, but I need to do something, and I'd rather stay involved in Pakboats than any other alternative I can think of.

Best regards,
Alv

Author:  siravingmon [ Sun Apr 24, 2016 5:11 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Pakboats Contact

Joebh wrote:
A lot of people know that i am old enough to retire, but I need to do something, and I'd rather stay involved in Pakboats than any other alternative I can think of.

Best regards,
Alv


Yay! This is when I really miss the fact that there's no dancing Snoopy emoticon for this forum :D

Author:  KerryOnKayaks [ Mon Apr 25, 2016 2:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Pakboats Contact

I'll turn 66 myself in two months, left my long time job 3 months ago and just started collecting social security (first check will arrive in two days apparently). So I can understand the impulse of not having the drive to work as hard as one once did. In fact a company I've done some consulting for is desperate to hire me full time for quite a spectacular salary but I can't bring myself to do that -- even though it's work I enjoy and am good at, I just don't have the desire to commit so much time and effort to a career any more, now that I no longer HAVE to work for the first time in my life. Maybe come Fall, when the weather is dreary and it's harder to find fun stuff to do outdoors I'll cave in to their offer. Maybe for a little while.....

Wonder what they want to buy into Pakboat ownership? I've thought about getting involved in a business within one of my hobby interests. I've always thought if Pakboats were marketed more aggressively they could probably increase sales. Can you imagine a "Shopping Channel" info-mercial demonstrating how compact, simple to set up, light and fun a Pakboat is? Could probably sell hundreds, if not thousands, though a lot would never leave the original packaging -- a fate that I suspect befalls a lot of shopping channel impulse buys. Considering that commercially produced folders have been around for nearly a century it's amazing how few people in the US even know such crafts exist. Among the aging population of kayaking enthusiasts, the lightness and portability of them is such a great option -- maybe a full page spread in the AARP magazine or in "Archaeology" or "Smithsonian" (both publications whose advertising seems slanted to the older consumers who are presumably a large portion of their readership). I wonder how they are marketed in Europe and Asia, where folders of all sorts seem to be a more commonly recognized option?

In my experience, having a product produced offshore is always a risk and a supply-chain headache. I worked in the wilderness sports outfitting business back in my 20's and we often had problems related to overseas trade difficulties, like one year when cross-country skiing exploded in popularity and all of our pre-season shipments from Norway were blocked by a dockworkers' strike that went on for months. By Christmas we actually had customers fighting each other over our depleted stocks of skiis and gear. There was also a well known US gear vendor that we stocked who got scammed by a Chinese down supplier and ended up having to recall thousands of sleeping bags that were filled with substandard "couchet" down (essentially old down recycled from discarded duvets and featherbeds that quickly lost its loft.) The returns we had to handle due to that were a customer service nightmare. We even had a vendor who lost an entire shipment of new kayak models we were anticipating (and had pre-paid orders for) due to a cargo ship disaster. Not sure I would want to be tied, financially or managerially, to that sort of scenario again.

Author:  Apathizer [ Tue Apr 26, 2016 12:05 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Pakboats Contact

Joebh wrote:
A lot of people know that i am old enough to retire, but I need to do something, and I'd rather stay involved in Pakboats than any other alternative I can think of.

Best regards,
Alv

That's good to hear, and assuming I make it to my mid-60s and retire I'll probably need something to keep myself at least just a little busy. It'll probably be something more mundane like going back to school part-time and/or volunteering.

Even if it's on a part-time basis, it's good to know Alv will be involved. At any level his input is beneficial. :D

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