Our current policy is to supply replacement parts to current customers basically at cost. We do make money on each robot we sell, and right now all that money and more is being put in to product certification, further robot development, support, software and so forth.
Obviously we are going to supply parts basically at cost on the basis that everyone is going to act in good faith. If a customer with only one robot, for example, orders 3 main boards, 3 pairs of wheel assemblies and 3 chassis in an attempt to get more robots on the cheap that policy will end quickly.
We’ve even contemplated selling the whole robot basically at cost, but selling a “support package” along with it - that covers all the overhead of running an operation like this. I’d love to get customer feedback on a proposal like that. We think that most of the value that we provide is the fact that we have a software distribution that runs with the robot and all the parts work together, that the whole thing has been cost optimized, we are engaged in solving problems once for everyone and that we curate a community around the product. We don’t think that we provide that much value in the bent metal, and PCBs. If we could get to the point where the bent metal was shipped at cost, it would make customs and import duties much less of an issue. So what does everyone think?
So far when I’ve looked people in the eye and said I’ll sell you a robot for $1900 everyone says - yes please. When I’ve said I will sell you a robot for x and a support package for $1900-x people look at me like I am from outer space even though it is really the later that we are doing in practice.