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mbohu

I tolerate 100% down and 3-4 month long order times because

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OK. This might ruffle some feathers, but: Am I the only one who finds it unusual that in this industry it is common to ask for 100% of the purchase price down and then have production times that often exceed 3-4 months (or more! Basically an entire season)...not just on canopies and rigs but also on suits.

I do love the companies that make our gear and anyone I've either met in person or seen on videos who is in the industry seems awesome, and driven by a true love for the sport and to support it in so many ways, but I still can't quite understand that this is (or has become) the standard in this industry.
I understand that it started out with small companies or individuals just making stuff themselves and not having more capacity, but many companies now are larger (or could be if they have so many orders that it takes so long to fill them)

...and if you take 100% of the money up front there really isn't any incentive to complete the orders quicker--as a matter of cash-flow management you would have to put your attention more on getting new orders in. If it was standard to have a 50% down on order and 50% before final shipment, there would be more incentive to finish existing orders.

Anyway: Just wondering if I'm the only one who is surprised at this, and has never experienced it in any other industry before.



Again: I have no beef with these awesome companies, but it seems to me that we let a strange kind of habit become the standard here...unless I'm missing something.

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I dont know why it takes manufacturers so long to make products that can realistically be made in a few days. However, I would give the universal answer as to why any company anywhere in any industry is allowed to get away with anything--because consumers are willing to put up with it. If skydivers outright refused to buy rigs that took longer than three weeks to made, you can bet your ass every manufacturer would be turning rigs out in under three weeks.

I have heard the answer that it takes so long to make this stuff because it's custom and it's a niche market. I call BS on that. There are hundreds of niche sports and activities out there that requires custom gear. I participate in a few of them. Yet manufacturers in those industries can get your gear out in a reasonable amount of time. I am not aware of any other industry that takes so long to make something that can be made in a small fraction of the time we actually spend waiting for the gear.

So my best answer to your question would be that because you are willing to put up with it. Dont buy from companies that are slow and if enough people do the same then those companies wont be around anymore.

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Yea, and why do we have to wait to get on loads? You put money on account and the have to wait. These DZO's are raking it in. You would think they would get more aircraft so when I happen to show up on a nice day I wouldn't have to wait.
Replying to: Re: Stall On Jump Run Emergency Procedure? by billvon

If the plane is unrecoverable then exiting is a very very good idea.

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benlangfeld

I paid for my rig in three equal instalments during the 3 month waiting period. It’s just about to be delivered soon.

I pay for my suits in two installments, top and tail of the order, and they take about 4-6 weeks.

Is this the norm?



No, Brazil is weird, in the US and everywhere I've been in Europe, the payment plan thing that Brazil has doesn't exist. The alternatives here are credit cards, or "personal loans" from banks.

There are some 50% payment first, then 50% after completion, but that is usually for services (carpentry, painting, moving, etc) or where materials are very expensive and the first 50% covers materials etc.

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I’m referring to ChutingStar, not anything specific to Brazil. I asked Laura “can we space payments rather than all up front?” and she said “sure!”.

My suits are from a local vendor, but I just asked informally to do 50% up-front and 50% on delivery and got the same answer. Again, nothing to do with Brazil’s custom of payment plans on credit cards.

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I dont know why it takes manufacturers so long to make products that can realistically be made in a few days.



As a dealer for one Mfg, I ask for 50% down and full payment on delivery. I thought that was standard in the industry? That allows me to put the rig on the customer and make sure they are truly happy with the product before I ask for payment in full.
=========Shaun ==========


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I can't speak for jumpsuits, etc. But if we're talking about rigs and canopies, pretty sure there is extensive testing, R & D and quality control, not to mention certification that goes into building these life-saving products. That could be why the lead times are the way they are.

FWIW, I just ordered all new equipment and waited about 12 weeks and paid WAY less than a 50% deposit for everything.

Blue Skies.
PULL!! or DIE!!

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Westerly

I dont know why it takes manufacturers so long to make products that can realistically be made in a few days. However, I would give the universal answer as to why any company anywhere in any industry is allowed to get away with anything--because consumers are willing to put up with it. If skydivers outright refused to buy rigs that took longer than three weeks to made, you can bet your ass every manufacturer would be turning rigs out in under three weeks.

I have heard the answer that it takes so long to make this stuff because it's custom and it's a niche market. I call BS on that. There are hundreds of niche sports and activities out there that requires custom gear. I participate in a few of them. Yet manufacturers in those industries can get your gear out in a reasonable amount of time. I am not aware of any other industry that takes so long to make something that can be made in a small fraction of the time we actually spend waiting for the gear.

So my best answer to your question would be that because you are willing to put up with it. Dont buy from companies that are slow and if enough people do the same then those companies wont be around anymore.



A dealer friend explained to me that manufacturers have slots. They figure so much time to build rigs and allocate those amounts. Retailers can buy slots for a premium and get their rigs quicker, so you're not waiting for your rig to be finished, but to be started.

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so you're not waiting for your rig to be finished, but to be started.



That was my impression too. That's why I asked the question. I recently tried to get an R/W suit from one company and they listed it as 19 weeks(!). I got a similar suit from another company completed and shipped in less than 10 days, so I knew it wasn't about taking so long to actually get them finished.

I'm also getting the feeling that maybe I should negotiate a bit more, because all the websites I go to (including Chutingstar, etc.) seem to ask for 100% payment to get the order STARTED (meaning you won't get into the queue without that payment) but looks like many of you do not pay 100% down.

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Don’t order big ticket items directly from the site. If it’s ChutingStar, call and talk to Laura, she’s awesome and will hook you up. She had the patience to sit with me for a full 3 hours and go through every little detail until my order was perfect; I not only made a purchase but learned a lot.

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mbohu

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so you're not waiting for your rig to be finished, but to be started.



That was my impression too. That's why I asked the question. I recently tried to get an R/W suit from one company and they listed it as 19 weeks(!). I got a similar suit from another company completed and shipped in less than 10 days, so I knew it wasn't about taking so long to actually get them finished.

I'm also getting the feeling that maybe I should negotiate a bit more, because all the websites I go to (including Chutingstar, etc.) seem to ask for 100% payment to get the order STARTED (meaning you won't get into the queue without that payment) but looks like many of you do not pay 100% down.



When I ordered my last jump suit they gave me a couple of months. Then I thought about it and called back and told them I'd pay the extra $40. I had it in two weeks and I figure some poor bastard who didn't pay the $40 had to wait an extra two weeks on top of everything else.

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DBCOOPER

Yea, and why do we have to wait to get on loads? You put money on account and the have to wait. These DZO's are raking it in. You would think they would get more aircraft so when I happen to show up on a nice day I wouldn't have to wait.

I dont have to wait that long at most of the DZs I've jumped at. Occasionally I have to wait, but more times there have been empty seats in the airplane and less occasionally the load never even went up because they couldent find enough people to fill it.

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Skydiving gear sales is kind of out of sync with other services that are common these days. You can customize an iphone and get charged when it ships and the same goes with laptops and many electronics. Part of this is ordering direct from apple or samsung. There is no real middle man. I would rather see more direct sales from manufacturers and less reliance on sales through shops. Sales through shops is good for newer people who need the help but experienced skydivers can usually pick the gear out and do their customizations without the need to worry about a middle man.

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OK, so firstly, NO Boobie option in the poll: FAIL!

All kidding aside, I have ZERO problem paying up front for CUSTOM shit. You are hopefully making an informed decision on whom to buy from and don't mind the wait for something that is tailored for YOU! I've bought three NEW wing suits, one NEW custom PD canopy(because custom colors are important!) and just bought my first NEW jump suit, www.KuaSky.com

This is the type of sport that really beckons you to find equipment that fits like a glove, because you know, your ass is riding on it...

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All kidding aside, I have ZERO problem paying up front for CUSTOM shit.



But remember there are also those companies which fall apart between the time you order and the time you're supposed to get your stuff.

Skysystems comes to mind, with the C6 Air and screwing other customers in general too.

I got a good deal on a custom freefly jumpsuit from one company, ordered in winter, but it didn't show up until the end of the season. By the next season, the company was out of business. I got lucky.

Or some long time jumpsuit company starts to fade away because the driving force in the company has health issues, not because of problems managing the company in normal circumstances.

Or one time a very well respected rigger got some good contract in his other job that took him away from rigging and left customers in the lurch and mostly out of contact for months, wondering where their line sets were.

Stuff happens.

Certainly, the biggest companies are more resistant to that sort of thing.

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Westerly

...............I have heard the answer that it takes so long to make this stuff because it's custom and it's a niche market. I call BS on that. There are hundreds of niche sports and activities out there that requires custom gear. I participate in a few of them. Yet manufacturers in those industries can get your gear out in a reasonable amount of time. I am not aware of any other industry that takes so long to make something that can be made in a small fraction of the time we actually spend waiting for the gear .........



——————————————————————————————-

..... having worked in 3 different parachute factories and done a bit of ‘boutique’ manufacturing myself ..... may I offer some insight?
Skydiving is a niche market and it is based on custom production of uniquely-coloured and sized, certified components. Ergo, manufacturers offer a bewildering array of options.
I often thought that best way to simplify the order process would be to start with a default list of options: narrow main risers, dive-loops, brightly-coloured Velcro-less toggles, mini 3 Rings, brightly-coloured cutaway handle, steel reserve ripcord handle, RSL, Cypres pockets, BOC, thread through leg straps, medium width leg pads, loops to attach free-fly bungees, etc. all based upon last year’s production.
Sizing prediction is more complex when you try to match different canopy pack volumes to different harness-sizes.
Add in custom colours and there is little incentive to pre-cut fabric.
Compair this to the personal computer industry which sells huge volumes of stock parts. Manufacturers of “custom computers” can afford to stock thousands of the most popular components and merely bolt them together at the last minute.

As for retailers pre-paying for production slots ..... That can dramatically reduce wait times for customers. Up until the cut-date, they can add or delete options. If the retailer has not specified options before the cut-date, they risk getting stuck with only two options. They might receive the ugly-coloured, oddly-sized rig left over from last year, or they might receive a medium-volume, basic black rig with a medium-sized harness.

From time-to-time, manufacturers offer discounts on semi-stock rigs. They pre-build a stack of basic black containers in a few of the most popular sizes. The only colour option might be the mid flap .... that is traditionally sewn on last. They sew harnesses 3/4 of the way and wait until the customer specifies length and width before sewing the hip junction.

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You can customize an iphone and get charged when it ships and the same goes with laptops and many electronics



The market for iPhones is basically the entire population of the developed world, plus a growing proportion of the developing world. So if you decide you don't want that "customized" iphone and don't pay for it, chances are pretty solid that another one of the millions of humans in the world will want the same configuration, so Apple won't lose the $45 they have sunk in the phone - they just sell it to the next guy.

The market for skydiving equipment is extraordinarily small by comparison, and the equipment is highly customized. If you flake out or get injured and can't complete your purchase, the small companies relying on the revenue (some of those companies are truly tiny: you could count their employees on the fingers on a single hand) are still responsible for your turquoise/orange/brown monstrosity with custom monograms and left-side throw-out, built for a guy who's 5'2" and 250 pounds, jumping a VK79.

See the difference?

There's just no reasonable comparison.

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DBCOOPER

Yea, and why do we have to wait to get on loads? You put money on account and the have to wait. These DZO's are raking it in. You would think they would get more aircraft so when I happen to show up on a nice day I wouldn't have to wait.



That reminds me of the time my DZ organised an event in which jump tickets (up to 6K ft) were only ten euros. Pay as you go, no club membership required.

At least one visiting jumper was complaining that we didn't hire a larger aircraft, since we should have foreseen that it would be a busy day.
"That formation-stuff in freefall is just fun and games but with an open parachute it's starting to sound like, you know, an extreme sport."
~mom

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betzilla

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You can customize an iphone and get charged when it ships and the same goes with laptops and many electronics





The market for skydiving equipment is extraordinarily small by comparison, and the equipment is highly customized. If you flake out or get injured and can't complete your purchase, the small companies relying on the revenue (some of those companies are truly tiny: you could count their employees on the fingers on a single hand) are still responsible for your turquoise/orange/brown monstrosity with custom monograms and left-side throw-out, built for a guy who's 5'2" and 250 pounds, jumping a VK79.

See the difference?

There's just no reasonable comparison.

You speak like skydiving is the only sport that involves customized gear. There are dozens of industries that are easily just as custom and specific as skydiving gear, if not even more specialized, yet it doesn't take those manufacturers a half year to make something that can realistically be made in three days. I'm not buying it. But in the end manufacturers will get away with what they can get away with. If you dont like it, dont buy from them. That's what I did. I was about to put down an order for a new Vector until I saw the wait was basically until the end of time. So they lost my business and I'll be buying from someone who can turn over a rig faster.

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From what I can see major canopy and H/C builders do not require any down payment at all. They work with a network of dealers who are expected to take delivery of the items they order and to pay the invoices as they are presented. It is the dealers who decide what level of deposit and payment schedule you need to make. That's why so many people here post about different experiences they have had.

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