Frequently Asked Questions

To be honest, there have been so few questions asked it is statistically impossible to determine which are asked the most frequently. In that vein, consider this the Potentially-Frequently Asked Questions page. Be assured that any questions which are asked frequently (and even some that are asked occasionally but are interesting) will make an appearance here. Under no circumstances will I include a question to which I don't know can not fudge an answer ;).

Table of Contents

  1. Why Plastic?
  2. Why roto molding?
  3. Will you sell to other vendors?
  4. What is "wholesale"?
  5. What colors do you stock / sell?
  6. How long will they last?
  7. Where should I mount my bat house for best results?

Answers

  1. Why Plastic? I could turn that around and ask "why not plastic?" but I'll be nice and point out a few real reasons. First is that powdered wood will not melt and fuse together if you pour it in a mold. Seriously, there are huge labor savings involved in true mas production. Consider the time it takes to cut out a bunch of separate pieces of wood, glue the edges, install multiple nails or screws...

    Compare to unlatch six clamps, set lid off to the side, pour in a few pounds of powdered plastic, close the lid, re-latch the clamps and push a button sending the mold into the oven. Sounds like a lot but it takes less than a minute on such a simple mold and there may be a dozen or more molds for other products sharing space on the machine. (Many rotational molding machines have three or four arms) An hour later repeat the above steps with the addition of pulling a molded part out and sliding it down the ramp to the the trimmer.

    Even with assembly line style woodworking, (cut 100 identical roofs, 100 fronts, etc) the molding machine is still likely to win on lower labor costs. Throw in caulking and painting the exterior of the wooden house and a win for plastic is assured. One vendor charges an extra $35.95 just to paint his bat houses. I hate to paint too, but I hope to sell single walled bat house 'shells' for not much more than that. And fully assembled houses with four chambers starting at about three times that figure.
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  2. Why roto molding?
    Did not wish to mortgage my house for blow mold tooling. The potential market is way too small to even justify a much cheaper (but still rather expensive) roto-mold. I am only able to do this because I happen to have (most of) the skills necessary to build my own mold. At this point I could simply call it quits, visit the local scrap yard and get roughly 25% of my investment back. 
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  3. Will you sell to other vendors?
    Yes, absolutely! Thought you would never ask. I will sell to just about anyone who pays with real money:) Must point out that only the molded shells in full skid quantities will be offered at true wholesale. Finished bat houses with wooden baffles will be retail only for the foreseeable future.
    20 of the nursery colony sized bat houses should fit on one pallet and I do plan to offer some sort of lesser discounts for 'in between' sized orders.
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  4. What is "wholesale"?
    Product that goes straight from the manufacturing plant to you. Once I pay for, and take possession of, these bat houses they can only be sold at retail. For less than a full skid, the shipping guru at my day job informs me that four to six is the magic break even point for objects approximately the size of these bat houses. One pallet can ship via truck line for about what "four to six" boxes would ship for individually via a package shipper. Fed X, UPS, etc... These 'in between' sized orders will also have to piggy back on other orders since the molding company can not do production runs for such tiny orders.

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  5. What colors do you stock / sell?
    Plan to stock black, white, medium gray, medium brown and at least one stone effect. Will add a tan and possibly an attractive shade of green later on if sales warrant. The roto molder I am currently working with has over 80 stock colors available so numerous different shades of gray, tan, brown and several other stone effects will also be available for patient customers who can wait until the next production run. Unusual (for a bat house at least) colors such as reds, yellow, orange, blues, and garish greens will also be available special order but will require a non refundable deposit to insure I will not be stuck with them.
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  6. How long will they last?
    Excellent question that is impossible to answer. Modern plastics with UV stabilizers last far longer than what was being made even 30 - 40 years ago. I can remember many thin walled plastic outdoor toys as a child fading rapidly and some becoming brittle to the point of breaking after only a few years. Today there are environmental concerns with disposable plastic items lasting too long. Not in a usable state of course, but some estimate the plastic its self (not the item) can last thousands of years. So somewhere between 'a few' and thousands.

    Searching for this elusive bit of information I notice that other than a few brave (stupid?) companies offering a 'lifetime' <cough> guaranty. No one I have found will commit to a realistic warranty longer than 10 years. The few that offer a reason point out extreme situations such as the intense sun of the Arizona desert. So if 10 years is approaching max life in these harsh extremes it stands to reason that they should last far longer in less extreme environments. Exactly how long no one seems to say. Perhaps they all have lawyers telling them to hush... Since I can't afford a lawyer I'll just continue to babble on:-O

    Oddly enough the first (and so far only) good example of extreme longevity of a polyethylene item I have found on the web, is on site of a company that makes graphics for plastic items. Finding an extreme example of their own products lifetime necessitated them finding a very old plastic part first. The example they found is a boat roller. While there is no mention of how much of its life was spent underneath a boat and thus out of the sun it has obviously been heavily used and the stated age of 27 years quite impressive.

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  7. Where should I mount my bat house for best results?
    This topic has its own page with pictures.
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