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Starting a Business

Making Your Product in the U.S. vs. Overseas

Manufacturing your product elsewhere might be cheaper--but not necessarily better. Keep it local to save yourself some stress.
3 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

When mapping out the destiny of your product, one of the key factors will be the location of the factory in which you decide to have the item made. Should you stay in the United States or go overseas? My recommendation is to pick a manufacturing plant that's fairly close to your home. There are several reasons for this: You'll save money and have easy access to your product, and you'll be able to review changes and baby-sit the production until maturity has taken place. Simply put, it just makes sense to control all aspects of your product in the beginning. Distance will only create anxiety for you.

Another fine reason for beginning the process locally is that you'll be able to fine-tune every aspect of the manufacturing process in anticipation of moving your product overseas. Eventually, you might need mass quantities of your product to meet the price points and demands of retail. If you are lucky enough to find a facility in the United States that has an overseas operation as well, then you've hit a home run.

The only reason to go offshore immediately with your product would be for the cost of labor, directly related to the retail marketplace that your product will end up in. If the cost of manufacturing in the United States is too high to allow you to bring the product to market at a well-received suggested retail price point, then go overseas right away.

Make sure, however, that you're dealing with a reputable firm or agent that has brought products similar to yours to manufacturing completion. Inquire about the labor force that's used, request letters of recommendation, and talk to companies that have traveled the journey prior to you with these particular companies. After approving the facility, request sample runs of your product prior to a production run-don't order 1,000 until you're happy with the first 100 units. Quality control, whether in the United States or overseas, is critical to success. You can never ask too many questions or inspect too much-remember, this is your baby, so make sure it's well taken care of.

If you do all your homework first, your headaches will be minimal later on, whether you choose to manufacture in the United States or go overseas. If you have your entire product made in the United States while still maintaining all your profit margins, consider yourself fortunate.

Dave Dettman founded Mr. Product LLC ten years ago and currently serves as president and CEO.

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