While the process of crowdfunding is incredibly intimidating for many young companies, selecting the best manufacturer for your product can be just as daunting. This is the moment that your entire project comes to fruition and your idea comes to life, but that is only possible with a reliable manufacturer.
During your search, you need to consider factors such as logistics for production and handling, timelines, shipping, minimum order quantities, costs and more. As you begin your search, keep the following in mind.
Manufacturing Questions to Ask
Kick off your search for a manufacturer checking the factories you consider against a series of criteria. First, confirm that the factory in question can actually manufacture your type of product. Ideally, they will not only have these capabilities but will also have it as one of their main products. If they already have experience in creating something similar to your product, you will be able to access a more efficient and affordable production process. Similarly, be sure that the manufacturer you select has experience working with companies such as yours in terms of size and industry.
Especially for overseas companies, remember to confirm that the manufacturer you choose will agree to sign an NDA; this will help to prevent intellectual property theft, protecting your project. Depending on the manufacturer, you may also consider asking:
- Are there minimum order quantities?
- How much do samples cost?
- What are the turnaround times on orders?
- How does the factory handle unexpected circumstances?
- How often does the factory experience delays?
Production Cost Considerations
When it comes to production costs, always ask the potential manufacturers up front for an estimate of what they will charge as well as when they expect payment. Most manufacturers will require some sort of down payment – possibly up to 50 percent – with the rest paid upon delivery of the product. While some companies will ask for full payment up front, only do this if the manufacturer has an exceptional reputation; it is typically a red flag.
Once you have ensured the manufacturer’s terms are agreeable, take time to also ensure that the offered production costs are fair for your industry and allow you to make a sufficient profit. To see if they are fair, check their pricing estimates against those of similar items already on the market. To ensure you can make a sufficient profit, use the estimate provided by the manufacturer to create a full production budget.
Domestic Versus Overseas Manufacturing
Some crowdfunding project creators will do better with overseas manufacturing. While others should stick to domestic production, it all depends on your specific situation. As you make your decision, remember that assembling products tends to be more affordable overseas due to lower labor costs.
At the same time, hiring an overseas manufacturer will increase your shipping costs and will require you to pay import taxes on the finished product. Essentially, overseas manufacturing will save you money on labor and facilities while domestic production saves in terms of shipping, duties, additional oversight and being in a similar time zone.
But who says you even need to choose? Dual sourcing the manufacturing of your product is an option worth considering as well.
Be sure to check out the Art of the Kickstart podcast as well as the blog for additional tips and advice on how to determine the best way to manufacture your crowdfunded product.