Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

Amp kits (rant)

Discussion in 'Glowing Bottle Tube Amp Forum' started by radiocaster, Oct 11, 2017.

  1. radiocaster

    radiocaster Friend of Leo's

    Aug 18, 2015
    I am interested in getting one, but for curiosity I went ahead and calculated how much it would cost to buy all the parts separately, and it came up that there's a markup of at least 30%, actually more like between 1/3 and 1/2 the price.

    I calculated all the parts including the transformers, jacks, pots, big caps. The only thing I didn't calculate separately is each of the resistors and smaller caps, but did a conservative estimate of one Euro each, even though they cost like a few cents each, and still came up with a markup of more than 30% for the kit.

    I haven't calculated other kits, but looking at lots of kits on different sites, I think many of them are probably priced a lot higher than the parts.

    I mean it's cool and all they collect all the parts and put them in a bag, but when you buy other things in bulk you usually get a discount instead of a markup. Not to mention some parts I may not want to use (for example cheap looking jacks),

  2. Commodore 64

    Commodore 64 Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Mar 1, 2010
    Kent, OH
    Go ahead and try ordering all your parts from multiple vendors, with multiple shipping fees. And then an extra order or 2 for the stuff you forgot.

    I've never bought a kit and I never will. But they earn their mark-up.
    irie, PCollen, xafinity and 13 others like this.

  3. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Jul 18, 2010
    Western Connecticut
    Yeah, did you remember to add all shipping costs?

    Also, why would you expect the cost of a "product" to be the same as the cost of the materials used to make it? The assumption of course is that it's not a product, and just a bag of parts. So, go buy your bag of parts.

    There are different types of kits on the market. Some (Weber) are just a bag of parts, and many of them aren't great quality. Things forgotten, don't fit, etc. But others (Allen) are PERFECT, come with detailed material lists, and very clear step by step instructions, and provide support.
    pawleep, Thin69, VOXTOTHEMAX and 5 others like this.

  4. MilwMark

    MilwMark Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Apr 29, 2013
    near Arnold's

  5. brogh

    brogh Super Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 26, 2010

    yeah i get your point, i was in a similar situation for building a pedal clone, for the kit price i would have enough parts for making 4 or 5 pedals....BUT....

    Going trough, sorting, shipping, taxes, it all takes time, and what if you can't find a specific thing (unlikely ... however)?

    having all packed and sent to you in one box that you can just pull out and start to assemble has a cost, i can easely see where the price difference lies...

    if you were building several amps, or building "for reselling" then the part sourcing would be the way, for one off i think kits are great.

    my 2c

  6. Old Tele man

    Old Tele man Friend of Leo's

    May 10, 2017
    Tucson, AZ
    You can make your own HAMBURGERS a lot cheaper than they cost at McD's et. al., but certainly NOT quicker nor easier, and THEY do the dishes, not YOU.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2017
    ecosse, PCollen, televillian and 3 others like this.

  7. Strebs

    Strebs Tele-Meister

    Dec 24, 2015
    It's reasonable to expect at least 10 percent for overhead and 10 percent for profit for a business. I'd expect more for specialized businesses such as this. Overhead for this type of thing may be higher as they probably need to order from multiple sources and keep a lot of parts on hand that move slowly, many of which hold a risk of never being purchased. 30% seems reasonable for something like a kit where they may have to replace items and deal with after sales support as well.

    Edit: If they purchase business insurance, I can't imagine the cost for something like that where the client stands a risk of electrocuting themselves and then opening a lawsuit against the kit company. It's got to be incredibly high!
    chemobrain likes this.

  8. VintageSG

    VintageSG Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Mar 31, 2016
    Coming up with the design and creating a product suitable for distribution.
    Chassis production.
    Turret board/eyelet creation in some instances.
    Front plate production.
    Support provision.

    They run a business within a niche market and have to earn a living. 30% seems small.
    Telemarx and Lucky Day like this.

  9. radiocaster

    radiocaster Friend of Leo's

    Aug 18, 2015
    I could order them all from the same vendor that sells the kits actually, they have all the stuff.

    I can also buy the small parts from local electronic stores, no shipping fees except for my 5 minute ride on public transportation. I don't expect them to have tube stuff or quality transformers though (the shops, not the public transportation).

  10. Kev Reg

    Kev Reg Tele-Meister

    Dec 2, 2016
    I bought a kit the first time round. It allowed me to get into the hobby and reassurance that i couldnt go far wrong. Now i would just source the parts individually as It does seem cheaper. I guess when it comes to kits some guy has to bag it all up and hopefully cross check the resistors and capacitors with a test meter. Maybe thats where it can take time and money.

  11. bparnell57

    bparnell57 Poster Extraordinaire

    Feb 10, 2014
    Philadelphia, PA
    It takes time to pick parts all day, and it takes time to source all of those parts. Add up your labor at a fair price. That's still 30%.
    Lucky Day, Bill Moore and MilwMark like this.

  12. Hexabuzz

    Hexabuzz Friend of Leo's

    Dec 13, 2014
    Northeast PA
    I guess it just comes down to if you think it's too much to pay for someone else to do it, then just do it yourself...

    How much would YOU charge for your time and effort if you were sourcing and packaging and shipping and marketing an amp kit? You certainly wouldn't sell it for the exact cost of the components you included.

    And if a customer said to you exactly what you just complained about, you would most likely say that your time and the convenience of a one stop purchase was worth marking up the price of the individual components, to compensate you, right?
    Lucky Day and bparnell57 like this.

  13. Old Tele man

    Old Tele man Friend of Leo's

    May 10, 2017
    Tucson, AZ
    ...sorta like the effort difference between learning a song "by ear" or simply buying the sheet's all up to YOU, either way, to produce the final result.

  14. Maricopa

    Maricopa Friend of Leo's

    Feb 4, 2009
    Phx, AZ
    30% mark-up! Oh the humanity..... :rolleyes:

  15. Wyatt

    Wyatt Tele-Holic

    Nov 3, 2004
    Since you didn't list the prices you were comparing, it's hard to confirm. There really may that that much of a price difference or you could be forgetting things like chassis straps, bolts, strain reliefs, etc.

    But I used Mojotone as an example...

    VibroChamp kit (no tubes, 120V PT) ... $570.94

    Cabinet...... $299.29
    Speaker..... $27.81
    Chassis...... $86.88
    Faceplate... $54.59
    Eyelet Board $19.10
    TOTAL ................................................ $418.37
    DIFFERENCE ...................................... $152.57

    But wait! There's more!
    Small Parts Kit ....................................... $132.87

    NEW DIFFERENCE ............................. $19.70

    Now that $19.70 may very well be something I am forgetting, I was not working from a BOM but from memory. But even if it's not, that's a markup of 3.4% to fill the BOM for you instead of you doing it yourself. That is FAR from a 33%-50% markup.


    HOLY %@$#! I forgot transformers!

    Where were we...

    NEW DIFFERENCE ............................. $19.70

    Power transformer .... $65.95
    Output transformer ... $25.95

    NEW NEW DIFFERENCE ..................... (–$72.20)

    So the Mojotone VibroChamp kit is more than $70 cheaper than the exact same parts bought separately. And if there was a forgotten resistor or cap? They foot the bill for shipping the replacement.

    By the way, it took around 45 minutes to look all this up. I put a monetary value on that time, I expect to pay someone for their time as well.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2017

  16. radiocaster

    radiocaster Friend of Leo's

    Aug 18, 2015
    I guess you didn't count the transformers, so Mojotone might be a pretty good deal, although the small parts kit by itself is probably not a good deal. I guess they give sort of a discount if you buy more stuff, which is kind of cool.

    The one I had calculated was also without chassis and cab, because the place I looked didn't have special deals for it.

  17. Wyatt

    Wyatt Tele-Holic

    Nov 3, 2004
    Yeah, I remember the iron and edited above. If a kit is a bad deal...go elsewhere.
    satellitedog likes this.

  18. beninma

    beninma Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

    Mar 17, 2017
    Labor must be cheap.. when I see you guys mention how good the Allen kits are it piqued my interest... so I go look.

    $200 for them to assemble it when the kit is already > $1000 makes it seem silly to assemble it yourself, at least when there are so many tube amps you can go buy under $1000 anyway.

  19. Wyatt

    Wyatt Tele-Holic

    Nov 3, 2004
    Remember I quit counting on the small parts kit with lots of parts to go because it looked like it may break even. Counting and keeping track of all those aprts is a hassle, it;s why Ceriatone now only sells assembled turretboards with their kits and the buyer assumes responsibly for any forgotten small parts, shipping one resistor from Malaysia wasn't cheap when they lost count.

  20. bparnell57

    bparnell57 Poster Extraordinaire

    Feb 10, 2014
    Philadelphia, PA
    Sockets, pots, jacks, hardware, tubes.

IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.