Skip to main content
Topic: Price hike coming! But boards are even cheaper for VDPs (Read 4348 times) previous topic - next topic

Price hike coming! But boards are even cheaper for VDPs

DirtyPCBs was a fun hack, it was never intended to have two full time box packers and 50m2 of warehouse space. It is also eating up all Jin's time doing support, when he's supposed to be building the supply chain for Dirty Assembly.

A price hike is coming! Not to make it more profitable, but to keep out the riff-raft.

Let me explain - Dirty PCBs was supposed to give Sjaak, Vimark, Pax, and all the other team members/Shenzhen South Park locals an interface to dump boards into. It's like a hacker space group buy that got away from us.

Being the cheapest, cause we operate at cost, is a huge liability. First, we get a ton of first time users who need lots of support. Second, we get cheapskates (like me!) that have unreasonably high expectations for a $14 order of PCBs (including world wide shipping) and make huge demands of us (readme.txt, are you kidding!). In the past we reacted by firing customers, but even that's too much effort now.

This is my current plan:

1. Raise board prices so protopacks are $1 more expensive than the cheapest option on PCB shopper. I'd rather lose the bottom of the barrel value segment to one of the other Chinese outfits that, as we've all experienced, will simply ignore any email you send them. For an extra $1 you can go with us and we'll do our best to offer western style support.

2. The new site has a VDP (very dirty person) system. After making a few orders and not causing support headaches, your PCBs will be EVEN CHEAPER than the current Dirty PCBs prices. This seems to groove with the friends & neighbors hacker space feel Dirty PCBs should have.

3. Lower prices on bulk orders. People ordering in volume are always polite, courteous, and professional. I'd like more of these even if we make very little profit on the orders.

4. Increase shipping fees a bit. Currently we sell shipping at cost. That's unfeasible because there's nothing to cover the cost of replacement shipments that are inevitable in custom fabbed products.

5. Still not sure on this one, but it is an idea we're tossing around... An even cheaper board option, one that requires an online signature before ordering, selling boards "as is". Exactly like you are in China ordering from the fab yourself. Order messed up? Though, place another. That's how it works here.

If this blows up on us, I fully reserve the right to reverse course or just shutter the damn thing :)

I'm always open to suggestions and critiques.
Got a question? Please ask in the forum for the fastest answers.

Re: Price hike coming! But boards are even cheaper for VDPs

Reply #1
Ian, when will you learn to not be so accommodating? Make a profit, we won't hold it against you!

I've used DP once so far, and I knew what I was getting into - my boards might or might not have worked, but due to having hung around here for a few years, I knew that if they were wrong, it would be entirely my fault (unlike other cheap board houses, where I'd be questioning whether it was me or them).

The (sometimes excessive!) level of support (and knowledge that it's being handled by a person with a Clue) is well worth paying for, and is a definite USP.

Re: Price hike coming! But boards are even cheaper for VDPs

Reply #2
Ian,
After 10 or 15 orders from you this is still ridiculously cheap! I appreciate what you guys do an I'm amazed at how much Jin accomplishes! Raise the price!

Robert Dee
Design Specialties

Re: Price hike coming! But boards are even cheaper for VDPs

Reply #3
Hike Shmike. just dont leave.

on a purely selfish note do these VDPs get credit for orders on the old site or is does everyone start at square one?

Re: Price hike coming! But boards are even cheaper for VDPs

Reply #4
@bveina - like always, once we actually get it up and running if you catch me in a good mood I'll just do it for you :)
Got a question? Please ask in the forum for the fastest answers.

Re: Price hike coming! But boards are even cheaper for VDPs

Reply #5
[quote author="ian"]This is my current plan:

1. Raise board prices so protopacks are $1 more expensive

[/quote]

Sounds fine to me, I'd still use Dirty because of it's easy no faffing about nature.

[quote author="ian"]
2. The new site has a VDP (very dirty person) system.
3. Lower prices on bulk orders.
[/quote]

As above, you should still be trying to make this profitable.  I seriously don't know how you make any money Ian, you seem to be perpetually running stuff "at cost" for the greater good.  You moved to China, doesn't mean you have to become communist ;-)

[quote author="ian"]
4. Increase shipping fees a bit.
[/quote]

I like that standard shipping is "free", of course it's built into the cost, but it makes it easy for my addled brain to work out amortized costs of a PCB when I can "ignore" shipping because it was "free". So in other words, the increase in cost for shipping should IMHO be rolled into the increased PCB cost.

[quote author="ian"]
5. Still not sure on this one, but it is an idea we're tossing around... An even cheaper board option
[/quote]

Personally, I think that's a bad idea for you, lots of headache for no reward.

Re: Price hike coming! But boards are even cheaper for VDPs

Reply #6
[quote author="ian"]
1. Raise board prices so protopacks are $1 more expensive than the cheapest option on PCB shopper.
[/quote]
just checked and the cheapest is $9.90 so happy to pay the extra for the great service.

Quote
2. The new site has a VDP (very dirty person) system.
Rewarding loyalty both old and new always make good business sense. Keeps the customers coming back.

Quote
3. Lower prices on bulk orders. People ordering in volume are always polite, courteous, and professional. I'd like more of these even if we make very little profit on the orders.
Yeah. Cheaper bulk orders. Hits the bulls eye. I can be polite, courteous and professional for a cheaper service :-)

Quote
4. Increase shipping fees a bit. Currently we sell shipping at cost. That's unfeasible because there's nothing to cover the cost of replacement shipments that are inevitable in custom fabbed products.
I know this one is painful and it does my head in every time I ship my own product to my customers. Please try and avoid crazy DHL/FedEx costs were its $70 for $10 worth of stuff as it completely blows away the concept of cheap and dirty.

Quote
5. Still not sure on this one, but it is an idea we're tossing around... An even cheaper board option
Cool, I'm happy to take the risk and not complaining if its wrong.

with that said I'm Looking forward to seeing the new improvements.
Tony

Re: Price hike coming! But boards are even cheaper for VDPs

Reply #7
I say hike your prices as needed.  I've used dirty boards several times now and I'll continue to use the service.  I'ld rather pay a little more and know what I'm getting and that it is still a bargain.

Re: Price hike coming! But boards are even cheaper for VDPs

Reply #8
Hi, here's my 2 Euro-cents:
I generally would not care about a price increase, but I think there still should be a cheap option available for 10x10 cm boards. Could be for a lower quantity, or other restrictions like random color/thickness etc.

The reason is simply to save import duties: All imports below 22€ are free from all import duties. If the value of goods (excluding shipping) is more than 22€, I will have to pay:
3.5% customs (only if the value is above 150€)
20% import tax (same as local sales tax, differs by EU country; calculated from value of goods + shipping + customs).
10-20€ handling fee (depending on courier)

The current price of 25$ for a 10x10 protopack is around 22€ depending on the current conversion rate, and usually I don't have to pay anything extra. If the price is increased to e.g. 30$, the cheapest option would be ~26€ (goods) + 5.2€ (tax) + 10€ (fee). Plus it takes a few days extra for the customs office to handle it.

So I would really like one cheap option to get ~5 10x10 prototypes without a fuss, and pay more when I need something special/more. The 5x5 boards are just too space constrained for most designs.

Re: Price hike coming! But boards are even cheaper for VDPs

Reply #9
Since we are using this thread for suggestions...

Is there a practical reason for having "5x5", like is 5 a divisor of the panel size or something?  Because it always struck me as just a fraction too small, why, because you really can't comfortably fit an Arduino Uno shield footprint in 5x5, ideally you'd want  another 5mm on one side so 5.5x5 would comfortably work.

PS: Ian did you get that script I posted to the gerbv mailing list for you.

Re: Price hike coming! But boards are even cheaper for VDPs

Reply #10
Sounds fair to me, very happy with service and quality.

Like chmr said duty can be a pain if you are trying to get the cheapest deal. In the UK £15 ($21) is the threshold where you get to pay an extra 20% VAT.

The sting is Royal Mail charge you over twice as much as the VAT, a tenner ($14), for collecting the VAT from you, so your $21 package ends up costing you $41!

Re: Price hike coming! But boards are even cheaper for VDPs

Reply #11
Seems like a good strategy :-). Dirty PCBs is my all time favourite board house, and I would hate for you to buckle under the pressure of buck-saving support-craving nightmares.

I am in the same camp as MikeUK and chmr. It seems to be a typical Euro thing. I can order up to 80 Danish Crowns, which is just around the $11.95 that a 10x10cm protopack costs in the dev store. So it is a gamble if the exchange rate on the date of customs clearance is high or low :-). The consequenses are a 25% VAT (which is fair) and a 160 DKK / $24 handling fee from the Postal Service.

I would love to have VDP-status, savings or not. It would be a very cool status to have :-)

Re: Price hike coming! But boards are even cheaper for VDPs

Reply #12
I will start by giving a massive thanks for Dirty PCBs!  I absolutely love the service,  and have had no issues after over a dozen orders.

I would have no problem paying a few dollars more to make sure that the service stays around and that you can make a bit of profit.

It would be great to get some VDP credit for past orders,  but if that is not technically feasible,  I am sure that I will build up plenty of VDP points anyways.

Regards,
Adam

Re: Price hike coming! But boards are even cheaper for VDPs

Reply #13
I fully support all of these moves, and think it is a good plan.  I like cheap, but I also believe in enlightened self interest, I want this service to be around for a long time.

Re: Price hike coming! But boards are even cheaper for VDPs

Reply #14
Hi Ian, Realise I'm late to this thread but fwiw (and as posted elsewhere) I'd like to think every DirtyPCB order helps DP not harms it, so these suggestions above get my vote if it gets you back into the black.[quote author="jockm"]I want this service to be around for a long time.[/quote]+1 to that!
Geoff