With the holidays in the way, we've officially been hunting down manufacturers across the United States for a month now. The economy is in bad shape, but I can't get half of these guys to even return my calls, which would be amusing if I didn't need a manufacturer so bad. The ones that do return my calls have been absurdly expensive, to the point where the upfront tooling costs would bury a business before it even launched a product. This is mostly because injection molding large complicated parts like our dock requires that a relatively sophisticated mold be made.
Many firms are simply unwilling to work with a small company like ours that has no track record. Most annoyingly, not a single manufacturer I've spoken with will arrange packaging services before sending the docks out, which makes the supply chain unnecessarily complicated. I would imagine this process feels a lot like what a musician trying to get picked up by a record label goes through.