What does it really cost me to build it myself?

The Glass Racking Company is a supplier of factory handling equipment and transportation systems to the glass and window industries. Some companies in the glass and window industries build equipment themselves. So for the example of a trolley, what does it really cost to build one yourself?

Our trolleys have castors rated at 460kg (1000lbs) each, as they are designed to carry to weight of the glass. We buy them cheap as we source in bulk direct from the manufacturer, but buying a smaller volume locally of a similar quality castor can be expensive. Many self-made trolleys I see have inferior castors, so there is not a true cost saving here.

The bearing surfaces on our trolleys are an inserted polymer which is designed specifically for glass, and is a product owned by us and not available off the shelf. Self-made trolleys often have black rubber bearers (which rub and mark glass and windows) or timber. Both are inferior products which may be cheap to purchase but are not an apples with apples comparison versus a trolley from The Glass Racking Company.

Our trolleys have safety arms for safe manoeuvring of the glass and window around a factory. Few self-built trolleys have this feature.

We hot dip galvanise our trolleys for longevity and appearance. Many trolleys are used in wet conditions so galv is the best finish. Many self-made trolleys are raw steel or painted, so not the same.

I believe that the cost for a staff member to design a trolley, source all the parts, manufacture and assemble the trolley and make it suitable for work in the factory is much higher than most people realise. It's the opportunity cost of what that staff member could otherwise be doing which is the real cost per hour. Also many business owners tell me it only took their person a day to fabricate the trolley, which doesn't allow for all the design and sourcing time.

Lastly there is always a risk when you build something for the first time. Much innovation but also but cost comes from experimenting with new ideas. This is avoided by purchasing products from a specialist provider with over 20 years experience in supplying the glass and window industries. 

So what is the real cost of a self-made trolley?