How to know that you have got the best quote from your PCB manufacturer? If you are trying to get your PCB manufactured in the last minute then you may not have the time to compare the quotes between multiple manufacturers. You are likely to proceed with the first quote you receive. This need not necessarily be the best quote. Here are few tips to help you compare your PCB manufacturing quotes.
Sending out partial requirements to your manufacturer for quote request is a mistake. Only when you have complete details of your PCB manufacturing needs you should proceed to request quotes. Your China PCB manufacturer will be able to give you an accurate quote only when you provide them with complete information.
Most of the PCB manufacturers provide instant online quotes. You need to interact with your manufacturer to get your quotes processed manually with all possible discounts. A number of factors affect the cost of PCB production.
When comparing the quotes, you need to make sure that all these factors are the same. If the board size is different between two quotes, the total cost is likely to be different. The company that has given you the quote for smaller board size will look cheaper and it is not because their costing is competitive but it is due to the change in the material cost. If you do not pay attention to details then your quotes comparison will not be sensible. Other factors such as the board thickness, the nature of the materials used, etc., will decide the cost.
If you know your entire specifications such as the board size, board thickness, the type of materials used and the assembly method, it is best to include all the information your specifications document. At times, you may want to know which is the most cost effective option for your device, and you may not have decided everything and in such cases, you need to get quotes for different PCB configurations. If you are taking the latter approach, then while comparing the quotes between different manufacturers you need to be cautious. You need to compare each component and the total costing. In other words, you should compare an apple to an apple.
Check whether your manufacturers are offering you volume discounts. Depending on the total volume of the PCBs to be manufactured, the cost per PCB will vary. Higher the volume, lower the cost per piece. Compare such price discounts as well and go with a manufacturer that offers the highest volume discounts for the lowest numbers.
Another important factor to which you need to pay attention to is the PCB testing cost. Does the quote include PCB testing cost or is it part of the additional cost? Testing fee could make a considerable difference to your quote. You need to therefore make sure the quote includes the testing fee as well so that you do not pay additional fee for testing over and above the quoted amount.