• Group therapy: BD's problems in Winter 2018/2019

  • Have a controversial viewpoint related to the sport? Turn up your BS meter, raise your red flag, and hash out your buggy gripes and pet peeves here! Keep it reasonably civil, and present your case!
Have a controversial viewpoint related to the sport? Turn up your BS meter, raise your red flag, and hash out your buggy gripes and pet peeves here! Keep it reasonably civil, and present your case!
 #13150  by Travis @ Buggy Depot
 Sun Feb 03, 2019 12:13 pm
I'm inviting Ryan W, Daniel W, and Abel E (and others) to talk about some deep issues we've had on their orders in the past 6 months. As well as anyone else who would like to voice a perspective, or air a grievance. A bit of an anti-BD bandwagon started a couple days ago in a closed Facebook group. The thread got deleted, and several fingers started pointing in my direction as being behind the deletion, although I missed the entire thing. Rather than let things go further, I think it's a good idea that we talk about it and clear the air.

This is all public. Conversation will be uncensored and unfiltered. Anything you want to say is fine and will stay on the record, up to the point of abusive language or outright disrespect.
Ryan Welch wrote:I don’t mind a 1 on 1 [conversation]. It’s more fair in my opinion. It keeps individual problems just that, individual. I agree that it isn’t fair for 4 or 5 on 1. That doesn’t help the situation any. And despite the the bad, I have also given good aspects. What your doing with fabrication of parts that are better than the original, “verified fit” parts, and forums and tech tips are awesome. It’s the rest that is lacking. The customer service and notifications for parts being sent out are kinda poor at that. In a struggling business, customer service does go a LONG way. Keeping customers informed is another way to keep people from getting upset. When your enjoying what you have and have a break, you wanna repair it and get back going ASAP. Updating your site on what’s in actually inventory is another way. Saying you have something in stock and estimation of arrival are a few days, but don’t show up for weeks without any information on what’s going on is bound to upset many. Again, you have a great platform. But it’s time to tweak everything a bit so it works for you positively, not negatively. Man, if you could correct some of those issues. It wouldn’t take long to get back to where you were. And last thing, be a little more competitive with your prices. Get back to the basics of survival, and not try to make a killing on individual parts. It’s just my opinion, take it for what it’s worth. I don’t like to see a good business fail over things they can overcome.
Ryan Welch wrote:A lot of times when you read something negative, take that into consideration. I’m sure most will feel the same way. I don’t mind getting into group conversation. Maybe it will help, but the help has to come from within your company. Staff is another make or break situation. If they don’t care, hows that helping you? I realize as an owner, you can’t spend your day with customer problems. That’s where your staff comes in. They should be helping customers with answers, and not an I don’t know or we’ll get back to you. That never happens. When you get this going, send me a link. I’ll put in my input on things, it might not be liked but I’ll input. But somethings are needed to understand the full affect of the problems that need to be addressed for the survival of your company. I do hope you take them into consideration and work to resolving the problems internally. Restructuring of a business tends to work out in the end. You know where the faults are and work to remove them from the equation.
I think Ryan really summed things up well here. So I'm going to use this as a template to follow up with each point with an individual post below in long-format, over the course of the next few weeks as time permits. If you guys want to interject or talk about your own concerns at any point, feel 100% free. If not, I understand. I feel it's time for me to publicly recap the problems we've had over the last 6 months anyway, same as I've done with other issues for years.

I want to start with an update on our fabricated parts, I think that one point provides a lot of context for the rest. See below.
 #13151  by Travis @ Buggy Depot
 Sun Feb 03, 2019 1:25 pm
If you look at each complaint (over the past 6 months, and before that) the majority of frustration voiced with BD has been over delays with fabricated Yerf Dog, Dune 150, and Crossfire products. I agree it's justified. However, I've been very vocal in describing the struggle with a lot of detail.

Ryan if you don't mind, I'd like to start with your last point first. Pricing and volume is really what this all boils down to.
Ryan Welch wrote:be a little more competitive with your prices. Get back to the basics of survival, and not try to make a killing on individual parts.
The fabricated products actually lose money when averaged out across any meaningful accounting period. I'm not making a killing, and have actually been getting killed by keeping them available. You see high prices, but I see extremely low volume relative to the amount of machinery loans, building and utilities costs, payroll, and materials cost. I'm keeping these products alive specifically because I care, not because it's making me rich. This has never been about the money.

The problems really became apparent in 2016. However, I first talked about this publicly in 2017, in this Tech Center article.

May 2017:

Image

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March 2018:

I best articulated my view of the Yerf Dog products here in the Super Duty Front End Kit development thread. It's 24 pages long and has over 42,000 views. I feel it's important to point out that I'm putting all of this information on some of the most visible pages on the Buggy Depot website. Someone with bad intentions wouldn't do this, or go through all of this trouble. Bad sellers scurry around making excuses in private, and trying to keep people silent. I talk about these things publicly because I want real awareness and conversation around the actual issues. Ultimately, I want support in fixing them.
Travis @ Buggy Depot wrote:
Wed Mar 07, 2018 9:25 pm
We got a pretty angry complaint today from a buyer on the list. If anyone is feeling a bad way, don't suffer in silence. Let me know before your patience reaches a point where you're boiling. I'm not holding anyone hostage, let me know you want to cancel and you've got it.

I understand the complaint. The view from the outside looking in is that I should just have these things on the shelf, right? That's reasonable (and easy to say), but it doesn't line up with the actual history of parts availability for the Yerf Dog across all vendors including Yerf Dog themselves. I've been posting my view on this for about the last year.

Looking back, Yerf Dog screwed up on the front end of the Spiderbox. Instead of sticking around to solve the same problems I'm dealing with here, they cut bait and (presumably) took their profits home with them instead of using that money to solve the problems they created. YD had a lot more resources than I do, and they didn't think it was worth it to reinforce their front end and save the Yerf Dog 150's. Now more recently, Steve at BMI contacted me in late 2017 and asked if we'd be open to supplying them with BDX spindles and A-Arms. BMI has more resources than us, but yet they also (apparently) don't feel it's worth it to keep producing these parts [themselves]. That's it, there's no one else to even talk about. The history and trend is clear, at least from where I sit. Manufacturing these items isn't good for business, and in my opinion the writing is on the wall. I feel that the Spiderbox will die as we know it if I pull out. I (personally) don't want that to happen.

This falls on the community and we as enthusiasts to figure out. Look at this forum and think about the motivation behind what I'm doing for a second. There is more going on here than just taking your money and sending you a part. I'm an enthusiast and I think that shows in the work. I started young and pieced together the equipment over the years, bootstrapping every step as means became available. Keeping Yerf Dogs alive always has been, and always will continue to be, a group effort by enthusiasts for as long as Yerf Dogs exist.

Everyone participating in this new package deal has a direct hand in keeping these products available in 2018 and forward, and I appreciate it. I've spoken to most of you up front before creating the $445 deal so most are already in the loop on this. I feel that by providing updates here, almost everyone is feeling involved as a team in this process.

On the other hand, if you feel that what I'm saying is nonsense and that these are my problems as a business, not yours, that's fine and perfectly valid. But if I were considering the situation as purely business, I'd have already reached the conclusion that I need to dump these products and focus on more profitable projects like NanoEFI.

If you don't feel that it's appropriate that I'm asking a group of owners to shoulder some of the burden (pay up front then wait) I understand. But if you're out, you're out. No half stepping. When it comes down to it I want to work with guys who feel that they're in this fight with me. I intend to continue being transparent about what is going on in real-time, you can change your mind after any one of my updates if it's going on too long. Just let me know you want out. Nothing wrong with it, just let me know.

If you have a complaint or want to reach me directly, I'm right here in this thread. Let's talk. I'm fine hashing it out in public. I believe everyone is accountable for their words. Something I won't deal with is a person staying quiet here but then getting furious in private conversation, grilling my people for what are my decisions, not theirs. I'm available 24/7. If you have issues that go beyond the front end kit, create a new topic to address me directly like Fnonthlake123 did here. Everyone please speak your mind early if you have an issue, before things turn to anger, and let's work out whatever solution works for you.

Now (Feb 2019):

I'm convinced at this point that volume will always remain a crippling problem, and I don't see a way around it after everything tried. The final real push I was willing to put into it was last year. I spent 4 months last year, 16 hours a day including most weekends trying to get the production processes efficient enough to make the numbers work. The shop is still losing money, and I'm deeper in debt with machinery. I think we're past the point of diminishing returns. I feel like I'm wasting a lot of life, sacrificing development on a bigger opportunity (NanoEFI) to better spend my engineering time, and in the end I don't see a viable way forward that would have these products shipped on a dependable timeline while still having a reasonable price.

This doesn't take into consideration the problems 2018 brought in. What I've described above exists outside of the further cash flow problems we experienced in the last 6 months.

Best case scenario, I'm getting burned out and can't see a clear way to solve for volume. Worst case, there is no solution to the volume problem. It may just be a situation in which the market only supports a fabricator with lowest possible overhead and all doing the work himself. Still, that is going to lead to burnout. If you don't believe anything else I'm saying, believe that.

In our disarray recently, there has been a lot of rallying around John. JD is a great guy, and I've personally recommended doing business with him to each and every one of you. I'm glad he's there to pick up where we're failing. However, a market of 1 is incredibly weak. When it's 0, then what? At the risk of being called an ass, I have to say that the jokes are funny, until the joke is on you. Don't play yourselves guys. The more support, the better for everyone. Let's work towards solutions. If not, at least let's work towards a mutual understanding.
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 #13153  by Bobtron
 Sun Feb 03, 2019 3:25 pm
Well Travis first off you now I support you and love what you do!!! My big thig is I understand there’s a limited market for all of the stuff I understand that the fabrication might not bring in as much money as you would hope or like to see my biggest gripe is that your website says most of the stuff is in stock and will ship within a few days I understand you can’t have thousands and thousands of dollars worth of inventory just laying around but I feel if you went through your website and corrected some of those things people wouldn’t expect Them to be in stock and ship within a few days beyond that there is a limited market said a few people that are buying from you JD or BMI so I feel like you need to build a little bit of a relationship with them and when they do have a concern on shipping or whatever they’re concerns maybe when they do call In your people just give us the runaround It’s next to impossible to get a straight answer out of anybody I would almost guarantee that anybody that ordered something from you JD or anybody else if you’re having an issue getting the part or it’s going to be longer than expected most of the people I would almost put money on it would not have an issue with it as long as they were kept in the loop of what’s going on just like I receive that carb from you and as soon as I opened it there was no intake manifold but that evening you did send me a message letting me know the situation and my response to you was thank you for letting me know I appreciate it thats all we want is really just to be kept in the loop with what’s going on if things are taking longer most of us are understanding at least I am. I personally don’t want to see anybody fail especially it’s in the business of the yerf dogs and go carts


I remember when we first bought our go carts you were the first website I found to have anything for the yerf dogs And I’ve ordered plenty of things from you guys when we first started ordering things I had no issues whatsoever most of the stuff usually showed up before the estimated arrival date so I truly do hope you were just in a rough patch right now and you can get your business back together and be successful and continue to do what you were doing about a year ago


As far as pricing is concerned I don’t think most of the people are talking about the fab work I think most of the concern with the over pricing is on your normal parts I know I have personally looked at your website and found things in other places much cheaper I believe Ryan bought a 30 mm CVk carb and I believe on your website you have it listed for about $90 and I believe Ryan found it for about $30-$40

So in conclusion my opinion is you need to go to your website change a few things maybe take away that in stock estimated to ship within tomorrow or however soon it says and I feel like you need to show face a little more and talk with your customers if there’s an issue you handle it don’t have the girl answered the phone and it’s only been with your company for a week trying to solve a problem and she has to run around and asked 10 different people about

I truly hope this will help and I hope that other people will throw their opinions in and hopefully you can be back doing great things.. It means a lot more to people to talk to the boss man if there’s a concern then to talk to some random lady so don’t be afraid to pick up the phone every now and again I know you can’t talk to every person that calls in but sometimes it’s easier to talk to the boss or somebody they can give you a straightforward answer not have to run and ask somebody else
 #13155  by RYAN WELCH
 Sun Feb 03, 2019 8:18 pm
To speak for me and to clarify a few things. I’m going to cover a couple things right off the bat. I believe your prices are fair when it comes to fabricated parts. And yes, the cost of the machinery to make those parts aren’t cheap and require maintenance. That’s not where I was trying to go. Look on your website and write down the prices of parts for the Yerfdog and the gy6 platform that is on many of them. Look at other sites and their costs for some of the same items. For the most part, your relatively in the market price range . Then look on Amazon. Big difference! Problem is, China doesn’t have any patent laws so 5000 people can make and offer the same thing the some random person invented. Because he has no rights to any patents. I was talking about this with Bobby earlier. And he hit a lot of the points I was gonna head. Like the 30mm CVK carb. I found one cheaper, and exactly the same thing. That’s kinda where I’m gonna head. You need to separate from the high price market. Find a product that’s cheaper, and you feel you can stand behind and offer it cheaper than any one else. Even if you do buy it from Amazon, tax a coupe dollars on it then resell it. If you feel its a worthy product to sell, people will trust it coming from someone like you than playing Russian Roulette with the 500 other parts they offer. It was mentioned at one time, that’s who was killing you. Turn the tables to your advantage. Try some products they offer that are cheaper, find the most dependable one and sell it. Again, your name will sell it because you stand behind it. See where I’m going? You don’t have to try and double your money everytime. Take the dollar here and dollar there and sell the shit out of them. I’m willing to point you in the direction of some good names. Just to get you some positive cash flow. That’s kinda where I wanted to go, but didn’t get that out clearly. Oh, and to update your tech tip. I got the 30mm carb on a 155cc going. It says for 175 and larger if I remember correctly. I hope this clears up what I meant about the parts. As for the rest of what I put about customer service, and shipping issues. I feel what I put was accurate and an area to also look at. Beside you, JD, and BMI. Which I’ve done business with all 3 of you. You 3 are the only ones in the Yerfdog market. So it’s not that competitive. Bad thing is the gy6 platform spreads over to scooters, quads, and motorcycles. But even go look around at their prices, and you’ll see what I mean. BMI deals with mostly the stock parts, and have come to find out updated their spindles. But the A arms are garbage. Which leaves you and JD in a market together. And your verified fits put you alone in that market. You just need to offer things somewhat cheaper to attract the eye. I’m still contemplating of having you build and engine. Again, that sets you alone. Try working with JD to drum up motor builds. He’s in with that mini buggy cross. Build motors for his clients. He’s more of the frame aspect, where you could cover motors. Try working 50/50 and even Stevens on that approach. In a market like the Yerfdog, there should be some hand in hand with others doing the same thing. Not a war. We want to keep ours around for a while. We don’t have the money to buy new. We’ve sunk all of our money into what we ride now. I hope it all turns around for you and you can prosper. I’d had to see ya close up shop. There would only be 2, and no performance motor shops.
 #13157  by Travis @ Buggy Depot
 Wed Feb 06, 2019 2:36 am
Thanks guys. I haven't had a chance to sit down and consolidate my thoughts into a proper response yet, but I wanted to let you know I'm considering your feedback. I've implemented a few things you've mentioned as quick-fixes already. Will follow up!