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Recently; in light of my continued struggle to keep up with production; I decided to contact some extremely successful, very business-savvy friends of mine and get some solid guidance on the direction and future of HD Customs. What transpired from those detailed discussions is a hard truth followed by some difficult decisions.

I learned that I need to choose a direction in which to take HD Customs; stay small scale production, or go large scale production. The difficulty is deciphering which of those options is best for the company at this particular juncture and this particular moment in time, remembering to factor in commodity fluctuation, economic stability, and market saturation. I also have to weigh in on which option is the most realistic and most attainable. The hard truth is that I do not have the operating capital to scale up, and without some venture capital I simply cannot afford to take that next step as it’s a very large step, including a larger facility, more manufacturing equipment and employees. Therefore, I’m more or less forced into keeping HD Customs small scale with limited production. However, I believe that this direction will be beneficial to both HD Customs and its customer base.

I’ve been struggling from day one to bring premium products to the market with an attempt to stay price competitive; consequently resulting in keeping HD Customs continually in the red. Combining the complexity of the design, manufacturing process, and rising materials and freight costs, I quickly became aware that the required profit margin simply isn’t there. It has often been suggested to me that I should simplify my designs in an attempt to bring cost down and profit margins up, however, this compromises the premium aspect of the product. I believe that a premium product should be just that, a product that’s designed and engineered to be as strong, stylish, innovative and as durable as possible; no compromises, and no simplification to increase production. Premium quality and master craftsmanship are not only the foundation, but the very reason that HD Customs’ Product Line was created. It is for this very reason that I will be limiting production to just 4-5 units/month while simultaneously introducing a new pricing structure. I fully understand that my decision will impact sales, however, it gives me the opportunity to continue to bring innovative industry leading premium products to the discerning Jeep owner. The Jeep owner who will not settle for anything but the best… and wants the world to know it. The Jeep owner who seeks to leave an impression both with their peers and on the trails. The Jeep owner who seeks to be truly unique in a sea of Jeeps. That’s the HD Customs standard.

I would like to personally thank you and JKO for your continued support and encouragement, it’s what fuels my ambition and drives me to be perpetually innovative. My promise is to ALWAYS offer products that are the pinnacle of design, style and engineering… not to mention original and “trend-setting”.

:beer:
Jarrett Havercamp
Owner/Fabricator
 

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I think you made a good decision keep it low product high quality and limited. This makes your product even more unique!

Jason
 

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Very good to hear! Too many companies try to blow up as soon as possible and the quality goes to hell in a hand basket and then they fail.
 

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Tough to make a buck if you limit your sales, but I understand your desire for premium product. Any chance of offering a HD Customs Limited line of product while expanding to quality-controlled large scale production? A little venture capital, a business partner, and you stick to 4-5 premium units while production increases on simpler parts?
 

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Good to hear that you're at least still kicking, Jarrett. I love my rear sport bumper and it continues to take a beating and smile about it. Hang in there, your product absolutely rocks!
 

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Quality product plus a high demand is a good problem to have. IMO - as long as you are up front about lead times - even if you add some contingency - I believe that people will continue to keep your inbox full. I cannot stress the communication thing enough. It almost killed the JK market for a very reputable company that was known for high quality products. Communication, communication, communication.... if people are guessing what is going on they are most likely guessing wrong.

Whatever you decide - best of luck!
 

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Knowing you, Jarrett, I feel that this is absolutely the correct course of action for HD Customs. It's just not in you to compromise anywhere. If you expanded, every part that wasn't absolutely perfect - every weld that didn't look like a perfect stack of dimes - every tiny thing that might have to be sacrificed to meet demand and or price at the cost of engineering innovation...would drive you crazy. And not like bother you a little, I mean full-on bugshit not sleeping at night eating Froot Loops on you front porch in Spongebob boxers crazy. :laughing:

I'm in agreement on your stance, product placement and production, and pricing. You'll still have all the demand you can handle and an absolutely superior product. There aren't may cats out there developing and turning out the quality you do.

I'll miss your custom fab and weld work though. :bawling:

As always, best of luck!
 

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In building homes, I always heard there's three variables. Price, Time and Quality and you only get to pick 2. One of those variables will always suffer. If you're busy with what you have going now, keep going with it and continue to improve the process. I have heard too many stories about companies that were in the process of expanding when the market took a dump. I think you're in an excellent position with the way things are now, so keep up the good work. Best of luck!!
 

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I agree with the others and think that you are making the correct decision. Unfortunately I think this may affect my build as well. I wanted a Switchblade Stubby but I also have a timeline that I'm working on and not sure that you'll be able to meet it. I'll get with you though. Hopefully I'll be surprised and still be able to do it.
 

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I had a suspicion that profit margin was very low based on the quality and design of the products. The old adage is true. You get what you pay for. Even if prices went up by 30%, it is still worth it.
 

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Jarrett, you're a smart man and you proved it yet again with decision. You're still a young company... live by the rules "keep it simple stupid". you're kindness to want to make everyone and anyone interested your high quality bumper designs while putting your own business at risk is a true testament.

Stay small, love what you're doing, and in turn, you may grow should the future point you that direction down the road, but for now, only grow as much as the walls surrounding you allow.

nobody gets rich overnight.


:beer:
 

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I also think you are making the right move. While many customers are basing a purchase decision on "the best for xxx price" there are always customers who will pay a premium for a unique, higher quality, limited production product. While your decision will undoubtedly narrow your target market, that's fine because you are limiting your production. You will just need to adjust your pricing structure to insure you are actually profitable.
I have consulted for a few craftsman who have been in your shoes who took the same route. It has worked out very well for both of them.
Good luck! You have some amazing products!

Davesrb
 

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Anyone heard from them?
From Facebook on 3/2/12:

"Greetings Everyone. Our apologies for not staying on top of updates. We have temporarily suspended our manufacturing in an attempt to restructure. It is our goal to resume taking orders in limited quantities by mid-to-late 2012. We thank you for your patience and understanding.
-HD Customs Team"
 
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