What is a Private Label Belt?
I will preface this before I get started. I know this might create a negative stir and it is not meant to , when money is involved people get upset and I am no different. This is information only, is not necessarily meant to harm anyone nor necessarily promote Hunterworks over anyone else but when misinformation is out there about a product line that is not necessarily 100% accurate I do feel the need to bring it to light as it does affect our business and it affects you the customer as you have a right to know before you spend your hard earned money, in my opinion. We do NOT take our position in the belt business lightly, we have invested too much time and money to be grouped right along with any company not actually doing the work, making the investment and making changes to the belts as needed. Perception is the key to anything and if you the customer think that our belt is just like someone else's with our sleeve on it then we have wasted a whole lot of money and a whole lot of time.
What is a private label belt anyway?
There are several degrees of private labeling and it all starts with a manufacturer or two that makes a belt that already exists and you are able to purchase their belt and put your name on it and not do any research or testing etc. You just do your homework and pray the brand or brands you picked are quality products and now your name is on them. This is the easiest way to get into private labeling. Doing it this way, you can get belts from multiple makers if you choose, get your name on the belt and the cardboard sleeve and the end user is none the wiser. The easiest way to spot this level is see how many applications they have, if they have not been doing this long and have over 100 applications you will know they just took what the company had and sold it as theirs. This layer could do some custom belts but normally just takes what is there and puts his name on it. This only takes money, no testing or much research required.
The second way, is to private label the private label, meaning the private labeler mentioned above comes to you since they want to sell more belts, they say, "hey we will call this a collaboration and my name is on the belt and your name is on the cardboard sleeve". "I will tell you about the belt, give you the specifics and then you put that info on your website and say that and we call it good". Now at this level, the belt price has to be higher than the first level normally because you have another layer in there making money or the first layer is priced high to match this layer. Hopefully at this level at least the private labeler of the private label is doing his own testing on the few applications he has. This layer is easy to spot by reading their belt info, any words like collaboration, joint etc, all the specs are the same among the level 2 private labelers and they use the same words etc. This layer never talks to engineering at the actual manufacturer, any talking is done with the one they get it from and this layer shares the exact same belt as the next guy doing what he is doing. This layer can't go to the belt manufacturer and get their own belt with their own name on it as that is very expensive and very limited to who can get a true private label, but anyone can get a cardboard sleeve and slide it on another private labelers belt and call it a collaboration. Example: ACME Discount UTV parts can buy our belts, put their own cardboard sleeve on it and call it a collaboration. FYI, if you want to sell a Hunterworks belt it will have our name only on it, on the belt and the sleeve!!!
Third way is the best way to do this and this is the layer Hunterworks is in. You go to the manufacturer and start with just three belts which is what we had in the beginning, for the Polaris line of vehicles made. You tell them money is no object and I want the best belt we can make, no matter who you make belts for, whether themselves, an OEM or another private labeler, you say you want it different. Now this is not an easy task, the compounds in the rubber and material the cord is made of is very limited. So what is up for discussion is cog design, top and bottom, the binding agent between the top cog layer and the cord, then finally custom dimensions. Then offer two different belts for the same vehicle like we do and I am almost positive we are the only ones that do that. So in the end, you do in fact have a true private label and a custom made product. We actually talk to engineering there weekly, discuss any issues whether they are the belts fault or not and decide if we need to change our "recipe" or not. We will make a change and have even when the belt itself is not at fault but something you have and it is causing all brands of belts to fail because of the set of conditions, then we want ours to be more durable when it happens.
In the end, the good news is, we are less money than the first two layers mentioned because we do not have to price an extra layer in there and you are actually getting a product you can not buy anywhere else. We do have a couple belts that are just the same as the manufacturer's belt and our name on it like the first layer is doing but our main big sellers that really need something different are unique to Hunterworks.
What spurred this article is a comment on Facebook after yet another belt company popped up on the scene, his question was "What is the deal with all these new private label belts?" I felt like Hunterworks was one of the ones he was talking about along with the one being advertised and I knew exactly what this new one was and hated being grouped into the same group. Rest assured when you get a Hunterworks belt you are getting a Hunterworks belt, nothing to hide, no collaboration. We have a small fleet of UTV's here to test on, we have people placed around the country to test, racers to test and finally the true testers the customer. We like the feedback good or bad, prefer the bad on the phone and not social media!! LOL. But we want the good and the bad.
Thanks for your time and your support