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8 Custom Bobblehead Tips

Custom bobbleheads are a special kind of gift because they usually represent people, companies, animals, or events. Many custom bobblehead vendors operate as eCommerce companies with no physical store location so shopping for these products can be a challenge, especially for first-time customers. Unscrupulous, irresponsible, and downright shady bobblehead dealers don’t make the process any easier. Consumers have to look out for hidden costs, inferior materials, and discrepancies during the proofing process.

If you’re new to the custom bobblehead process, here are eight essential areas you’ll want to pay attention to…

Custom Bobblehead Models

Here you see a fully custom versus a standard body (businessman model) bobblehead.

1) Body Type: There are a lot of body options to choose from but it basically boils down to two categories - Fully Custom and Standard Body. As the name implies, “Fully Custom” is essentially a blank bobblehead you can design from head-to-toe. “Standard Body” bobbleheads, on the other hand, are based on a certain model. This could be a baseball player, businessman, nurse, male, female, etc. Again, you’ll be able to select from hundreds of available options.

2) Head Bobble: Yes, believe it or not, this is an optional feature on some bobblehead sites. These companies charge extra for the head bobble action on your custom bobblehead. It’s generally a small fee but the lesson here is not to assume anything when it comes to your “bobble” head.

3) Props/Accessories: This is a particularly tricky area. It refers to things like hats, glasses, tattoos, handheld objects, and much more. Hat and shirt logos and lettering are also included here. Most of these will result in additional charges. They’re generally small charges in the $10-15 range but can add up quickly if you’re not careful. Unfortunately, some companies don’t list the items and associated cost on their website. This leads to an adjusted bill in the end once the consumer’s been hit with hidden fees.

Custom Bobblehead Process Accessories Props

Notice the accessories and props included in this model.

4) Base: The base is where a bobblehead stands. Typically, they are included in the initial pricing. However, if you would like a larger or customized base, it will cost you more. Pricing depends on the level of base customization. For example, adding a car to your base will cost more than a bike. Lettering on the base, like a name or quote, will also cost a little extra. Some sites charge a flat rate (around $10) while others can charge per word or even letter.

Custom Bobblehead Custom Base

This is an example of a pretty elaborate custom base, lettering included.

5) Material: Quality custom bobbleheads are made from a durable polyresin material. Due to its highly customizable characteristics, polyresin allows for the finished product to be highly detailed in all aspects of the design. Polyresin is the industry-standard when it comes to quality bobbleheads but some companies opt for polymer clay because it shortens the process time. Unfortunately for consumers, clay is a cheaper and much more fragile substitute.

6) Proofing: During this part of the process, customers can actually approve, deny, and request changes to their custom bobblehead(s). Some companies charge extra for proofing while others include it in the initial bobblehead price. Not all proofing is equal either. In other words, one company might offer unlimited proofing while another allows only one proof per stage. If you want your custom bobblehead as close to perfect as possible, unlimited proofing is the key. You'll also want a proofing process that is interactive and centered on user experience.

7) Extra Copies: If you’re only ordering one bobblehead then you won’t have to worry about the cost of additional copies. However, if you’d like to order a copy of your bobblehead along with the original, keep an eye on pricing. Some companies will give you a discount on the copy while others will charge full price. Most companies also offer discount pricing on bulk orders. For example, ordering 10-20 copies might earn you 25% off and 50-100 copies could net a 50% discount. This information is not always displayed clearly on the website so be sure to ask if you have any questions. A mistake here could cost you big time.

8) Shipping: The cost of shipping your bobblehead(s) will inevitably vary from site to site. Most companies offer the usual standard ground, express, and priority shipping options. Those parts are pretty straightforward. However, if you’re ordering multiple bobbleheads, pay attention to the rates. Some sites use flat rate shipping while others charge per bobblehead. For example, if standard ground shipping is $10, a flat rate means you can ship five bobbleheads for $10. If you decide to use a company that charges per bobblehead, shipping five bobbleheads in this scenario would cost you $50. The latter can get quite expensive.

Custom bobbleheads are a great gift idea but the process itself can be daunting for new and returning customers. A good website combined with a great customer service team will alleviate most issues but the consumer should always be prepared. Perform your due diligence to ensure you end up with the desired bobblehead product at the right price.