How to hire a Prototype builder for Your Invention.

How to Make a Prototype Invention? 2

How To Hire a Prototype Builder For Your Invention?

Sometimes building a prototype yourself just isn’t in the cards and hiring a professional prototype builder is the right move for you. But learning how to hire a prototype builder for your invention might not be something you are familiar with. There are a few things to consider before you start looking for a prototype company, and then a few more things to consider when actually hiring a prototype company. In this article, we will go over those considerations and how to hire a prototype builder for your invention.

Things to consider before looking for a Prototype builder.

In this section, we will go over the key things you need to consider before you even start looking for a prototype builder.
  • What Type of Prototype do You Need.
  • How Much Money do You Need to hire a prototype builder.
  • Define Clear Requirements for your prototype.
  • What types of prototype Service Providers Are There?
  • Where to Find a Professional Prototype Builder.

1. What Type of Prototype do You Need.

First thing is first, if you don’t have a solid understanding of the different types of prototypes and why each are used for what purpose, you best start there.

We won’t go into detail here because it is well covered in our other article about the different types of Prototypes and why they are used. That article will give you the prerequisite you need to make sure you are on the right path.

The abridged version is that there are many different types of prototypes and many different reasons you might chose one over the other. Choosing the wrong type can actually decrease your chance of success.

2. How Much Money do You Need to hire a prototype builder.

It is important to understand what makes up the cost of a professionally developed prototype. How simple you might think the invention is, might not be a good indicator of the cost to build the prototype.

To build a prototype, it takes people. These people perform tasks that often require an expensive degree to learn. To make a prototype happen, it might require multiple different types of people, all of which have a skill set that is in demand and get paid for that demand. This means there are likely multiple highly skilled, highly paid people working on your prototype. This can really add up.

The more professions needed to build your prototype, the more it will cost to build. Then the company itself adds margin on top of that to cover their overhead. It’s no wonder professionally developed prototypes are expensive.

As well, the complexity and quality level you ask for can also be a huge deciding factor in cost.

If something is very simple, you probably don’t need to hire the top prototype builder in the industry. And if you already have it designed, that will save a lot of their time, and therefor cost.

Regardless, with the exception of 3D printed prototypes, it is rare for a professionally developed prototype for less than $5,000. It’s very common to be in the $10,000 – $20,000 range.

But it’s not uncommon for it to cost $100,000+.

It all depends on your idea and what you are asking of the Prototype builder. This article might give you a little more context on how much money you might need for your prototype.

3. Define Clear requirements for your prototype.

In prototype development, costs can easily get away from you. A lot of that happens because there aren’t clear requirements and expectations set from the beginning.

>Don’t have anyone start building until you both know exactly what you want them to build. Make sure to get your quote based on those specific requirements.

Build a document with as clear of specifications as possible. Leave as little as possible up to interpretation. If this isn’t something you can do on your own, don’t be afraid to ask for a consultation from them to go through this.

You should make sure to clearly describe how the final product is intended to be used. You don’t want them to make the wrong call because they didn’t fully understand your ultimate plan.

Write these specifications on a single document if possible. Including screen shots of any CAD files and links to any videos. You want them to get a good overview of everything from a single document.

This document should also refer too any external link, file or document so that they know where to go for more information. But do try as hard as you can to house every specification you can in this single document when possible. The more they have to go to separate places to get more information, the less likely you will end up with what you need for the agreed upon price.

4. What types of prototype service providers are there?

Just like any service, there are the highly skilled firms with top notch professionals, and there are guys that work out of their home machine shop. You should make sure you understand what quality level you need, and for what budget, then choose the level of professional accordingly.

If you are on a budget, maybe a large prototype firm isn’t best for you. But you also have to understand that the quality level will usually match the budget. Though sometimes that might not matter for the invention in question.

There are pros and cons to working with a small shop vs a big shop. But there are no rules of thumb.

One small shop might give you significantly better customer service, while the next might flake out when things start to get tough. A large shop might have a very quick turn around, while another might take 6 months or more.

5. Where to Find a Professional Prototype Builder.

Though it isn’t critical that you work with someone in your local area, it can help if you can have face-to-face meetings in person.

If your local region doesn’t have professional prototype builders that are up to the challenge, it’s perfectly ok to search in other regions. Just make sure to have video chats with them before hand. Being able to see their facial expression as you describe your vision can really help avoid confusion. It will greatly help you confirm they actually understand.

If you would like help finding someone to help, you can search the InventorGenie directory for prototype builders. Feel free to reach out to us if you are looking for someone more specialized. We would be glad to give you a personal recommendation. We are always interested in giving more targeted advice on how to hire a prototype builder for your invention.

But always be sure to do your due diligence on the provider regardless of who refers them too you or where you find them. Do a lot of Google searches about them, look at any online reviews, ask for references, etc. 

Always remember that what might be a great prototype builder to one person, might not be the right fit for another. Some prototype builders are stronger in other areas or other product types than other. Also remember that a lot of bad experiences could have been avoided had the inventor built a better specification sheet or spent more time making sure the requirements were crystal clear.

Prototype Builders We Recommend


When learning how to hire a prototype builder for your invention, there is a lot to consider. The best way to have the greatest experience is to really understand what type of prototype you need.

It will also really help to build the most detailed specification sheet you can.

Then make sure to do a good job vetting anyone you might hire.

And finally, make sure to keep in close contact with them through every step of the way. Don’t wait for them to contact you, check in and see how things are going. Ask if there is any questions you can answer, or ways you can help make their job go smoother.


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