Author Topic: Ethical issues - Selling/ building for others  (Read 40200 times)

flanagan0718

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Re: Ethical issues - Selling/ building for others
« Reply #60 on: January 13, 2015, 09:36:57 AM »
Here is where I lay with this. I sell to fund and sell to friends/mutual acquaintances upon request. I DO NOT and probably won't EBay a pedal I built. The fees are outrageous and I don't want the sh#tty customers. I try my hardest not to say "clone" when I am taking about a build that a "customer" wants, only because I don't want them to be disappointed if it doesn't sound like the one they played. I try to use this hobby to self fund its self. Sometimes it doesn't work and I need to sell a video game or something to pay for bits or an enclosure but those days are becoming less and less now. As for shipping, it's a necessary evil sometimes. USPS FTW. They are always under $6 and gets there in 2-5 days. I haven't sold many builds (about a dozen) but I personally find it a solid practice to stay in my "back yard" or group of friends/mutual friends. So to sum up,

-I don't say clone, I say "designed like" or "similar to X"
-I sell to fund (with a little labor worked in)
-I sell to people I know (or people they know) and keep it as local as possible.

I also am not trying to make a business out of it. Just "feeding the beast" if you will.

juansolo

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Re: Ethical issues - Selling/ building for others
« Reply #61 on: January 13, 2015, 11:33:21 AM »
Just "feeding the beast" if you will.

Is that like grooming the wookie?
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flanagan0718

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Re: Ethical issues - Selling/ building for others
« Reply #62 on: January 13, 2015, 11:52:41 AM »
Just "feeding the beast" if you will.

Is that like grooming the wookie?

Kind of like this

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ONyIPkJ5ftM" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ONyIPkJ5ftM</a>

Disclaimer: this is 100% my dog! she is a dope!

LaceSensor

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Re: Ethical issues - Selling/ building for others
« Reply #63 on: January 13, 2015, 04:29:33 PM »
thinking more on this, the "real" money to be made is with PCB design

alanp

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Re: Ethical issues - Selling/ building for others
« Reply #64 on: January 13, 2015, 10:12:31 PM »
Limited market, depending, for that. You have to be flogging stuff people want (had to give away my minimoog pcb's, for example!)
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LaceSensor

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Re: Ethical issues - Selling/ building for others
« Reply #65 on: January 15, 2015, 07:22:21 AM »
Limited market, depending, for that. You have to be flogging stuff people want (had to give away my minimoog pcb's, for example!)

well yeah clearly; but thats the same as anything in the music related market
unsuprisingly, there is more market for strats, LPs, teles etc than the more esoteric shapes
likewise, the majority of effects offered by PCB marketeers are OD/Drive/Fuzz...

juansolo

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Re: Ethical issues - Selling/ building for others
« Reply #66 on: January 15, 2015, 12:24:06 PM »
Just "feeding the beast" if you will.

Is that like grooming the wookie?

Kind of like this

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ONyIPkJ5ftM" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ONyIPkJ5ftM</a>

Disclaimer: this is 100% my dog! she is a dope!

Gorgeous dog  8)
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lightsoundgeometry

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Re: Ethical issues - Selling/ building for others
« Reply #67 on: February 14, 2016, 04:15:49 PM »
any regulations on making 9 volt dc analog pedals ? like a fuzz box ?

Mojo Fandangle

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Re: Ethical issues - Selling/ building for others
« Reply #68 on: June 13, 2016, 11:36:58 PM »
I've never felt there's anything unethical about building popular designs like Tube Screamers, or even Klons. People don't tend to want clones of pedals from smaller companies that struggle to make a living. I'd probably try to direct them towards buying the original if that's what they want.

However, I've recently stopped building for freinds because I also "value my time" and "don't want to be building stuff at cost".

Which leads me to the following rant.....
 
My issue with ethics and selling, is that friends expect "mates rates" and think they're doing you a favour by allowing you to devote 10 hours of time and effort to build them a pedal for $50 to $100.
Most of my friends even ask If I can drop it off to them, and never have any cash on them when you get there.
Then you have to remind them a month or two later, that they still haven't paid for their pedal.

Then they tell you that now their mate wants one, so you tell them it'll be about $30 more because you don't know them, but once you get even close to a tripple digit figure they lose interest.

I've sold most pedals at a loss. I'm not gonna do it for strangers, and I'm not so sure how much I value my friends support anymore. Sure, I think they mean well, but only if it's cheap enough for them to be getting a bargain.

End Rant
« Last Edit: June 13, 2016, 11:47:33 PM by Mojo Fandangle »
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juansolo

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Re: Ethical issues - Selling/ building for others
« Reply #69 on: June 14, 2016, 12:33:28 AM »
This is common throughout all hobbyists who sell pedals. Unless you're prepared to dedicate a tonne of your time and actually build yourself a brand and market it, you'll remain a hobby builder who sells the odd pedal to friends. The thing is that your friends and musicians by the fact that they want pedals and musicians are, how can I put this nicely, frugal and not particularly wealthy. That brings the value of an item down to how much they can sell it for when they need the cash to pay the bills or buy cigs.

Hobby made pedals second hand sadly do not sell for anywhere near as much as established brands. These can be poorly made rip-off merchants, but if they're established and have a name, they'll sell for more than yours and therefore intrinsically have more value to purchasers.

I sell the odd builds to fund the hobby and in all honesty, I just about break even. But that's mainly because I'm just not building a lot of stuff lately as sales have dropped off to a tiny trickle. I charge, relative to established builders, much less than them per pedal. I like to think that mine are built well and robust, but it doesn't matter because I'm unheard of outside this forum and one in the UK.

I had a little bit of an idea to make a selection of pedals for sale that we sorted boards for to make them particularly easy to build, to maximise profits because I absolutely can't charge what established brands charge. I haven't sold a single one since and that was about 4 months ago. Musicians are also fickle buggers ;)
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cajone5

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Re: Ethical issues - Selling/ building for others
« Reply #70 on: November 15, 2016, 03:11:16 PM »
I read this a few days ago but wanted to post my thanks for the awesome conversation here.  I have taken the "build for yourself" route as well after a miserable effort of trying to sell some things I didn't "need".  Despite my best efforts, building is not a self funding hobby and I can accept that.  But I do love to do it and love having the ability to tweak things and make designs my own.  It's discouraging so many are willing to shell out crazy money from "big builders" and only look to DIY people to undercut them and "get a deal".  I am not playing anymore.  Yes, I'll sell things that I don't see myself using or no longer want but building to sell isn't worth it, unfortunately. 

Davesax1965

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Re: Ethical issues - Selling/ building for others
« Reply #71 on: August 04, 2017, 06:11:44 AM »
Just joined the forum.  :)

Just to add something here - I'm building four pedal kits from a firm here in the UK. They're my first pedals, I have a background in (modular) synth DIY and normally build modules. I design my own, too. I'm really enjoying pedal building, it's a lot more hands on, drilling enclosures and wiring up 3PDT switches.

From a commercial point of view, I've thought about modifying existing designs but there's obviously a moral element of not directly copying anyone. Going back to synth DIY: it's 70's technology, there is only so many ways to skin a cat or build an LFO. If you're going to design a voltage controlled filter, you will invariably refer back to a few vintage designs, such as a Steiner Parker or Moog ladder. A lot of synth designers blatanty rip off old designs, such as a 1970's Polivoks, and add a few modern touches - "new design". Well. Perhaps not.

There is almost no resale market for (Eurorack format) modular synth gear as the market is flooded. I can't afford to buy new every time, and that's what started me with making synths. Now, that's not quite true with guitar pedals - the world has infinitely more guitarists than modular synth owners. (Pic of PART of my synth below, incidentally.)

My attitude is pretty simple: my time does cost money. I'll build stuff for people who ask BUT I'd like to know why they want it, first. I normally find the rates I charge are high enough to put the dreamers off and make it non resaleable by anyone I sell it to - not at a profit, anyway. ;-)




cajone5

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Re: Ethical issues - Selling/ building for others
« Reply #72 on: August 04, 2017, 07:55:35 AM »
Yea -- I suspect many of the folks here have similar experience with dreamers.  I get contacts once a month or so for complex or odd custom builds that will cost ~$50 in parts and take about 6-8 hours (min.) to research, source, and build and another $13 or so to ship and 9 out of 10 times when I say it'll cost $150-$200 they disappear.  Most are just looking for a way to undercut existing production or high prices of vintage or out-of-production products.  I think it's funny when people balk at a $200 pricetag to clone and tweak a $400+ dollar complex pedal.  Just crazy IMO.  But maybe I value my time too much?

Davesax1965

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Re: Ethical issues - Selling/ building for others
« Reply #73 on: August 04, 2017, 09:29:08 AM »
Well, I think that most people think you're going to work at Chinese sweatshop rates. ;-)

Looking at the economics, if I design my own pedals, get the PCBs manufactured (in China, 4-6 week lead time and the quality is ... interesting, lifting pads, anyone ? ) - I then source the parts as cheaply as possible, take 3-4 hours to build, I spray my own cases, take them up to the local UV printer and pay a small fortune to get logos etc baked on.... yes, I can make a profit, as long as the buyer is reasonable.

Trouble is, they're not. They mainly (experience with synth DIY here) want something for nothing.

That's a lot of work for nothing.

Sorry for taking the thread slightly off topic. I generally find that the moral issues don't crop up if you can't find a decent market for your goods, anyway. I was going to build an add on box for the Korg MS20 Mini reissue synth. Korg originally made some expander boxes in the 70's, they haven't reissued any with the new MS20. I thought yep, design a few bits, box up, there's a market. Then I bounced it off new Korg owners and they basically wanted to pay less for a hand made box than the actual bare enclosure would cost. ;-)

A volume manufacturer can always undercut you.

By the same token, here's a moral argument as well: how can so many pedal manufacturers justify such huge markups ????

BrianS

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Re: Ethical issues - Selling/ building for others
« Reply #74 on: August 04, 2017, 01:42:43 PM »
I believe I posted this in another thread but I've had several people ask me why I don't sell pedals.  Most of them are people I play with or musician acquaintances.  Some of the pedals I make are uh.... and some I think are pretty nice as far as graphics are concerned.  And it seems the uh.... pedals dont get the why don't you sell them as much as the nicer ones do.  Then as Cajone said, when you start totaling up the parts, research, labor, shipping, etc..... it gets expensive.  Most people don't want to pay you for your time.  There's just no money in it unless you can get a following and this is my own opinion.   I've built one pedal, a combo, for one of the guys I play with (I given several away as gifts). I charged him for the parts and materials only.  I believe that came put to around $75.  How much of my time was in it.  Probably 4-5 hrs.  How much is your time worth?  It all adds up.

"Well I think most people think you're going to work at Chinese sweatshop rates." Quoting Davesax1965.

This is just a side bar that sort of goes along with this.  I build custom cabinets on occasion, not for a living, and I do a fairly good job.  My son's in-laws asked if they provided the materials would I build some kitchen cabinets for a house they were remodeling.  Labor cost for custom cabinets can go for up to $175 a linear foot (from my research) if you put a finish the cabinets depending  on where you live.  They offered to pay me $250 a cabinet and I would not put a finish on them.  I told her I wasn't trying to gouge them but a cabinet with 2 doors and a drawer is certainly less time consuming than one that has a run of 6 drawers in it and they would have to pay for that.  I'm not some hack who uses a skill saw to cut all the pieces.  People don't understand that a good router bit set to make raised panel doors cost $125.  A good 10" combo table saw blade is $60 and if you use a rip blade and crosscut blade instead of a combo blade  you're up to over $100. A good 12" miter saw blade $70-100.  These blades/bits don't last forever and getting them sharpened is not exactly cheap. I could continue on but people do not think about all the associated equipment costs that go into making a good quality "Anything."  So in a lot of cases, people do want you to work for Chinese labor rates, but do you think they're going to sell the house on those terms? Of course not.  Are the cabinets I make as good as ones made at a professional shop? No, but they're pretty close. 

So, is the Alpha Dog I just completed worth the same as a VFE pedal that sells for over $100? It was built with good quality components(Mouser, Newark and Arrow. Oh the switch came from Tayda along with the LED), it works and I hope it sounds the same.