How much does it costs to start a new Pinball Manufacture company?

(Topic ID: 178054)

How much does it costs to start a new Pinball Manufacture company?


By Pinballlew

1 year ago



Topic Stats

  • 67 posts
  • 44 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 1 year ago by desertT1
  • Topic is favorited by 2 Pinsiders

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    There are 67 posts in this topic. You are on page 2 of 2.
    #51 1 year ago

    As discussed, it depends on who's running it and what sacrifices they're willing to make. It's no different than any startup, really. Some people get fully funded and pay for people, facilities, processes, professional prototype fab. Others bootstrap their companies and sacrifice most/all benefits just to get rolling. Bootstrapping is how we're mostly doing it, but expenses increase dramatically as the company matures.

    I come from the hardware world, where you can choose to work for free (if you have the means to do so), but making physical things costs money. It's easy to estimate how much it would cost to build a few prototypes with mostly existing pinball parts; you can use P-ROC community examples for pricing metrics. Building new technologies and new features, like we are doing, costs a lot more and carries more risk. The flip side is that when new ideas are vetted, manufactured, and accepted, the entire community benefits, and future efforts can leverage that work/time/money-spent.

    Every owner is different, and each company is different, but I think everybody can agree on one thing. Building a pinball company is an expensive proposition. Everybody doing so has my respect for taking on the challenge.

    - Gerry
    http://www.multimorphic.com

    #52 1 year ago
    Quoted from Richthofen:

    Spooky had employees who basically worked 'for free', or for the ownership of the company. Ben Heck did hardware and software design, and Charlie and family did the assembly, parts sourcing, etc etc etc

    Assemblers were paid, but not always because of lack of funding in the beginning. Ben heck built 2 pinballs for fun before AMH. He received some agreed licensing fee for every machine sold. His family definitely helped (daughter was the wiring harness assembler), but this is no different than a person starting up a restaurant. I believe Charlie was already renting that space originally for his sign business.. Business property is surprisingly cheap in rural Wisconsin compared to other areas.

    With that said, Charlie did everything right, and it's a miracle he survived to get his head above water. He 3d printed everything he could on AMH, used off the shelf parts.. When his wife realized how much they were spending having parts shipped in from pinball life and calculated what gas costed to pick them up in person with the trailer, that saved a bunch of money. Now that he has a good flow of games going out and income coming in, sounds like he's trying to slowly bring those processes in-house which will not only reduce cost more, but he can prototype early (which can be the most expensive part).

    Could someone spend a couple million starting one up? Sure, but I think some passionate hobbyists could also build a one-off, take a small deposit on orders, and use that money to build up the first machines for much less. Anyone can throw money at a business right off the bat, how quickly do you want to ramp up?

    #53 1 year ago

    Judging by the number of manufacturers we have now, I'd guess around 75 bucks or so?

    #54 1 year ago
    Quoted from CrazyLevi:

    Judging by the number of manufacturers we have now, I'd guess around 75 bucks or so?

    For at least one of them.

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    #55 1 year ago
    Quoted from Homepin:

    look at the Homepin Facebook page instead - I fail to see the issue.

    It's extremely unprofessional to rely on FaceBook and not also have a solid website. The website should always be the first and foremost priority on the Internet, followed by social media, directory submissions, NAP consistency, SEO & other related items.

    This is the 21st century. Social media is important, but a real website is much more important for credibility. It can't possibly cost that much to throw a few quick updates up. I'd be embarrassed if I were the web firm in charge of your site.

    #57 1 year ago

    And there is the question - how many games do you need to sell to become profitable?

    #58 1 year ago
    Quoted from sevenrites:

    It's extremely unprofessional to rely on FaceBook and not also have a solid website. The website should always be the first and foremost priority on the Internet, followed by social media, directory submissions, NAP consistency, SEO & other related items.
    This is the 21st century. Social media is important, but a real website is much more important for credibility. It can't possibly cost that much to throw a few quick updates up. I'd be embarrassed if I were the web firm in charge of your site.

    Yeah, Mike is a backwater hick and does not know what he is doing

    He sold me on TAG on his reputation alone

    As he has said before, he want to get his factory and processors up and running smoothly before he goes and promotes his games on aworld wide basis

    #59 1 year ago

    How long is a rope?
    The price is more of very hard work and passion than any money can buy.

    #60 1 year ago
    Quoted from Shapeshifter:

    And there is the question - how many games do you need to sell to become profitable?

    too many variables...

    how much did you spend in R&D?
    how much did you have to spend in fixed assets?
    how long did you run for?
    what kind of margin did you achieve on the product?

    Your margin is going to be so unsecured until you actually get the product done.

    Your first milestone is going to be cash positive... then eventually look at making games profitable.

    #61 1 year ago
    Quoted from Shapeshifter:

    how many games do you need to sell to become profitable?

    You should ask j-pop or that skit-b dude.

    #62 1 year ago
    Quoted from o-din:

    You should ask j-pop or that skit-b dude.

    They were profitable without ever actually selling a game!

    #63 1 year ago
    Quoted from frolic:

    For at least one of them.

    You see there was the problem from the start - there weren't enough microwave ovens.

    Quoted from PopBumperPete:

    Yeah, Mike is a backwater hick and does not know what he is doing
    He sold me on TAG on his reputation alone

    Well there are certainly Luddite-esque tendencies as the 1997 era website alludes to both in layout and content.

    http://www.homepin.com/

    http://www.heavensgate.com/

    The parallels between the two particularly the dogmatism of the followers acting as defacto spokespersons in perpetuity are uncanny.

    #64 1 year ago

    I update my progress here on Pinside, the Homepin Facebook page (as much as I also dislike FB) and on Aussie Arcade usually at least once a week. Very often I can't access FB or use an FTP program to access my website so I am taking the path of least resistance about this - otherwise it would be NO updates at all.

    I do so because it is mostly quick, easy and painless and keeps people up to date with progress.

    To do this with a website requires a lot more of my time and effort that I simply cannot spare right now. I can't stress enough that we are on a shoestring budget for manpower and money. I expend resources where I see they are best spent and the Homepin website (and several others of mine) currently are NOT a priority and therefore are not getting any attention, for now.

    If it wasn't my website someone would find something else to bitch about like the colour of my car or "why does that Homepin idiot get to work 15 mins late EVERY DAY? He should work 24 hours a day?"

    I have asked for an intern to help out but only had people wasting my time but for those playing at home this page might be interesting:

    http://homepin.com/intern.html

    Now can we drop this obsession with my website and get back to the OP's question please.

    #65 1 year ago
    Quoted from Homepin:

    If it wasn't my website someone would find something else to bitch about like the colour of my car

    It should be blue, like the Homepin logo. Otherwise there will be hell to pay!

    #66 1 year ago
    Quoted from Homepin:

    I update my progress here on Pinside, the Homepin Facebook page (as much as I also dislike FB) and on Aussie Arcade usually at least once a week. Very often I can't access FB or use an FTP program to access my website so I am taking the path of least resistance about this - otherwise it would be NO updates at all.
    I do so because it is mostly quick, easy and painless and keeps people up to date with progress.
    To do this with a website requires a lot more of my time and effort that I simply cannot spare right now. I can't stress enough that we are on a shoestring budget for manpower and money. I expend resources where I see they are best spent and the Homepin website (and several others of mine) currently are NOT a priority and therefore are not getting any attention, for now.
    If it wasn't my website someone would find something else to bitch about like the colour of my car or "why does that Homepin idiot get to work 15 mins late EVERY DAY? He should work 24 hours a day?"
    I have asked for an intern to help out but only had people wasting my time but for those playing at home this page might be interesting:
    http://homepin.com/intern.html
    Now can we drop this obsession with my website and get back to the OP's question please.

    I think you are missing the point that a few of us have made in this thread in that the website is the first point of interface for any potential customer undertaking a google search and at first instance it looks as if the site hasn't been updated since 2015 which doesn't instil a great deal of confidence at least from a cursory level.

    Now that clearly isn't the case since "someone" has added the Stripe online payment system to the front page in the last 5 weeks for whatever reason so whoever has done that could easily add updated information as to current progress with minimal effort, cost and time.

    #67 1 year ago
    Quoted from toyotaboy:

    Assemblers were paid, but not always because of lack of funding in the beginning. Ben heck built 2 pinballs for fun before AMH. He received some agreed licensing fee for every machine sold. His family definitely helped (daughter was the wiring harness assembler), but this is no different than a person starting up a restaurant. I believe Charlie was already renting that space originally for his sign business.. Business property is surprisingly cheap in rural Wisconsin compared to other areas.
    With that said, Charlie did everything right, and it's a miracle he survived to get his head above water. He 3d printed everything he could on AMH, used off the shelf parts.. When his wife realized how much they were spending having parts shipped in from pinball life and calculated what gas costed to pick them up in person with the trailer, that saved a bunch of money. Now that he has a good flow of games going out and income coming in, sounds like he's trying to slowly bring those processes in-house which will not only reduce cost more, but he can prototype early (which can be the most expensive part).
    Could someone spend a couple million starting one up? Sure, but I think some passionate hobbyists could also build a one-off, take a small deposit on orders, and use that money to build up the first machines for much less. Anyone can throw money at a business right off the bat, how quickly do you want to ramp up?

    And I really like the approach. Low key the whole way. Smart choices over seeking glory.

    Really excited for TPF.

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