# Estes Prices

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#### John Taylor

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
I'm talking about BP motors as apposed to APCP. I totally understand the cost of APCP motors and think they're quite reasonable. Black Powder motors seem more expensive then they should be. They follow a simple manufacturing process more or less like cheap fireworks. They follow same manufacturing techniques, materials, and regulations as the propulsion section of fireworks, yet they cost more. In fact Estes started out making fireworks motors. It's like I understand why i would pay a lot for a metal fountain pen (APCP) yet why I would pay 7 dollars for a single plastic ball point pen (BP). (Basic point is, considering every factor, black powder motors are still overpriced)

well there's nothing we can do about it
Yes we can do something about it, buy composite motors more bang for the buck.

#### david davy

##### Member
Products built to fail at a given point so some will run right out to buy another! Luckily, if it was built by man or woman then I can probably fix it.

#### neil_w

##### Hunkered down and slowly going crazy
TRF Supporter
A few things to keep in mind:

1) Estes does a lot of its sales (most?) through distribution, so what they're actually getting is a *lot* less than those list prices.
2) It's not like Estes is rolling around in excess profits, making millionaires of all their employees. They seem like a pretty lean organization.
3) They are entitled to make *some* profit.

Buy their products or don't, as you prefer. But the implication that they're ripping off customers with their pricing is unjustified.

#### Mushtang

TRF Supporter
A few things to keep in mind:

1) Estes does a lot of its sales (most?) through distribution, so what they're actually getting is a *lot* less than those list prices.
2) It's not like Estes is rolling around in excess profits, making millionaires of all their employees. They seem like a pretty lean organization.
3) They are entitled to make *some* profit.

Buy their products or don't, as you prefer. But the implication that they're ripping off customers with their pricing is unjustified.
Why is the word "some" in number 3 highlighted like that? It makes it seem like they're only entitled to a limited amount of profit and anything over that they're not entitled to. Is that what you're suggesting?

If they're able to make "outrageous" profits but we're still buying the motors because we're willing to, who is to say that they're making too much?

#### neil_w

##### Hunkered down and slowly going crazy
TRF Supporter
Why is the word "some" in number 3 highlighted like that? It makes it seem like they're only entitled to a limited amount of profit and anything over that they're not entitled to. Is that what you're suggesting?
No. Rather, *some* to emphasize the distinction vs. "little or none", which is all some folks seem to think is justified.

If they're able to make "outrageous" profits but we're still buying the motors because we're willing to, who is to say that they're making too much?
This is a classic question which has derailed other threads.

To keep it strictly to the current discussion: it would be very difficult to make the case that Estes is making "too much" profit, by any reasonable definition. If that is one's stated reason for not purchasing their products, I would say that is seriously misguided.

#### John Taylor

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
I believe they should make a good profit, after all they are a loved company around the world. However I've seen posts about there "great customer service "
True they replace motors and kits when a mishap occurs. They are not however able to replace the labor and love put into the building and they cannot take back the negitive feelings and embarrassment in front of others when your prized rocket blows up.
I believe they should immediately stop selling the E12 motors and provide a refund to anyone who is in possession of the motors postage paid.
I believe they should "bite the bullet " so to speak. This would greatly improve their reputation and positivly affect future sales.
It may reduce present profits but be positive in the long run. They owe it to their loyal customers to make it right. Continuing to manufacture and distribute a motor with a known fault is irresponsible at best and negligent at worst.

#### Bill S

##### Well-Known Member
No. Rather, *some* to emphasize the distinction vs. "little or none", which is all some folks seem to think is justified.

This is a classic question which has derailed other threads.

To keep it strictly to the current discussion: it would be very difficult to make the case that Estes is making "too much" profit, by any reasonable definition. If that is one's stated reason for not purchasing their products, I would say that is seriously misguided.
It always gets really sporty when it comes down to a discussion about "profits". You'll have those (mainly of the socialist mindset) that say that too much profit is "evil", but they'll never tell you what that percentage is, because its about the "feels". Exxon making 7% is "evil", because of what kind of business they are in, but Apple, who at one point made 49% profit (mainly on the back of cheap Chinese slave labor) is "good" because why exactly? Mainly because of their social do-gooder reputation, I guess.

"If they're able to make "outrageous" profits but we're still buying the motors because we're willing to, who is to say that they're making too much?"

Agreed. If people think they are making "too much profit", then they ought to vote with their wallet and not purchase said products from that company.

#### Yukon@K-9 Rocket Tech

##### Just a teen who likes building rockets
TRF Supporter
Yes we can do something about it, buy composite motors more bang for the buck.
Hahah lol yes! But I still love the shower of sparks from a BP motor

#### dr wogz

##### Fly caster
Hahah lol yes! But I still love the shower of sparks from a BP motor

#### Initiator001

##### Well-Known Member
Having toured the Estes facility/plant during NARAM-60 last year I don't think they charge enough for their products.

Dozens of buildings, some are huge. Six or more machines turning out a new black-powder rocket motor every 2 or 3 seconds.
Watching four employees package rocket motors was like watching a finely-tuned machine.
Standing next to the igniter/starter machine turning out a new one every second or so.
Being in a building hearing a very noisy machine label the brown paper cases for rocket motors.
Huge stocks of paper tubes and other components for making products.
A shipping warehouse full of products waiting to go out.

Estes is quite the operation.
They have much overhead, staff and custom machinery that has to be paid and maintained.

#### John Taylor

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
I believe that size of production is because they are making so much money not in spite of.

#### jqavins

##### Joseph Avins
TRF Supporter
It's because they are shipping so much product, whatever they're making for it. Which they wouldn't be doing if they weren't making what they call enough money, whatever that is.

And remember, my original question wasn't about how much they're making, but about why their prices rise faster than average. That may have something to do with the cost of labor if the description above indicates that their operation is more labor intensive than average. (Though I say again that price is tied only indirectly - if strongly - to cost.)

#### david davy

I think the problem with most anything is the middle man/men and retailers. I was in manufacturing for years,I tracked one product we sold. It was a aluminum air filter, we had $1.26 in it materials,labor, everything, we sold it for$2.04. By the time it went through all the middle men and crisscrossed the country to then arrive at a retailer five miles from where it was manufactured it would cost the consumer $29.99 plus tax. This was 15 years ago and I am sure it is much worse now giving the wages unskilled labor receives now and the ever increasing shipping costs. I believe that its not all the manufacture but the middle men and retailers. #### John Taylor ##### Well-Known Member TRF Supporter Except Estes sells out the door and their prices are high. You can get better prices from vendors. #### neil_w ##### Hunkered down and slowly going crazy TRF Supporter I believe that size of production is because they are making so much money not in spite of. Except Estes sells out the door and their prices are high. You can get better prices from vendors. You seem very set in the notion that Estes is a greedy corporation ripping off its customers while it rolls in the dough. I am still not sure why. I would hazard a guess that the majority of folks here do not agree (to say nothing of the good folks over at Estes). In any case, if you are so certain that Estes' prices are unreasonable, then just don't buy their products and move on. There are third party alternatives to everything they make. You will likely find that most of them are at least as expensive, or moreso. #### BABAR ##### Builds Rockets for NASA TRF Lifetime Supporter TRF Supporter Caveat Emptor U.S. is still for the most part a free country. Capitalism certainly isn’t perfect, but any business that tries to consistently overcharge for its product eventually gets undercut (except for insulin, for some reason in the U.S. it is to hard to for newcomers to break into the market.) The concept of “to much profit” is meaningless, aside from market forces, there is no “neutral” party to say “how much” is the right price. #### John Taylor ##### Well-Known Member TRF Supporter You seem very set in the notion that Estes is a greedy corporation ripping off its customers while it rolls in the dough. I am still not sure why. I would hazard a guess that the majority of folks here do not agree (to say nothing of the good folks over at Estes). In any case, if you are so certain that Estes' prices are unreasonable, then just don't buy their products and move on. There are third party alternatives to everything they make. You will likely find that most of them are at least as expensive, or moreso. I never said they were greedy. They are in buisness to make money just like any profit driven corporation. I never said they were ripping anyone off. I am just trying to say they are a major corporation that has to answer to the stockholders. As nice as they are, and I agree, they are still a big buisness. I just would like it if they would stop promoting the D12 engines. A lot of people, customers, have been hurt by their lack of proper response. This is a corporate decision based on profit and loss. And I wish their prices on engines were more reasonable. Their kits are very cheap but their engines... not so much. So... I have zero ill will toward them. I love their products, have since 1967. Thanks for your comment and have a great day. #### BABAR ##### Builds Rockets for NASA TRF Lifetime Supporter TRF Supporter Per my google search I dont think estes is a publicly traded stock company. #### rharshberger ##### Well-Known Member I never said they were greedy. They are in buisness to make money just like any profit driven corporation. I never said they were ripping anyone off. I am just trying to say they are a major corporation that has to answer to the stockholders. As nice as they are, and I agree, they are still a big buisness. I just would like it if they would stop promoting the D12 engines. A lot of people, customers, have been hurt by their lack of proper response. This is a corporate decision based on profit and loss. And I wish their prices on engines were more reasonable. Their kits are very cheap but their engines... not so much. So... I have zero ill will toward them. I love their products, have since 1967. Thanks for your comment and have a great day. D12's or E12's, the D12 motors have been around for years with few issues, the E9's are infamous, and the E12's maybe (I see lots flown at our club with few CATO's). #### John Taylor ##### Well-Known Member TRF Supporter Per my google search I dont think estes is a publicly traded stock company. I believe you are correct. Wickapedia says they are a LLC, limited liability company, not a corporation. Sorry for my bad. #### BABAR ##### Builds Rockets for NASA TRF Lifetime Supporter TRF Supporter I believe you are correct. Wickapedia says they are a LLC, limited liability company, not a corporation. Sorry for my bad. No worries. #### afadeev ##### Well-Known Member TRF Supporter I never said they were greedy. They are in business to make money just like any profit driven corporation. I never said they were ripping anyone off. I am just trying to say they are a major corporation that has to answer to the stockholders. Even though they are a private company, they still have a stockholders, aka the owners. That pedantic issue aside, the real eye opener is the fact Estes's revenue has been on a downward trajectory for the past 5+ years, dropping to ~$11.3M in 2017. The entire company was sold to the new owners for a paltry $7M in 2018. And that, folks, is as big of a (shrinking) dominant player as rocketry hobby can support these days! I just would like it if they would stop promoting the D12 engines. Please say you are kidding - D12 is one of my favorite motors! A lot of people, customers, have been hurt by their lack of proper response. This is a corporate decision based on profit and loss. I couldn't disagree more. Estes's customer support, especially after the recent change of ownership, has been exceptional. I don't know issues you may be experiencing, but the allegation that "a lot of people, customers, have been hurt" is, at best, an unsubstantiated exaggeration. And I wish their prices on engines were more reasonable. Their kits are very cheap but their engines... not so much. I think the Estes motors are pretty cheap, especially, since you can pick them up at 40% off MSRP either online, or at Hobby Lobby. I don't know how much cheaper you want them to be, really. If you think they are too expensive, give your business to a competitor (Aerotech, Cesaroni, etc). Full disclosure - you will not find the competitors any less expensive. Their products do have other benefits, but discount pricing vs. Estes isn't one of them! Frankly, I could easily endorse a +10% price hike on Estes motors if it were to secure Estes's long-term financial viability. Loosing an entry-level rocketry supplier, like Estes, would have extremely detrimental long-term effect on this hobby accessibility and appeal. IMHO, a #### John Taylor ##### Well-Known Member TRF Supporter Even though they are a private company, they still have a stockholders, aka the owners. That pedantic issue aside, the real eye opener is the fact Estes's revenue has been on a downward trajectory for the past 5+ years, dropping to ~$11.3M in 2017. The entire company was sold to the new owners for a paltry $7M in 2018. And that, folks, is as big of a (shrinking) dominant player as rocketry hobby can support these days! Please say you are kidding - D12 is one of my favorite motors! So Sorry I misspoke I love the D12 engines, never had a failure. Use them all the time. I meant the E engines. I couldn't disagree more. Estes's customer support, especially after the recent change of ownership, has been exceptional. I don't know issues you may be experiencing, but the allegation that "a lot of people, customers, have been hurt" is, at best, an unsubstantiated exaggeration. I think the Estes motors are pretty cheap, especially, since you can pick them up at 40% off MSRP either online, or at Hobby Lobby. I don't know how much cheaper you want them to be, really. If you think they are too expensive, give your business to a competitor (Aerotech, Cesaroni, etc). Full disclosure - you will not find the competitors any less expensive. Their products do have other benefits, but discount pricing vs. Estes isn't one of them! Frankly, I could easily endorse a +10% price hike on Estes motors if it were to secure Estes's long-term financial viability. Loosing an entry-level rocketry supplier, like Estes, would have extremely detrimental long-term effect on this hobby accessibility and appeal. IMHO, a #### John Taylor ##### Well-Known Member TRF Supporter Even though they are a private company, they still have a stockholders, aka the owners. That pedantic issue aside, the real eye opener is the fact Estes's revenue has been on a downward trajectory for the past 5+ years, dropping to ~$11.3M in 2017. The entire company was sold to the new owners for a paltry $7M in 2018. And that, folks, is as big of a (shrinking) dominant player as rocketry hobby can support these days! Please say you are kidding - D12 is one of my favorite motors! I couldn't disagree more. Estes's customer support, especially after the recent change of ownership, has been exceptional. I don't know issues you may be experiencing, but the allegation that "a lot of people, customers, have been hurt" is, at best, an unsubstantiated exaggeration. I think the Estes motors are pretty cheap, especially, since you can pick them up at 40% off MSRP either online, or at Hobby Lobby. I don't know how much cheaper you want them to be, really. If you think they are too expensive, give your business to a competitor (Aerotech, Cesaroni, etc). Full disclosure - you will not find the competitors any less expensive. Their products do have other benefits, but discount pricing vs. Estes isn't one of them! Frankly, I could easily endorse a +10% price hike on Estes motors if it were to secure Estes's long-term financial viability. Loosing an entry-level rocketry supplier, like Estes, would have extremely detrimental long-term effect on this hobby accessibility and appeal. IMHO, a #### John Taylor ##### Well-Known Member TRF Supporter Even though they are a private company, they still have a stockholders, aka the owners. That pedantic issue aside, the real eye opener is the fact Estes's revenue has been on a downward trajectory for the past 5+ years, dropping to ~$11.3M in 2017. The entire company was sold to the new owners for a paltry \$7M in 2018.

And that, folks, is as big of a (shrinking) dominant player as rocketry hobby can support these days!

Please say you are kidding - D12 is one of my favorite motors!

I couldn't disagree more.
Estes's customer support, especially after the recent change of ownership, has been exceptional.

I don't know issues you may be experiencing, but the allegation that "a lot of people, customers, have been hurt" is, at best, an unsubstantiated exaggeration.

I think the Estes motors are pretty cheap, especially, since you can pick them up at 40% off MSRP either online, or at Hobby Lobby.

I don't know how much cheaper you want them to be, really.
If you think they are too expensive, give your business to a competitor (Aerotech, Cesaroni, etc).
Full disclosure - you will not find the competitors any less expensive. Their products do have other benefits, but discount pricing vs. Estes isn't one of them!

Frankly, I could easily endorse a +10% price hike on Estes motors if it were to secure Estes's long-term financial viability. Loosing an entry-level rocketry supplier, like Estes, would have extremely detrimental long-term effect on this hobby accessibility and appeal.

IMHO,
a
I am truly sorry I have ruffled a few feathers sharing my views about Estes. I actually love Estes. However I am very disappointed about the long list of E12 catos.
And my opinion is their engine prices are high. I believe they sell their kits cheap to sell their engines. Engines is where the make their money in my opinion
I would gladly pay more for their kits if I didnt have to always have to upgrade the recovery system and replace or augment the soft balsa fins to make the model stronger and more reliable without it breaking. Again just my opinion.
I will continue happily buy their kits and there engines except the E12's. Please forgive me if I came across too negatively.

#### neil_w

##### Hunkered down and slowly going crazy
TRF Supporter
Engines is where the make their money in my opinion
I believe this is generally true, although it doesn't mean their prices are too high.

I also agree that the E9/E12 situation is frustrating. Unfortunately, we are always working from anectodal data, and don't really know what the reliability situation is for these motors.

Well, actually, we pretty much know that the E9s were unreliable, but the situation for the E12s is fuzzier. However, given the availability of good alternatives (e.g. Aerotech SU E15) I personally have decided not to take a chance on the use of E12s in any of my rockets. I don't even bother with the long motor mounts anymore, so I don't need to remember to put the spacer in (it is bad to forget).

The good news is that Estes customer service will always make things right, to the best of their ability.