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Key Facts

[Ref: GO014]

Business For Sale : Canal Narrow boat Builder
Location : Northamptonshire, UK
Leasehold | Asking Price: £75,000

Contact: Turner Butler

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Asking price includes

1 x Completed and New -Award Winning – 62 foot Boat (Value approx. £125,000)
Forward Order Book for one Boat
Internet Website

Business profile

Turner Butler are delighted to be appointed as sole selling agents for this exciting business opportunity which has never been brought to the market for sale before.

This business was established in 2006 and borne from the passion of its Director and Principal for traditional and historically designed canal narrowboats which, in the earlier 20th century were used as a main form of materials and solid fuels transportation throughout England, utilizing the great network of canals that had been built for this very purpose. They threaded themselves across the length and breadth of the land and were used extensively utilizing a form of special craft, designed and developed for this purpose, the Narrowboat.

As the requirement for this form of transportation fell away in favour of the faster and more flexible road haulage solution, the canal network fell in to relative dormancy, until people, in their quest for the peaceful and calming influences of this sedate form of travel, started to renovate and refit out these now redundant narrowboats for pleasure purposes.

The popularity of this very enjoyable pastime has today now spread to the point where many people aspire to live on these boats and enjoy the lifestyle that this offers. In fact, statistics now tell us that there are now more narrowboats using the Canal network than at the very peak of the industrial revolution.

However, as the popularity of this hobby/lifestyle has risen, then so has the onset of modernity and peoples wishes for more modern facilities and equipment on these types of boats.

It is at this point that the Principal of this business joins us. He felt, on seeing the increasing movement towards modern design in narrowboats, that there must surely be a healthy section of this type of boating community which craves the historical and traditional conversion designs of the originals, and this has been the sector of the market that he has chosen to serve.

The business is located in a very modern canalside factory unit which itself is located in a marina, where these large boats can literally be launched in 15-20 minutes due to good access and machinery etc. The setting is rural and beautifully clean as well as presenting a well laid out and professional first impression for visitors

The company has built and sold two boats thus far, with the third now virtually complete and ready for sale. The last boat built was entered in to the Crick Boat Show of 2009 and won the coveted “Favourite Boat of Show” award, thus setting the stamp of confirmation on this talented gentleman’s designs, build standards and beliefs.

To date the company has built and sold two boats and has a forward order for a further one. The third built boat and exalted prize winner requires some minor finishing off, which is currently being undertaken. It had a very good public reception at the Crick Show along with a very positive multi page editorial in one of the major magazines for this sector. Therefore further orders are expected, which can be funded from the stage payments received from the respective purchasers.

However, sadly, the growth pains of this much admired business, have created a stressful cashflow situation which the Principal is wishing to avoid. Therefore, this offering has been made extremely attractive to gain a smooth uncomplicated sale where the new owners will provide the day to day cashflow required to take the business to its rightful next level.

The main asset of the business is the award winning new boat which has, as we are led to believe, a selling value of £125,000, but with approximately £55,000 worth of asset attached loan borrowings. It therefore becomes apparent that with a purchase price of £75,000 for the business and £55,000 payback of loans, and with the third boat sold, the new owner would gain the business for a nominal amount apart from the requirement for operational cashflow.

However, the business has a now established trading name linked to traditionally built award winning designs, an excellently located low overhead premises, an up and running Internet Website and a forward order to get going on.

This offer represents a truly excellent opportunity for a new owner wishing to operate in this delightfully interesting sector and early viewing is very strongly recommended.

Key Strengths

The key strength of this business is undoubtedly its footprint in traditional build narrowboats. With extensive use of reclaimed solidtimbers (not veneers) and traditional layouts, the brand has strong purist appeal which is gathering momentum very quickly.

Key Opportunities

We are led to believe that the Principal has recently purchased a selection of reclaimed timbers from Buckingham Palace and with some dating back to the reign of Queen Victoria (the timbers clearly bear the mark VR). These were meant to be used in the construction of a new design – provisionally called The Buckingham – and would be of 70 feet in length.

Such a boat using totally unique reclaimed timber would again open the door for more accolades and further cement the capabilities of this boat builder.

The Owner and Principal has also expressed his willingness to consider some form of consultancy should the new owners require.

Growth and Expansion

Immediate growth is through the build of the forward ordered boat, plus the development of ability to build two boats simultaneously as orders are received.


As previously mentioned, The business operates from a very modern factory/office unit which is connected to all main utilities aprt from Gas, and is of approximately 3,000square feet in size, complete with more than ample parking in a very attractive marina/canalside location.

Current annual rental comes in at approx. £12,000 and is rented on an informal month to month basis.


The company currently employs 3 full time staff including the Director.

Financial profile

The business is being offered for sale on a going concern basis, all financial discussions will take place directly between the vendor and all interested parties under the auspices of Turner Butler.

Support and Training

Full support and any necessary training will be provided during handover as part of a successful sale package.

Reason for Sale

Under capitalisation


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