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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This might sound ridiculous, but I am interested in putting together my own light, but simply don't have the time to read every thread on here about different switches, boards, connectors, etc. Someday, I would hope to, but that day ain't today.

So, what I'm wondering is if anyone has thought about selling a DIY kit? Basically, for you folks who build a lot or even sell your own stuff, what about selling all of the materials you use with an instruction booklet on how to put it together, step-by-step? You gather and sell the parts, I do the labor? I've used the Amoeba and think it's amazing, but if I could shave $50 off of the setup and put it together myself, I would.

Thoughts?
 

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I've thought about it, something like a single XM-L, with switch, optic, lflex, battery holder, cable, batteries + charger and housing, but all of that comes to ~$70 just for parts, before shipping costs. However, there's still a lot of time spent buying bits, cutting the housing, fitting the cover etc that even charging $100 would probably only net me $10 an hour, which just isn't worth it (I'd rather play with my kids for an hour).

If I tried charging any more, I'd either be called out as a rip off artist or the premium would be enough to make potential customers do it themselves (or both). Plus I like doing this for fun or good karma, doing it for money would just make it a job.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Klynk- That is an awesome DIY thread by OD- really great stuff. Now- if I could just get him to sell me all the parts, I could walk through it. Part of what I'm looking for is a way to avoid what Mattthemuppet talks about- ordering from ten different places, choosing between different drivers, etc, etc.

Mattthemuppet- I completely agree- which is why I don't have time to do all of the leg work, but I can definitely find time to do the labor. For instance, Scar sells the Amoeba for about $200- Is his labor worth $50? I'd buy his kit for $150 just to learn something in the building process- many others would rather spend the $200 to NOT build it themselves. I'm just thinking that an option of some sort of kit would be really nice.
 

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alshead, that would work, if we weren't so picky and persnickety about what we wanted out of our lights. We all want the latest and greatest before the manufactures have even finished producing the parts.

Crud, I've know of a few vendors that still have a chunk of Seoul P4 emitters on a roll. What you are describing would have to be at a high profit margin to make up for the losses of clearance prices when the next X series lamp is released.

And what about battery configurations:

1s1p
2s1p
3s1p
4s1p

1s2p
2s2p, and so on and so forth.


Later Edit:

You can buy a housing from Cutter, when you place your LED order. Pretty much what you are describing.
 

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I can't speak for Scar, but components/ raw materials don't make up the majority of the price of an Amoeba light - most of the money goes on labour, customer support, warranty coverage, plus possibly some profit.

It's really one or the other - pay someone to do all the testing, debugging, warrantying etc and buy a complete light or spend some of your own time (free) and a bit of money (Dremel = $40) researching the forums like the rest of us :) There are so many build reports posted here that there are very few mistakes left to be made.
 

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I did a spell of selling Kits to diy which was all well until you get the email saying this Maxflex does not work
or a couple of leds are duff

so what do you do to keep customer relations happy you replace the duff parts
and take the hit for the customers cack handed assembly .
and that wipes out the profit from a couple of kits .

so stopped for that reason .

but may start again with an idea I have
 

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I think the best idea will always revolve around selling the machined parts. They're the most difficult to produce for the normal buyer. They also happen to be the ones that a customer can't accidentally burn up.

Something like a 20 or 35mm housing with clamp, switch and connector.
 

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bshallard said:
Having assembled a few lights now I'd say Scar's labor is worth quite a lot more than $50.

b.
For total build or assembly? I'd say it's worth less than $50 if you're talking about assembling the led and driver in the case. Total labor from start to finish on the light is more than that but supplies also don't cost $150. Biggest issue you have is warranty. One returned light could wipe out everything you made on a small run.
 

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kan3 said:
Total labor from start to finish on the light is more than that but supplies also don't cost $150.
see above "most of the money goes on labour, customer support, warranty coverage, plus possibly some profit"

don't forget - everyone is counting a bike light maker's time/ labour as profit, it isn't, it's labour cost. For a business like Scar's he also needs to make a profit (in excess of costs) to invest in new tech or even to justify doing it in the first place.
 

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You can't treat his labor as cost only because it isn't. If he were to hire some else to do the job then yes. He is still generating personal income from his labor to create the product. I do agree with what you said earlier though. If the only income you make off the product is from your labor then it's a job. If you don't enjoy what you're doing and you're doing it for the money then it's a job.
 

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alshead said:
which is why I don't have time to do all of the leg work, but I can definitely find time to do the labor.
Kaidomain and DX have almost everything you need for building first DIY with FREE shipping.
Plus, you can lurk this forum - tons of info here. IMO, it's more than enough for the beginning.
 

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Hmmm

How do you put a price on "personal pride"?

I touch every component in every light and have tried to keep the price to a minimum. I am not retiring doing this, more of a weekend hobby to keep me out of trouble. That is one of the biggest hassles is keeping the parts flow going in a consistent fashion while at the same time building lights and communicating with people.
 

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scar said:
How do you put a price on "personal pride"?

I touch every component in every light and have tried to keep the price to a minimum.
I don't believe anyone in this thread has said anything negative in regards to your product or your pricing. The topic could have revolved around anyone else that produces custom light kits, you just happened to get mentioned.
 

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kan3 said:
I think the best idea will always revolve around selling the machined parts. They're the most difficult to produce for the normal buyer. They also happen to be the ones that a customer can't accidentally burn up.

Something like a 20 or 35mm housing with clamp, switch and connector.
I'm totally in agreement on this. I can source all the electronic parts and have no problem at all with assembly, but the housings are the big challenged for me.

I've bought a few housing from people on MTBR, but would love if there were more options... I'm currently looking for 35mm housings for some 3up XML lights I'll be building once I receive neutral tint XMLs from Cutter.
 

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I agree, selling the housing kit is the best way to go. You can have a link to all of the other stuff for the prospective buyer to pay for his own internals, and therefore be responsible for the warranty thereof. I for one would not be buying and on selling batteries in a kit, look what happened to Geoman for example.

Scar, I don't have an Amoeba, but $200 for one is absolutely a fair price. I genuinely don't believe people appreciate the amount of time involved in assembling a light, cramming all the gear inside the housing, check that its all still working etc etc.

Alshead, there are plenty of places already to buy just the housing from, last time I checked even Cateye were selling empty light bodies.

As mentioned, Cutter also sell a kit and there are alot of DIY'ers here that show pics of way more housings being milled / cut then can possibly be used for personal use. (They tend to be the ones with links in their sigs ;) )
 

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kan3 said:
You can't treat his labor as cost only because it isn't. If he were to hire some else to do the job then yes.[B/] He is still generating personal income from his labor to create the product. I do agree with what you said earlier though. If the only income you make off the product is from your labor then it's a job. If you don't enjoy what you're doing and you're doing it for the money then it's a job.


From a business evaluation standpoint, this bold statement is incorrect. I do understand where you are coming from, though, and I see your point as it relates here.

However, when a business or a property that takes a considerable amount of active management (hotel, motel, self-storage warehouse, etc.) is appraised, the evaluator will consider the owner's work in the day to day operation in the business and must estimate and subtract the market cost of this labor to get a true picture of the net profit of the cash flow generated by the business/property.

I can tell you with absolute certainty, that while the owner's profit and salary are often paid in one check (if they are paid at all), in business valuation they are two, very different line items. The business' profitability after deducting the owner's salary (along with its sustainability) is really the only thing that the value of a given business is predicated upon.
 

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From here on until the discussion ends I'd like to assume we're just taking about someone in general and not Scar. Again this isn't directly targeted at anyone, just making discussion.

P220C said:
From a business evaluation standpoint, this bold statement is incorrect. I do understand where you are coming from, though, and I see your point as it relates here.
Perhaps this is the difference between our thoughts on the subject. This is not a business in my eyes even though what this person is doing fits definitions of a hobby and a business. This person has no licensed business, they don't pay sales tax, they don't pay (potential) state business taxes, they don't have a business loan, they don't generate p&l statements, they don't have any kind of payroll, they don't have any kind of property or workers comp insurance, etc, etc. I could be wrong about the sales tax if the person is an upstanding citizen. :D

I just don't see how you could define it as a business. If a person creates parts in their personal spare time on the weekends for a little bit of income and fun then that's a hobby. Therefore all costs someone could assign to labor of their own...is still income.

I have experience with both sides of the subject, unfortunately. I'm about to try and sell a light setup that I would like to produce in my spare time in small runs...for fun. I also sit across from bankers once a year going over our p&l statements while I ask for large business loans. There is a distinct difference between these two scenarios and they aren't comparable.
 
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