Last week I was in Kansas City at the Skills USA National Championship contest, this week I'm here in Minnesota at Best Buy's Geek Squad University training about 30 members of the Geek Squad team in the nuances of marine electrical systems. One of the mandates Best Buy has put in place as they slowly expand their marine electronics business is that all of the Geek Squad technicians that are going to be working on boats must be certified by the American Boat and Yacht Council, (ABYC) in marine electrics. Additionally they will also be required to become National Marine Electronics Association (NMEA) certified. This week we have students from all over the country in the group as Best Buy begins the roll out of their newest venture.
I have to say it, this company is doing it right! The techs I'm working with have already been highly trained in many areas of electronics such as home theater installations and calibrations, automotive audio system instalations and electrical fundamentals. Many of the techs have already been working on boats and now they are going to get the chance to expand their work even further. Each of the technicians I'm working with has been hand picked by their respective store managers to go through this training and I just can't say enough good about the level of professionalism and expertise I'm seeing. These folks are sharp! Within a matter of weeks we're going to see more Best Buy stores coming online with truly qualified marine electronics installation specialists. The company is carefully selecting traditional marine electronics vendors to provide product. Companies like Garmin, Raymarine, ICOM, Lowrance, Fusion are already on board, and more are going to be coming into the mix over the next few months.
One of the things Best Buy Marine is offering that is unique is flat rate installation pricing for their customers. Most electronics installers work on a "time and materials" pricing format, which means when the tech leaves the shop to come to your boat the meter starts running. When they are done, the meter shuts off. You pay for every minute, no matter how long it takes to do the install. Sometimes this can turn into a real horror show and statistically, I'll tell you that in a time and materials format, you are almost always going to end up paying more than the price you get quoted as an "approximate" estimate. At Best Buy, the price you get quoted is what you'll pay, not a penny more. I love the concept!
So, next time you're looking for on board audio, video, or traditional marine electronic navigation and communication gear, give Best Buy a try. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.