Once Derk started selling more parts, his world started to change as different time zones and languages crept into his day-to-day life. Relationships were forged with people he had never had the luxury to look in the eye and shake hands with. Most met and exceeded expectations, while only a few failed. One part begets the need for another part. Derk became fond of an axiom he had experienced, "When you change one part on a motorcycle, you have to change nine more." So Bad Dad's product line expanded, not by well-constructed business planning, but a knee-jerk reaction to the demands of the customer and the parts they saw a need for in the shop.
Personnel became part of Derk's life; more people were needed to squeeze more parts out of the same piece of real estate in the same amount of hours as before. Jacob became their first salesman/tech-support/web designer, a position he still holds for the most part to this day. Derk used to have a slim appreciation for people who made their living at a desk or keyboard as he did those things in his spare time (evenings and weekends with the former business model). That changed as Derk saw that answering emails for hours on end was as exhausting as grinding fiberglass or assembling a bike, maybe more so on certain levels. The secret to success is purported to be surrounding one's self with good people. That became Derk's mission. The staff of 11 that Bad Dad presently enjoys has come to them from all walks of life, all with a different set of skills to contribute. They have a designer, office manager, shipping clerk, painters, parts trimmers, and assemblers. One thing they have in common is youth, with an average age of 26 years old. Derk says, "They have insights on doing business in this new age of immediacy that are lost on an old guy of 53 like me."
Today Bad Dad works tirelessly to incorporate a thought-out business plan, in place of the "knee-jerk reaction." The company is careful to produce prototype parts that can be replicated. Showcasing bikes with parts it can't produce is counterproductive as well as anti-climatic. Safety is the foremost criteria with its parts, as Derk would expect it is with all companies. The company strives for a "look" that works with all of the other parts so the bike has balance and harmony. That is not to say you can't "shake it up a bit," but Derk doesn't want bikes that look like they are assembled from leftovers.
Derk compares the bikes he builds to people: they are all the same yet somehow they are all different. Derk tries to leave a little room on his parts for the end-user to "smear a lil' funk" on them and make them their own. Bad Dad was among the first to offer fenders, extensions, and saddlebags without exhaust cutouts for two reasons: one, for a full look with turndown exhaust, and two, so the installer can get a nice tight line around the exhaust for a custom, not an off-the-rack look. Many people have asked why Bad Dad does not have a cove built into the saddlebag cutouts and it is because Bad Dad custom tailors them to fit the pipe. Derk states, "The cove is necessary when you have a 'one size fits most' cut."
Bad Dad has moved into other mediums to produce complementary parts not available on the market or variations thereof. For example, most exhaust systems aren't long enough to stick out the back of extended rear fenders and saddlebags, so Derk developed a set of pipes that are 1 inch longer and being produced by an exhaust manufacturer from the blueprints Derk supplied. Another Bad Dad part eliminates your stock rear fender from being used under his extended fender. This assembly is a combination of a fiberglass splash and metal brackets, thus bringing Bad Dad into the world of metal gauge thickness and thread pitches.
Parts for metric bikes have been an often-requested desire of many. The process to develop parts for new platforms is pretty intense and time consuming. Safety, model fitment, serviceability, functionality, ease of install, and practicality all weigh in on new parts. Derk usually buys a model of the bike they want to make parts for primarily to relieve any time constraints. Parts produced "under the gun" are often fraught with disappointment and despair, many times not evident until the product has "went to market." It is no secret that many of Bad Dad's metric parts are actually parts they already produce for American Touring models that get trimmed in a different fashion or attached with its own set of brackets. With this they have proven parts and a fresh look and functionality for other motorcycle enthusiasts to enjoy.
The future of Bad Dad rests with doing more of the same. Each and every person that works with Derk has an interest in the utmost customer satisfaction and appreciates the opportunities they have working in an exciting upbeat industry. Not a day goes by that Bad Dad isn't floored that it is sending parts all over the world from Fort Wayne, Indiana. Most days when the last of the day's shipments go into the brown truck and they close the door, you can hear someone say, "Is this a great country or what?"