Featured Inventors: Keith Nielson, Kevin Vann and Tommy Hills – Caution Clip


Oftentimes successful, money-making products are simple solutions or improvements to basic, every day problems, the kind to leave people wondering, “Why didn’t I think of that?

For the inventors of the Caution Clip, that’s exactly the reaction that most people have. The product is so simple, yet has so much money-making potential for three every day guys.

Keith Nielson, Kevin Vann and Tommy Hills have been best friends since Mrs. Beatties’ 4th grade class. It all started in 2005 when these three friends got together late on a Thursday night to rebuild a 1946 Chevy truck. This night turned into many and “Truck Night” for Keith, Kevin and Tommy quickly became a time for innovation and product development.


The Idea is Born

A year earlier, Keith had been driving to work and saw several trucks with lumber, tools, and other equipment hanging out from all sides of the truck bed. It seemed as though every vehicle and truck he saw with an oversized load had either the plastic freebie provided by the hardware store or a red rag tied on. In fact, an old red shirt and even a potato bag were noticed clinging to a ladder cruising down the road. While Keith knew it was standard practice to mark oversized loads, the team discovered that motor vehicle laws were actually very specific in the matter. As all great inventions start, Keith, Kevin and Tommy knew “there has to be a better way.” After weeks of brainstorming various solutions, the Caution Clip® was born.

The Caution Clip is a reusable clip with an attached safety flag that can be secured onto a variety of products that over hang or extend past the back of a vehicle or truck bed. The inventors filed their patent application and continued to tweak their design until they were satisfied. Initially, they spent a lot of time contacting and researching companies that would be a good fit for the Caution Clip. “Licensing is not an easy thing to do. We made a lot of cold calls, but would never get called back by any companies,” said Kevin.


InventionHome Helps Inventors

When Keith, Kevin and Tommy first contacted InventionHome they were looking for help in finding a company to license their invention for royalties. By teaming with InventionHome they were able to take advantage of InventionHome’s successful marketing program and vast network of companies.

After setting up a portfolio site for the Caution Clip, InventionHome began to identify companies in their network that would be ideal candidates to license the
product. After a little bit of time, the Caution Clip started to garner interest and ultimately, a licensing deal was struck with an innovative, global company. Shortly after the deal, the Caution Clip received its first purchase order from Lowes for 43,200 units to be
shipped to over 1,200 stores. The company also attended the National Hardware Show in May and generated additional interest from The Home Depot, Ace Hardware, True Value and Menards.

When we asked Kevin Vann if he had any advice for fellow inventors he said, “Success does not happen overnight. If you believe in your product—stick with it.”