Regardless of where you live or what industry in which you work, you are sure to find agents who are both reputable and less reputable as is the case with a variety of professionals. These individuals often serve to assist inventors as they move through the manufacturing stages of the invention process. However, before you decide to hire an agent for your invention process, let’s take a moment to define what an agent does and the potential costs as well as things to consider prior to hiring an agent.
An agent is an individual who specialises in consulting with clients and liaising with a selected few manufacturing companies. Because of their relationships with manufacturers, agents often serve as the middleman in helping inventors throughout the manufacturing process. In other words, they help to make sense of the manufacturing steps to better facilitate production of the product.
Normally, agents charge inventors based on a percentage of each part made. In some cases, this number may be as high as 10%. Please be aware that this is a percentage of the cost of buying the part from the manufacturer and is not your sale price.
Because, in most cases, inventors are not familiar with the manufacturing and production processes, they often opt for additional guidance to better facilitate communication between the manufacturer to ensure that their idea or invention is understood in terms of form, fit and function. This guidance often comes in the form of an agent whose expertise in the field usually streamlines the process and communication. Essentially, the agent is there to break the language barrier by further elaborating and explaining the manufacturer’s needs while, in turn, having thorough knowledge of those needs and wants as initially required communicated by the manufacturer.
To be successful in hiring an agent for your needs, look for an agent who has experience as an engineer and understands all of the manufacturing methods. Consider how the agent communicates during your initial contact. Also, take into account the following:
An agent is meant to reduce the stress of the manufacturing process. Because of this, take your time in selecting an agent. Be cautious of all contracts that you sign throughout the process. Remember that the manufacturers are usually the agent’s contacts and most likely have a mutual loyalty agreement. Ensure that you choose an agent and, if possible, add a clause to the contract that should work with the agent end, you are free to use his manufacturing companies without penalty.