Like the segment it serves, Hot Products is expanding
After 33 years in business, Hot Products is a company that has seen the PWC industry through both thriving and tough times. Founded in 1984 by Scott Saito, the company is based in San Diego, California, and has worked to build a network of more than 100 vendors and manufacturers alike.
While the 1980s served as a boom for the PWC industry, it took a hit in the late 2000s with the U.S. economic recession. However, Tom Perry, manager of Hot Products, said that in recent years the availability of new models and gasoline prices have had a positive effect.
“Over the last couple years, the price of gas has helped a lot, and there have been some new models that have brought down the industry level back down into a price market that people can afford,” Perry said.
The Sea-Doo Spark, with its approachable price point, he said, has contributed to this growth. Yamaha’s EX model and Kawasaki’s SX-R stand-up Jet Ski will also help further business.
“The SX-R has the potential of really pushing the market. Every manufacturer in our industry that does have experience with a stand-up craft is working on parts as fast as possible,” he added. “This is the first year that Sea-Doo, Yamaha and Kawasaki all have really new exciting models.”
Perry began working with Hot Products in the late 1980s and worked on some of the first catalogs. In the early years, the catalogs were 16 pages; however, the 2017 Hot Products catalog has grown to 342 pages.
“The catalog is the life of this company,” said Perry.
The company annually builds the catalog in September and October, with plans to hand out the catalog in February at the first big race of the year, the 2017 Hot Products IJSBA Mark Hahn Memorial 300 race in Lake Havasu, Arizona, where it served as the title sponsor.
The number of international attendees at the Lake Havasu race allows Hot Products to distribute its catalogs to a wider audience and save money on shipping at the same time.
In addition to the Mark Hahn Memorial 300, Hot Products co-sponsored the 2017 Daytona Freeride alongside Hydro-Turf. Hot Products also sponsored the IJSBA World Finals in 2013 and 2014. In 2017, the company will also sponsor both the 2017 U.S. and European Freestyle Championship races.
Hot Products works with more than 100 vendors to support its inventory, including core companies, such as: ADA Racing, Atlantis Enterprises, Blowsion, Dasa Racing, Factory Zero, Hot Rods, Hydro-Turf, Jettrim, Keihin, Mikuni America, Pro-X, R&D Racing, Rickter-RRP, RIVA Racing, Skat-Trak, UMI Racing, Wiseco, Worx Racing, Wossner Pistons and WSM Performance Parts.
With the help of a web programmer, Perry developed an inventory lookup tool for the company four years ago. Since that time, he said it is the most-viewed page on Hot Products’ website.
“It’s amazing to see how many people use the inventory lookup tool,” said Perry. “I can see that it’s used because when I get an order from the dealer, if I have three parts, they order all three. They order what they can see.”
Both the catalog and the inventory lookup tool go hand-in-hand. The item’s part number from the catalog is entered into the database, which then shows the availability of the specific product.
Perry says the lookup tool has been invaluable to the company’s international customers, because it allows access to industry availability outside of normal business hours. In the case of international dealers, many take time to fill orders based on shipping costs and the favorable exchange rates.
Looking forward to 2017, Perry said the company plans to continue expanding and evolving its dealer network.
“Our specialty is consolidating export shipments. Businesswise there’s not a country we won’t ship to. Every country has a preferred shipper. We let the customer pick who we ship with, and we make it happen.”