In today’s world of instant everything from everywhere we can easily fall into the trap of making business decisions just by choosing the lowest price. Here are 5 reasons you should be very worried about the lowest price, especially for a custom model or prototype.
1. Value = quality divided by price.
You can easily pick the lowest price - just pick the quote with the lowest number. But if you expect good value, you must spend the time it takes to consider quality. Quality in models and prototypes depends on a number of factors.
Oil storage site exhibit in Kuala Lumpur
For example if there is a body of water in an architectural or topographic model, how is it depicted? Possibilities range from one color of blue paint to a realistic range of several colors applied artistically under a wavy piece of clear acrylic as shown in the above picture. The latter looks far more realistic, but costs a little more.
There is reason why “cheap” means both "low cost" and "low quality". It pays to investigate closely how your model or prototype will look or work by carefully comparing the assumptions and details in the quote and each vendor's reputation for quality.
2. Balance: The common law of business balance.
Over a century ago John Ruskin said “It’s unwise to pay too much…but it’s worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money…that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do. The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot. It can’t be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run. And if you do that, you will have enough to pay for something better.”
3. Avoid wasting money on models and prototypes that are in too small a scale.
One problem is that parts can become too thin in a small scale and break easily. The client's desire for the smallest possible model to make it easier to transport as well as save money in packing, shipping and initial cost means it is more likely to arrive damaged and maybe even not repairable before the sales presentation or tradeshow.
A second problem is companies that “saved money” by having a model made in a scale that was too small to effectively show the detail especially when it is a printed out on a 3d printer. We refer to these models as "blob" models since instead of seeing the finer details that help attract potential customers you see blobs of material. Request a drawing of the plan and elevation views in the model scale proposed before you buy. Even better request a sample part that shows some of the finer details.
4. Durability counts.
Is the model you ordered going to arrive as loose parts that came apart during the shipment?
Your model isn’t any good if you can’t use it when it arrived or requires extensive and expensive additional repair. That could be the case if the materials used and the way they were bonded or attached together couldn’t survive the road vibrations, shock from being dropped, temperatures, humidity, poor or loose packing, etc. In transit if the temperature is below freezing acrylic glues don’t hold their bond very well and your acrylic model may come apart. High heat also affects acrylic bonds much sooner that it would ABS plastic.
We use ABS plastic where we can instead of acrylic since ABS can be welded (the surfaces melt together with the chemical liquid we use for bonding). The ABS plastic is also stronger than acrylic which can crack under stress.
If there is damage you may or may not be able to collect from an insurance claim and it may take a long time to collect for it. If a quote is higher than the low bid it probably is built stronger, with better materials and is packed better to survive shipment.
5. Insurance against an unpleasant surprise.
A benefit of partnering with a high quality model maker is the opportunity to learn and improve the project together. With their experience and expertise, it is not hard to see potential problems while they can still be addressed successfully and at little or no additional cost. Even if the new approach costs more it is "cheaper" than paying for a model that may meet your specifications but not your expectations.
Recently a potential museum client sent their project out for bid and all of the bids were higher than their budget. Sometimes if you have a limited budget it is better to tell the model making companies what the budget is and have them let you know what is possible to do with that budget.
When deciding on which company to hire for a model or protoype our experience is that the highest value, rather than the lowest price, is normally the best criterion. In our next blog we'll point out 5 reasons you should be very willing to pay for quaility.
Model Builders, Inc. is known for helping industrial designers, manufacturers, institutions and individuals go from idea to reality. Take the next step by contacting us at Model Builders, Inc., 773-586-6500 or firstname.lastname@example.org .