In this Lesson, Dan takes a look at the Unexpected costs of his Dino Dude Ranch Campaign. From the costs of bar codes to printing errors, these amounts add up. Learn from his mistakes so you don’t have to make them.
There are a lot of costs associated with running a Kickstarter campaign and if a publisher makes any mistakes in accounting for costs they will incur, this could lead to issues during fulfillment and possibly even could lead to failure to fulfill.
Many people are aware of the most obvious costs: manufacturing costs, shipment of the game to fulfillment centers, shipping charges to send the games from fulfillment center to backers, import fees, Kickstarter and stripe fees, among others. When calculating costs, prepared creators know that they should factor in a buffer for unexpected costs that may arise. In this post I am going to explore the unexpected costs that arose outside of the costs I was already expecting to pay when I planned my campaign for Dino Dude Ranch.
Purchasing 3 barcodes from Buyabarcode.com, $135: The game box is going to need a barcode if you plan on selling it in retail. I did not originally factor these costs in until it came time to make the final design of the box back.
Wire Fees to pay the printer for manufacturing costs, $70: When you perform an international wire transfer it is very common for your bank to charge a fee for this service. The cost varies from bank to bank. Mine charged $35 and I had to send two wires, one for the initial deposit and one to pay the final costs.
Cost to have the proof copy shipped to me, $80: I had to pay for shipping of the proof copy of Dino Dude Ranch to me from the printer for approval prior to mass production.
Fixing errors, $300: I noticed 3 errors in my files after receiving the proof copy. Two were caught before mass production. Fixing these issues cost $50 each, $100 total. One error I had made was detected after mass production started. The cost to remove the errored card and reprint the correct version to be added to each game was $200.
Pallet Costs, $100: Although I calculated shipping costs from the manufacturer to myself, I did not account for the cost to have the printer place the games on pallets. They charged $50 per pallet (costing $100 for 2 pallets).
Cost to reship a second case of games to Ideaspatcher for EU fulfillment, $133: I had some issues with French customs (read post #2 about my experience with EU fulfillment) and had to send one of the cases to France a second time.
Adjustments in costs for freight forwarding, ~$500: When I was originally quoted for freight fulfillment, I was aware that this cost was not set in stone. The time of year and the size of the shipment affect the costs to ship. The estimated weights that I sent the freight forwarder ended up being lower than the actual size and weights of the pallets and this ended up changing the final costs of freight forwarder by about $500.
Unexpected Costs Total: ~ $1,300
The total amount I received from the Kickstarter after the KS and Stripe fees and dropped pledges ended up being $12,978.45. So the costs I ended up incurring unexpectedly ended up being about 10% of my take home from the campaign. 10% is typically what is recommended to add in as a buffer and I am glad that I took this advice as I was able to handle these costs without issue. I hope this serves as a warning to everyone considering running a campaign just how important it is to know your costs and always include an additional buffer for costs when you are calculating your final goals for your campaigns.
As always, I hope this has been helpful to you. Thank you for checking the post out and I appreciate any comments or suggestions you have as well as recommendations for future posts.
PS Another unexpected cost disclaimer that I was lucky enough to avoid by about a week was the increase in USPS shipping costs. Everyone who planned their campaigns towards the end of 2015 had used the costs for shipping at the time to calculate their costs. However, in mid-January, the post office dramatically increased their prices (almost a dollar per package for flat rate packaging and the most dramatic increases on first class). I shipped all of my packages about 1 week prior to the increase in prices but had I waited another week, I probably would have spent an additional $500 or more in shipping costs. This would have been a complete surprise to me and may have seriously hurt my chances on being able to move forward on my future games. Luckily, I missed this price increase by a week but I feel bad for my colleagues who were unexpectedly hit by these increases.
There were a lot of other additional costs I incurred, such as the fact that I ordered more games than I originally planned on. Although it is always great ordering more than you originally plan to, you still have to pay for all of the excess stock you are ordering.