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Verna

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If this has been done or suggested before please forgive me but I have not seen it thus far. With all the people on the various forums that are a vendors like Sheri, InFlight, Morerockets and even Quest and Estes, I would think it would be a good idea for them to post a photo of a prototype kit for buyers to see, give feedback, etc. like Shrox has just done and then take pre-orders from those interested.

I know several of the "cottage industry" people here are planning to expand what they are producing now. If they took preorders before hand, they would have a good idea of what their original production run should be and it would give the core rocket community a chance to support the mom and pop shops.

Just a thought.

Verna
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sunward

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Prepaid preorders can be a very bad idea.

It is very difficult to time the arrival of material to be able to ship the complete kit on the promised date. Kits built for testing may not be the exact same as the final production run. It can also be time consuming and expensive to get just a few kits to ship. In the case of custom tubes, it may be impossible.

Also, preorders are never an indication of what the final sales will be.
 

shrox

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Prepaid preorders can be a very bad idea.

It is very difficult to time the arrival of material to be able to ship the complete kit on the promised date. Kits built for testing may not be the exact same as the final production run. It can also be time consuming and expensive to get just a few kits to ship. In the case of custom tubes, it may be impossible.

Also, preorders are never an indication of what the final sales will be.
The Angel Man speaks truth.
 

sandman

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Prepaid preorders can be a very bad idea.

It is very difficult to time the arrival of material to be able to ship the complete kit on the promised date. Kits built for testing may not be the exact same as the final production run. It can also be time consuming and expensive to get just a few kits to ship. In the case of custom tubes, it may be impossible.

Also, preorders are never an indication of what the final sales will be.
TRUE!
 

MarkII

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Buzz and honest feedback, pro or con, on the forums is probably useful to some extent as an indicator, though. Taking money from customers for a product that hasn't been released yet is a dicey proposition. And simple promises to buy can fail to pan out for a whole host of reasons. (See Sept. 25, 2008...)

MarkII
 
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evil ed

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Prepaid preorders can be a very bad idea.

It is very difficult to time the arrival of material to be able to ship the complete kit on the promised date. Kits built for testing may not be the exact same as the final production run. It can also be time consuming and expensive to get just a few kits to ship. In the case of custom tubes, it may be impossible.

Also, preorders are never an indication of what the final sales will be.
What he said!
 

jadebox

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Pre-orders work okay for a company like BMS that has better control over the entire production process. But, for the rest of us, it would be risky for the reasons Angelo gave. In addition, there are things you just don't have any control over such as illness or a natural disaster which could result in a delay or inability to fulfill the orders.

For most kits, the upfront investment isn't that great. So, accepting pre-orders isn't needed. For a kit with, for example, special plastic molded parts the upfront cost would be very high. But, the risk of delays and other problems would be greater. So, taking pre-orders would be even more risky in that case.

-- Roger
 
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bob jablonski

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If I did preorder with the Minute Man a lot of folks would have got upset with me as that was delayed 6 months due to plastic fin can mold issues.
Mr. Bob
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First_Flight

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Hello, RangerStl here speaking as "First Flight Hobbies" :D

When I did the Corn rockets last year I had a suspicion that things would not go smoothly. Therefore I ended up taking "pre-reservations" rather than prepaid orders. Good thing, too because there were a few bugs to work out.

Going forward with the new company I plan to do the same type of thing at least to get me through the first production run. you can see that kit review from John Lee here:

http://www.rocketryforum.com/showthread.php?t=6843

I have the kits 85% ready with only the instructions, final packaging, and shock cords needed to complete the first run of 20 Limited Edition kits, and 25 bagged production kits. Matt Gillard has dibs on kit #1 as an EMRR contest winner and has been waiting patiently. :blush:

Anyway, I hate the idea of pre-paid orders for a product that doesn't exist yet for all the reasons stated as well as the possibility that a customer might have a change in financial fortune and would rather have the money. I did have one "pre-reservation" get reversed due to a change in financial situation.

N
 

Verna

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Hello, RangerStl here speaking as "First Flight Hobbies" :D

Therefore I ended up taking "pre-reservations" rather than prepaid orders.

Going forward with the new company I plan to do the same type of thing at least to get me through the first production run.

N
Which if you read my original post, is actually what I asked about and both statements were exactly my point.

Granted, pre-reservation is a better way to put it, but since I referenced Shrox's post about the desireability of the Quest rocket yesterday, I'm not sure how we made the quantun leap from pre-order, to prepay. :confused: Not many people would send money for an item before it's even gone into production unless they want to be investors and that's a different ballgame.

What I was suggesting is that the vendors/manufacturers who visit the forums might want to consider giving a preview like Shrox did, to get feed back from potential buyers and thereby have some idea if and at what point they would make a profit from a production run, since they know what their cost per kit would be already, if they knew how many people might want they could maximize their profits by producing close to the desired number of kits and not 100's extra. And again, I'm talking from the forums, not nationally.

When Mike Schmidt produced the BSG Viper nc's a couple of years back, IIRC, he told me a batch would be 10-12 and he'd need to sell more than half to make any kind of profit. I wanted a half dozen anyway, so I sent him the original Viper nc I had to cast, and bought enough to cover his cost and then helped him market to some others I knew were interested in building a clone or two, so he was happy to make them knowing he was helping us build clones and acquiring the mold for future profits while selling the entire batch.

I also thought that if those vendors/manufacturers knew there were enough people wanting what they produced and how many, they not only could make the optimum profit but might consider broadening their production lines to include more and more of the old favorites at some point, but they all need to know or at least would want to know up front, what the production run of a given kit should be for their bottom line.

Verna
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jadebox

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I'm not sure how we made the quantum leap from pre-order, to prepay. :confused:
There's really not much difference between "pre-ordered" and "pre-paid."

If I had enough pre-orders to cover my initial investment (and I was sure the people placing the orders would actually pay), then there would be little risk in me making that initial investment. So, it's not much different than getting the money up-front.

In both cases, though, you're making a promise to the customer to deliver the product as described at some (presumably) specific date. That's the rub. It's true that people probably won't get as upset with delays if they didn't pre-pay, but any delays or changes in the product would reflect badly on the vendor and would likely result in less people paying.

-- Roger
 
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dlb

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no pre-orders, it's a trick of doom.
 

MarkII

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Anyway, I hate the idea of pre-paid orders for a product that doesn't exist yet for all the reasons stated as well as the possibility that a customer might have a change in financial fortune and would rather have the money. I did have one "pre-reservation" get reversed due to a change in financial situation.

N
The one time that I sent a sincere pre-reservation request for a limited-run kit (from another vendor), that scenario happened, and I had to back out. It was very embarrassing.

MarkII
 

UMRS

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The flaw in the plan is, you cant judge any sales based on this forum. Or any other forum for that matter. Weve released several kits and if we dont sell over 50 on the first run its a waste of time from a profit stand point. If you want to release a kit just to do it fine. But Im in business to make at least a small profit.

West Wayne Rockets produces the K-44 Birdie clone, which we sell. After almost 6 years in production a little over 2,000 have been sold. From a profit standpoint its been decent.

And for the record I agree with most of what Angelo said.
 

sunward

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.... I'm not sure how we made the quantun leap from pre-order, to prepay....
Having someone putting up their hand saying they will buy something without putting any money down doesn't mean much.

.... he told me a batch would be 10-12 and he'd need to sell more than half to make any kind of profit. ....
uhm, 2 points.

If someone is only going to make a dozen kits, why bother? Second, if you are only going to make a kit if you are guaranteed a profit, then you shouldn't be in business.
 

First_Flight

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The one time that I sent a sincere pre-reservation request for a limited-run kit (from another vendor), that scenario happened, and I had to back out. It was very embarrassing.

MarkII
Things have a way of happening, I hope everything came out OK. Another thing I thought of is how to quantify the inherent unknown of "Will anybody even like what I have to sell?"

I'm still struggling with that now. It took me a year of setting things up and getting everything together before I even got to this point. As of right now, seeing the lack of commentary on JAL3's beta build thread and my own product announcement, there is still some worry.

I don't know how good an indicator of interest online comments actually are. Once the ball started rolling for me, I was sort of committed whether there was huge interest or not. And my wife was about to commit ME. :jaw: You gotta start somewhere and get the ball rolling. After getting the products ready to sell, then I figure I'll have to actually do some SELLING to my local shops and online guys like Uncle Mike, Jon Rocket, Discount Rocketry, etc. (you guys listening? :D)

My philosophy has been, the Corn-Rocs went like hotcakes, maybe a few other kits will sell as well. I can spend the rest of my life wondering or give it a try and see what happens. Worst case scenario, I'm out a couple grand in materials and incorporation fees. Undesirable, but I'm not staking my entire livelihood on it.

N
 

MarkII

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Things have a way of happening, I hope everything came out OK. Another thing I thought of is how to quantify the inherent unknown of "Will anybody even like what I have to sell?"

I'm still struggling with that now. It took me a year of setting things up and getting everything together before I even got to this point. As of right now, seeing the lack of commentary on JAL3's beta build thread and my own product announcement, there is still some worry.
Well, there is such a thing as JAL3 overload. John writes really great build threads, but he writes so many of them that it is hard to keep up! For the record, I like the looks of your new design, and I said so on the thread. ;)

I don't know how good an indicator of interest online comments actually are.
They might be of some limited use. (Emphasize "limited.") If the comments were to be universally bad, well, that would tell you something... :rolleyes: But commentators in online forums are only a small slice of even the "dedicated hobbyist" portion of the market. Nevertheless, I am totally sincere in any comments that I post about a product.

Once the ball started rolling for me, I was sort of committed whether there was huge interest or not. And my wife was about to commit ME. :jaw: You gotta start somewhere and get the ball rolling. After getting the products ready to sell, then I figure I'll have to actually do some SELLING to my local shops and online guys like Uncle Mike, Jon Rocket, Discount Rocketry, etc. (you guys listening? :D)

My philosophy has been, the Corn-Rocs went like hotcakes, maybe a few other kits will sell as well. I can spend the rest of my life wondering or give it a try and see what happens. Worst case scenario, I'm out a couple grand in materials and incorporation fees. Undesirable, but I'm not staking my entire livelihood on it.

N
After I started seeing the various Corn-Roc threads, I tried in vain to find out where they were coming from (hey, I like odd rocs). I never saw any pre-release announcement, and I didn't find out who made them until this week. Considering the paucity of information on how to obtain them, I would say that you did very well. Starting any business requires smarts, intestinal fortitude, optimism, and a bit of insanity.

MarkII
 

JAL3

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I'm still struggling with that now. It took me a year of setting things up and getting everything together before I even got to this point. As of right now, seeing the lack of commentary on JAL3's beta build thread and my own product announcement, there is still some worry.

N
For what its worth, some things that I have noticed as source of many build threads...at least my perception

1. lesser known models/manufacturers generate less traffic but in terms of viewers and comments

2. something really out of the ordinary, visually or in terms of construction method or flight profile will increase traffic (corn rocs vs. nFNC)

3. many just stop by to take a look. If they don't have something to say, they don't. They can like or dislike the project but don't say anything unless they have something to contribute.

4. traffic in general is down lately

5. there is a lot less disposable income floating around right now

6. weird is good (see #2 again)

7. As MarkII pointed out, people get tired of ME. Just ask my congregation.:confused2:
 

JAL3

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Well, there is such a thing as JAL3 overload. John writes really great build threads, but he writes so many of them that it is hard to keep up! For the record, I like the looks of your new design, and I said so on the thread. ;)


MarkII
Very good point!

I put a lot out there, though less recently. I do so for selfish reasons. I want the help/hints/advice etc. that comes from doing it. I figure that were it not for what I do on TRF, I would still be struggling with kits that I not longer consider too difficult and wouldn't even be seriously considering some things that I am actually trying right now.
 

Verna

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Things have a way of happening, I hope everything came out OK. Another thing I thought of is how to quantify the inherent unknown of "Will anybody even like what I have to sell?"

Worst case scenario, I'm out a couple grand in materials and incorporation fees. Undesirable, but I'm not staking my entire livelihood on it.

N
Things have a way of happening, I hope everything came out OK. Another thing I thought of is how to quantify the inherent unknown of "Will anybody even like what I have to sell?"

My philosophy has been, the Corn-Rocs went like hotcakes, maybe a few other kits will sell as well. I can spend the rest of my life wondering or give it a try and see what happens. Worst case scenario, I'm out a couple grand in materials and incorporation fees. Undesirable, but I'm not staking my entire livelihood on it.

N
I applaud anyone who tries to start a business, especially today. You have an idea or product that might make some money and you may enjoy working with, and you have decided on how much "risk" you are willing to take and can afford, as well as how much effort to give and you are willing to accept the end result. That is great start!

As with most threads to public forums the original topic is now somewhat skewed. If we're going to actually talk operating a buisness, as opposed to simple market sampling on TRF, from a professional stand point, my profession being that of helping people start buisnesses everyday, from original idea or concept to healthy employer and growing business, including financing and servicing, if we're going to talk serious business, then let's talk about athe basics; a mission statement, business plan, marketing plan, market research, capitalization, inventory control, etc.

To date I have not actually worked with anyone wanting to go big time with a hobby shop and in the current business climate I do not recommend it, but regardless of whether you want to start your own mom & pop or Hobby Lobby those same basics and others are needed to start and operate a successful business.

Getting back to my first post about "cottage industry" and a very pin point market sample as in TRF, YORF, RP, and as part of individual enjoyment of the hobby and as a small kit to kit effort from one flyer to another, it might be effective, it might not, that's why I asked if anyone had done it. No one can answer accurately unless they've made a controlled, documented research effort.

If anyone wants to one day grow from your den or garage to a store front or sell to chains and expand greatly, then my advice to all is start from square one and do your home work. For those looking for a great starting point I'll list my company's website and the SBA websites below. From there you can learn about how to start or grow your own business and get tips on what to do and what to avoid.

http://www.alacom.com http://www.sba.gov/ Check out the small business planner.

Verna
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Fred22

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For what its worth, some things that I have noticed as source of many build threads...at least my perception

1. lesser known models/manufacturers generate less traffic but in terms of viewers and comments

2. something really out of the ordinary, visually or in terms of construction method or flight profile will increase traffic (corn rocs vs. nFNC)

3. many just stop by to take a look. If they don't have something to say, they don't. They can like or dislike the project but don't say anything unless they have something to contribute.

4. traffic in general is down lately

5. there is a lot less disposable income floating around right now

6. weird is good (see #2 again)

7. As MarkII pointed out, people get tired of ME. Just ask my congregation.:confused2:
Nobody is tired of you John. Your build threads provide a valuable photo and written insight into a lot of great rockets. Personally I thank you for for it. I just wish the mariner had been kinder to ya though :)
Cheers
fred
 
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