I would prefer a blank. In the name brands you are looking at a couple hundred savings and once you add in hardware, you are again close. I don't really consider labor, unless you are doing it professionally.
Why do I like them....I get them built for me and what I like. Custom cork in a size for my hand, single foot or snake guides. Reel seat, up lock, down lock or even rings.
It makes them part of you, and special. You can spend hundreds or less all in what you want. Reputable BLANKS however.