Now to the good stuff. If you live in the west, your best bet for finding the most cost-effective manufacturer is in China or Eastern Europe. Western companies often don’t have the range of service, willingness and cheap labor China and Eastern Europe does. Manufacturing is so much cheaper in the east that your costs will be lower even after shipping your goods across the world. There are a lot of subpar companies offering their services especially in China, so you have to make sure to pick a good one.

CRITICAL Get samples until you are satisfied

The way to do manufacturing is to send your source files to the factory and request a sample, that is indicative of the final product. The samples you receive might not look like exactly what you wanted and the company might assure you that it will be fixed in mass production. Do not let yourself be persuaded of this. People have been burned by such claims. Send clear instructions on what you want to be fixed and do not let mass production begin until the samples you get back from the company are exactly what you are after.

Order more items than you need

Firstly, about 5% of items will be damaged during shipping or manufacturing (due to no fault of your backers). Those should be replaced free of charge.

Secondly, after fulfillment is done and friends of backers see your product, they might want one for themselves. The unit price of manufacture is always cheaper the more you order and it makes more sense to order more in your first manufacturing run (further driving down the cost even for the units bound for your direct backers), than to order a second, way smaller run. Especially, since factories usually have minimum order quantities and you might not reach that with a second, smaller run.

For board games, a general recommendation is to order 50% more (the 5% for damaged units included) that it is needed to fulfill your project. It depends on how successful your campaign is and how much promotion and advertisement you do for the game post-Kickstarter. Since you get money for only the units ordered by your backers, the rest would have to be paid for from your pocket or the profit of the Kickstarter units.

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