business advice

im looking for a little advice from people with more buisness experiance than myself. Recently i have been geting a few companies comeing to me asking if i can design boards for them which i am happy to do. I dont odviosly want to give my designs away for free and they dont expect to get them for free, i allso dont want to end up screwing my self over in the long term so wondering what is the best way to go about it? Is it better to do a one of price for a design and just hand it over or is it better to take royalties on each one produced or a combination of the two? None of the boards will be being produced over seas but is there any way to keep track on numbers id it was done through royalties. What genraly happens in these situations? Do you let them use your name in the sales of the product or is it better to say anonamous?

If any one can through me any good advise on what to look out for when going down this path that would be great

Best regards

Why don’t you ask that to Dann Mannn during the upcoming Shapers’ Hot Seat? 

I’ll just state the obvious: the company producing the boards holds all the cards. Once they have the design, you would be on shaky ground to try to prove they owe you anything. Lots could go wrong with a deal like that, pretty much all of it at your expense.  Sure be interesting to hear from any who have successfully negotiated those waters.  I would say there needs to be a tremendous amount of trust on your part. If it was me I would take what you can get up front, the opportunity for royalties seems tenuous at best. Let us know how it goes.

A well worded contract drawn up by a lawyer would address all of those issues, Huck. Seriously, ask Dan Mann this question during his run on the hot seat. He’s been there and is doing that! 

Rule one…TRUST NO ONE…Other rules in whatever order. The less fingers in the pie the better. Once they get it it is theirs!! Get a lawyer bigger the company the bigger the lawyer. Get it in writting. Check in often. Keep your cards close to vest. Unlesss you are REALLY famous they are just gonna use you and throw you away…Do that to the famous as soon as they are not. The nicest guys with the biggest smiles are the biggest sharks…Smoke screens mirrors and BS are a way of life for the surf industry. Handshakes do not mean what they used to…TRUST NO ONE…

   Good luck maybe it will work out.

It really doesn’t take much in the way of changes for one design to become another design.  Unless your “brand” has a lot of pull in the market your partners wouldn’t have a lot of incentive to refrain from changing your design enough that they would be able to call it their own.    

You might as well get your money up front.  Cash and carry.  Skip all the unpleasantries of dealing with disputes and lawyers later on.  

P.S. don’t sell them any secrets that you can’t afford to lose.  


In the end of Channin’s reign he was out sourcing designs so he would NOT hear any complaints from his own workers about not being compensated, his management, “I think it would be better if you did NOT sign the boards anymore, it just causes too much confusion”, the slide to the bottom went beyond the event horizon at that point

Hire a good attorney.  Have the attorney draw up the contract(s).  Take his/her advice seriously.  Do not give “anybody” your designs/ideas until legally binding agreements have been finalized.

Bare minimum for protection of your designs:

No-compete agreement/contract

Non-disclosure agreement/contract

Include wording about “derivative” designs.

Contract/agreement enforcement is where things can get costly.

If your aim is financial , you are embarking on a futile endeavor…there’s not enough margin per unit until you get into very high sales numbers … If your “corporate customer” is intending to supply retail outlets , you are immediately relegated to expendable raw material status , upon signing contracts or agreements…corporate entities work on a strict formula of which you are the least important component…other than that , the only option is to sell your soul to the devils of the marketing industry…which is the most common road taken these days…but the road only leads in one direction…south.

go ask Bert Berger or Carvenalu (Blane chambers)

once you legally authorize others to have access to and sell your IP it’s no longer yours unless its just a pure marketing and distribution agreement.





Dan Mann has been a key part of Mark Price at Firewire .

He’s only benefitted from thier relationship .

No contracts needed .