Author Topic: Finding a GH/Signature Plastic Representative  (Read 43286 times)

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Offline livingspeedbump

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Re: Finding a GH/Signature Plastic Representative
« Reply #100 on: Tue, 02 February 2016, 15:32:18 »
So here are price estimates for SA Dasher. According to livingspeedbump, when you account for MassDrop's discount and markup, you end up with a price that is not much different from the raw quote below. If SA Dasher/Dancer manages to get on MassDrop, I have an idea of how to possibly bring the price down a little bit.

Kit25 sets50 sets100 sets
TKL$118$90$76
NUMPAD$38$26$19

I find it interesting that there is a bigger price break between 25 and 50 than between 50 and 100.

True but this implies the group buy leader takes NO pay for considerable work as opposed to 10% royalty Massdrop would give you.

As others have said who would ever WANT this job.


Yeah, thats about where I'm at now. Why would anyone want to do this? All that being said, Nantucket Selectric, for example, really isn't priced bad at all. Maybe a few bucks more than a MD set, but not by much. Seem like this really isn't all that big of a deal. Business is business for SP, which is very understandable. And as far as forum GB's go, I surely dont see the pricing alone killing them off by any means.

Agreed. I'm also thinking that the net cost to Massdrop is less, but that's for them to build in their profit for the sale. In other words, the customer doesn't see the cost difference, or at least very little of it. I'm OK with that, because they are a business, but I wonder if this isn't simply an example of us overthinking the "problem".

Perhaps it's not that self-run Group Buys will be that much more expensive to the consumer as much as we're more aware of potential cost savings that build it profit for companies that are large enough to take advantage of it.

And im honestly ok with that. Even without the official statement, I simply assumed there was a good discount for guys like MD that were moving huge numbers of units. I really dont think it is as huge of a deal as it was made to seem like in some instances. I mean, it would be silly of us to think we get the same pricing on GMK sets as come companies that order huge bulk quantities of their caps.
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Offline hashbaz

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Re: Finding a GH/Signature Plastic Representative
« Reply #101 on: Tue, 02 February 2016, 16:12:19 »
The big deal was the price increase on our end for SA sets. The (ultimately unfounded) assumption was that SP was artificially raising prices for community-run buys in order to corral us into using Massdrop. Which, sure, is their prerogative as a business entity, but nonetheless would have been a **** move. The extra discounts that Massdrop apparently gets shouldn't in themselves be upsetting (and in fact are great news for the community since we are ultimately their customers).

Online zslane

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Re: Finding a GH/Signature Plastic Representative
« Reply #102 on: Wed, 03 February 2016, 14:58:10 »
The big deal was the price increase on our end for SA sets. The (ultimately unfounded) assumption was that SP was artificially raising prices for community-run buys in order to corral us into using Massdrop.

And while the price increase itself was disturbing to group buy organizers here, it was that unfounded assumption that was disturbing to me. That assumption, without a shred of evidence to support it, painted SP in the worst possible light. Of all the assumptions to adopt and conclusions to leap to, it was astonishing to me that so many folks would choose that one. I mean, there must have been an awful lot of pent up resentment just waiting for an event like this to tip it over into full-on revolt. How did we get to that point? How did a collaborative relationship, characterized here and in other threads as beneficial to everyone, sour so severely?

I have a sneaking suspicion that MassDrop's rapid growth and increasing dominance in keycap group buys has a lot to do with it.

Offline Waateva

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Re: Finding a GH/Signature Plastic Representative
« Reply #103 on: Wed, 03 February 2016, 15:08:52 »
I would be more than willing to donate my time to help set up whatever entity if required as well as answer as many questions as I can in regards to the tax ramifications that may happen as a result of this.  I am in charge of setting up LLCs, S-Corps, C-Corps, and other tax entities at my accounting firm and I also prepare personal and business taxes year-round so I could give estimates as to what the tax consequences of doing something like this would be, but with the sheer volume of cash coming in and going out there are going to be some requirements like P&Ls, balance sheets, and also possible State complications depending on the State.  I know here in Michigan, if you have receipts over $250,000 you need to file a MBT (Michigan Business Tax) return which really should be pretty much a wash, but from personal experience pass-through entities like this would probably be never end up with no profit.
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Offline Melvang

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Re: Finding a GH/Signature Plastic Representative
« Reply #104 on: Wed, 03 February 2016, 15:20:21 »
I would be more than willing to donate my time to help set up whatever entity if required as well as answer as many questions as I can in regards to the tax ramifications that may happen as a result of this.  I am in charge of setting up LLCs, S-Corps, C-Corps, and other tax entities at my accounting firm and I also prepare personal and business taxes year-round so I could give estimates as to what the tax consequences of doing something like this would be, but with the sheer volume of cash coming in and going out there are going to be some requirements like P&Ls, balance sheets, and also possible State complications depending on the State.  I know here in Michigan, if you have receipts over $250,000 you need to file a MBT (Michigan Business Tax) return which really should be pretty much a wash, but from personal experience pass-through entities like this would probably be never end up with no profit.

Speaking of this.  How would it work tax wise if we had a GH LLC and all business was conducted through PMK so technically, the only money coming in would be tr 5% commission?  I would assume the LLC would have to pay business income tax on that.  But this could also be used to fund legends, keep the site running, etc.
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Offline hashbaz

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Re: Finding a GH/Signature Plastic Representative
« Reply #105 on: Wed, 03 February 2016, 17:45:22 »
And while the price increase itself was disturbing to group buy organizers here, it was that unfounded assumption that was disturbing to me. That assumption, without a shred of evidence to support it, painted SP in the worst possible light. Of all the assumptions to adopt and conclusions to leap to, it was astonishing to me that so many folks would choose that one. I mean, there must have been an awful lot of pent up resentment just waiting for an event like this to tip it over into full-on revolt. How did we get to that point? How did a collaborative relationship, characterized here and in other threads as beneficial to everyone, sour so severely?

I have a sneaking suspicion that MassDrop's rapid growth and increasing dominance in keycap group buys has a lot to do with it.

You're overthinking it. The combination of massive price increase for us with the revelation that Massdrop gets discounts that we weren't aware of before (despite having asked) lead pretty easily to the conclusion that people jumped to. Also, SP and the forum have always had a love/hate relationship. We've wanted other manufacturers for a long time.

Offline Waateva

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Re: Finding a GH/Signature Plastic Representative
« Reply #106 on: Wed, 03 February 2016, 18:05:22 »
I would be more than willing to donate my time to help set up whatever entity if required as well as answer as many questions as I can in regards to the tax ramifications that may happen as a result of this.  I am in charge of setting up LLCs, S-Corps, C-Corps, and other tax entities at my accounting firm and I also prepare personal and business taxes year-round so I could give estimates as to what the tax consequences of doing something like this would be, but with the sheer volume of cash coming in and going out there are going to be some requirements like P&Ls, balance sheets, and also possible State complications depending on the State.  I know here in Michigan, if you have receipts over $250,000 you need to file a MBT (Michigan Business Tax) return which really should be pretty much a wash, but from personal experience pass-through entities like this would probably be never end up with no profit.

Speaking of this.  How would it work tax wise if we had a GH LLC and all business was conducted through PMK so technically, the only money coming in would be tr 5% commission?  I would assume the LLC would have to pay business income tax on that.  But this could also be used to fund legends, keep the site running, etc.

LLCs are not Federally recognized tax entities, so the individual in charge of the LLC would have to file a Schedule C (Small business return) with their personal income tax and then pay Federal income tax as well as self-employment tax on any profit along with State tax if the LLC and representative are formed/reside in a State that has income tax.  Now, the 5% commissions wouldn't be a big problem as long as there are expenses to bring the profit down as much as possible, but if there are a lot of GBs run through this entity even the 5% would add up and could result in a pretty decent tax increase for the person filing the Schedule C, especially if they are single and not married.

It seems like a lot of the people here on Geekhack are at doing at least okay financially, so if we have a single person making even $50-60k take charge of this entity and show a profit of around $3k-4k, they are going to look at a tax hit of $1200 to $1600 just in Federal income taxes, and then if there are State taxes there would probably be another $200ish depending on the State tax rate.  Now ideally, there would be next to nothing for profit especially if this is somewhat of a pass-through entity, but I have never seen a pass-through entity break even from year to year so we would want to assume a worst case scenario.
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Online zslane

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Re: Finding a GH/Signature Plastic Representative
« Reply #107 on: Wed, 03 February 2016, 18:12:08 »
And while the price increase itself was disturbing to group buy organizers here, it was that unfounded assumption that was disturbing to me. That assumption, without a shred of evidence to support it, painted SP in the worst possible light. Of all the assumptions to adopt and conclusions to leap to, it was astonishing to me that so many folks would choose that one. I mean, there must have been an awful lot of pent up resentment just waiting for an event like this to tip it over into full-on revolt. How did we get to that point? How did a collaborative relationship, characterized here and in other threads as beneficial to everyone, sour so severely?

I have a sneaking suspicion that MassDrop's rapid growth and increasing dominance in keycap group buys has a lot to do with it.

You're overthinking it. The combination of massive price increase for us with the revelation that Massdrop gets discounts that we weren't aware of before (despite having asked) lead pretty easily to the conclusion that people jumped to. Also, SP and the forum have always had a love/hate relationship. We've wanted other manufacturers for a long time.

I guess overthinking it is one way of putting it. On the other hand, there were multiple ways to interpret the events/facts as they were known at the time. The most popular interpretation seemed to be the one which cast SP as some sort of evil corporate monster conspiring to screw over a community it has historically worked with quite amicably. That was illuminating to me, and not for what it said about SP or their perceived lack of transparency.

I just wonder if there needs to be some clearing of the air between the leaders of this community and SP. I am skeptical that Bob's explanation satisfied anyone who felt so thoroughly burned by the new prices and/or MassDrop's wholesale distributor status. My gut tells me there is still a considerable degree of festering resentment over what we might call the new norm.

Offline hashbaz

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Re: Finding a GH/Signature Plastic Representative
« Reply #108 on: Wed, 03 February 2016, 18:13:33 »
Over
Thinking

Pitchforks is what we do around here.

Offline livingspeedbump

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Re: Finding a GH/Signature Plastic Representative
« Reply #109 on: Thu, 04 February 2016, 10:30:41 »
And while the price increase itself was disturbing to group buy organizers here, it was that unfounded assumption that was disturbing to me. That assumption, without a shred of evidence to support it, painted SP in the worst possible light. Of all the assumptions to adopt and conclusions to leap to, it was astonishing to me that so many folks would choose that one. I mean, there must have been an awful lot of pent up resentment just waiting for an event like this to tip it over into full-on revolt. How did we get to that point? How did a collaborative relationship, characterized here and in other threads as beneficial to everyone, sour so severely?

I have a sneaking suspicion that MassDrop's rapid growth and increasing dominance in keycap group buys has a lot to do with it.

You're overthinking it. The combination of massive price increase for us with the revelation that Massdrop gets discounts that we weren't aware of before (despite having asked) lead pretty easily to the conclusion that people jumped to. Also, SP and the forum have always had a love/hate relationship. We've wanted other manufacturers for a long time.

I guess overthinking it is one way of putting it. On the other hand, there were multiple ways to interpret the events/facts as they were known at the time. The most popular interpretation seemed to be the one which cast SP as some sort of evil corporate monster conspiring to screw over a community it has historically worked with quite amicably. That was illuminating to me, and not for what it said about SP or their perceived lack of transparency.

I just wonder if there needs to be some clearing of the air between the leaders of this community and SP. I am skeptical that Bob's explanation satisfied anyone who felt so thoroughly burned by the new prices and/or MassDrop's wholesale distributor status. My gut tells me there is still a considerable degree of festering resentment over what we might call the new norm.

Gonna go wtih hashbaz here. This has been a result of overthinking. I am pretty sure the part about going through a single business entity in the letter was simply what we could do, but not really what we should do.

Quite frankly the pricing is just fine for community run sets still. Compare Nantucket Selectric to PuLSE (community vs MD) and the pricing really isnt all that different, surely not enough to deter me from joining the community buy.

If people feel buthurt over the fact that a huge business is getting huge business pricing, eh. I think a lot of people like to just rally around causes sometimes without entirely thinking them through. I think we have more than enough pitchforks around here already  ^-^
« Last Edit: Thu, 04 February 2016, 10:32:48 by livingspeedbump »
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Offline Niomosy

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Re: Finding a GH/Signature Plastic Representative
« Reply #110 on: Thu, 04 February 2016, 16:20:07 »
Not even sure it's a matter of overthinking things but rather the thinking for some was on the negative side. 

Offline hashbaz

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Re: Finding a GH/Signature Plastic Representative
« Reply #111 on: Thu, 04 February 2016, 16:53:36 »
To be clear, I was saying that zslane is overthinking it in their analysis of the forum's reaction.

Offline Niomosy

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Re: Finding a GH/Signature Plastic Representative
« Reply #112 on: Thu, 04 February 2016, 17:10:21 »
To be clear, I was saying that zslane is overthinking it in their analysis of the forum's reaction.

Ahhh, I gotcha.    I was thinking more in terms of the knee-jerk negativity shown toward SP initially.

Online HoffmanMyster

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Re: Finding a GH/Signature Plastic Representative
« Reply #113 on: Thu, 04 February 2016, 17:45:32 »
To be clear, I was saying that zslane is overthinking it in their analysis of the forum's reaction.

Ahhh, I gotcha.    I was thinking more in terms of the knee-jerk negativity shown toward SP initially.

I admit to knee-jerk reacting, and regret doing so.  Apologies all around.  I'm still a bit hurt by the pricing discrepancies, but "business is business".  :-/

Offline Niomosy

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Re: Finding a GH/Signature Plastic Representative
« Reply #114 on: Fri, 05 February 2016, 00:13:56 »
To be clear, I was saying that zslane is overthinking it in their analysis of the forum's reaction.

Ahhh, I gotcha.    I was thinking more in terms of the knee-jerk negativity shown toward SP initially.

I admit to knee-jerk reacting, and regret doing so.  Apologies all around.  I'm still a bit hurt by the pricing discrepancies, but "business is business".  :-/

It happens to the best of us, Hoff.  No worries.  I know I've had my moments as well.

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Re: Finding a GH/Signature Plastic Representative
« Reply #115 on: Fri, 05 February 2016, 12:51:42 »
Oh I dunno. I think my analysis is pretty spot on. There were many who viewed the situation in the worst possible light even though there was no actual evidence of nefarious intent on SP's part. The resistance to giving SP the benefit of the doubt was eye-opening, to say the least. You can wave it off as "what we do here," but I'm not sure how that invalidates my observation.

It is one thing to be dismayed by a price hike and rattle some sabres in an effort to bring community attention to the "problem". It is another thing for people to write with the kind of venomous resentment I witnessed. That wasn't just knee-jerk reaction or letting off some steam, that was deeply pent up hostility that came from somewhere. I don't think it is "over thinking" it to point out the mob rule that took sway for a while, and suggest that people look a little deeper into their hearts and figure out why they decided to look for the very worst in SP.

Offline hashbaz

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Re: Finding a GH/Signature Plastic Representative
« Reply #116 on: Fri, 05 February 2016, 13:07:23 »
Oh I dunno. I think my analysis is pretty spot on.

Lol. Of course you do.

People explained, repeatedly, why they reacted so strongly. I myself explained it a couple of different times in response to your posts. It's not that complicated.

Offline spectre6000

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Re: Finding a GH/Signature Plastic Representative
« Reply #117 on: Tue, 16 February 2016, 23:05:27 »
I'll not weigh in on the "why" or the "should", but I can help with the "how". I'm what you might call a serial entrepreneur. I've owned a few companies and consulted for several startups. If someone came up to me and asked how this could work, here's how I'd go about it:

First off, it would help to be based in a state that allows LLCs. Most do, but not all. Additionally, one that doesn't have state income tax would be preferential. Set up a simple LLC to keep track of the taxes and keep everything above board. Filing fees and required documents vary by state. From memory, I think it's $50 here in CO, and aside from required internal documents, which a lot of companies don't actually ever really seem to get around to drafting, I want to say it's really just a single form and a short one at that. File at the federal level as well.

The individual doing the leg work here will be required to file income and self employment taxes at the federal level (I'm not going into state stuff since it's different everywhere), which need to be paid in quarterly installments. This can be done online, and it's pretty simple and straight forward through the IRS's e-file system. Ignoring state income tax, at the $60K/year rate I saw above and with no significant deductions I want to say you're looking at ~25% all in.

If anyone is worried about tax liabilities due to orders out when fiscal years end, just keep the accounting straight and trust that it'll net out in that the amount you pay extra one year comes back the next more or less. If it's a huge concern, go on holiday for whatever lead time works out to be at the end of your fiscal year. Your fiscal year doesn't have to end 12/31. So if xmas is a major buy time, have the FYE in March so the Helter Skelter has died down a bit.
Keep accurate records or spreadsheets or what have you, and if you really want to get serious Quickbooks is only about $30/month. Play it smart and don't take cash or checks (who would in 2016?), and your CC/PayPal statements will handle a lot of the lifting for you (most have Excel and QB exports that make this super painless).

Logistically, work with the GH moderators to rehash how ICs/GBs work and get things streamlined such that this 'caretaker' doesn't have to handle every single post in every single IC/GB. Additionally, keycap set-oriented GBs would need to be required to fit in whatever limitations this particular manufacturer has. That would honestly take care of the lions' share of the effort right there... This way, the 'caretaker' only handles completed GBs, and can handle intermediary legwork that sounds like this particular supplier needs and can't handle themselves. Once a GB is completed, the 'caretaker' submits an order for such-and-such keycap sets in such-and-such colors and configurations. This could even be done on a weekly basis to further mitigate workload. I'm not sure how these keycap sets arrive, but if it's just a loose pile of plastic you'll need to sort it out, that would be the biggest time consumer. If they come pre-sorted/setted and all you're doing is really handling shipping, labels are easy to print and the hard part simply becomes keeping track of which stickers go on which boxes (sharpies work wonders here). It's also easy to schedule pickups with whatever shipper is preferable. Have them come once a week and pick up your stack o' boxes.

Once you've gone through the initial entity formation and get in the right habits, you're looking at something like one day a week's worth of actual work if you're organized.
« Last Edit: Tue, 16 February 2016, 23:07:03 by spectre6000 »