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How Do You Estimate the Cost of a Prototype in Your Product Development?

Ever heard of PCE with its full meaning as Price Cost Estimation? It is a project management term that means forecasting the cost and other resources needed to complete a project within a defined scope. And usually, it involves taking direct costs, indirect costs, and other factors into account, and calculating a budget that meets the financial commitment necessary for a successful project.

Thus, when you are looking at taking on your new product development, you have to factor it in., especially for the prototyping and design stages. This helps you prepare adequately with the capital on-hand for these stages.

So, how do you go about cost estimation when creating your prototypes? We have curated a few things to note at this phase of your product development. Hence, make sure you read till the end.

How Do You Estimate The Cost Of a Prototype?

When you reach out to a professional service like ours to estimate the cost of your prototypes, there are a few stages we run the product through. This would help us get a definite response and a well-made estimation for your business before we set out to create the model for your invention.

Here are the key stages of the prototype cost estimation:

  • The Get-together Stage

At this stage, our engineers, designers, and product prototyping experts get together to discuss how the prototype is going to be built. This is the initial stage because it sets the course of action for the other steps in this process. It determines the step-by-step guide on how to navigate creating the prototype.

Thus, the decisions finally made at these brainstorming sessions would largely determine the price of the prototype building. Why? Because it fixes the time frame, kinds of materials as well as expertise needed to pull off the prototyping.

And depending on the complexity of the project and product we are dealing with, these three aspects of the prototyping can differ in price.

  • Material Costing Stage

The second stage is to find out the cost of the materials it would take to create the prototype. This is where the bill of quantities, which includes all the needed supplies, would be used to find out how much each needed raw material costs.

Further, engineers usually look for inexpensive materials which are still functional to create the product prototype. However, it all still boils down to the forces of market prices to jerk up or mitigate the costs.

  • Labor Valuation

You have to realize that it is not the same set of team or labor that would be required to work on all forms of prototypes. Each product is unique. And thus, we approach them with a special perspective that helps us take the best course of action on each project.

A major consideration on each product prototype is who works on what. That is, what form of expertise is required to carry out the creation of the prototype? Once that has been sorted and ascertained, then the amount it costs to secure this labor is calculated.

The labor involved in this phase would work to produce all the parts, assemble the prototype, and make sure it works.

  • Risks Estimation

Next, we estimate the risks associated with the development of a new product prototype. Some of these risks are the design modifications that might occur when the model is created.

Cases like materials scrap also count as risks. And they would undoubtedly affect the overall costs of the procedure. Thus, creating an estimation for this risk is important.

  • Profit

Lastly, we include our profit for creating the prototype for you in the cost estimations. Only after this do we send the bill to our clients and customers.

Get a Ballpark Cost Estimate for Your Prototype

If you want to get a rough estimate on how much it may cost to make a prototype of your product idea, use our Prototype Cost Calculator. By answering a few questions about your product you will get an approximate price range for making a prototype of your product. 

Hottest Questions about How Do You Estimate the Cost of a Prototype?

Check out the most asked questions about how you estimate the cost of a prototype.

• How much should a prototype cost?

On average, prototyping can be done between $3,000-$10,000. The cost usually depends on the iterations that go into the product prototype. And that is often a function of the complexity of the product at hand. It is a worthy investment because, if well utilized, it can generate multiples of the cost in funding for the invention. Investors are typically more convinced with a proof-of-concept prototype before they hand you a check.

• What are the three main methods of cost estimating?

Cost estimation helps you prepare adequately financially for developing a new product. And the three main ways to go about it include the Expert Judgement Method, Analogous Estimating Method. and Parametric Estimating Method.

• How can we estimate costs in a project?

To do this, you make a compilation of all the iterations and materials needed. After this, you allocate the resources to the tasks. Then you estimate the length of time of each task and calculate the project cost based on this timeline.


As seen above, when planning to develop a new product, it is important to estimate the cost. And you can do this best by reaching out to a professional. This would help you to make more informed decisions that would benefit your business in the long term.


LA NPDT is an always-ready company tilted towards assisting you to turn your product ideas into reality. We have a set of expert teams that are on edge to give you all you need regarding your project’s development, from inspiration to profit.

At LA NPDT, you could benefit from some of our expertise, such as building prototypes, CAD models and PCB circuits, and more. Message us today through lanpdt.com or call directly at 318-243-5789.

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