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Larger orders, smaller numbers

Here's how we can help you start production.

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As you probably know, ol' SparkFun started as a place for engineers, students and hobbyists to find products in small quantities for their electrical engineering projects. Before SparkFun, many items were only available in large quantities from the manufacturer, and when the average tinkerer only needed one or two, they ran into an issue. We would buy a good chunk of them, offer them in the convenient quantity of one or two and... BAM – we had a business!

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Look at all that sweet, sweet inventory.

But what happens when that tinkerer has a breakthrough, and decides to put the gears into motion for their first run of larger production? What do you do when you need a reel of LEDs or 500 Arduino Pro Minis to get the ball rolling? What happens when you are ready to take the next step? You call me!

For a long time we have operated with smaller quantities in mind for our customers. Although each product page has price breaks for up to 100 units, we never really advertised that we can and do offer larger-quantity discounts for most of our products. I'm here today to tell you that we can also easily help you with better pricing and scheduling for your larger-scale needs. Whether it's a SparkFun-built board or a third-party product we sell in the web store, I can get you a better discount and an accurate lead time to help get your idea built and into people's hands.

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This is Gordon, and he approves this message.

If you need 150 units or more, please check out our Volume Sales info page, send us an email or call me at 303-284-0979 to get the conversation started. If this is something you think you might need in the future, you can always find the Volume Sales info page at the very bottom left of the SparkFun site in the Programs section:

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I would love to hear from you!

Comments 7 comments

  • This is an interesting article. So far I have not needed lots of anything, but I need many of few. I have purchased complete sets as I hate not having little components. I have Sparkfun's capacitor and resister sets. From others-lines suppliers I have complete sets of ICs, transistors, even more capacitor and resisters sets, and sets of various LEDs. So I would say that sets of items with an organizer and labels which I have purchased are more what folks might want. Thanks for the nice article.

  • I suggest you go read DigiKey's history (you'll need to click on the "Company History" tab). They, too, started by supplying parts to hobbyists, and have evolved into one of the largest parts suppliers in the world (currently #7 worldwide). But they still welcome orders of 1 or 2, though admittedly, on some things, it can actually cost less to buy 10 than to buy just 1. (OK, there are some things, like 1/4W resistors, that have a minimum quantity of 5 or 10, but those are still only a few cents for the package.)

    I very much wish SparkFun luck on following DigiKey's lead; just NEVER FORGET the customers who gave you your start. (I've seen many companies abandon their original customer base. It's very frustrating for the "little guy".)

    I've been a DigiKey customer since about 1973, and can only think of three times I've contacted their "customer service", and one of those was to praise their packing on a box that literally had been through a train wreck with none of the electronics having been damaged. They were quick and cheerful about correcting the problems.

    I haven't yet had occasion to order a hundred or more of a single item from SparkFun, but it's nice to know I can. (It's been my experience that companies like Arrow really don't want to talk to someone who isn't likely to order less than $1000/year or so.)

    • Just for kicks I started poking around and came across their "New Products" page.

      Found this little gem right at the top: http://www.digikey.com/en/product-highlight/s/sparkfun/mooshimeter-the-smartphone-multimeter

      • There are some "professional" electronics folks (for some value of "professional") who don't go to SparkFun.com, but do visit DigiKey's web site. Some of them may find it a handy device. And even if DigiKey actually sells them, I believe that they represent some revenue to SparkFun.

        • I should add that there are "managers" who view SparkFun (and others) as being places that (WRONGLY) can't possibly supply goods of high enough quality to allow orders from their companies, but they won't bat an eyelash at approving an order to DigiKey.

          • As the old saying goes "No one has ever been fired for buying IBM"

          • I'd believe it. Thankfully I've never worked at such a place. (I've even gotten them all to purchase goods through SparkFun, although it took a while to find valid enough excuses to get it through. :-P )

            I guess what I was getting after in the first place was that Digi-Key, for as big as they are, thinks SparkFun's stuff is pretty cool and even carries quite the arrangement of their products. The reciprocal relationship between them is neat to see.

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