Build #2 Progress, Nov 17, 2011

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Good news and bad news today...
Good news is I've got all the components except for the housings and lens cover lined up for this month. Batteries, chargers, cables, electronics, mounts, assembly materials, etc.

Bad news is that I found out today that it'll be 4 to 5 weeks before the shop can have the lens covers finished. Now, fortunately, the last step in the process is to literally screw this part on, so it shouldn't add too much delay, but it's definitely not going to be the early part of December like I had hoped. The metal CNC shop is dragging it's feet a bit on the the estimate for the housings, probably because I'm a little guy and they're off making parts for aircraft and missiles and other trivial stuff like that ...pffft. Seriously though, they were supposed to give me an estimate today, so I expect it any time. Just hoping that they aren't also on a 4 to 5 week lead time, because that would really stink. So it's looking more and more like the slogan will have to be "New lights for the new year!" We'll see.
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    Man that's too bad that CNC shop don't realize the great
    product you have, I say once you get a good bach from them. Move on to someone else.
    Patience, is the motto I'm preaching. Just keep us posted,
    Sounds to me like the price is going to increase somewhat. Is this the case? I hope not by too much.
    I am intending to buy two heads, a tail and either one or two batteries.... that would come to a significant amount if the price increases....
    No, I'm really trying hard to hold the price down. I'm even planning on eating the PayPal fees this time around just to make it easier to use your credit card without having to pay extra. I may also be able to drop the shipping by a few dollars. I've been using USPS lately (cautiously and experimentally) and they've finally gotten the process efficient enough that I think I may switch over from UPS. The CNC community here in Huntsville is saying that Ohio and Florida is where it's at with regard to low-cost CNC work. I have a shop in Ohio evaluating the drawings right now and they have some of their smaller CNC machines free, so it might be a good match. Keeping my fingers crossed. My fall back plan is to use my conventional machinist like I did on the first go around. He does fantastically good work, its just that I was hoping to increase the volume for this run.
    I take it that the CNC guy is a low vol high qual outfit.... Very nice to find for prototypes, perhaps... but could limit the supply chain.

    Seriously, Stephen, I don't think it's necessary to swallow external payments. We all know that there is a paypal margin, that UPS is more expensive that regular post, that quality is where it's at... I think, if you can hold the price as fairly as you have been doing, there is no need to take a hit depending on the payment/delivery method.

    Here in Japan, prices vary depending on how and when you pay. Shipping varies from company to company, usually the customer is given a choice of, say DHL, UPS, EMS, JPS and so on. The price is either the standard price for the delivery method or "free shipping for orders over ¥... with our choice of courier."

    I think you should just give customers the option to choose delivery and payment method and lay the charges out in the open. Most customers who are looking for hand built lights are savvy enough to choose amongst UPS vs USPS or Paypal vs Visa knowing all attendant charges. I, personally like the transparency (visa + $5, paypal + $3, Cash on Delivery + $6 and so on.)

    I think we'd all prefer you to select your profit level for your product and let the customer choose which premium they want.

    Any which way it falls, I feel more confident after hearing the consideration you have been putting in to keeping prices down.
    Still, remember that even though you are not Wallmart, and don't have have cutthroat prices, your customers are knowledgeable and discerning rather than penny pinching so you'll be able to sell every unit you make if priced fairly.

    I am looking forward to the taillight "surprise" and the extra 150 lumens for the front light!