How to get a new product manufactured easily and cheaply
1. Crowdsource the idea.
The first step to getting a product made is to post your idea on InventorSpot, Quirky, or Kickstarter. The community will give you feedback and ideas for improvements.
2. Find a contract manufacturer in China.
There are many websites that help you find manufacturers in China: - Alibaba- MadeInChina- Quickspin- etc. Alibaba has 35,000 manufacturers in Shenzhen, China (the center of manufacturing) listed on its site. I have used them all and recommend them all.
3. Make sure you have a patent or at least a trademark for your idea before you start the process of manufacturing it.
You can get a patent for $5,000-$10,000 from legalzoom but I think it's worth it to pay more if you can afford it so you get better service and less risk of mistakes being made during the process. You can also register trademarks through legalzoom but again, I think it's worth paying more if you can afford it so you don't run into problems down the road with other companies using your name or logo without permission from the original company that registered the trademark/patent for the product.
4. Once you have an idea and feedback from crowdsourcing sites like InventorSpot or Quirky, post your product on Alibaba to find manufacturers in China willing to make your product for an affordable price point (and hopefully higher than wha
Listing your product on Alibaba is free but they do charge if someone wants to contact you about making your product (they charge both parties). If someone contacts you then negotiate price based on how many units they want to make and their minimum order quantity (MOQ). The MOQ is how many units they will need to order before they will even start talking with suppliers like yourself about pricing and production timeframes. The MOQ depends on how much money they think they can make selling the item once produced vs how much money they will need up front plus shipping costs to produce x number of units (if there is no MOQ then production timeframes could be very long since suppliers won't start making anything until after they recoup their initial investment). For instance, let's say an iPhone case costs $50 in materials + shipping cost + overhead for distribution/marketing/etc $100 total cost per case . If an iPhone case sells for $80 then Apple needs to sell each case at least twice before making a profit (profit = 80 - 100 = 20% profit margin). So if Apple orders 1 million cases from a supplier who costs $50 per case then Apple needs to sell each case for at least $160 before breaking even since Apple paid $100 initially plus distribution costs ($80 profit margin) = 160% profit margin needed per case sold just break even when ordering 1 million cases at $50 each plus overhead costs. So sometimes large companies like Apple will only order small numbers of cases initially so as not to overpay if their sales aren't as high as expected while smaller companies might be willing to take bigger risks early on because they don't have huge capital requirements like larger companies do so they might order 10s of thousands of cases right away hoping sales are good enough that by the time all their inventory runs out ,they can reorder without losing too much money due to economies of scale kicking in (i.e., when more cases are ordered ,the cost per unit falls because fixed distribution/marketing costs drop as well as economies of scale kick in when producing more products which reduces unit cost per item produced vs only one item was ever produced before). Again this is why knowing what sort of margins competing products sell at is critical when