Frequently Asked Questions
Every project is different and will have different costs associated with it, dependent on whether there are electronics involved, or if there are moving parts or if it needs to be waterproof, etc. After we have our initial meeting and get all the information from you about your idea, we will put together a proposal with our estimated fees, a projected timeline and how we plan to separate your project out in stages. We work on a Milestone basis and break our fees down according to that so that payments are spread out as we go.
We always put an NDA in place before our first meeting with means we can talk freely about your project with the peace of mind that all of your Intellectual Property is protected and safe. We ensure that we only work with reliable manufacturers and do our best to protect your IP every step of the way.
We work with clients all the way from nothing more than a idea in your head, working from the ground up, but also work with clients who already have a working prototype or product that maybe needs development or they need assistance with moving into mass production or finding a new manufacturer. We’re happy to hear from you at any stage and can offer services for every step of the way.
There are many different stages of prototyping and you should prepare for going through several rounds of prototypes before having the final model. Dependent on the project, we sometimes start with making a proof of concept prototype which may not use the exact materials from the design and may not be an exact representation of the final product but functions. It might be 3D printed, casted or CNC’d, and creating this first prototype allows us to find any flaws in the design before going into the costly stage of tooling. It’s important to know that making a prototype of a product is always going to be more expensive than your end per unit price. Think of that prototype as a custom piece that you are having made, which takes someone away from the production line of existing clients and that comes with costs.
MOQ stands for ‘Minimum Order Quantity’ and refers to the number of units that a factory requires you to order for your first run. The higher the number of units ordered, the more room your have to negotiate on price. Ideally a factory wants you to order a minimum of 2500 units. It is possible to order less, but that can affect your per unit price and it may limit the number of manufacturers you have to choose from.
We absolutely have manufacturing partners in the US that we work with. We can help guide you through the options of whether it is a better option for you to manufacture in the US and save on shipping costs and duty rates and versus a potentially lower per unit price in China but higher MOQs. Nonetheless, we have great relationships with a number of different factories around the world, meaning that we can be sure that your product is in good hands. While designing, we begin sourcing and talking to factories so that we are ready to hit the ground running once that final design is approved and you’re ready to start prototyping.
You may have heard of the term ‘designed for manufacturing’ which is the difference between a rendering/conceptual image versus a design file that has been built with mechanical and electrical engineering, together with knowing how it will be made in mass production – how will something come off or out of a mold, how can the production be streamlined and costly manual labor steps removed so that it is still cost effective to produce? Between us, our team has over 20 years of experience directly on the factory floor, exploring how a product really gets made and we provide designs based on that experience from manufacturing. We don’t just draw you pretty pictures, we get you a product in hand.
We do offer design and manufacturing of packaging services, but we don’t do in house branding or marketing. We do however have partners that we can recommend for those services and who we work with to integrate branding with packaging. We are passionate about product and chose to focus on what we’re good at and let the professionals handle the graphics!
This really depends on what your product is, but you may need to prepare to pay your factory for a tool. A tool is the mold that a factory will use to make your product and is more expensive the bigger the product is. A tool can be made out of aluminum or steel (an aluminum tool is cheaper but yields less units, in the range of 10,000, while a steel tool is more expensive but yields more units, in the hundreds of thousands, until wear and tear occurs).
As a company, we always try and find as many creative ways as possible to minimize tooling costs and to create a great quality prototype before incurring those costs, but sometimes if you need a production quality sample to show investors you will need to budget for that tooling cost.