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Boot Sales Rep

I almost posted this on the Dressage page but I wanted to see if I could get more people here.

Background: I work a FT desk job that is a strict 8-5 M-F, which is a first for me! I recently moved back to AZ and created a business plan for being a saddle fitter as a side gig (with the possibility of it becoming a FT gig). However, after just buying a house I can’t cough up the money and time for adequate training right now (~$15K). My new job is my first one not in the equine industry and I’d like to stay connected to the horse community and make some extra money to pay for clinics and fun horse things.

I saw on FB that a boot company was looking for a sales rep in AZ and I’ve been in contact with the owner about specifics. The start-up costs are lower (a few thousand) and it’s 100% commission based. I like that I do have a FT job so I won’t be desperate to get people to buy boots so I can eat that week. Also, I’ve been a professional in the dressage industry for geez…15 years?!? With that experience there is a level of professionalism and maturity that some younger sales reps may lack. Nothing is set in stone at this time but I’m just gathering as much information as I can.

Are there any current or former boot reps among us that can offer some input on profits/lifestyle/pinch points?

Riders: are you more likely to buy custom boots on-line, at a show, at a pop-up event (barn, tack store), or just not at all?

General thoughts?

I would love to be able to go to an expert who could, guaranteed, fit me in a pair of tall boots, be it custom. semi-custom, or off the shelf.

I’m reluctant to order custom boots online because I’ve heard so many horror stories. But, if there was a boot maker rep who would guarantee the product and their measurements - including handling my personal fitting issues - I would definitely be interested.

As for where, I want to deal in person with an expert, so it would have to be at a show or at a pop-up event.

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That’s an interesting idea that I didn’t think about - do any custom boot (saddle, tack etc…) companies offer a guarantee? I would think it wouldn’t be that big of a set back if you had a few things that ended up not working out each year - assuming you have trained reps measuring and production with a low error.

I know I’ve heard so many horror stories about custom saddles not working out with no recourse. I could see the same thing happening with boots too.

Also - no one want to fantasize about how they would go about buying custom or semi-custom boots?!? :wink: I’d love to hear some more thoughts!

I’m not sure anybody offers a guarantee. Based on the multitude of “my custom X doesn’t fit/isn’t right/doesn’t work” posts I’ve seen here, some manufacturers seem to go great lengths to ensure that the customer is satisfied, but not all of them.

If I’m going to lay out big bucks for custom boots (or custom anything) I want some assurance that I’m going to get what was promised. That’s why the prospect of a professional, well trained boot rep fitting me for boots appeals to me. It seems like it would significantly increase the chances of getting a good pair of boots.

Maybe a good thing to ask is how many people will need or want to buy custom boots v/s off the shelf in the area you are looking to service. Secondly, once a person buys a pair how long before they will need another? In other words do you have a big enough market to continually be selling custom boots and making it profitable for you.