There are some preliminary things you can do to help in the selection of your builder. Have a rough outline of what you want in your custom rod. Things like: Budget? What kind of fishing do you plan on using the rod for? How about weight, length, number of sections, and rod action? What types of options do you want? Agate strippers, feather inlays, custom handle, reel seat insert, yada, yada, yada..... Having a rough outline can really assist the builder in knowing where to start. Don't worry if you don't have things nailed down. A good builder will ask the right questions to finalize the build before they start.
Questions to ask your prospective builder:
* Cost? Does the quote include everything? Shipping, taxes, insurance?
* Delivery date? If they have a waiting list where would you fall and what is the estimated delivery date.
* Is there an inspection period after delivery? A few days to inspect the workmanship and lawn cast the rod. And no, it isn't a period for you to take the rod on a fishing trip.
* Do you have the ability to perform the extras that I want? For example, if you want a custom handle, can they do it?
Things you should expect:
* To be heard. You are paying good money to have your dream rod built. The builder should listen to what you want and do their level best to provide it.
* Communication. If you ask for a status update, your builder should provide status as often as you request it.
* A deposit required to start the build. This deposit can differ between builders. Example: I require a deposit to cover the cost of the components and in the case of a bamboo build, the bamboo. That deposit is refundable until I order the components or split the bamboo. But, that is just my way of handling deposits.
* Pay for changes. If you start changing things after the build details are finalized expect to pay. Example: If you want a custom handle made one way and then change the design, it will probably cost you extra.
From the builder's side: Builders put more time and effort into preliminary build details than most customers realize. If you decide not to have them build a rod for you, please communicate that to them. I understand my style doesn't suit everybody's needs and I don't take it personally, but I would like to hear back even if the answer is no.
Until next time my friends,