As a product startup, are you confused about outsourced vs. domestic manufacturing? While one option may be cheaper than the other, you should compare the pros and cons of each option. Keeping costs down is important but the cost of a product is not everything. With the recent pandemic, we have seen many companies that use domestic manufacturing have a leg up on companies that outsource. Domestic manufacturing can improve quality, efficiency, and branding. Companies that produce products domestically may have more flexibility to alter products for the better. Some companies may have to start by outsourcing internationally until the company is large enough and profitable enough to support domestic manufacturing. Outsourcing usually requires less investment which can be helpful for companies that are tight on cash. Whether you use domestic manufacturing or international outsourcing, there are financing options available. After you determine which option is best for your business you can move onto uncovering financing.

For now, let’s learn more about outsourcing internationally versus domestic manufacturing. 

Navigating the Complexities of Manufacturing Locales

Let’s weigh different opinions and perspectives on outsourced vs. domestic manufacturing for product start-ups

International Manufacturing Prospects 

When it comes to international manufacturing, the advantage often lies in the initial cost savings, presenting a lucrative option for businesses. The global market offers a plethora of options, catering to a wide array of products from simple toys to complex, high-tech components, and is often equipped to handle high-volume production runs. However, it’s important to delve deeper and explore beyond initial costs, examining factors such as quality, hidden costs, communication barriers, and logistical challenges in shipping and lead times.

  • Initial Cost Savings: Often, international manufacturing presents lower initial costs for molds and products.
  • Variety of Options: A wide array of products can be sourced internationally.
  • High-Volume Capability: International suppliers can handle large production runs.

However, there can be issues related to lower quality due to subpar raw materials, intensive labor for quality checks, potential rework for molds to meet specifications, and even internal scrap or returned goods which can tarnish a company’s reputation and increase manufacturing costs.

  • Quality Concerns: Potential for lower quality and the need for rework.
  • Hidden Expenditures: Costs related to quality checks, internal scrap, and returned goods.
  • Reputation Risk: The potential impact of quality issues on company reputation.

The Domestic Manufacturing Viewpoint

Domestic manufacturing, while potentially presenting higher initial costs, offers a numberof benefits that often outweigh the initial investment. The assurance of quality, adherence to labor standards, and better intellectual property security stand out as primary advantages. Furthermore, domestic manufacturing ensures reduced overall product lifecycle costs, faster and more affordable shipping, and eliminates the challenges posed by language barriers, ensuring smoother communication and project development.

  • Quality Assurance: Access to high-quality raw materials and adherence to quality control standards.
  • Intellectual Property Security: Stricter adherence to intellectual property rights and reduced risk of idea theft.
  • Enhanced Communication: Elimination of language barriers and cultural miscommunications.
  • Brand Reputation: Maintaining and enhancing brand reputation through quality assurance.
  • Lifecycle Management: Managing the product lifecycle effectively with quality and timely delivery.
  • Intellectual Property: Enhanced security for intellectual property due to stringent U.S. laws.
  • Labor Standards: Adherence to higher and better-enforced labor standards.

Let us deep dive into the pros and cons of domestic manufacturing.

Pros & Cons of Domestic Manufacturing

Partnering with a domestic manufacturer can allow businesses to be closer to their product. In addition, consumers may look up to your company for supporting the local economy and creating jobs. While it may cost more to use a domestic manufacturer, it may add value to your product. Companies that manufacture products in the United States must abide by labor standards, thus creating better work environments. Domestic manufacturing is usually preferred by companies with specialized products that need to be delivered reliably. However, outsourcing to a foreign manufacturer can reduce costs by as much as 80%. Here are some of the benefits and drawbacks of domestic manufacturing.


#1. Intellectual property right protection

Domestic manufacturing helps protect your product. Domestic manufacturers are required to maintain strict intellectual property rights protections.

#2. Faster turnaround

Products can be produced and delivered faster using a domestic manufacturer. Avoiding customs and overseas shipping can save businesses a lot of hassle. 

#3. Better communication and relationships

Domestic manufacturers should share the same first language. This can improve communication and decrease the risk of error due to miscommunication. In addition, if you need to address anything you should have easy access to meet face to face with a domestic manufacturer. 

#4. Higher labor standards

Domestic manufacturers usually have higher standards that are enforced to create better and safer working environments for employees. 

#5. Increased product and brand value 

In most cases, consumers have a higher perceived value for American-made products. Customers are likely to pay more for American-made products and be more brand loyal. 

#6. Flexible payment options

Most American manufacturers offer flexible payment or financing plans. 

#7. Reduced shipping costs

Shipping products domestically is cheaper and easier than shipping products overseas. Products shipped overseas may incur customs fees in addition to basic shipping fees. 


#1. Higher product cost

In most cases, it’s more expensive to produce products domestically. While the higher product costs may be considered a con, many of the factors that cause increased costs are listed on the pro list. When determining whether to produce domestically or internationally you should take into account all costs. Domestic manufacturing may have higher product costs but it may have much lower shipping costs. 

#2. Limited production

Domestic manufacturers may not be able to produce high-volume orders. Domestic manufacturers typically have higher overhead costs than internal manufacturers resulting in limited production capacity.

Pros & Cons of International Outsourcing

In order to make good business decisions you need to be well-educated on available options. Therefore, as a business owner, you have to consider a cheaper way to produce products, which is usually international outsourcing. International outsourcing can be very tempting when you compare numbers. However, there are many other components you should consider such as shipping and customs fees. You should also consider any quality differences between domestically produced products and internationally produced products. If you are able to find a trusted international manufacturer you should be able to successfully outsource products. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. Here are some of the pros and cons of international outsourcing. 


#1. Reduced costs

International outsourcing can be significantly cheaper than domestic manufacturing. This is one of the major reasons that companies choose international manufacturing. 

#2. Find manufacturers online

As international outsourcing is necessary for many businesses, more and more platforms are becoming available to help connect international manufacturers and domestic businesses. This allows businesses to source international manufacturers without traveling initially. However, navigating your way through language barriers can be exhausting and a bit concerning at times. 

#3. More options available

For some types of products, you may find more international manufacturers that can assist. International manufacturers can produce high and low-end products. 


#1. Communication barriers

Communication with international manufacturers can be challenging. In addition, you may have different standards as to what is acceptable. If you are going to use an international manufacturer you should take some time to learn more about their culture. This can help you know what to expect when working with them. 

#2. Higher shipping costs

While your product cost may be cheaper with an international manufacturer, your shipping costs will most likely be much higher. In addition, you may incur other fees for bringing products overseas. You should calculate all fees into your total product estimate before making any decisions. 

#3. Less control

It may be difficult to visit international manufacturers regularly making it difficult to know how the facilities are being run. Are your products being made in an ecological wasteland? If you partner with an international manufacturer, you should hire a third party or personally make trips to the facilities. This can eliminate any potential negative press. 

#4. More risk of a stolen idea

International manufacturers do not have to follow the U.S. intellectual property laws. While it’s uncommon for ideas to be stolen, it’s more likely to happen when using an international manufacturer. 

When Making  a Choice

Choosing a manufacturing locale is not merely a financial decision but also one that impacts sustainability and ethical practices. Ensuring adherence to labor standards, managing intellectual property security, and maintaining quality are pivotal. Furthermore, the decision also impacts fulfillment times, shipping costs, and overall product lifecycle management, which in turn, influences sustainability in product quality and brand reputation.

  • Cost vs. Complications: Weighing reduced manufacturing costs against potential communication and logistical challenges.
  • Variability and Volume: Access to a wide range of product manufacturing options and high-volume production capabilities.
  • Intellectual Property Concerns: Navigating through less secure intellectual property rights in international territories.
  • Ethical Manufacturing: Adherence to labor standards and ensuring ethical manufacturing practices.
  • Sustainability: Managing sustainability in product quality and lifecycle management.
  • Brand and Reputation: Ensuring decisions align with brand values and enhance reputation.

This guest blog post was provided by Kickfurther. Kickfurther connects brands to a community of eager buyers who help fund the inventory on consignment and give brands the flexibility to pay that back as they receive cash from their sales. Looking for more information? Visit Kickfurther at to learn how they can help with affordable inventory financing.