• Bill Holmes

Still looking for engineering help!

The next company I contacted was a pure engineering firm. I found them on the internet and they advertised that they could help inventors get their “designs from concept to production”. I still had hope that I could find someone who would either write us a check for the rights to the idea or someone who would be willing to shoulder the expense of bringing the product to market and pay us royalties, but that dream was beginning to fade.

Most of these sites operate in the same way. There is flashy advertising showing all the successes their clients had and usually links to retail stores or other platforms like CNN or Fox News with stores of success. There is usually a highly optimistic view of the process and testimonials. Finally, in order to get additional information on pricing you need to fill out a contact form.

I filled out the contact form and immediately received an email reply. The next day I got a more personalized email with contact information from one of the partners, so I scheduled a call and called him a day or so later. He was a very nice and seemingly knowledgeable sounding person, but our conversation was a bit limited because I didn’t have the provisional patent yet and I was a little worried about our great idea being stolen! I explained that I was developing a product for commercial use, and that it would require CAD/CAM design work, prototyping and whatever else I needed to make molds for the product.

As with the other company, he didn’t actually do any manufacturing, but he would provide me with all the information that the manufacturer would need. He could also (for an additional fee) refer me to manufacturers who could provide me with a quote. The total cost to get our product ready to talk to a manufacturer was $10,000!

At this point I was perplexed by what I would be paying for. I had no idea how to find a CAD/CAM designer, but I couldn’t imagine a product that was as basic as what we were designing required that much expertise. I realized that we didn’t have the provisional patent awarded yet, so it would premature to make manufacturing a priority!

Luckily our graphic designer completed the first version of the SeaClutch logo, so I decided to focus on the marketing side of the business until we had our provisional patent.