I finally had an idea of a product I wanted to create. Now, I had to gather information. What products were similar to it on the market? Who manufactured those products? And the big question: How much will it cost to make it? There are other questions regarding materials, labor and quantity, but first I needed the basic figures to see if I could make my product and then sell it at a reasonable price.
Some of my earlier ideas were immediately shot down due to the fact that in order to make them I would have to sell them at outrageous prices. But, man oh man, when the cost of laser technology ever drops, BAM! - my ideas are gonna soar! Okay, not really, but you get the idea.
I used two tools to find a manufacturer for my creation: the Internet and the Better Business Bureau. I found a ton of businesses (either through the Internet or on packages of similar materials) that could potentially manufacture my product, so I narrowed it down to businesses that were in my time zone to avoid any complications with telephone tag. That narrowed the list to a manageable amount. I went to Better Business Bureau and found a few that had "satisfactory" ratings. I checked out their websites to see if their Internet presence was impressive or not. Those that looked professional, I called, and the second one answered the phone. Winner!
I gave the manufacturing company my specifications and asked if they could do what I needed and give me an estimate. Done and done! Most manufacturers will give you a discount based on quantity. The more I ordered - the smaller the per unit price. If the manufacturer doesn't offer this, then as the Miracles sang, "You better shop around".
I called two other places, and I had all three send me samples of their materials to see if they were up to snuff. Again, if the manufacturer isn't willing to work with you on these requests, then you need to check elsewhere. I put those samples through the ringer. I had to make certain it would pass all possible tortures our family would put it through. I found the right manufacturer at the right price, so I needed to go to the next stage... to see if this product would sell.
Next week I'll talk about what happens after you think you have found a potential manufacturer.