Sooner or later, you will be asked to answer the following two questions in reference to your product idea: How do we do this? And, how much is it going to cost? Many inventors stumble when posed these two questions. They don’t understand how to find the answers without sending their idea to China and asking them to quote on it, which obviously isn’t the wisest of choices. I want to teach you how to find the answers before you’re put on the spot.
If it is a simple product, I recommend finding a similar product and making an educated guess. If they are able to make this, then they’ll be able to make that. But sometimes, it’s much more complicated. This is what’s worked for me.
It’s necessary for you to have a technical drawing of your product. I usually build my ideas into prototypes (made out of paper) and take a picture of the product. I then scan that picture into the computer and redraw the figure. This should look as official as possible – like a patent drawing. It should show size and dimension. If you need to hire someone to make this drawing, do so. Next, I call a company that makes similar products. Maybe they use paper or plastic too, etc. I ask the company if they use a contract manufacturer. If so, you’ll be transferred to someone in that department, or sales.
I then inform them that I am a small business owner and am looking to purchase 100,000 or a million units of a new product. Can they give me a price quote on my product? It’s important that the drawing looks as professional as possible before you send it. To protect your idea, file a provisional patent application and attach “Patent Pending” at the top of the page. Put a few numbers on it.
When you’ve received a quote on your product idea, you’re empowered in a number of ways. First, the response of the manufacturer will indicate what it is going to take to develop your product. Is it easy? Difficult? Possible? And secondly, you’ll receive an idea of pricing. Now you have an informed response to the questions you will be posed. You don’t have to give this information away up front, but you have it when they do ask. In the event that they too use contract manufacturers, you have even more of a benefit. You’re now able to bring these two separate components together – “Here’s my idea, and here are the guys that can make it.” You’ve done the company’s homework for them. And as I’ve said before, the fewer reasons you give a potential licensor to turn you down, the better.
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