Invention Costs and Manufacturing Costs
Invention startup costs, invention development and manufacturing costs

$1.1 million.  Estimated amount spent on specialists to develop inventor Chris Ebejer’s temperature-sensitive baby alert Babyglow invention. “As he was watching a documentary on babies and how mothers often fail to see when their temperature is rising, or do so with delay, Chris Ebejer came up with the idea of creating a suit that would do precisely that. Now, six years later, he has Babyglow, as the Daily Mail informs.  Babyglow is a baby suit that changes color as the baby’s temperature is rising, thus warning the mother that something might be wrong. It took Ebejer no less than six years and an estimated £700,000 (over $1,100,000) on specialists until he finally found the recipe for an ink whose pigment would be sensitive to heat variations. Now that he has, he is certain that the Babyglow will prove to be an instant hit with mothers all over the world.” (Elena Gorgan, Life & Style Editor, “Babyglow, the Suit that Changes Color after Baby’s Temperature,” Softpedia, June 18, 2009)

$1 million.  Amount estimated by inventor Pete Crawford that it would cost to produce his SafePointer invention if he produced it himself.  “Pete Crawford's [SafePointer] invention was born out of his desire to rid himself of arm pain.  …Crawford, an environmental engineer for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, was not only tired of scrolling around his computer screen with a mouse, he thought the motion had contributed to carpal tunnel syndrome, a condition affecting the wrists and arms caused by repetitive motions, including typing and mouse control.  So Crawford sketched out a device that could be controlled in the palm of the user's hand. Producing the device himself would have cost about $1 million.”  Ergonomic computer mouse.  (Shane Snider, “Patent costs can reach five figures in United States alone,” Triangle Business Journal, Friday, March 21, 2003)

$1 million.  Amount spent in patent and design work to bring the FlatWire invention to market.  “[Robb Sexton, inventor of flat wiring] spent more than $1 million in patent and design work to bring FlatWire to market. Why? ‘There’s a lot of satisfaction in creating something new, and the ultimate is seeing the finished product,’ he said.” Flat wiring, flatwire, flat-wire. flat wire.  Invention start up costs.  (Robb Sexton, inventor of flat wiring, senior vice president of Southwire and president of the FlatWire Technologies Division quoted in Laura Raines, “So you want to be an inventor?,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Sunday, April 12, 2009)

$750,000.  Estimated product development costs incurred by inventor Michael Pinsker.  “[Inventor Michael Pinsker, 62, of Vint Hill in Fauquier County, Virginia], who describes himself as a self-taught engineer, said he has not been able to find a company willing to manufacture his products for mass consumption, so he does what he can, selling them one by one to individuals. He estimates he has spent $750,000 in product development.  …He has two patents: an electronic fuel system that allows an engine to reach maximum efficiency and what he calls the ‘world's only’ pollution-control kit for boats. The latter comes in a small box, weighs about two pounds and can be installed with a basic tool kit. Tests showed that it cut down on emissions by about 50 percent and improved fuel mileage.”  Invention startup costs. (Theresa Vargas, Washington Post Staff Writer, “Novel Ideas Pass Through Filter at U.S. Patent Office,” Washington Post, Sunday, November 18, 2007)

Are you an inventor looking for a manufacturer for your invention?  If so, you might want to contact Inventors Workshop to help you identify potential manufacturers for your product.  Inventors Workshop is a nonprofit organization that has been providing assistance to inventors for more than three decades.  You can  contact them by email or you can call them at 805-735-7261.

$335,000.  Cost to develop Inventor Kevin Stone’s Rescue Reel invention. “As the 9/11 inferno unfolded on television, one question kept dogging Kevin Stone: Why weren't the people trapped in the World Trade Center able to make their way to safety? 'I said to myself, This is crazy,' recalls Stone, an orthopedic surgeon and seasoned inventor in San Francisco. ‘There should be a better way to exit a skyscraper when something like this happens.’ …Invention: Rescue Reel. Inventor: Kevin Stone. Cost: $335,000. Time: 6 years.” (Elizabeth Svoboda, “Invention Awards: An Escape Harness for Skyscrapers,” Popular Science, May 14, 2009)

$250,000.  Estimated start-up costs for an inventor who elects to manufacture an invention.  “Manufacturing involves taking your prototype and turning it into a real production product. This could include tooling, die making, etc. It is likely you will need to attend a trade show to present your product and introduce it to your potential market.  You will need to set up an office, possibly with several employees, and invest in inventory. You will also need to draw up an advertising and marketing plan to publicize your product and entice customers to buy it. This series of steps could take up to one year.  Estimated startup cost: $250,000 (even for a low-cost product)” How much does the average inventor spend on an invention?  (Stephen Key, “Licensing vs. Manufacturing: What's Best for Your Product?,” AllBusiness, Monday November 19, 2007)

$250,000.  Estimated cost to develop the Hotsmart dishware heat retention technology. Invented and patented by industrial engineer Juan Ramirez, Hotsmart is a technology that allows plates and mugs to retain heat.  It is a heat storage device based on the Stefan-Boltzmann law for black body radiation.  It has been awarded U.S. patent 7,176,426.  “The product, which Ramirez created at his East El Paso home, is slated to be featured in a coming issue of Popular Science magazine as a reader invention of the month.”  After concluding that “nobody had ever improved on the ceramic plate,” he invested three years in developing his invention, purchasing materials and producing prototypes.  Invention startup costs. “Ramirez estimates the cost of developing Hotsmart at about $250,000.” (Michael D. Hernandez, “Man of the cloth,” El Paso Times, February 23, 2008)

$150,000.  Cost to develop digital miter gauge invented by independent inventor Mario Salazar.  “Mario Salazar gambled his retirement savings and borrowed more than $60,000 on his credit cards in hopes that his digital miter gauge [ProMiter-100] would attract enough attention at an Atlanta trade show to keep him out of bankruptcy.  … After decades of tinkering, working in companies large and small and taking odd jobs to support his family, Salazar has finally hit it big. He sold a license about a year ago to Chervon [sic], which is producing the miter gauge for Sears. It hit the shelves in January. The tool won Sears the Editor's Choice Award from Popular Mechanics magazine in April and will be featured in the August issue of the publication.  By the time Salazar, 44, had sold the license to Chevron, he had sunk $150,000 and six years into developing a tool he thought of when he was trying to build furniture for a fledgling business he had started. At the time, he couldn't find a miter gauge accurate enough to measure the cuts he wanted to make.” Compare to other digital angle gauges.  (Wayne Heilman, “Paving way with good inventions, Colorado Springs Gazette, July 5, 2008, 11:07PM)

$100,000-plus.  Estimated invention investment capital spent by inventors of the Take-Out-Time-Out portable disciplinary mat for children.  “If somebody says they only spent $20,000 [to develop their invention], I don't know how they did it.  It cost us over $100,000 [in investment capital] to do it right [developing the Take-Out-Time-Out invention].”  (Lisa Carvajal, inventor of Take-Out-Time-Out, a mat based on the principle of time-out as a disciplinary tool, quoted in Jenny Staletovich, “Local mothers are the inventors of necessities,” Miami Herald, Mon, Nov. 12, 2007)

$80,000.  Approximate start-up costs for Gutter-Bolt, an invention used to attach gutters to house. “The Gutter-Bolt is an aluminum bolt used to attach gutters to houses or other structures. The product claims to offer a number of benefits over steel bolts, which are traditionally used to attach gutters to buildings, including a design that reduces torque, prevents breakage and holds firmly. Pricing ranges from 39 cents to $1.89 each, depending on the quantity and packaging purchased. [Start-up costs were about] $80,000 by the end of 1996, which paid for patents, production equipment and an initial production run.”  The Gutter-Bolt was invented by Wayne Willert, 47, of Port Washington, New York. (Don Debelak, “Spread It Around - Find the best way to distribute your product, and you'll rake in the profits,” Entrepreneur, June 2004)  Find other innovative home improvement products and inventions.

$50,000 to $100,000 to manufacture 10,000 units. Joel Baumwoll, on the other hand, hasn't received a cent for his 1995 brainstorm, a device that thwarts would-be auto thieves. No, not The Club. Mr. Baumwoll's product, patented in December 1996, is called The Block, and it effectively padlocks the car doors shut.  Inspired to invent the device because his car kept getting broken into, he spent more than $150,000 to create a prototype, pay patent filing fees and do some market studies. But Mr. Baumwoll, president of Baumwoll International Consulting Ltd. in Manhattan, couldn't persuade manufacturers to license The Block. ‘I approached a number of large corporations, but they all had a `not invented here attitude,’ he says. Even the manufacturer of The Club, the popular steering wheel lock, wouldn't take it on. So Mr. Baumwoll is preparing to produce and sell his invention directly. He's budgeted $50,000 to $100,000 to manufacture a first run of 10,000 Blocks, and $200,000 to produce an infomercial. He's also jockeying for appearances on QVC and the Home Shopping Network.” (Laurie Joan Aron, “3 inventors: Inspiration takes perspiration,” Crain's New York Business, June 26, 2000)  Discover other innovative automotive products.

$50,000 to $80,000.  Estimated invention development costs incurred by mompreneur inventors of the Baby K’Tan baby carrier.  “Nearly eight years ago when her first son was born with Down syndrome, Michal Chesal scoured baby shops in South Florida and online stores for a carrier that would allow her to hold him close, but not damage his little legs and torso plagued by low muscle tone. In frustration, she finally stitched together two carriers.  Nearly seven years later, and after countless inquiries from other parents, she and another couple with a special needs baby teamed up to produce their own.  … Eventually Michal Chesal, a day trader, and Isaak Wernick, a cell biologist, quit their jobs to work full-time on the Baby K'Tan. Chesal's husband, who is in aerospace sales, and Wernick's wife, an attorney, kept their jobs.  Chesal estimates they've spent between $50,000 and $80,000 on the carrier. Since they launched it six months ago, the carrier has been picked up by, Baby Center, Motherhood Maternity and stores in South Florida, including Baby Love. They are in the process of moving their home office into a warehouse where the business will be housed.”  (Jenny Staletovich, “Local mothers are the inventors of necessities,” Miami Herald, Mon, Nov. 12, 2007)  Discover other successful baby products.

$40,000 to $50,000.  Estimated invention development costs for an inventor before manufacturing begins.  "While years ago, about half of the inventors would take their creations to market themselves, only about a quarter end up doing so nowadays, experts say. Over the last year, [intellectual property attorney Stuart West] said, he has seen a 20 to 25 percent surge in clients who licensed ideas to a manufacturer. Going alone, especially for the not so well-connected, is mind- boggling and prohibitively expensive. 'For the simplest thing, when you include marketing, budgeting, having a prototype made, and testing, expect to pay 40 to 50 thousand dollars,' West said. That is, before manufacturing even begins." (Stuart West, intellectual property lawyer based in Walnut Creek, California quoted in Marton Dunai, “More inventors try to market products,” Oakland Tribune, September 5, 2006)