Battletech-compatible 3D Printed Pricing....a full disclosure and my eventual bankruptcy.
YES, these pieces ARE expensive. BUT they are great and really add so much to Battletech. They don't generally wear down (unless your dog enjoys 3-HEX bridge set painted in gun-metal gray that you may have left on the floor for packaging). So here I lay out WHY. I generally suggest to the clients I talk to, to buy a 3D printer, learn some 3D software, and get to work.
That's not realistic.
Bottom line, I get a 15-25% profit for my products....
Get your calculators and put on your thinking caps, I want to break down pricing for my products.
I'm ALL about being transparent, this isn't my day job (just my job from 6pm until 5 am). I do this because I love the game and it's therapeutic for me. I need the outlet for my health conditions.
Overview. You design a product, you build that product, prep/package and send that product. So there are really just a few "costs" I am concerned with:
Material, time, packaging, and shipping.
Keep in mind, businesses will generally target above 15% for profit on an item, and that's based off the price it takes to get the item into your hands. There are a bunch of different methods to price, I'm just giving you my take on it because I'm simple and I don't have a degree in finance.
Material: My PLA costs ~40$ per 1KG on the low end. Let's say that's 4 cents per gram. Paint generally costs me ~7$ per set, I use about 4-5 coats on a terrain set. Resin is different, but costs me about 40$ per 1Kgram bottle which is 4 cents per ml. As for time, I only use this to judge value for the item. Generally I use a thumb-rule of 1$/hr. For example, if material cost is 30$, BUT it takes me 40 hours to print, I will raise the price accordingly. That time that one 30$ piece is on one of my 4 printers, I can't print the 10 hour 80$ piece.....it's a trade-off...which is reflected in the prices.
Packaging: Right now, based on ~300+ orders, I spend ~$10.25 for packaging on average. That's small and big wrapped all up into one number. My largest order (Tukayyid terrain) can cost me ~20$ for packaging. For reference, a 4x4x4 box costs me ~2.50$ and bubble wrap costs is all over the place.
Shipping: I hate shipping. I don't know how Amazon does it, but I ask you give small business owners a break. In estimation, where a large business doing sales on Amazon have volume to bring down shipping costs, those costs can be up to and beyond 50% cheaper. Example, my best rate to Atlanta, 6 hours away, has been ~12$ for a 1lb 10x8x6 box. Christmas World, a seasonally specific store, can ship a 30lb 10 foot tree from Canada to Atlanta for 12$. Yes, I continually look for better shipping, it helps both of us, but reality is that on the volume us small businesses sell, if we don't "include your shipping" in the price, we die.
Okay, example. Olive Painted Basic Terrain Set A, half way across the country during the holidays (now).
Material: ~400gr of PLA filament 400gr x 4 cents = $16.00. Paint ~5$. Total: 21$
Packaging: 10x8x7 box ~5$+packing material, we'll use the average $10.25 which may be a little overestimated, but not too much.....
Shipping: From here, Georgia, to my favorite place, Newton Kansas (my original home), shipping of this package gives me ~14$ USPS for 3 day priority.
Add it up: 21$ material + 10.25$ packaging + 14$ shipping = 45.25$ to put this set at your door step.
I charge ~52$ for this set which gives me ~7$ profit (~13% profit).
One step further.
I pay about 400$ a month for business expenses (energy, web fees, transaction costs, marketing, repairs, etc). I made about 25 sales a month in 2021. Assuming all I sold was this set, at its profit margin, I would make 175$ profit a month. Now after paying my "overhead" expenses, that leaves me at a 225$ deficit. I would then need to make 32 MORE sales that month to break even.
Welcome to my languishing business account HA! Based on my price analysis on 2021 sales, my average profit across my products was ~ (-)$2.10.
Yes, I lost money on EACH order.
Pricey, yes. Quality, yes.