Idea Submission Companies are everywhere. You see them on late night TV. They advertise on the radio. And they’re all over the Internet. But should you use one? Are they any good?
One concise fellow at Askville.com couldn’t have said it better. He said:
“No. There are about fifty times more ideas floating out there than there are practical, safe, economical ideas, or customers for them.
“The ‘invention’ companies you hear advertising on the radio and tee-vee are ALL scams. They will gush over your idea, say it has great potential, all you have to do is hand them $1,000, $5,000, $30,000 so they can properly get your idea into the hands of industry. For your money, they *might* mail off a letter to GE, which will go into the trash or put up a postage-stamp sized picture of your idea on a website nobody looks at..
“If you want to pursue your idea, first do some market research. Use google and lookup what similar items are on the market. Ask random people ‘Would you pay $xx.xx for this thingy?” Also look your idea over from all angles. Is it something that fills a real need? Is it a very minor improvement over an existing product? Can it be manufactured in quantity and at a reasonable price? Can it be sold for say 4 times what it costs to make? Is it safe and legal? Is there an existing patent for a very similar device? You can do all these things yourself without paying anybody a dime.”
(You can see the original post here at Askville.com)
Great post, and very, very true — idea submission companies are scams. And being ever vigilant in my position against idea submission companies, I go through their sites and read client success stories. It’s interesting to me.
Their actual stats
Recently, I came across a statistic at the bottom of the glowing ‘Client Stories‘ page at InventHelp.com. Now, to their credit — or more likely due to pressure from the Federal Trade Commission,which keeps a close eye on television advertisers — InventHelp.com does state the following at the bottom of their client success story page:
“The above results are not typical as most client inventions are not licensed, manufactured, sold in stores and do not appear in infomercials or on television shopping networks.
“From 2010-2012, we signed Submission Agreements with 4671 clients. As a result of our services, 141 clients have received license agreements for their products, and 22 clients have received more money than they paid us for these services.”
Wow! Only 22 inventors made more money than they paid InventHelp.com? That means that 4,649 people did not profit a single dime from going to the company for help, which is a .47% success rate. If the InventHelp.com processes were a medical treatment, they would be banned.
There’s the larger and most important point to all of this — these inventors are paying crazy money to InventHelp.com. Unsuspecting inventors are paying up to $11,845 (and that doesn’t even cover patent costs) to InventHelp, for example, to market their inventions.
(How do I know the amounts? Because I recently visited my local InventHelp office and presented one of my prototypes, and that’s the kind of money they quoted me. But that’s the subject of another post.)
What to do instead
The formula is simple. It’s not even hard to do if you make it a priority to schedule it into your day:
- Get an idea.
- Do your homework to see if it is marketable.
- Build a prototype or working model of the thing.
- Test it and adjust.
- Find out what company or companies could best distribute the thing.
- Call or email them (the ‘new product’ or ‘product development department’ of the company) and arrange a meeting .
- Arrive and pitch your product. CLEARLY explain the problem it solves and who would want the thing.
- Repeat until you get a deal.
- If all else fails, get another idea and repeat.
No amount of money spent on idea submission companies will increase your chances of making a deal. And if you do it yourself you’ll save a lot of money. Besides, who is more enthusiastic about your product than you? Who better to present your product than you?