Money On The Table

All too often custom rod builders find themselves competing with commercial rod companies. No doubt, there are certain things that the custom guys do better than the commercial guys. But for 95% or more of fishermen, it’s all about marketing, warranty and price, all areas where few custom builders can match the factory builders . Thus, any custom builder who chooses to go head to head with a commercial manufacturer experiences a tough road.


Over the years new technology and techniques appear and the smart custom builders, the ones who manage to make a few bucks, are quick to jump on the better ideas. And quick is the key – any good idea is going to be swiped up by the commercial makers the instant they figure they can make a killing on it. Figure that it takes a bit of time before they can prototype, test and get a new rod in the inventory pipeline, and the custom guys have got maybe 6 months to a year before any non-competing item is going to wind up on the rods at the local sporting goods store.


Much too frequently, great sales opportunities elude the custom builder. Most of the money made on rods featuring the Fuji NGC would up in the pockets of the commercial builders. The new KR Concept is heading that way as well. What a pity that custom builders, to whom most of the new products are initially made available to, are so slow to get on board.  These great systems should have put a ton of money in the pockets of the custom builders. Sadly, most were too slow to react. Now the scenario is about to repeat itself.


How many of you reading this have even considered building a line of rods with the new MicroWave spinning guide system? No matter what your opinion of the guide may be, we already know that at the very worst it works at least as well as anything else out there. You give up nothing by using it and in many cases stand to gain quite a bit, not the least of which is the novelty which it currently enjoys. Make no mistake, it is going to wind up on commercially produced rods very soon – it casts great! –  and a ton of money will be made by somebody. Why not you?


Until the first commercial rod manufacturer gets the MicroWave into their inventory pipeline, you have the chance to step out front and offer the consumer a product that he cannot get anywhere else, yet. And that means you have the opportunity to offer it at a premium price with little to no competition. A year from now, however, will be too late. It will be a pity if custom builders let this one get away before they’ve had their day in the sun with it. Why leave money on the table for someone else to pick up?


Tom Kirkman