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2marshall8

Making a Living Doing this

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I got into soft plastics about 3 months ago and never realized how much this stuff sells. I've got a day job that pays well but it sucks. I'm trying to get some advice from others who found a way to do this for a living and what their thoughts are on the other side. Pros/Cons, lessons learned of running a small bait business

 

thanks

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First you need to be brutally honest with the numbers.  Many guys aren't.  The time spent, the cost of materials, etc.. all end up disappearing when they think about how much they are making.  One also need to look at what they really make at their job including benefits.

I will use the average US salary of 38K (I don't consider this as a well paying job).  Currently I get health insurance, dental and vision insurance, 10 paid holidays, 4 weeks paid vacation, sick time, short term disability, long term disability, 401 k match, social security, gym membership, life insurance, bonus, and other perks.  At one time we also had an ESOP plan that added up to a nice chunk of money after a few  years.  I work 40 hrs a week.   So for me to quit I have to match the effort and total compensation above.  Everyone is different just something to include in thinking.  For some it wouldn't be as difficult as they may be covered on spouse insurance, don't worry about life insurance, retirement, etc....

Add start up costs, depreciation of equipment, write offs, etc...into the equation.

So yes it can be done. Statistically you will not be successful but the more thought and research you put into it the more likely you are to succeed. 

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What Travis said sounds brutally honest & extremely accurate too.  It  would be extremely hard  to compete with a good paying day job  just making soft plastic  lures. There are so many folks making them the competition would be tough. I'll probably set my self up to do it as a side gig after retirement if i feel like i'm healthy enough & still have the want to. If i was 100% certain i could match  the income & benefits of what i've been doing for the last 25 years i would in a heartbeat, but i know the reality of that is impossible with what i make for around my area. You could always  try  designing lures & selling your ideas to lure companies too. :yay:

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You would also need to consider events beyond your control. We had 127 stores carrying our product and all of a sudden... the financial crisis hit and 90% of those stores closed for good. None of us quit our jobs( which was a good thing.) But that could have been a major disaster. As Rtavis said, you need to figure in all aspects of what your job pays now.

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If you figure how much you make an hour it's not much. Being retired I don't count my time. Keeps me off the couch and active. I draw a pension so it just helps pay for my fishing.

My opinion it will take a pretty substantial investment to make a living. Lots of molds or injection machines to cut your time, buying supplies in bulk, etc to save every nickel possible and then your still not going to compete with the big boys.

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Last 4-5 Posts are dead on.... I sat down one day and just tried to figure out costs to produce baits (as mentioned above - not just how much plastisol/glittter - but taxes, tools, packaging, storage, etc, etc.) to come up with a rough figure for how much that would take from a $7 bag of baits... then figure out how many bags I'd have to sell to match my current salary.... it wasn't possible as far as I could see being 1 person without spending WAY WAY more time than I work now.

With that being said - there are many ways to "be in the buinsess"... I have a good friend that is a Bicycle manufacture... out of a 2 bedroom apartment.... he focuses his effort on sales and marketing - and has someone build / ship his product.... he picked off the parts he could do very well and outsources the rest... so there are smart ways to make things happen - you just have to be smart at deciding which parts you want / like and are efficient at doing - and then how to get the other parts done by someone else.

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I currently work in the medical field and there is simply no possible way I could quit to make fishing lures and hope to come even close to matching the salary and benefits of my current position.  For me, making lures is a fun and enjoyable distraction from the living hell that is being responsible for 100+ staff in a COVID ICU although I do sell/trade a few bags of plastic on the side, mostly to some close friends.  Maybe when I retire I will use bait making as a way to supplement my retirement.  

That being said, I don't want to dissuade you from going down this path if it is truly something you want to do and be successful at but I would caution you to first take a very serious look at what that would mean for both yourself and your family.  

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I have a different opinion on what it takes to do this for a living. If you don’t like what you are doing now then it makes it easier to maybe change. While all the other posts are spot on there is another option. While it’s nice to have your own product and put them in shops you could on the other hand pour for someone who has the task of selling them. Most people here will tell you it is very hard to make a profit making baits but I know some who make a lot of money doing so. And it is much more than you might think. I will not mention exact numbers because you need to know that it is a lot of WORK. Yes that four letter word. Working with small larger company’s can be very profitable. But never let them dominate your time because if they cut you off then you are screwed. Do less work for more company’s and all your eggs will not be in the same basket. You will have to understand how you utilize your time is key to making baits. Waiting is not an option you need to keep doing something to get ahead. Keep your day job for say 6 months. Take the rest of your time investing in to your bait business. Get to a point that you can have enough molds and a system to pour  that will get you where you need to be. Whatever system you use to pour you need to be able to change colors fast so you don’t have to wait. With a small guy you have to do smaller runs and multiple colors a day to make it work. For much more on how to do it you can pm me and I can enlighten you for days. Your dream can happen and you can do it if you want to WORK. 

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There is nothing wrong with keeping it a side hussle. Maybe it does grow into a fulltime thing or not. It has been done before so it can be done again. My son and I are playing with the idea too we were setup to go last year  but COVID killed our initial marketing plan and he got married so any extra time last year was sucked up with that.

We have another possible marketing plan and we are gearing up to be ready at ice out, but for us  our goals for the side hussle are  pretty small earn enough to keep the plastic flowing and profit enough to finance our fishing addiction.  

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I started Fringe Tackle out of necessity...I needed an income.  I'd been making baits for myself as a hobby/competitive edge previously.  That was then and through time I've experienced extremes good and bad.  I have a few regrets but none measure up to the loss of time I've had to fish for the last 10 yrs.  I'm nearing the end of my bait making for pay days, when I decided to sell off my remaining swimbait molds it dawned on me I'd better make some for me....I hadn't had the opportunity to throw my own bait...always making them for someone else.

 

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