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Side by Side/UTV market: product inception to market to ??????

Red

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This thread will document the process of our product being inspired, designed, imported, brought to market, marketed... sold???

MJ, you mentioned that you wanted people to come here & document their journeys, so here you go! I do have to rewind a bit to document some of the steps we've already taken, but I'll start here......


This idea came about like a lot of business ideas: a group of people sitting around talking about expensive hobbies & how to pay for them. This particular hobby being side by sides (or UTV's), otherwise known as balls-out-desert-exploration slash ridiculous fun machines. Our particular group is made up of 3 people: the enthusiast (product development), the seasoned veteran (multiple successful e-commerce businesses & a member of this forum) & me -IT support/social media/bookeeping (communications). The other forum member can out himself if he wishes, but I won't do it myself. This process originally started in the fall of 2018....


So what is a side by side (SxS) / UTV exactly?? Glad you asked.....














So what can you do with them?

DesertshotDOWNSIZED.jpg







Everything about this hobby is expensive, from the vehicles themselves to the accessories to the maintenance. But they're fun as hell, so we keep going back for more. And we're apparently not alone, as sales for these grown-a$$-adult toys has considerably increased over the past decade.

This whole idea started as a way to be able to pay for more SxS's & be able to use that purchase money as a write off, therefore lessening the financial blow. It made sense, if we could spend some time managing to make some income that was offset by R&D spending on various SxS's, doesn't that makes sense? Well of course it does, so here we go....


So the research began. We knew from the enthusiast member of the group that, sure, the vehicles aren't cheap, but the accessories bring a whole other level of spending as well. Things like roofs, windshields, internal storage bags, light bars, turbo kits, sound systems, etc. You really can double your price on a vehicle with "simple" add ons that you quickly surmise you "need"...

We found that there's not a whole lot of competition for many accessories in this realm, so I'll go into the product selection process in the next post. Thanks for reading. Hit me up at any time with any questions....
 

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MJ DeMarco

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I'd have to imagine the accessory industry is ripe with thick margins...

For example...

A cargo container for the back of my Maverick, one that might fit snuggly or match the color... OEM or not...

Total Cost: $350 (including shipping)

Or I can just be smart...

Two bungee cords: $3.50
One cooler: $19.95

Total Cost: $23.45

Someone is making a killing on the accessories.

25191
 

SteveO

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I spend a lot of money on my Jeep. I like it because it is easier to travel to a location, take a one way ride, and head home. All while in air conditioning.

But, after watching the capability of some of the side-by-sides (hate that term by the way), my interest level is going up. I was looking at an obstacle of boulders. As I was preparing my approach to climb over them without sustaining body damage, a couple of Can Ams came along and ripped through like it was nothing. They are really making them so capable these days. Power, suspension, larger tires. Just amazing.
 
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SxS Product Vetting & Selection

While I won't specify the product we selected just yet, I will go through the process we went through to arrive at that selection.

At the beginning, we started with fitting the Yamaha YXZ1000r for our product. There wasn't a lot of competition for this vehicle as it was one of the lesser known market players. There were 2 other small competing companies making our product, but not for this vehicle originally.


Since @biophase outed himself.... we had a resource in a manufacturing contact through him. This obviously significantly cut the curve for us on seeking out a reliable manufacturer & vetting them. From a previous product I was attempting to create/import, I know first hand that this part of the process can be maddening & is no small task. We definitely appreciate the contact & the time it's saved, as it's no small feat.

First things first, we checked out the competition to see the quality, fit & what we could improve upon. After we took detailed measurements for our product on our selected rig, we had our first prototype drawn up.

Shortly after receiving the first iteration of our product, we went to a Yamaha dealer only to find out that the 2019's were changing on a key component on the vehicle that our product mounted to. So we had to make a tough call right off the bat before we were even off the ground: continue with this model, only fitting about 4 years worth of vehicles or scrap it & go with a more prolific model that remains unchanged as we need it.

We decided to scrap the work done thus far & change vehicles to the Can Am. They are leading the market in sales right now & upon further investigation, there were only 2 companies creating our product & neither were making use of all the space we saw as wasted. Oh, and they were stupidly expensive for a smaller, more cheaply made product. Yeah, we got this.

So back to the dealership we went, tape measure in hand with pen and paper. We were like, hey, were just gonna take some measurements here with some notes, you mind? And the sales guys all left us to our own devices (which was really nice).


So after a lot of back & forth on the details with our manufacturer (and corrections), WeChat failures, language barriers, our second prototype was pretty damn spot on. We beefed up just about every aspect of this product & made it utilize the space available in a more much efficient manner. NOBODY currently makes this product like we do, this product doesn't currently exist, so that's a big bonus....


Someone is making a killing on the accessories.
Yes, exactly. You've priced this stuff, you know it's ridiculous.

You can mention me. Lol
done!

a couple of Can Ams came along and ripped through like it was nothing.
The more I see & know of them, the more I'm just open-jawed impressed.

Fellow offroader here in Scottsdale.
Nice! We're looking at picking up an Maverick X3 Max in the fall (when the new models arrive & they start deep discounting the 2019's, haha)
 
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Everything has been approved for production, from the product itself, to the tags on the product, to the box size it will be shipped over in, to the poly bag that will contain the pieces.... holy hell. So many little details you don't think of until you have to make decisions about them.

Wire down payment sent to begin product production.
 

minivanman

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We had to take an off roading break due to my grandson getting Jeep Disease. And then, if that wasn't bad enough, it went in to tunneling. Since the recovery from an operation can take 6 months to 2 years, we are going to wait for him to have surgery until after he graduates high school in 2 years. But, we will be back stronger than ever in a few years!
 
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While the bags are in production, we're working on getting details done over here...

Website is in production, but we need good quality product photos. But we don't currently own the vehicle that this product fits so how do we get a "model" for the shots? We posted an ad on CL as well as OfferUp offering a FREE BAG if you're willing to come to us & let us photograph your vehicle. We got a few bites before we were removed & have scheduled this coming weekend with a guy who has a nicely customized X3 four seater. He's stayed in good communication so hopefully he's not flaky.

Model photo, ain't she a beaut? Because really, this thread is about cool rigs...


ModelX3.jpeg

We also enlisted the help of a friend who has an eye for product composition photography & a kick a$$ camera. I'm not sure what we bribed him with... he's just an example of a nice guy I met through this forum who is willing to take some time out of a weekend to help a friend in the hot desert sun. I won't out him either so he doesn't get bombarded with requests for photography help, haha.

Other things in the works: nailing down details with the importing/freight forwarding company so we can make sure we get our tariffs correct & get the (eventual) shipment from the ports in LA to here in Scottsdale.

Bank accounts will be set up this week. Business card arrived last week. Just putting one foot in front of the other over here.
 
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Figured it was time for an update....


So the original guy who was going to bring his rig for our photos flaked... super frustrating. But that's often people...

I put up another "ad" in the Arizona X3 group & got another bite. Same deal: bring out your rig, let us shoot photos/video & we'll give you the bag as payment. This 2nd guy was awesome. Customized X3 MAX, brought out a whole group & was wonderful to work with.

26783

Turns out that this guy is very involved in the CanAm offroad community & has now put us in touch with a distributor that is interested in our product & has hooked us up with CanAm convention organizers who host different offroad get togethers in our state. The guy messaged us after the photo shoot that he loves the product & has now posted it inside his other groups, complete with pics, about how much he loves it -really can't ask for more than that! He has quite a few people asking about where to buy them, which is really encouraging.

I was pissed about the original guy cancelling on us, but turns out that it was probably one of the best things that's happened to us. Quite the lesson.

A big shout out to our photographer & drone operator, as we got some great footage for sales calls & some amazing photos for the website/marketing. We really appreciate our friends who came out & did things pro-bono for us. I won't out them, so they don't get inundated with requests, but damn, you guys rock!



In the mean time, it's getting through the "small"details like the IRS EIN number assignment, setting up the storefront online & getting our DBA name sorted out.

We've received word that our first order of 300 units is now done, so we're now working on ironing out the details of the freight forwarding, customs (and the fun extra tariffs) and getting everything ready to send over to us.

Now the priority is the website & getting it ready to accept orders by the time the order actually arrives. So much of a learning curve with all this, but grateful for @biophase & his patience/input.

More coming soon...
 

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biophase

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Figured it was time for an update....


So the original guy who was going to bring his rig for our photos flaked... super frustrating. But that's often people...

I put up another "ad" in the Arizona X3 group & got another bite. Same deal: bring out your rig, let us shoot photos/video & we'll give you the bag as payment. This 2nd guy was awesome. Customized X3 MAX, brought out a whole group & was wonderful to work with.

View attachment 26783

Turns out that this guy is very involved in the CanAm offroad community & has now put us in touch with a distributor that is interested in our product & has hooked us up with CanAm convention organizers who host different offroad get togethers in our state. The guy messaged us after the photo shoot that he loves the product & has now posted it inside his other groups, complete with pics, about how much he loves it -really can't ask for more than that! He has quite a few people asking about where to buy them, which is really encouraging.

I was pissed about the original guy cancelling on us, but turns out that it was probably one of the best things that's happened to us. Quite the lesson.

A big shout out to our photographer & drone operator, as we got some great footage for sales calls & some amazing photos for the website/marketing. We really appreciate our friends who came out & did things pro-bono for us. I won't out them, so they don't get inundated with requests, but damn, you guys rock!



In the mean time, it's getting through the "small"details like the IRS EIN number assignment, setting up the storefront online & getting our DBA name sorted out.

We've received word that our first order of 300 units is now done, so we're now working on ironing out the details of the freight forwarding, customs (and the fun extra tariffs) and getting everything ready to send over to us.

Now the priority is the website & getting it ready to accept orders by the time the order actually arrives. So much of a learning curve with all this, but grateful for @biophase & his patience/input.

More coming soon...
Need to get the website up ASAP so you can start taking preorders! Give the preorders a 10% discount.
 

amp0193

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Need to get the website up ASAP so you can start taking preorders! Give the preorders a 10% discount.
This.

I have a similarly unique product that can't really be gotten anywhere else.

People were paying up front (at a discount) 6 months in advance.


If you go the pre-order route... just set ultra-conservative expectations on delivery times. If you think you'll have it in 1 month, tell them 2-3 months. If 3 months, tell them 5 months.

Too much can go wrong.

Maybe you get the bags, and there's a problem and something has to be fixed, or they get stuck in customs, or whatever it is.
 
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Need to get the website up ASAP so you can start taking preorders! Give the preorders a 10% discount.
Got it. I'm working on the website as I type so I'll figure that out, haha.
 

Bigguns50

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Just started following this. Nice work so far ! This product category is perfect for you guys since you love offroading. Excited for you !
 
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Figured it was time for an update.... it's been almost 2 months....

In September, with our only fully finished prototype in hand, we kinda went on a sales tour of Utah, Colorado & Arizona (sales tour slash get out of the Arizona heat tour). Our first stop was the home office of Rocky Mountain ATV, one of the largest online purveyors of offroad accessories in the country. The warehouse was HUGE. We didn't go unarmed... we brought 2 dozen donuts & a dozen energy drinks (taking a page out of all the sales reps that descend on real estate broker sales meetings, ha).

The buyer was really cool, asked a lot of good questions & was fairly impressed with the thought that went into the products (another shout out to Biophase for his input that got us brownie points, haha) It was a quick, yet beneficial meeting.

Before we got back into town, we had an email from her asking for some of our policies & our pricing -always a good sign. This was a great opportunity to create those policies & pricing, as we hadn't done that yet. We decided on a tiered discount system for resellers, basically, the more they buy, the cheaper they get.

There's more but I'll put things in another post... in the mean time, this was outside of Manti, UT and before I almost died in a blizzard, it was quite pleasant:



Manti UT.jpg Manti UT.jpg
 
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