Choosing the Best Way to Get a Prototype Made For Your Product

Introduction

One of the first steps in starting a product based business is getting a prototype built.

Now this can be more than just putting a few parts together to see that an idea works. It can be expensive and it can effect how your product, which could be your own personal invention, is commercialised and brought to market.

We have worked with many people through this process, especially those who wish to commercialise their own invention, and we have noticed that there are just two basic requirements to making the right decision: 

Being aware of the options available to you

Knowing what questions to ask

If you have these two covered, then we have found you can choose the best way to get your prototype made.

Before choosing the best option

When choosing the best approach to getting a prototype made you need to ask yourself a few questions:

What type of a product is it that you need a prototype of?

What type of technical skills and resources do you have?

How much control do you wish to keep over the development and commercialisation of your idea?

How large will your business be once you have commercialised the product?

What is the prototype meant to do?

By answering these questions, you are better able to select the appropriate option for producing your prototype. However, before we look at that more, let’s got over what those basic options are and consider their advantages and disadvantages.

Basic options for prototype production

There are three basic options you have when it comes to choosing how you will get your prototype made.

1 An established producer of the type of product that you want made

An established producer will certainly know how to build a prototype and they also know how to test it. However, they have large product development systems and operations, and unless you offered a significant sales increase, then you would likely be more of an annoyance to them than an opportunity.

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Nevertheless, if you are on a smaller scale, then a medium sized factory might be interested. You could also consider a medium sized factory in China (or somewhere else in the developing world) that is looking for a way to increase their sales and export to your domestic market. Your new idea would likely help them do this, and they would therefore be prepared to make a prototype for you.

2 A protoshop

Protoshops have skill in this area and they also have experience getting things to work. However, they are probably a more expensive option. This is because they will not be involved in production, and they make their money from producing prototypes. Once again, you could try for a protoshop in China if you wanted to keep costs down.

Regardless of location, you will need to make sure that the work is done correctly, and the prototype does what is required, before you take delivery. Often, video footage of the prototype working is ideal for this. Once you take delivery, there is probably no returning it.

3 A techo

A techo is someone who is technically competent and would be interested in helping: either as a hobby or even as a business partner. This is a cheaper option and also it is likely to be a more flexible one. However, it can be harder to establish ability and it might also take longer to get the prototype made.

Choosing the best option

Now that we now what our options are, let’s consider the above questions to see how the answers effect the option that we will choose.

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Type of product?

New invention

A basic protoshop is usually the best bet because of their experience and expertise in dealing with different types of products.

However, you might still want to consider a techo, especially if you can find one with good experience.

Deviation on an existing Business Management And Marketing Binus mass produced product

An established producer might be a good idea. They will know how to make the prototype and they will be able to take it to market as well.

If the industry is very mature, and all producers are too large, then you will want to try a handy man or a protoshop.

Another possibility is approaching a large retailer. If they like the idea then they can be used to convince a large producer to take on your product and develop it.

What technical skills and resources do you have?

If you have little skill then you will need help. If the product is sophisticated, then you will either need an established producer or a very capable protoshop. You might also need some extra engineering assistance.

If you do have the skills, then maybe you just need a protoshop to do the basic specialised Business Trends For Next 10 Years In India work that requires dedicated equipment. You can then do basic tuning yourself.

If you are also able to document your design well enough, then you could get the costly operations done in China, which will be cheaper. You could then do the rest of the prototype construction yourself or with a local protoshop.

How much control do you want to keep?

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If you want to keep a handle on all aspects of development and get most of the financial rewards, then a protoshop is the best choice. You pay for what you get, and you have total control.

As long as you make everything clear, a handy man has the same benefit.

An established producer or a retailer will likely only work with you in some kind of a partnership. Because of their size, it is unlikely to be an equal partnership. Therefore, you will need to be prepared to lose significant control if you choose this option.

How large will your business be once you have commercialised the product?

The bigger the numbers (relative to the current market size) the more likely you are to be able approach a large established producer. Otherwise, you will need to work with a smaller producer, a protoshop or a handyman.

What is the prototype meant to do?

Prove functionality

All the parts will need to be as they would be in production.

You will need help from an experienced engineer, and the factory or protoshop would be the best way to go

Demonstrate a look or concept

The precise nature of functionality is not so important.

A handy man would be fine, as well as a protoshop or an established producer.

Conclusion

There are some basic options available to you when it comes to getting your prototype made. However, you need to understand what your business plan is and what the purpose of the prototype is before you can choose the best option. By understanding the options available to you and answering the 5 question covered here, you are in a better position to make this choice.