Finding A Used Jon Boat
By Russ Thetonia
Finding a used Jon boat can be easier than you think. Although many folks who have already found theirs are often willing to hold on to them for life, there are other avenues you can pursue to find your diamond in the ruff.
Well first things first, you need to be keeping an eye on the classifieds. Use classifieds from your local papers, tackle shops and especially online. Local forum board classifieds are also often a hot place to find a boat nearby.
There is one way however - the way I found my latest boat - that works very well: Door-to-door campaigning. What you do is make up a note to leave on doors as you drive through specific neighborhoods looking for yards with boats in them. Granted, this takes a little time, but it really does have some good results. Below is a sample note. This is the note I used, feel free to use it yourself, just fill in the blanks. Pick a Saturday to hit some very specific neighborhoods. You are looking for lakeside communities and even better, the sub communities that are just outside of the shorefront properties. Often, these houses will have boats in the yards from kids that have since grown up, went to college and flown the coop.
Many of these boats are diamonds in the ruff. Covered with moss from storage under a tree for years, or filled with beehives or leaves or God only knows what else. Many of these boats are quite capable of being restored to "better than new" condition with some loving care and a little hard work. Tools and skills needed are minimal.
The folks who have had to look at these things in their yard and cut the grass around them for the last 5-10 years consider many of these boats an eyesore. When they read your note and realize that they could turn that eyesore into a couple hundred clams, they are quick to call.
Remember to be very professional. Anyone who calls back, whether to decline or accept your offer gets a "Thank You". Some folks may want to barter or haggle with the price you left on your note. This will give you choices. I left the notes on houses that had everything from 12- to 14-foot jons to 16 foot v-hulls. There are more canoes out there than anything, if that is your desire.
I hit three neighborhoods, left roughly thirty notes and had six boats to choose from.
This is my note:
I was in your neighborhood and noticed the boat you have in your yard. Please excuse my "up-front-ness" but I was wondering if you would consider selling it? If you would consider selling it, please know I am willing to pick it up, as is, any time you desire. You don't have to clean it or even touch it for that matter.
If interested, please feel free to call me at your convenience.
Thank You for your time,
Have a pad with you on your ride. Write down the address, boat length, price you are willing to offer and top off at, style and certain features that may have stuck out to you. A camera is handy also. This way, when you get call backs, you know which boat you are talking about and have an offer ready.
Once you find your gem, we have a few links to give you ideas on how to fix her up.
16 foot jon conversion
12 foot jon restore