2015 customer survey results
What did you have to say about Tom Balding Bits & Spurs?
We have summarized your responses in a per questions style. Also, all questions or directional responses have been answered. We cannot thank each of you enough for participating in this live feedback! Your comments and suggestions are being worked into our daily operations as you are reading this.
Q: Please rank our four core values in importance to you.
A: #1 Attention to craftsmanship, design, and materials. #2 Quality and pride in everything we do. #3 Care and respect for one another and the community. #4 Elite product that sets the standard in our industry.
Q: Do you agree with this statement? "We craft state of the art bit and spur designs backed by industry leading technology and innovation for riders seeking a balanced product that offers ease of use, quick response, better movement, and longer product life. We work directly with world class professional riders and trainers to ensure all your needs are met. We are the best, and thought often copied we are never duplicated."
A: 97.91% agreed with this statement and 2.09% did not.
Q: How many times have you used our trial bit program to "try before you buy" in the last 24 months?
A: 61.26% said never, 32.46% said 'What is the trial bit program', and 6.28% responded they had used trial bits between 1-3 times.
NOTE: We offer a trial bit service for customers to try before they buy. We understand this is an investment and want to ensure you are 100% satisfied with the bit you purchase. Just give us a call or email us with your mouthpiece requests and we will send you the bits to try for up to two weeks.
Q: How often will you purchase the following items for yourself and your tack room this year?
A: Ranked from most often to least often they replies are as follows: Grooming equipment, Bit, Reins, Saddle Blanket, Headstall, Boots, Sterling Silver Items, Hat, Spurs, and Saddle.
Q: How likely is it that you would recommend Tom Balding Bits & Spurs to a friend or colleague?
A: 84% would highly recommend, 10% we moderately likely to recommend, and 6% had a low probability of recommending.
Q: What new products or designs would you like to see from us?
A: Most were very happy with our offering and did not have specific suggestions. Listed below are the suggestions we did receive along with notes from our team.
- Jewelry - We do offer a fair amount of jewelry in our gift shop. However, because of the one of a kind nature of these pieces we are not able to offer them all on our website. They are continually changing and up to the engraver and artist's whims. In addition to the photos we post on Facebook of these items, we are happy to email pictures of what we have along a particular line for you. We do have a section dedicated to jewelry on our website which you can view here.
- Belts, hat bands, saddles, and other custom leather pieces - While we greatly appreciate the art of leather craft we do not do it in our shop. We carry one of a kind pieces from a local maker, by the name of Wayne Hape, in our gift shop. These items follow the same treatment as our jewelry.
- Reins, headstalls, and other tack items - Though we do not make tack items in our shop we do try to carry a wide selection. You can view these items here. Along these lines it was noted that a particular style or material was requested. We are somewhat limited by our suppliers but will be looking into many of these options in the next year.
- Short shank bits (to transition from a snaffle) - We offer many short shanks as buy it now options on our website as well as the ability to build your bit exactly as you want it (catalog).
- Tablespoon shaped high port mouthpiece, western snaffle, half breed, and spade mouthpieces - We offer many mouthpieces that fit these descriptions. You can view all of our mouthpieces here. If you have questions about any of the mouthpieces please contact us and we will respond within one business day (usually much sooner!).
- Larger/wider mouthed trial bits - With the large number of mouthpieces we offer it would have to be narrowed down to a single selection case by case option. It would not be possible to accommodate all possible, non standard, mouth widths in our trial bit program. It might be a case of roughly mocking up the bit for you to try and then putting the finishes on it for you once you knew it was something you wanted.
- More design overlay options / would like to design my own and have you make it - With our almost unlimited combinations (shanks, mouthpieces, finishes, and custom overlays) we try and make that possible for you. Please visit our catalog for per piece options. With regard to you drawing up something completely unique (i.e. palm tree shanks and guitar shaped mouthpiece bars) and then having us build that for you, it is simply not possible. Because of our high quality standards we spend almost a year refining and testing every shank and mouthpiece before releasing it to the general public. We would be happy to overlay palm trees and guitars on your bit or spur though! Along these same lines we do not copy other makers. We have had several request to copy a favored bit for someone, but we just do not feel right taking someone's hard work and marketing it under our name.
- Non stainless heart design rowels - We will have these available very soon! Please feel free to place an order at your convenience.
- High quality hackamore bit - At this time Tom is not researching a hackamore bit. If anything on this front changes we would be happy to contact you. Please email us with your contact information and we will touch base with you if he does come out with one down the road. Another great maker that does currently build hackamore bits is Gordy Alderson.
- Flank buckles, bridle buckles, other tack hardware - This is something that we have looked into but would not be able to devote the time needed to produce these on an order by order basis. Our shop manager, Justin Massar, does a fair amount of side work with small custom items for people. He would be a wonderful resource if you have a specific request to be filled. We highly endorse his work ethic and craftsmanship!
- Bit hangers - We currently offer metal bit hangers and are looking into wood hangers for both bits and spurs. To order the metal hangers please contact us as they are not for sale on our website. We will be posting the wood displays as soon as they are available.
- Key chain - We offer many styles of key chains. You can view them here.
- Lower priced options - We offer our baseline as a economy line. You can view them here.
- Traditional Californian mouth and cheek pieces (i.e. c-port mouth) - Tom's style is not overly ornate and traditional so this is not a direction we will be going. We have been thinking of a straight shank but it would a year or more before this comes about.
- More overlay option (floral patterns etc) - We can cut anything out that you would like on your bits or spurs. Your only limits are the size of the space you have to work with.
- Smaller/larger mouthpieces besides the standard 5 1/8"- We offer custom mouth widths for a small up charge. You pick the width and we will built it for you. For more information on this please visit our blog "a bits perfect fit".
- Ladies spurs - We offer our spurs in mens, ladies, and youth sizes. When you tell us your boot size we then further customize the bend to fit you perfectly. For more information on sizing please visit our blog post "a spurs perfect fit".
- Barrel racing, Cowhorse, etc bits - Our bits fall into many disciplines. It is up to you to determine your needs within your specific discipline set. We do try and give you direction through our "is this bit legal" blog post. Other great resources are your disciplines rule books, as they are updated every year.
- Stirrups - We do not carry stirrups and do not have plans at this time to introduce them as this is something typically purchased with a saddle or saddle maker.
- More stainless steel options - All of our bit and spur pieces are offered in stainless. Our mouthpieces however are sweet iron and copper which aids in salivation and acceptance.
- Lightweight bits - We are researching different aluminum bit options for our shop. It may be a couple years before something is released to the general public.
- Trophy bits, spurs, or buckles - We offer all three! You can see examples here.
- Full sized shank bottle opener - We are toying around with this and should have something out by mid to end of this year.
- Knives - We sell a few knives in the gift shop by other makers. We do not have plans to make knives in our shop.
- English bits - We offer several styles of English bits including full cheek snaffles, D-ring snaffles, and Pelhams. We also offer a variety of polo specific bits.
- Stones on the bits - To inlay stone stones on our bits we have to design overlay plates. We have done this for the Sheridan shank which you can view here. If this continues to grow in popularity we will look into other shank overlays that allow for stones.
- Limited edition bits and spurs - We are working on great one of a kind (highest bidders) items for 2016.
- Bit buying/using guide - We try and present a wealth of information on our blog from our experience with trainers and professional riders. However, many opinions vary so greatly, as well as the general difference between different riders and their horses, that it is hard to offer a 'one-size-fits-all' bit guide. We will certainly look into a way to offer a one stop guide in the upcoming years.
Q: How often would you like to hear from us?
A: The most common answer (by far) was monthly.
Q: What year was TBBS established?
A: The correct answer is 1984. 83% had the correct answer.
Q: Do you have any other comments, questions, or concerns?
A: We felt the love of so many kind and positive responses! Thank you!!! Below we have listed responses that were seeking replies or additional information that were not already addressed above.
- More information on bit uses and which bit is best for which rider - Because there is such a variety in riders, horses, and learned styles it is very hard to give general suggestions to the public. We do try, through phone conversation and our blog, to offer very general advise. However, we often suggest either the trial bits or working with a trainer for more specific suggestions to each rider and horse.
- More non-Facebook contests - We offer a tab on our website filled with all our contests. This tab is updated continually as contest change throughout the year.
- Information about the team - We love that you want to know about us as individuals! We offer brief profiles of each employee on our 'Meet the staff' tab'.
- The ability to order a fully custom bit (whichever mouthpiece and shank) on the website - The 'Bit Creator' will hopefully by live this summer. We are sure this will quickly become a favorite page!
- Which bits are show legal to a specific discipline - We combed through rule books a while back and compiled the "Is this bit legal" blog post. This answers many of the major questions regarding different associations. We also offer for you to comment if you are looking for or have found additional associations you would like cited in the post. As always you are welcome to call or email us if you need a little help identifying your disciplines rules and legal bits.
- Can I have a bit made with my brand on the cheek? - You bet! We can put anything you like on the wider shanks or concho snaffles. Your only limitation is the size of the bit surface area.
If your questions were not answered here or you have additional thoughts please share through the comment form below!