Developing a New Invention on a Budget

When I hear someone with a great idea procrastinate because of the cost, it frustrates me for a number of reasons. First, an idea for a new, novel product is not something that should be taken with such a lack of motivation. Second, when looking at a new product, cost is a necessary part of getting it off the ground but the results can quickly pay dividends. I always tell my clients and potential clients that you must not look at the up front costs as a burden because there are ways to help elevate some of the sticker shock for product development consulting fees. If you are considering using a consultant to help get your product developed, I would look at the following priorities in order of importance.

1) Provisional Patent – estimated costs ranging from $110 (direct USPTO cost) – $500 (service fees added)

“Do this first so that at the very least, you will have 12 months to get the formal patent prepared, lowering your costs. Plus you will be creating a date of filing which can protect you in the event of infringement”

2) 2D and 3D Drawings – estimated costs ranging from $1000 – over 20,000 (depending on the complexity)

“Getting the formal drawings created is the next most critical phase in the development of the idea. You should make sure that you receive electronic and printed versions of all sub-components and assemblies including the Bill of Materials (which will state what each piece is made of that will help the manufacturer)”

3) Prototyping – services fees range from $2000+ with the actual machining costs additional

“Make sure that you have selected a durable material to make your prototype with so that during the market research phase, it will hold up. Also see about getting 2 or more prototypes made so one can be used for marketing and the others used for demos”

4) Market Research – usually $50/hr is a good rule of thumb

“To say you have the next million dollar idea is hard to justify without a good test run. I would typically take a prototype and demo it with a small sample of users (minimum of 100) to gain their feedback, likelihood of use, purchase price, etc,… This phase can often be the the most critical, don’t cut corners here. Feedback on some minor changes may mean the difference between the next fad and the next flop”

5) Refining

“Because this is sometimes included with some drafters, I have not shown additional cost. check to see if iterations are included in the design”

6) Manufacturing

“This is very much specific to the product so I would hate to state a cost estimate. Depending on your desired goals, you can seek a production facility to turnkey the product for you while you handle the marketing and sales. Most people are looking to have someone actually manage the sale of their product and that is where licensing or sale of the patent may be a better option. Partner with an expert in the field of your invention to make sure you get the maximum return”

7) Sales and Marketing

So if you think about the things you are most inclined to buying, a lot of your decision is based on the marketing and packaging design. I would suggest you work with a cutting edge young firm here to get the most modern packing possible. While the upfront print and tooling costs can cost over $10,000, it truly is necessary if you are looking for retail exposure”

If you just look at the above steps as one big expense it will be enough for anybody to steer clear and opt for the less risky path of procrastination. However, product development can take well over a year from concept to production, this will allow for costs to be spread. I might also suggest to write a business plan and try gaining some investors from you network of friends, family and colleagues. Every little bit can help and providing a little share of the profits is usually enough to get some followers.

Follow my blog as I will be adding to this post in the coming days…

Thanks for reading.


New Product Development Consulting

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