We recently got a chance to talk with Cody Hicks, the founder of Hicks Offroad Designs in Wichita Falls, Texas.
Hicks Offroad Designs has the ability to customize any on or off-road vehicle and make it truly one of a kind. Whether their customers are focused on performance, aesthetics, or a combination of both, the Hicks team is determined to exceed expectations. They provide complete suspension lift kit packages, leveling kits, tires/wheels/shocks, aftermarket lighting, air-ride conversions, bumpers, steps, winches, and a variety of accessories. They also perform custom powder coating and cosmetic upgrades. Hicks is committed to providing honest service and fair pricing. As a result, they enjoy a good deal of repeat business.
Start by telling us about the history of your company.
I pretty much started out doing metal fabrication as kind of a side deal by myself. For years, I built my own projects–trucks, jeeps, and side by sides. Eventually, I started doing fab work, like cages and bumpers, for guys. I also did a little chassis work, especially for race cars. Over time, that led into the accessory side of the business. By 2015, I had built a legit company. By 2019, we started our second shop. That’s when we added all the blasting and powder coating capabilities in-house.
What made you decide to start doing your own powder coating?
Well, we were doing a great deal of it, but we were spending a huge amount of time and money sending the work out.
Were you struggling with your coating supplier? Is that what drove your decision?
We were struggling with the situation and we were handling the parts more than we should have. There was a long turnaround time to get work back from the guy close to us. Other than him, another powder coating company was two hours away. Back in those days, I was providing a really quick turn around, even on fabrication work. I was doing complete builds pretty fast. I was working late hours and pretty much doing it all myself. As the business grew and I hired a few guys, things got even busier. I was making a trip to a powder coater once a week to drop off and once a week to pick things back up. Over time, I started taking 2-3 trips to the powder coater a week. After thinking it through, I planned to buy an oven big enough to do everything we were working with at the time. I ended up buying a 20-foot oven from Reliant and a booth. I’ve also got a smaller 5’x5’ oven that I purchased elsewhere.
Do you solely use the coating equipment to powder coat your products or do you pick up local contracts?
So, initially it was totally for us. But by the end of the first year owning it, the powder coating equipment led to outside business and a lot of word-of-mouth stuff. We’d do a job for a buddy and they’d tell someone and it just kind of snowballed from there. We decided to expand and add a couple more guys to take care of the extra work. We also started doing a larger variety of parts. It evolved quickly and created a number of new opportunities for us.
Why did you choose to get equipment from Reliant?
I did some research to learn more about the powder coating industry. I try to do my homework before making important business decisions. I already knew the steps and processes of how coating was done, and I had powder coated a few times with a friend of mine. When I was looking into equipment, I felt comfortable with the discussion I had with the Reliant salesperson I spoke with. I had a better feeling from my interaction with Reliant than I did with other companies.
That’s great to hear. Also, thanks for referring others to us!
As I told the guy I recently referred to you, the oven’s efficiency is even better than I expected. Even through all my research, I didn’t know just how dependable and efficient the Reliant oven would end up being. I’ve had the equipment for four years now. We’ve had heat tests run on the oven with Datapaq equipment and the uniform heat distribution inside the oven is unbeatable. Even my small oven can’t compare to how effectively the Reliant oven operates.
The powder booth has also been a great investment and turns out top-notch work. I think one thing that helps us get excellent results is that we’ve done a good job keeping the equipment serviced and maintained. Any issues we’ve had have been minor and we’re continuing to grow and improve. The Reliant powder coating equipment has been great and has really helped us expand our business.
Cody, thanks again for choosing Reliant and for taking time to chat with us. We’re happy to hear that you’re getting excellent results from your Reliant equipment and having success with your business!