This is just a Feeler thread for the community, NOT intended to start a flame, troll, or any other kind of war so please keep it professional if at all possible. The goal here is to take in feedback to learn from and to possibly educate other members on what to expect when looking for a custom.
Recently I have seen a lot of newer builders emerge and shop prices have been up and down like a see-saw. I think it’s great to see that the community has options when it comes to what they want in a stick, and what one might be willing to forgo in light of a lower price tag. In addition it does do my wood lovin heart justice to see some of the cool workarounds and altenatives people come up with when tryin to cut down on the cost of production as much is it does to see some of the more tenured builders step up their game and incorperate new materials or wood types not traditionally used for sticks.
Throughout my searching through the various custom shop threads I have seen some pretty mixed feedback on the overall cost of a good stick. Some have been very supportive of the builders and their cost for services, while others have been snippy about the prices flat out rude to the builders.
As a builder myself I know what it costs to produce a top quality product (both financially and in time away from other obligations) but I wanted to know what other Members, Builders, and Srknights alike thought about the prices of customs these days. What do You feel is a resonable price for a custom case or stick? Please list your reasoning as well.
** Again this is not a thread to flame spam or complain about lack of correspondance from your respective builder, it is just a feeler thread meant for open discussion on the subject, and if it becomes unproductive mods feel free to shut it down (sorry you can’t see my governator face, but it’s stern alright )**
I’ve seen some of the work some builders on this forum sell and have mixed feelings.
Without naming specific sellers, I’ll say that some sellers IMO overcharge for customs that aren’t very unique or nice in general. Their work is just plain… (MDF wood, standard square shaped box, OK paintwork and sometimes not even the option to add artwork) Although this is alright, since if people want to pay for their work, so be it.
However on the otherside; I’ll also note that “Finkle’s” customs are extremely nice and very well priced. (I’ve bought 2 custom sticks from him) In my opinion his work + price is the best out of all custom stick sellers on this board, hence his high demand.
I’ll also definitely recommend "Devilsfang"for the best modder on this forum. He’s done numerous mods for me and his attitude, prices, talent and reliable are par none.
So in summation (in my opinion):
Best custom stick builder: Finkle
Best modder: Devilsfang
Around 80-100 bucks.
Sanwa 11 buttons and 1 stick: $60 (i got mine for $50 on ebay)
Case: < $10 (assuming you have other little things such as hole saw, bolts, nail…)
Controller: $25 is the most. (360 or ps3)
For just a box, I think somewhere in the vicinity of $100 plus or minus $20 is right if the work is good. For the complete joystick I would say $200. The electronics alone could run you $100 and you should be paying more for a good custom than for something mass produced.
I supposed some of what you’re talking about here could apply to some of the cases we build at QCF.
We do a square MDF case, and it’s not the most blinged out case around. But we advertise them as budget cases, and it only costs $15-20 (depending on the style). I think if you had someone charging $50+ for something like that it would be too much obviously.
I can only speak for us, but if we charged less than $15-20 for a case then we’d barely be covering our time and cost. We sell the cases at that price point for beginners looking for something sturdy they can play on right away.
As for not being able to add artwork, I think there’s a lot that can be done with a case without just printing something off at Kinkos and throwing it under plexi. There are some creative people out there. That’s not to say that there are awesome looking sticks with art/plexi, but it’s not a requirement for a nice looking stick.
My only thought as for things being overpriced is I would like to see people try to take on less work to cut down on the wait times.
I see way too many builders get in over their heads and have queues of 10 people who have been waiting for months at a time, because the builder bit off more than he could chew.
To me, that has a lot to do with the value of a stick. I’m much less likely to pay $200 for something if I know I have to wait 4 months to get it.
Obviously my perspective comes from being someone who sells cases, not full customs, so I can’t speak for exactly what full customs should sell for.
But I’m in the school of thought that things are worth whatever someone is willing to pay for them.
Having built roughly 20 customs over the last few months with woods ranging from cheapo poplar to expensive bloodwood and other exotics I would def say $70-$150 for a enclosure alone and $190-$300 for a completed custom is fair. More for dualmods/leds etc…
It depends on the level of work. $200 is somewhat fair for a plain stick. What most people don’t realize when compare the prices is that these sticks can take a very long time to make if done properly.
Cutting the wood, jointing/gluing, sanding, finishing (this being the longest step for me), wiring, etc. have taken me probably at least 10-15 hours of work time to produce a single stick. I’ve heard of people taking weeks or months but I don’t know how many actual work hours they spend.
If you enjoy a wood grain finish, stock lumber must be aged, planed and jointed (meaning making flat and straight as stock lumber often does not come perfectly straight).
Now the process can be shortened if the builder is building multiples of the same box by saving time on the cutting process, but everything else takes just as long.
Try to go an get a custom box built by any other non-SRK woodworker and I’m sure they’d charge way more than what these sticks are going for now.
First and foremost, I am a stick modder, and that’s what I mostly do. I have built and finished my own cases, though, and know how much effort that takes. I see a lot of people complaining about price, saying it’s too expensive, but they don’t know how much work is actually put in. I can’t speak for the case builders, but I spend a LOT of time on wiring up sticks, dual modding, LED modding, etc.
Personally, I think my prices are fair, and I know I could probably sell for more (and I wouldn’t feel bad – I actually think it’d still be fair pricing), but to help the local community flourish, I take a little price hit.
That’s a great point. I’m glad the community has stepped up and we’re able to get so many different cases for relatively reasonable and/or cheap prices.
You don’t get it. The idea of a custom is the CUSTOM-ness of the stick. Everyone has TE or Hori. TEs and Horis come with standard layouts. If you want a different layout, you go for a custom. If you want something more personal, you go for a custom. TEs and Horis are nice, but not custom.
I agree. Enclosures (like LuckyDay’s cheap HAPP ones) might sell for less, but finished/painted ones should definitely sell for more. I see people charging $30 for painting an MDF case. Frankly, knowing how much effort goes into painting (I just painted a QCFGaming HAPP case and screwed it up cause I wasn’t patient… not bothering fixing it because it took so damn long anyways), and I think people can charge more and still get a fair deal, especially if those things are mirror finished. Maybe $40-$45.
In my experience, stains aren’t as hard, but you still have to be careful. I’d value a good stain at $20-$25.
Excluding budget cases, that makes a raw case $70 to $125, and a finshed one anywhere from $90 to $175.
I like your guys’s budget cases. I got one off ebay and i’m finishing it up, despite the crappy paint job i did heh. If you’re willing to sell cases for that cheap, go for it.
I also agree with your point about the huge waitlines. I try to only have a couple customers at a time so that I know I can finish on time.
For a decent custom, I think $200 is fair. If you want a “really good custom”, which includes a dual mod IMO, you should be willing to shell out $300. $100 - $150 for a case, $60 - $65 for wiring for a single console, $125 or so for a dual mod. More if you want more done. This isn’t even including parts. PCBs are expensive, and sometimes I feel people don’t realize the costs there.
Who are you kidding? That just cover parts, and the case costs much much more than $10. I’m actually kind of offended you value the work and labor people put into custom stick as low as you do.
I don’t think people overcharge for customs in general. Yes, some people do, but there is a LOT of work that goes into a custom stick. In terms of wiring, budget sticks and really nice cases take the same amount of time to wire, so on there is a lot of expense to the custom stick maker there.
I agree that Finkle has kickass customs, but he’s never available. LuckyDay mentioned the huge waitlists, and I don’t like that, especially if you’ve paid ahead of time.
I don’t know this modder dude you mentioned, but most modders are cool I’m not surprised you recommend him. I hope my customers would recommend me as well.
I mod sticks, and sell mods.
Wait lines are bad
Budget cases are OK
Painting/Wiring cost more than a buyer might think
$200-$300 for a full custom for one console is reasonable.
I agree with most of the posters here. If you’re paying 200$ for a nice looking custom stick, just realize that over 12 hours probably went into it, and the builder is getting paid less than minimum wage to build and assemble.
I’m in the middle of building myself one, so I can truly say that the prices I’ve seen around here for the most part are fair to generous. You can get unfinished mdf cases if your on a budget or spring for some of the nicer ones with exotic woods. Most people (including me until recently) don’t realize how expensive that stuff is. With the right tools you can build a case much faster than I am able to, but you have to realize that these guys have shelled out a lot of money for nice tools and spent a lot of time learning how to use them. So in the end your paying for a ton of different things.
It’s not a cheap process. As a capitalist, it’s easy to see that all the custom builders are backed up with orders. So, if anyone thinks they’re over charging make some sticks, under-cut their prices and…profit :wow: But goodluck with that - it won’t be easier to do it much cheaper.
Thought I’d chime in to share my current experience. I’m fairly new to the community >6months.
I think the hardest part that an individual prospective buyer tries to grasps when case prices are over 100+ is the justification in spending that amount of money when they think that the process is fairly simply and should be fast.
All I can say is that until you try making one yourself, you don;t realize what is involved, Material, Time, Labor, & Tools. Extrapolate that out to accomodate the masses and you run into time constraints as well as other things.
In regards to pricing of cases, I believe that the quality of the finished products should justify and dictate the price of how much it should be listed. I believe that when an individual who is willing to pay a high price for a blank case, it’s because they see the value & quality in that particular case.
In a current production run of manufacturing 45 blank aluminium cases, I was completely off in my hours of estimating how long it would take. It’s these kind of circumstances where the individual builder who is looking to make some change on the side have to eat the cost because a set price has been agreed upon. The unfortunate side of this is when the builder raises his price to not have to bear teh burden of the costs there would be complaints and nagging from future customers resulting to loss in business.
In summary, I think a fair price for a case is dependant on the quality of what is being produced, there is no real cap because the price that a person is willing to pay is what the buyer percieves as fair value.
Exactly, I don’t have the woodworking ability nor access to woodworking tools, so all I’ve done is mod existing cases. Even with a cheap case to mod, in my case a SFAC stick gutted and made to be PS3 wireless for my brother:
The cost of the parts alone:
Case - $60
Sixaxis PCB - $25
AXISdapter - $25
Joystick - $10
Buttons - $25
Neutrik USB passthrough - $5
That total doesn’t include the tools I had to purchase specifically for the mod:
24mm Hole Saw - $11
28mm Hole Saw - $11
Hole Saw Guide - $10
Wire Stripper/Crimper - $15
Spools of 22 Guage wiring - -$8
Quick Disconnects x22 - $2.20
None of this takes into account the time/gas spent to get these tools either.
I didn’t appreciate the cost of full customs until I’d gone through the effort to do a full-mod like I had. My only prior experience was a SF4 SE button/joystick swap mod - child’s play.
I didn’t dare tell my brother how much everything cost, because he’d feel guilty and want to compensate me for what I gave him as a gift.
I don’t feel like the cost of a custom stick has an absolute price. It all breaks down to what the end user wants, do they want a basic stick, or do they want something a bit more flexible with say mutli-console support? If you work out the costs for all these parts, they’re really not that expensive, when you factor in how much work needs to go into the case alone. Wood work is hard, and if you don’t have the tools, it can be very expensive. I invite those who say it’s too expensive to sit down and work out the dimensions of what their controller needs to be, and then to construct said box. You’ll have a much greater appreciation for stick builders.