Tips for good inquiry of new Design

My company is considering to bring new hand held power tools in future with our own design, to distinguish them strongly form the competitors on the market(both corded and wireless).

We haven`t done something similar in the past, thus - as probable inhouse design manager of such project, -I decided to create simple buisness plan and as a first step gather the information about rough cost related to Designc(in other words how much "design of power corded tools could cost?)

Here is the point:

  • what should my inquiry contain to be as much clear and accurate for design agencies as possible to receive rough estimations of costs?

At this moment I created Excell sheet with the scope of products we would like to “develop”, materials, volume of sales. My target are companies from Europe, production is going to take place in China

I do want to avoid extra meetings and long discussion or no accurate replies about: “it all depends”. At this moment I would like to insert some values in Excel and discuss it with management how and if we can handle this.

thanks in advance

When I have dome this in the past, both as a consultant, and as a client, the document of choice has been an RFP (Request For Proposal)

Typically this is a word doc or a powerpoint and it goes into detail on the following:

  1. who your company is.
  2. the problem statement for the project. Who the user is.
  3. goals for the project. (IE, design a line of innovative (and say how if known) power tools, xxx models, for sale at xxx retailers, at xx pricepoints)
  4. Scope (how many products? What types? What level of deliverables, sketches? CAD?)
  5. timelines and key deliverables
  6. any kind of branding, brand guidelines, or design language that needs to be followed
  7. any kind of budget limitations.

Be as specific as possible. The more specific, the better proposals you will get. Depending on the kinds of firms you go to, the prices will carry widely. Some rough US estimates. If you are doing lets say 5 power tools, going all the way to design CAD, but not production surfaces:

Small firm: 1-5 people: User research/Strategy: $30,000 Industrial design: $70,000
A very large, globally respected firm: research/strategy/positioning : $250,000-$500,000 Industrial Design $200,000 - $400,000

This are just some rough estimates. There are plenty of medium size firms that would be more in the middle, and some smaller firms that would come in below. Their location plays a big role in the price as well. A firm in San Francisco is going to charge a lot more than a firm in Cincinnati.

Hello Micheal

thanks for reply and tips. My target are design agencies from Europe.

On the one hand these 7 topics cover richer details than I was expecting to share with agncies. From other hand having them all in one place would allow me to reply possible questions in minute.

BTW, what do you mean by “production surfaces”?

It is a lot of information. It is common to have the agencies sign an NDA before the full RFP is given because the information may be confidential.

On the other hand, getting the information all in one place will:

  1. clarify your thinking
  2. help the agency provide the most accurate quote
  3. give you and the agency a document by which to measure success.

By production surfaces I mean the final CAD that the factory uses to cut tooling. In my experience either this is done by the client’s engineering team or factory partner.

The minimum information should be:

  1. Excel sheet with a list of the hand tools you need designed
  2. Deliverables. Sketches, 3D CAD Design Intent, Prototypes,
  3. Timeline

Like Michael said, the more clear and complete your request is, the more accurate quotes you will receive. If you don’t provide enough information then companies will provide ballpark figures with a wide range. If this is what you are looking for, then be clear about it and that way the companies don’t spend a week writing a detailed proposal.
Once you select 2-3 that are in line with your budget you can disclose more detailed information in order to get a detailed proposal with costs, deliverables and timelines.
Good luck.