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How much should I charge to build a custom two-handed fly rod?
Posted by: Mike Commins (---)
Date: January 16, 2023 01:11PM

A guy who bought a rod I built and listed on @#$%& has asked me how much it would cost him to have me build another.

It would be a two-handed fly rod, and I'll build the grips from cork rings.

This has been strictly a hobby, and it's flattering to have someone want another one of my rods but I don't want to give my time away, either.

Mike

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Re: How much should I charge to build a custom two-handed fly rod?
Posted by: roger wilson (---)
Date: January 16, 2023 02:04PM

Mike,
Parts plus $30 -$50 per hour.

Best wishes

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Re: How much should I charge to build a custom two-handed fly rod?
Posted by: Mark Brassett (---)
Date: January 16, 2023 02:49PM

On a special request build I always do it for material cost only or just donate to charity events or family and friends. I've thought about marking them up and selling them but that would require an LLC and other headaches I don't need. Besides, It takes me about 6 hours over 3-4 days to complete a build. At that rate I could only build 50 rods/year at about $150 - $200 profit per rod. Thats only $10,000 per year for a full time job.

Roger is right. In my opinion its worth all of the $30-$50 per hour. If you don't need the extra income, just do it for material cost and no warrantee.

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Re: How much should I charge to build a custom two-handed fly rod?
Posted by: Phil Erickson (---)
Date: January 16, 2023 03:59PM

I charge materials at retail, plus $50.00 per hour. Warranty my workmanship, and provide the manufacturers blank warranty.

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Re: How much should I charge to build a custom two-handed fly rod?
Posted by: Mark Talmo (---)
Date: January 16, 2023 04:47PM

Mike,
While $30 - $50 per hour is certainly a reasonable labor rate, getting a prospective customer to actually pay it is a whole other story. Yes, there are custom rod builders who do make a very good profit (>$500) on their builds but you will most likely find that they are the exception rather than the rule and they are very fortunate indeed. It is difficult enough to develop a good customer base, let alone finding customers willing to pay that much. I haven’t been that fortunate yet.
There are too many variables and issues involved to achieve an across-the-board answer to “how much should I charge?” Although the quality of the components and the actual build-quality SHOULD BE the major issues, demographics included, unfortunately marketing may have more influence on how much can be charged than anything else. Marketed properly, one could sell ice cubes to Eskimos.
Vague as it may be, “Whatever the market will bear” and “Supply and demand” are about the only concerns governing how much to charge. While granted construction oriented, I have benefited immensely from the gracious insight of many on this site regarding rod building methods, products, ideas and opinions but very little on how to put it all together and actually market a rod. Please, no one take offense.

Mark Talmo
FISHING IS NOT AN ESCAPE FROM LIFE BUT RATHER A DEEPER IMMERSION INTO IT!!! BUILDING YOUR OWN SIMPLY ENHANCES THE EXPERIENCE.

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Re: How much should I charge to build a custom two-handed fly rod?
Posted by: Mike W. Anderson (---.res.spectrum.com)
Date: January 16, 2023 06:29PM

I am sort of in the same boat as the OP - I can't really justify charging by the hour because some of my builds take me way too long to finish. What I am doing now is I charge for materials plus 10%, and then 10% of that total for labor, so a 200 dollar spend on parts would be a total of 242. It's not much but it's enough to cover this expensive hobby for now. Once I get a good repertoire of builds I can start charging more. Also, you need to consider who are you going to sell to - I am selling my rods to a bunch of broke Marines, so yeah :)

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Re: How much should I charge to build a custom two-handed fly rod?
Posted by: John DeMartini (---.inf6.spectrum.com)
Date: January 16, 2023 07:01PM

What one should charge for a rod is a difficult question to answer, each builder has their own situation and expectations.

Looks like that person took advantage of your generosity and wants to do it again. In your case I would charge him what he listed your rod for on @#$%& plus 10%.

Have fun
John

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Re: How much should I charge to build a custom two-handed fly rod?
Posted by: David Luttig (---)
Date: January 16, 2023 07:23PM

For a basic wrap with a trim band my labor charge is $8 a wrap for single foot and $12 a wrap for double foot. Charge $10 for the handle install, more if I make it out of cork rings vs buying it pre-built. That is what another rod builder in my area told me he charges. Works for me but might not for others.

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Re: How much should I charge to build a custom two-handed fly rod?
Posted by: Mike W. Anderson (---)
Date: January 16, 2023 07:49PM

David Luttig Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> For a basic wrap with a trim band my labor charge
> is $8 a wrap for single foot and $12 a wrap for
> double foot. Charge $10 for the handle install,
> more if I make it out of cork rings vs buying it
> pre-built. That is what another rod builder in my
> area told me he charges. Works for me but might
> not for others.

I like this, I may have to adopt this method.

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Re: How much should I charge to build a custom two-handed fly rod?
Posted by: Mike Commins (---)
Date: January 16, 2023 08:46PM

It's unfortunate that this forum software doesn't have a "like" button.

There's a lot of great knowledge here and I appreciate everyone's thoughtful replies.

I'm going to talk to my guy on the phone tomorrow and try to find out what he has in mind. I'm probably going to steer him toward a factory rod.

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Re: How much should I charge to build a custom two-handed fly rod?
Posted by: Rich Buchnowski (---.res6.spectrum.com)
Date: January 16, 2023 09:12PM

I like building rods for fun, might sell em. Built a few for payment for some work. What a PITA, took the fun out of it. I built a bunch of icefishing rods this year and had to laugh about some of the comments I got back, very critical, (like why is the hook holder off set) I like em that way so I can put a finger on the blank and feel. Get as much details as possible and expect some bumps along the way!
Charge enough to make it worth your while and expect some problems along the way. CYA
Not a pro like some here, just a guy.
The numbers I see, seem right.
Best of luck!

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Re: How much should I charge to build a custom two-handed fly rod?
Posted by: Tom Kirkman (Moderator)
Date: January 16, 2023 09:13PM

Never charge by the hour - the more proficient you are the less you'll make.

Charge by the chore or task. If you're doing this for fun it doesn't matter. If you want to make money even in some small manner, you need to make about $150 more than what the parts to build the rod cost you. And that's at the lower end.

................

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Re: How much should I charge to build a custom two-handed fly rod?
Posted by: Lance Schreckenbach (107.1.212.---)
Date: January 17, 2023 12:34PM

Charge enough to cover the cost of components and decide if its a business or for fun. Not much help, but if you need more money; charge more.

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Re: How much should I charge to build a custom two-handed fly rod?
Posted by: david taylor (---)
Date: January 17, 2023 06:22PM

Charging by task is a good idea:

For labor you could charge by the:

Wrap (including epoxying there of) -- more if their are additional colors and intricacies. I would consider double foot guides to have two wraps, and there is also a wrap at each end of 3 pieces of a 4 piece rod (though some combine guide). Wrap for hook keeper.
Reel Seat -- for assembling and epoxying it on the blank
Grip -- for reaming, fitting and epoxying on the grip and more if you are actually turning it
Winding Check -- install and wraps in front

I'd come up with a price for each so that on a typical 9 foot rod you are clearing $250. I you are making less than that per rod, then you are doing it more for fun and charity. Which if you have the time is OK. But you could go make $15 - $20 an hour working at a Lowe's or a local fly shop.

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Re: How much should I charge to build a custom two-handed fly rod?
Posted by: roger wilson (---)
Date: January 18, 2023 12:05PM

Mr. Kirkman is correct.
If one charges by the hour, as one becomes more proficient, one would be making less total money.

But, the solution is is simple.

As one becomes more proficient, then raise your rates.

No different than a plumber.
An apprentice plumber makes $25 per hour. But, after 5 years and he becomes a journeyman, depending on where he/she is working, the rate goes much higher.
Same reason. The experienced worker does more work in the same hour and thus should be paid more per minute of work.


Note:
If you look at rod building factories, assuming that the parts are all available, the total build time for a rod is likely to be not much more than an hour or three for everything.

But, of course that this means using pre made and pre assembled grips and arbors that are ready to use for the assembler.

No, this does not include any intricate wraps, but it does mean a great rod that catches a lot of fish.

All what someone wants and what someone is willing to pay.

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