An Interview with Douglas McFarlane, Lomond Yachts

Lomond Yachts for sale, An Interview with Douglas McFarlane, Lomond Yachts

A magazine contacted us in February for an article that subsequently didn’t get published due to the Coronavirus. This was therefore completed before the lockdown in the UK and other places around the world.

Could You Give Me a Brief Introduction to Lomond Yachts in Your Own Words?

Lomond Yachts is a yacht broker who focuses on high value superyachts. Anything over 40m or 120 feet costing from €10m to €310m. I’m from the shipbuilding town of Clydebank and my late father and uncles, granddad and beyond all worked for John Browns building some of the best ships in the world like Cunard’s QE2 and Queen Mary and the Royal Yacht Britannia. As a boy I was always building models of the best ships and wanted to follow in the family tradition but my father didn’t want me to work in the shipyards as they were in decline in the 70s. So I went into banking but eventually got the bug again after I joined the Royal Bank of Scotland sailing club, sailing round the beautiful West Coast of Scotland on many occasions. I got into power boating on the amazing Loch Lomond and eventually I realised I wanted to build a business doing what was an essential part of my DNA. Lomond Yachts was the ideal name as I was living in Loch Lomond at the time and moved to London where I felt there was more millionaires and billionaires and wealthy visitors from around the world.

What Would You Say Is Lomond Yachts Unique Selling Point?

We focus on the buyer and their specific requirements to find a yacht anywhere. We connect a team for every client to meet their needs along the journey and ongoing. It’s a longer term and closer working relationship we have with our clients. A Superyacht is a significant investment and much like a small business as each comes with a Captain, crew, chefs, stewards and engineers etc with ongoing itinerary planning, and ongoing maintenance, and most owners need a support structure around that. Rather than just finding a yacht and wishing clients on their way, we offer the complete service.

How Are Lomond Yachts Goals As a Business Different From Your Other Competitors in the Same Industry?

We don’t exhibit yachts at yacht shows or have central agent agreements or ‘stock’, those focus your attention on getting those yachts sold first and foremost. We can source any yacht on the market but it MUST meet the precise requirements of the yacht. So we have a partnership with a global network of fellow brokers, shipyards, designers and other services like financing, legal, insurance, surveyors.

We also have more online solutions for people to connect. We run SuperYachters, which is a community for those who love to connect with others and share posts. We have SuperYachts.TV which is a YouTube channel where we bring some of the best SuperYacht videos. I recently did a tour of Shipyards and you can see some of the work that goes on to build some of the beautiful yachts.

What are the Biggest Challenges Your Lomond Yachts Has Faced?

The startup cycle is longer than most businesses, due to the high value of the items. There’s naturally less clients to work with and each sale isn’t an overnight success, so you’ve got to be intensely focussed on cash flow and invest your time and funds wisely.

How Did You Overcome Those Challenges?

You need to get to know the industry and the way it works, and more importantly have a rapport and connection with the people who work in it. That takes time and a lot of effort over the longer term. So you need to network, you need to be a presence and get out there on social media and let people slowly get introduced to you and build their trust in you.

How Do You Make Sure You Employ the Best Staff? How Do You Invest In Your Staff?

We don’t hire staff, we work with the gig economy. We have around 100 associates in various parts of the world who we’ve briefed and trained on the yachts, the process, how to understand the clients requirements. The wider team then work with the client to shortlist based on budget, size, interior design and then I get involved when we’ve narrowed down the options. I work on every deal and know every client.

What Has Lomond Yachts Got Planned For the Future?

World domination. No, we are experts in the digital space, so we have lots of tricks up our sleeve still to come and maintain our position at the forefront on the digital space. We see ourselves growing in the selling to complement our buying expertise and we’ll be offering clients that service this year. This is through a partnership with a large American broker, who recently asked us to work with them. So we’ll be able to help sell yachts for clients too through their channels while allowing us to focus on our unique service looking after what they want to buy.

Is There Anything We Haven’t Discussed That You’D Like to See Talked About in the Article?

This year is a great year for buying a SuperYacht as there are some yachts that have been built on specification, meaning they will be ready to launch this summer, so you can get a brand new yacht now, instead of waiting the usual 2-3 years. It’s risky for the shipyards as in some cases the investment is in the hundreds of millions, but it comes with confidence in their marketplace and their product.

Douglas McFarlane, Lomond Yachts, on a yacht

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