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The True Cost of A Carbon Composite Lacrosse Shaft

You may be wondering with all the different shafts on the market these days and all sorts of different price points what is the actual difference in these products and what are the main cost drivers?  

There are 6 key factors that drive the actual selling price of a lacrosse shaft. 

  1. Material
  2. Labor
  3. Operating Costs
  4. Warranty
  5. Profit
  6. Retail Mark-up

Material: 

Typically, lacrosse companies that have a higher price point select higher quality materials for their production.  However, even the highest end material will account for less than 10% of the actual selling price.  For example, higher end carbon fiber fabrics and resins are around $40/lb.  For a 30" lacrosse shaft that weighs 175 grams, the material cost is only $9.65.  

Labor:

Labor, on the other hand, will vary based on manufacturing location, operational efficiency, how many cavities a mold has, etc.  Based on our experience the cost of labor per stick should not account for more than $15 per shaft if produced within the U.S., much less if produced overseas. 

Operating Costs:

Operating costs include all costs associated with keeping the doors open for a business. 

These will vary company to company, but you can expect anywhere from 20 to 50% of a company's revenue depending on how large and how resourceful a company may be. 

Typically, larger companies will have much larger overhead in proportion to their sales and operate closer to the 50% range. 

Warranty: 

Warranty is becoming an increasing selling point for most lacrosse companies.  The industry standard in the past has been anywhere from 30 to 90 days.  This has increased to 6 months over the last few years, and some companies even offer as much as a 12-month warranty.  But what does this really mean?  For the consumer, this will appear to mean this particular shaft or piece of equipment is of higher quality and have higher confidence to purchase with this backing.  However, you will notice companies that offer a 12-month warranty on their products will have an extremely high selling price and sometimes include the cost of 2 to 3 shafts in the final price to ensure there is a profit, even if they have to honor this warranty.

You will also note, that many companies limit their warranty to 1 replacement, so if you buy a shaft, break it within one-month and receive a replacement and then break that within a short period of time, you are out of luck in getting the second replaced even if both break within the full warranty period. 

The truth is there is not a lacrosse shaft produced today that will last a lifetime regardless of being made out of metal or composite.  Yes, at the time of this writing there are a couple companies promoting a "lifetime" warranty, but two important things should be noted about these claims. 

  1. The "lifetime"warranty is applied to products marketed towards the beginner or younger market where the chances of seeing aggressive play that will cause damage is not likely.
  2. The "lifetime" warranty is also presented with a "limited to one replacement."   

Be sure to read the fine print and look into the full details before comparing shafts based on warranty. 

Profit:

This will vary from company to company, obviously, the goal of any business is to turn a profit.  But you can bet the higher selling price can sometimes indicate a hefty profit margin for additional "perceived" added value. 

Retail Mark-up:

Typical Retail Mark-Up is in anywhere from 20 to 40%.  This means if you buy a lacrosse shaft from an online retailer or local store, your paying for this extra cost. 

Rolling It All Up: 

With all the above in mind, if you are to buy a $140 "high-end" attack shaft, here's a visual of where each dollar may be spent. 

BIG NAME LAX BRAND CARBON COMPOSITE LACROSSE SHAFT COST STRUCTURE

Don't get us wrong, there are a lot of high quality, high-performance lacrosse shafts on the market that command the $140 price point, but how much of this price is going to non-value added expense for the consumer?

How Primo Is Different:

While Primo will share a similar cost structure in material & labor as other companies the key differences in where we are able to offer significant savings is in operating cost structure and retail mark-up.

PRIMO ELITE CARBON COMPOSITE LACROSSE SHAFT COST STRUCTURE

Additionally, being a smaller brand without the marketing resources of the bigger names in the industry, we do not have the luxury to set the price 2 to 3X the cost of a shaft to ensure a good profit even if there is break within the warranty period. This puts the pressure on us to ensure we produce a product that is built to perform and last.  

Being a smaller company also has it's advantages such as we do not have nearly as much expense or overhead to keep our doors open and delivering quality, affordable products. 

Our direct to you approach eliminates the retailer and saves you as much as 40% off the top. 

Our business is focused on running lean as possible to be able to offer the best products around and the best possible price. 

LACROSSE SHAFT DISTRIBUTION MODEL COMPARISON

Why Pay More?: 

There are a lot great options out there when you're shopping for your next lacrosse shaft.  That being said, the business model and distribution channels for many of the big name brands and leading competitors in the industry are designed to serve you in the best way. 

Primo vs. Leading Competitor Price Comparison

Primo's model delivers the same level of quality if not better found from other brands at a fraction of the price.  

 

2 comments

  • Hi Bryan, Thanks for your comment. This is Dave, the owner of Primo Lacrosse. Our labor cost is just an estimate based on production in the US from our experience. FYI, we are right now working on a project bringing our production to the US. Direct labor cost/pc will fluctuate based on the number of cavities the mold has, cycle time of each operation, operation efficiency, etc. Our volumes are not nearly as high as some of the other larger companies, so our estimate of 10 to 15 dollar per shaft is based on smaller production runs with fewer mold cavities and lower operation efficiency. So this estimate is actually quite conservative and on the high side. You are correct in that special precautions need to be taken when handling carbon fiber and this requires companies to implement special equipment such as downdraft tables and implement respirator programs to protect their employees, but these costs will fall under operational expense and not labor cost.

    Dave
  • What about the fact that carbon is considered a carcinogen and has to be handled appropriately. I know companies can typically not afford the cost associated with this if made in the USA due to the much higher labor cost thus Mexico (not overseas as stated) has become a manufacturer whose labor is not nearly as cheap as your overseas cost breakdown shows.

    Bryan

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