Optimum Plans Pricing

Discussion in 'Hangar Flying' started by ToddK, Jun 17, 2019.

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  1. Jun 17, 2019 #1

    ToddK

    ToddK

    ToddK

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    There seems to be a pretty significant range in the pricing of plans. Single seat $100-300, two seat, $100-$400, and then $25 for a the Ragwings, Affordaplane and so on.

    Certainly things like popularity, and quality of the plans, and plan delivery (electronic or paper via mail) are an important factor, but in general what do you guys consider the optimum price of set of plans? Not to cheap, not too expensive to put off some of the buyers who don't really intend on building but would like to be able to study them.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2019
  2. Jun 17, 2019 #2

    Hot Wings

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    My personal limit in the past has been in the $125 (US) range for curiosity purchases. Most have been second hand plans. Most for less than $100.

    Now that I'm on the other side of the fence: $125 is about the minimum a vendor could consider for a dozen page 24x36 set of prints unless they can print them in house. At this price point there isn't much left after paying the print shop. Overseas postage is $50+.

    In the old days we could order "info packs", some of which were pretty detailed. In the modern world these have been replaced by a web page. With modern technology I think there could be a middle ground where a vendor could offer 2 levels of 'plans'. The basic set intended for the curios collector could be printed on a wide format inkjet and could be sold in the 50 - 75 dollar range, plus postage. The 'info set' would come with only basic dimensions and material specifications. This set would not be intended for building, comes with no serial number and no builder support.

    I'm still stuck in the 90's with regard to price normalcy. To me, as a consumer, $300+ is on the high side and they had better be VERY good plans. That $300 just barely pays for the time spent getting prints made, packaged and mailed in quantities of 1's and 2's.
     
  3. Jun 17, 2019 #3

    pictsidhe

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    I would love to have more curiosity plans. A set of plans, perhaps 1/4 size, a little distorted and lacking vital info or pages to actually build an aircraft would find many buyers but also keep the curious happy. Perhaps include full details on one or some sample parts like the rudder. They could be sold at a modest profit and potential builders could determine if they want to tackle the project. The missing info needs to be worth paying full price for. Of course, cutting down plans is extra work. but think of it as marketing once you have something to sell.

    For real plans, a % of expected build cost seems one way to do it. You may well want to have a higher % at the cheap end, but not too high. Cheap people are cheap! I would happily pay (or sell) 5% for good plans, maybe up to 10% if it was a really good design and set of plans. Few serious builders would baulk at a reasonable plans cost, or choose a rival design to save $100.

    Overseas postage and delivery could be improved by having a reciprocal agreement with other plans vendors.
     
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  4. Jun 17, 2019 #4

    akwrencher

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    I paid over almost 500 bucks for plans for a Dakota Hawk. Haven't started it yet, but the quality is good, and I would consider it a good value. Anyone with any experience building anything from scratch should understand the time savings of good detailed plans. Personally I would rather pay several hundred for good plans than try to muddle through with skimpy cheep plans. I like the idea of a cheaper set for study. That way you could satisfy both sets of potential customers, collectors and builders who want detailed plans. My 2cents...
     
  5. Jun 17, 2019 #5

    Hot Wings

    Hot Wings

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    I've got a toll bridge for sale - cheap. PM me if interested. :p

    5% seems a bit high for less complex aircraft. 5% for the mythical $10K VP21 is $500. $2500 might be acceptable for a $50K RVish plane - with factory support?

    I do like the idea of a reciprocal agreement with overseas vendors.
    An abbreviated and distorted set of plans shouldn't be too hard if the design is fully in CAD.
     
  6. Jun 17, 2019 #6

    BJC

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    The price of plans as a percentage of the airplane cost is not relevant. What is relevant is the quality of the airplane as well as the plans. If the quality is acceptable, evaluate the cost of the total package; plans plus aircraft plus other factors such as time to build, support from the plans seller, etc.

    BTW, when I read “plans” I perceive a set of drawings from which the airplane can be built, but absent any instructions on how to do it and in what sequence.


    BJC
     
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  7. Jun 17, 2019 #7

    Pops

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    When I buy a set of plans I expect 100% of the drawing and dimensions to build the complete aircraft. You don't get that on all the plans. That is what you are paying the money for. They design and sell the plans for you to build. You should not have to design and engineer anything to build a flying airplane. Had a long discussion with a friend of mine on that subject.
     
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  8. Jun 17, 2019 #8

    Hephaestus

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    If it was me, a super basic plan set to look at / study free/cheap. Drop out all the headscratchy bits bare structure so people get an idea of what they're getting into.

    The DVD/thumb drive of a full plan set for 250ish. (No builder support, but forum access)

    I'd do printed plans, cad files (stls?) For all the bits and pieces, Builder support forum (that you'd have to really support maybe with hired/voluntold help). 5yrs of builder support - 10 of full forum access for a 1000 or so.

    I don't think builder support of old with 24/7 phone calls and letter mail makes sense now.

    On the forum I'd do a private/public mix. Basics to everyone, maybe some featured build journals. More in-depth in the backroom to keep some proprietary - updated design files etc

    But that's me and I'm nuts ;)
     
  9. Jun 17, 2019 #9

    TFF

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    As long as it was the old owner selling a plans they were probably quite happy to get $100 in the mail. When someone buys the rights for $5000+ After the bulk has been sold, it can take a while if ever to get your money out. I’m all for cheap plans, but printed out in quality today probably costs $100 in its self. $500 for a definite build is not bad. $500 for collecting drawings is rough. People who sell plans should be applauded for putting up with the hassle.
     
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  10. Jun 17, 2019 #10

    Hephaestus

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    Just a hint, the designjet 1050's have hit that support age where government's (think your town/city planner/engineers office) are all upgrading them.

    Mine was under 100$ ;) I want to grab one of the 48" models here soon
     
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  11. Jun 18, 2019 #11

    Little Scrapper

    Little Scrapper

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    Most of my plans were given to me, horse traded, swapped, borrowed etc. There's a ton of people sitting with plans that won't ever get used. Having airplane friends is a real blessing in things like this. Most people say "hey I have a set you can have" knowing the project they are on will take years to finish if it ever gets finished.

    That said, if I like something I just get it. All plans for the airplanes I like are pretty cheap.
     
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  12. Jun 18, 2019 #12

    Hot Wings

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    Good deal if you can find software for WIN 8/10. I've been hanging on to an old XP machine, and Solidworks 2012, for just this reason. Looks like the problem may have been solved in the last couple of years.

    It is far cheaper (including amortization of the plotter) to print plans in house, and the 1050 can do them in color too! i"v read that the 5500 driver works. Will try it as soon as I get a a printer port installed in this box.
     
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  13. Jun 18, 2019 #13

    Hephaestus

    Hephaestus

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    I have all my printers connected to an old dual core Thinkpad running linux. Took forever to figure out the windows networked printer scenario, but now its just click print and don't think about it.

    CISS system was super cheap for it too, so inks pennies instead of hundreds.
     
  14. Jun 18, 2019 #14

    mcrae0104

    mcrae0104

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    There's the rub. How much time will the designer (or knowledgeable factory support staff) spend on the phone with the average buyer?
     
  15. Jun 18, 2019 #15

    gtae07

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    The plans for the Sonex I started were $750. But that’s a full set of high quality plans to scratchbuild, plus build manual, plus factory support and build license and everything. They’re sitting around now, along with a bunch of extruded angle parts that I’d fabricated. I can’t decide whether to get rid of them, or save them and give them to my son when he’s a little older.
     
  16. Jun 18, 2019 #16

    BJC

    BJC

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    That will be a great grandfather/father/son project.


    BJC
     
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  17. Jun 18, 2019 #17

    gtae07

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    Indeed it would; the question is whether he'll be interested in a few years or not. Right now he says he will, but he's only three.
     
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