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rockets

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So, recently I have been thinking of what I want to do this summer. Since I'll be off of school, there won't be too much for me to do. I have really been looking into starting a small rocket kit business to keep me busy this summer. The reason I'm posting is because I want to know what you guys think of the idea, and if you think I should do it.
I think I have multiple unique designs, If you would like to see them PLEASE let me know. If I want to start a small business, I don't want to invest time or money until I know that people would want to buy my products, and I hope you all understand that. I'm only looking to make Low to Mid Power rockets. I have about 4 or 5 designs, and I would only make limited amounts of kits. And, for the convenience of everyone, I would try to make the kit prices as cheap as possible. So I'm looking at $15-$20 for each kit.

So what do you guys think? Would you like to see my designs? Would you actually want to buy any of my kits??

NOTE: If I start this, it will take a while for me to put the kits together & it could take up to a week to ship.

Thanks,
 

tomsteve

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very ambitious and I applaud you for that,andrew! you have a great community here that can offer suggestions, which I only have one right now:
inexpensive kits. not cheap. :)
plus, I notice the rocket community is willing to pay for quality parts and kits, so going as inexpensive as possible may not be the best way to go.
 

rockets

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very ambitious and I applaud you for that,andrew! you have a great community here that can offer suggestions, which I only have one right now:
inexpensive kits. not cheap. :)
plus, I notice the rocket community is willing to pay for quality parts and kits, so going as inexpensive as possible may not be the best way to go.
No, I mean I have high quality parts. But, I will be selling for a cheap price. I will still be making a profit from each kit. but it will only be about $5 a kit, so I'm trying to lower the price for YOU, and still get high quality parts. But, I'm not doing this for the money, I'm doing this for everyone else, and as something for me to do this summer. About 1 year ago I put together my first kit, it cost me $10 to buy the parts & I would only sell for maybe like $15, not including shipping. BTW, would you like to see my designs?
Thanks,
 

ozwald

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No, I mean I have high quality parts. But, I will be selling for a cheap price. I will still be making a profit from each kit. but it will only be about $5 a kit, so I'm trying to lower the price for YOU, and still get high quality parts. But, I'm not doing this for the money, I'm doing this for everyone else, and as something for me to do this summer. About 1 year ago I put together my first kit, it cost me $10 to buy the parts & I would only sell for maybe like $15, not including shipping. BTW, would you like to see my designs?
Thanks,
Hi Andrew. I think we all would like to see your designs :)
 

Incongruent

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I would like to see your designs.


The idea of a rocket kit business (over the summer, too!) crossed my mind before, but then I ran up some price estimates. If the saying "great minds think alike" works in reverse, this is very bad news for you. :)

I'll second tomsteve.

A low power close to scale X-15 would be cool and I would get one if the price and quality were reasonable.
Vacuum formed could be a possibility for the fin fairings but the shape of the cockpit means a two part or flexible mold would be to make it in one piece. Also the two overlap, so either one or the other has to get cut into two parts. Plywood fins would be strong enough but hard to bevel while balsa would likely be too soft, perhaps even if papered and CAd. I don't know enough about basswood. Stability is an issue too.

EDIT: I would also like to see a launch pad (kit would be nice) with a flame trench. If you can make it so flour or some other flammable substance can be poured into the trench get and picked up by the exaust and increase launch commotion, that would be awesome. Also a rod holder that can hold 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch rods and nanobeams and makerbeams. I suppose an 1/4" rod attatched to the rail might work. An system to hold down exchangeable launch service structures would be useful. Also lightness and stability.
 
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rockets

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IMG_2698.jpgIMG_2700.jpgIMG_2702.jpgIMG_2703.jpgIMG_2704.jpgIMG_2706.jpg
I'm not sure what the dimensions will be for any of these except for the black & Red one.
The Black & Red one is called the "D Fin" it's 15 inches tall 29mm diameter with no motor mount. I have already assembled one of those.
The Blue gold, & green one is going to be called "The Night Flier" I will paint all of the components with glow in the dark paint before packing up the kits, So you don't have to paint it! :)
The Green & yellow one will be called "The Sprint" And the blue & yellow one is called "The Voyager"
And the other one I don't have a name for that one yet... :)
I have not tested any of these before except for when I tested these on RockSim.
Thanks,
 

H_Rocket

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Keep one thing in mind. The moment you take money from someone for your product, they stop being your friend and start being your customer. They want what they paid for and most people don't care if you are sick, your aardvark died, have other obligations, want to go do something with the gang, or even launch a rocket. They want what you sold them before you do anything for yourself. If you have an idea for a kit and want to package a bunch up and offer them for sale to raise a little spending money, by all means do so. However, if you want to "start a business", then realize that is one of the fastest proven ways to make your hobby a drudge.

Don't want to bring you down. however I have seen oh-so-many otherwise well meaning folks make enemies out of their otherwise buddies by selling something and not delivering. And nobody cares why you did not deliver, you took someones money and are then considered by many to simply be a thief.
 

DavidMcCann

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Realize that for every 20 people who tell you it's an awesome idea, only one is going to buy.
 

cavecentral

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Are you actually starting a real business, or is this more of a side project? Given the summer-long timeframe, I'll assume this is a side project.

I know several people on TRF have done limited runs of 10-20 kits for people that were interested in their design. I bought a 54mm blue tube airframe model several years ago. Recently there was a 24mm model with a 3D printed nose cone.

Good luck!
 

AfterBurners

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I think its a good idea, but from what I've seen you are selling just your basic 3FNC type rockets. Most of the people on here know how to design something like the kits you are selling with the software that's out on the market, so you have to ask yourself, why would anyone be interested in buying my kits?? On top of that most of the designs of other manufacturers can be downloaded into RS and scratch built. If you really want a rocket business save your money, stay active in the hobby and buy something like Wildman and go from there.
 

rockets

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I have a extremely unique design that I'm going to keep a secret! Let's just say there is nothing like it on the market. And, very soon I will probably be testing it out! :)
Thanks,
 

tomsteve

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I have a extremely unique design that I'm going to keep a secret! Let's just say there is nothing like it on the market. And, very soon I will probably be testing it out! :)
Thanks,

good on ya, Andrew!
 

blackjack2564

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Being blunt & honest.

Don't do it, unless you have 1500.00 to start. Time to build and test prototypes. You must buy parts in lots of 50 to 100 to get anywhere near best prices. Look around and see what 50 chutes & 50 Nc's 50 airframes...50 couplers...50 motor mounts....50 shock cords .... 50 CR's....150 fins cut [3 each rocket] will cost you for just one of your designs. Don't forget heat sealer and bags to kit up the kit.Last but not least....boxes to ship in. Lots of 24 will be about 2.25 @ from U-line.Shipping will average 6-8.00 depending on destination & the deal you cut with shipper.

Where will you get parts?
more suppliers used, more shipping costs eat your profit, we kept it down to 3.

See what it will cost in parts & shipping, to build just one of your designs, then what you can sell it for.
Do not forget shipping as many do when estimating costs on small projects! [as in what costs are for you to get stuff]

Here is where most fail. You must do these things before you decide, just to see if it's is feasible.

Yes I have done it:https://www.rocketryforum.com/showt...Pyrate-quot-Rocketry-beasties-back-to-post-1-!

We had 2800.00 in parts for 100 kits...cost 28.00 @....then add packing, decals, shipping boxes & postal costs.

My advice to you...."forget about it"
 
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Zeus-cat

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You could consider being a manufacturer and sell your kits through a proven vendor. You would make less per kit, but you would have only one customer which would save you time and shipping. Since you are in Ohio and I think Lee Berry said you launch with Tripoli Mid Ohio, I suggest you come to one of the Wright Stuff Rocketeers meetings at eRockets every Tuesday night from 6 to 8:30 at night. Talk to Randy at eRockets about being a supplier to him. In addition, he probably has all the parts you need to build your kits. He may say yes. Or he may so no. If he says no you could still ask a lot of questions about what it takes to be a rocket manufacturer.
 

Binder Design

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I would not get into this business without CNC mills, laser cutters, decal plotters, sewing machines, a 3D printer or two, belt and disc sanders, drill press, custom made tubing saws, and maybe even your own tubing winder. You would be competing against rocket companies that have all that. The industry has come a long way in the last 15-20 years. Sure you can source everything premade and just package it, but you'll be lucky to break even. Mowing lawns for the summer can be good money and teach you a lot about business. That's how I started when I was your age. Good luck!
 

AfterBurners

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I would not get into this business without CNC mills, laser cutters, decal plotters, sewing machines, a 3D printer or two, belt and disc sanders, drill press, custom made tubing saws, and maybe even your own tubing winder. You would be competing against rocket companies that have all that. The industry has come a long way in the last 15-20 years. Sure you can source everything premade and just package it, but you'll be lucky to break even. Mowing lawns for the summer can be good money and teach you a lot about business. That's how I started when I was your age. Good luck!
+1 Yeah mow lawns. You'll make more money.
 

Bat-mite

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I think all of us have, at some point or another, had to ask ourselves the question: how can I make money doing this? It is an expensive hobby, but it is something that is fun to spend time doing, and wouldn't it be great to make money while doing it?

But in reality, the chance of making a profit is very small, and very time-consuming. One vendor at LDRS, who shall remain nameless, lamented that he would rather be out there launching rockets than standing behind a table selling stuff. But unfortunately, you need to take advantage of every opportunity that comes along to make a sale. Customers are very limited.

For me, personally, I am no longer into LPR, and if I wanted an LPR kit, I'd snag something from Hobby Lobby with the 40% off coupon. The stuff I might consider buying online would be stuff that is intriguing and not readily available anywhere else. Like some of the Pemberton Tech. stuff, or square tube kits, or weird oddrocs. Any 3FNC or 4FNC that I might want could be easily designed in OR, parts bought at the hobby store, and no shipping required.

What you could do to make money, and I have heard that it can be quite lucrative, is set up a motor cleaning table at your launches. You'd need some acetone, gloves, towels and rods/dowels, but for a few dollars, many people would rather have someone do it for them. Trouble is, you spend your launches doing that instead of launching, which is what you really want to do.
 

AfterBurners

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I think all of us have, at some point or another, had to ask ourselves the question: how can I make money doing this? It is an expensive hobby, but it is something that is fun to spend time doing, and wouldn't it be great to make money while doing it?

But in reality, the chance of making a profit is very small, and very time-consuming. One vendor at LDRS, who shall remain nameless, lamented that he would rather be out there launching rockets than standing behind a table selling stuff. But unfortunately, you need to take advantage of every opportunity that comes along to make a sale. Customers are very limited.

For me, personally, I am no longer into LPR, and if I wanted an LPR kit, I'd snag something from Hobby Lobby with the 40% off coupon. The stuff I might consider buying online would be stuff that is intriguing and not readily available anywhere else. Like some of the Pemberton Tech. stuff, or square tube kits, or weird oddrocs. Any 3FNC or 4FNC that I might want could be easily designed in OR, parts bought at the hobby store, and no shipping required.

What you could do to make money, and I have heard that it can be quite lucrative, is set up a motor cleaning table at your launches. You'd need some acetone, gloves, towels and rods/dowels, but for a few dollars, many people would rather have someone do it for them. Trouble is, you spend your launches doing that instead of launching, which is what you really want to do.
That reminds me I need to order that Space Ark! BatMite is right... cleaning motors would be easy and fun and you could use the cash to build more of your rockets.
 

llickteig1

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+1 Yeah mow lawns. You'll make more money.
+1
  • You will learn to appreciate an honest days work.
  • Small investment/little to no overhead.
  • Unlimited number of potential customers.
  • You get to spend the day outside soaking up the sun.
Seriously, mowing lawns is a great summer job and you'll have some coin in the bank at the end of August.
 

AfterBurners

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+1
  • You will learn to appreciate an honest days work.
  • Small investment/little to no overhead.
  • Unlimited number of potential customers.
  • You get to spend the day outside soaking up the sun.
Seriously, mowing lawns is a great summer job and you'll have some coin in the bank at the end of August.
When I was in my mid 20's I started an auto detailing mobile service. I was pulling down $4000-5000 on a good month working 20-30 hrs a week back in the mid 80's. Outside soaking up the sun and checking out all the hot women in their high heels and skirts going to work. Damn its tempting to do it again!! I was always hustling trying to make a sale. Remember anything that's labor intense and minimal materials you have a lot of flexibility. I would randomly give out free car washes when I was at these office buildings just to get my foot in the front door and pick up one or two accounts....from there it was a snowball effect. Next thing I would be there all day working.

So if you get into motor cleaning give out a few cleanings for free so people can see what kind of work you do and then charge accordingly.
 

cerving

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As one who's doing this, I have to tell you that you have to be willing to devote a LOT of time to it... like just about all of your "spare" time. There's a big difference between doing it because you like rocketry, and doing it to make money. Very few hobby rocketry vendors really make very much money off their businesses... they do it mainly to spread their love of rocketry, and to help pay for the hobby. You'll have to have a decent chunk of money up front for your initial parts inventory, paying for services like laser cutting, possibly buying tools and supplies, paying for your web site (and possibly a developer if you can't take it on yourself), etc. etc. etc.

Hobby rocketry customers are a very patient lot, so if you tell them up front that it's going to take a week to ship out their kits they'll generally be OK with that, but if you're thinking that you're going to get some order first THEN order the parts, that's just not gonna fly. There are some well known vendors that apparently do that (at least with larger kits), and if you go to the vendor reviews section you can read all about the result... it's not good. The most important thing that you can have is not the highest quality kits, coolest designs, or the lowest prices... it's your reputation. Everything you do has to go towards building a good reputation and creating a positive customer experience. If you don't think you can do that (and believe me, it takes time and money to do it) then you'd be better off maybe licensing your designs through somebody who already has the infrastructure to sell them, and the reputation to keep people buying from them.
 

kcobbva

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+1
  • You will learn to appreciate an honest days work.
  • Small investment/little to no overhead.
  • Unlimited number of potential customers.
  • You get to spend the day outside soaking up the sun.
Seriously, mowing lawns is a great summer job and you'll have some coin in the bank at the end of August.
+1 A good buddy back in middle school started doing just this in 78. That is all he has done since and now owns just over 30 properties in Texas and is literally set for life. He really made it into something. Good hard work and building a good reputation is what it's all about. THEN you could buy out one of the HPR vendors! :)
 

rockets

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You could consider being a manufacturer and sell your kits through a proven vendor. You would make less per kit, but you would have only one customer which would save you time and shipping. Since you are in Ohio and I think Lee Berry said you launch with Tripoli Mid Ohio, I suggest you come to one of the Wright Stuff Rocketeers meetings at eRockets every Tuesday night from 6 to 8:30 at night. Talk to Randy at eRockets about being a supplier to him. In addition, he probably has all the parts you need to build your kits. He may say yes. Or he may so no. If he says no you could still ask a lot of questions about what it takes to be a rocket manufacturer.
Yeah, That has been my thought. To ask Randy and only Randy to supply my kits. And then I wouldn't have to worry about losing lots of time.
Thanks,
 

rockets

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Actually I do mow lawns, but that isn't my job. All year around I deliver newspapers around my neighborhood. About every month I make about $50-$70. But, this summer I am going to have a bigger route, so I will probably be making $150-$175 per month this summer! And of course I will rake leaves & shovel driveways which can bring in some serious money.
I really like business, And I want to get a little taste of what a real business is like, and all of the responsibilities, etc. So this could be a good opportunity for me.
And as Zues-Cat said ,and I was thinking of doing this anyway, but I would ask Randy of Erockets to supply my kits. At first I would start at 5 or 10 kits, and then if successful, then I would supply him with more like 20 kits. By then end of May, I hope to have all of my designs flown & tested and have at least 2 kits of each of my designs ready to go.
Remember I have had this idea for 2 years now, and have had LOTS of time to think it over!
Thanks,
 

rockets

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You also need to consider liability.

Don't do it.
Actually on the directions for my kits I have it clearly stated "I am not responsible for any injuries or damage" And it's true, once someone buys a kit from me, they own it, not me right?
So, if I have it correctly I am not responsible for anything that happens after someone buys the kit from me.
Does that make sense or not?
Thanks,
 

TangoJuliet

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Actually on the directions for my kits I have it clearly stated "I am not responsible for any injuries or damage" And it's true, once someone buys a kit from me, they own it, not me right?
So, if I have it correctly I am not responsible for anything that happens after someone buys the kit from me.
Does that make sense or not?
Thanks,
I don't know if that is enough legally without also having documented proof on file that your designs are safe and sound when built per your directions. I'm not a lawyer, and I don't pretend to be one, but in a court room is not the place to find out if your claim is sufficient.
 

dr wogz

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I really like business, And I want to get a little taste of what a real business is like, and all of the responsibilities, etc.
Talk to your guidance councillor or a friend's parent who is in a business, and ask them to be an intern. You'll be in the office, probably stuffing envelopes or doing data entering. Maybe in the back packing boxes.. But you will get a great appreciation for what goes on in a regular every day business.. it'll open your eyes, maybe for eh good, or for the bad..

As a the business for yourself, pick five rockets you like. Cost them out; make up a costing sheet (a chance to learn Excel) for each one to see what your costs would be. Look to see what parts are common thru all 5 kits, what parts can be common? this greatly helps to reduce costs, and inventory! (Motor mounts, make them all 18mm (or 24mm..) Make them all the same BT size & length. Make one kit use 2 BT lengths. Make them all use the same NC.. etc..) doing this will greatly open your eyes to what's needed.. ask us question as you create your costing sheet, there's always something you'll miss!
 

michigander

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lawn mowing if parents down allow lawnmower or tractor lots of money can still be made with weed whip

Lawnmower is right up there for a dangerous summer job for even adults ... mowing own foot :(
 

Zeus-cat

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Actually I do mow lawns, but that isn't my job. All year around I deliver newspapers around my neighborhood. About every month I make about $50-$70. But, this summer I am going to have a bigger route, so I will probably be making $150-$175 per month this summer! And of course I will rake leaves & shovel driveways which can bring in some serious money.
I really like business, And I want to get a little taste of what a real business is like, and all of the responsibilities, etc. So this could be a good opportunity for me.
And as Zues-Cat said ,and I was thinking of doing this anyway, but I would ask Randy of Erockets to supply my kits. At first I would start at 5 or 10 kits, and then if successful, then I would supply him with more like 20 kits. By then end of May, I hope to have all of my designs flown & tested and have at least 2 kits of each of my designs ready to go.
Remember I have had this idea for 2 years now, and have had LOTS of time to think it over!
Thanks,
That's not really how it works. The customer tells you what he wants and then you tell him what you can deliver and at what price. If you can't deliver what he wants at a good price, then he will say no deal. Anyway, I'll mention this to him on Tuesday in case you come by the shop. Randy loves to involve kids in rocketry so maybe he will take a chance on you. Be prepared to tell him what you can deliver and when. And bring prototypes of your kits.

Keep in mind that Randy already has (according to him) the world's largest selection of rocket kits. If you have never been to eRockets you will be amazed at all the kits he has in stock. He may not want to add more kits, especially from a small, part time vendor. But it never hurts to ask. Also, keep in mind that you need easy to follow instructions with every kit. A good color photo or nice art work of the kit would be a good idea too.
 
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