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Getting Your Prototypes Done: Typical Terms of a Prototyping Relationship

Hi all! So now that you have drawn up your plans for your totally cool invention, perhaps some plans for your voice activated rotary easy chair mounted beer can dispenser that chills the can, opens it and puts it in your hand. (Wow, it just dawned on me that this would be a great invention as I would surely buy one.) You have talked to experts in the field, done a patent search, done your market research. And now you have to commit to a prototyper to help you build your prototype. What to do now? Well, before you start spending the millions that you are sure to make with your invention, like my full-featured beer dispenser, talk to a few different prototypers to get a few differing opinions. When you contact a prototyper, you and the prototyper will enter into an agreement describing the terms in which you would work together. This should be done after a NDA is signed by both sides and you are ready to work with the prototyper. When you approach a prototyper, expect to pay about $75.00 per hour and up. Most prototypers however will generally provide a free consultation for your first meeting. Be careful to stay way from the so called “invention submission” outfits that want money up front without even hearing your idea first. Those companies you need to stay away from! As it’s really difficult to speak for others, and frankly I wouldn’t feel right doing it, I thought I’d make it easy by just by explaining to you how I do it…and maybe you can learn from that. After the first consultation, I will decide if I want to do work with you on your protoptype, while you are deciding whether you would like to work with me on it. If we both agree to work together, I will then quote a price to build your prototype. I will require 50% down payment to start working on your prototype. Why the 50% down you ask? Well, I am not a large corporation with a huge budget, nor am I independently wealthy. So I have to risk your money on a unproven design, not mine. Because of that, the deposit is totally nonrefundable. This covers my costs if you should back out of the deal. So why won't I or most other prototypers take the risk of building a prototype without getting a 50% deposit in advance? Well, because of the NDA we signed, if you decide not to proceed with the prototype, I cannot sell the prototype and it must be destroyed or else I would be violating the Non-Disclosure Agreement. So, I have no other way to recoup my losses from spending time and materials on your prototype other than keeping your deposit. At the time of the deposit, I will give you an estimated date for completion. When it's done, I will typically ask for the balance due before you take delivery of your prototype. My reputation and the reputation of other reputable prototypers will be based on timely delivery at the price quoted. I will and have lost money on deals like this because reputation is everything in this business. Since 95% percent of my business is from repeat customers and referrals, it pays me to complete on time under cost. Are all prototypers like this? Alas no, just the good ones. They will be the ones to come in on time and on budget. Just make sure to do your research and find a good one. It will be time well spent. So till next week, it's your money so spend it wisely. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask me here in the comments section or drop me an email. William William Colbath Owner - Ironponyfabrication.com E-mail: Sales@Ironponyfabrication.com news weblog reality tv television entertainment inventing inventions prototyping engineering engineers prototypes manufacturing