we have a general overview here of adafruit:http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2010/0 ... tries.htmlhttp://www.slideshare.net/adafruit/hope2010-4790096
we also have a 15 step outline here:http://www.edn.com/article/470126-Voice ... siness.php
and some tips here:http://www.ladyada.net/library/kits/index.html
awesome-o wrote:- What kind of product warranty is reasonable to offer customers?
we usually say 14 days after receiving the product, for some stuff like assembled products we're pretty flexible depending on what the issue is, and what the customer posts up here in the forums.
for kits is a little hard since it's basically parts. in general we say that we're reasonable and will come up with a fair solution with the customer. we're not sure a one-size-fits all will ever be something we do given the diversity of our products.
awesome-o wrote:- Where do you get packaging (ie. boxes or bags) and what kind of packaging works well?
we like uline and list it all out here under shipping:http://www.ladyada.net/wiki/partselector
awesome-o wrote:- Are there good places to get instruction booklets printed?
we print ours out on a xerox solid ink printer and/or we post the documentation online and folks can get instructions or print them out on their own.
awesome-o wrote:- How do you handle online payment processing?
paypal and authorize.net for credit cards.
awesome-o wrote:- How do you figure out prices? What kind of profit margin is appropriate? (I am guessing this can vary a lot?)
chris anderson who runs diy drones and also WIRED based some of his margins on a presentation we did, here's what he says:
"Thus the rule of 2.3x. You should price your product at at least 2.3 times its cost to allow for at least one 50% margin for you and another 50% margin for your retailer (1.5 x 1.5 = 2.25)."http://blog.ponoko.com/2010/11/16/ten-r ... 94-rule-1/
40% or 30% are also often used.
but - just want to note that the ponoko blog post has incorrect math, margins are INVERSE
so 50% margin is 100% markup. 2 x 50% margins is 400% markup, not 225% which is actually 2 x 30% margin (or so)
awesome-o wrote:- Can you get special deals on hardware if you are reselling things like hard drives or SD cards as part of the kit?
for sd cards we've spotted deals at petra, or j&r or even bulk sellers on ebay. for deals on hardware lots of googling and emailing.
awesome-o wrote:Are there any "gotchas" about reselling hardware, or places to get good deals?
usually buying 1 to test out makes sense.
awesome-o wrote:- Should I get product liability insurance, or is that a waste of money?
for that you should talk to an insurance carrier in your local area to see what they think and what your exposure is. they'll give you a quote and you can see if that's something you want at this time. most businesses after awhile do carry some type of insurance, it's really how you feel about these types of things and where you're at starting your business. we can't tax/legal/insurance advice, but there are tons of experts who do this for a living.
awesome-o wrote:- What are the best distribution channels? (ie my own web site, or are there good third-party sites for selling kits?)
a lot of makers (kit world) resell through maker shed, but it all depends on the product. there's thinkgeek, adafruit, sparkfun. but going direct first to work out any issues with the product and optimize your product is usually a good start.