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Thread: Changing the wheelchair business model

  1. #1

    Changing the wheelchair business model

    In your opinion how it will be the perfect business model when you buy a new wheelchair to avoid the expensive retail margins that makes impossible sometimes to buy new equipment?

    What it would be the perfect solution?

  2. #2
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    Buying from a large retailer like Bike On, Care Medical Source, SpinLife, or SportAid that offers the large discounts thy does is the only solution.
    Everybody wants freedom.... They just don't want it for everybody else...

    A college professor, a man I now consider my dad, once told me...
    "The minute you let someone decide what you can and cannot do, your life is no longer yours." A truer word has never been spoken in my opinion.


    Professor Bill Johnston
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  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Mutley View Post
    Buying from a large retailer like Bike On, Care Medical Source, SpinLife, or SportAid that offers the large discounts thy does is the only solution.
    ...which doesn't change the business model.

    Online retailers don't have storefronts and typically do higher volumes of orders. They can afford to offer steep discounts.

    Do some research on other industries and you'll discover that retail margins in the wheelchair market aren't an anomaly.

  4. #4
    New wheelchairs are available for under $200. Most SCIs scoff at these chairs but they are probably as good or even better than the premium E & J wheelchairs we used 50 years ago costing about $500. Custom high end wheelchairs made these days are relatively low volume and contain exotic expensive materials. Those factors underpin the high prices charged. Some of these high end chair manufacturers are people with disabilities who are trying to provide the best chairs possible and are not intent on gouging us. The bottom line is that the majority of wheelchairs sold in the U.S. are really quite a bargain.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member ~Lin's Avatar
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    And you cant really put a price on freedom, independence, or Health. I hate that so many products are out of my price range and not covered by insurance (like the freewheel). But I understand why the cost is what it is. Small productions have very high overhead. And we are very lucky to have what we do, like sci55 said. In other countries there are so many that dont even have a 200 dollar basic plastic or metal hospital type chair. I remember very well the lengths of time spent bedridden, and cant imagine spending 10 years, half my life, all my life! That way due to lack of mobility equipment. Hopefully innovation will continue and find better, cheaper ways and make the best quality chairs affordable for all some day. I spend a lot of time advocating for ultralight custom chairs for people with my disability. Due to the lack of knowledge about chairs and limited insurance coverage for some, when they make the move to a wheelchair its frequently hospital type. But we already have severely damaged joints by that point so im constantly repeating how those types of chairs and illfitting chairs will destroy the shoulders of able-upper-bodied people, and that anyone who is going to propel themselves needs a properly fitted ultralight chair. And of course that anyone spending long periods sitting, if theyre only going to be pushed still needs to consider proper seating of cushion and back support to not cause damage. I fear too often it falls on deaf ears, just because they dont understand.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by -scott- View Post
    ...which doesn't change the business model.

    Online retailers don't have storefronts and typically do higher volumes of orders. They can afford to offer steep discounts.

    Do some research on other industries and you'll discover that retail margins in the wheelchair market aren't an anomaly.
    The business models of SportAid and the like, is "the change" in the business model the OP was asking about. The only other suggestion I can think of is to produce more quads and paras. An increase in demand is the most effective way to reduce manufacturing costs and therefore retail costs.
    Everybody wants freedom.... They just don't want it for everybody else...

    A college professor, a man I now consider my dad, once told me...
    "The minute you let someone decide what you can and cannot do, your life is no longer yours." A truer word has never been spoken in my opinion.


    Professor Bill Johnston
    (1930- )

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Mutley View Post
    The business models of SportAid and the like, is "the change" in the business model the OP was asking about.
    That change is simply less money for dealers, which unfortunately wouldn't work in the manufacturers' favor. Sales would ultimately decrease and costs would go up. I don't like the amount of retail markup for this stuff, but that's not an easy fix.

    The only other suggestion I can think of is to produce more quads and paras. An increase in demand is the most effective way to reduce manufacturing costs and therefore retail costs.
    Icon is the one company that I'm aware of who has figured out a way to lower their prices for the benefit of everyone, and it's largely because they don't produce custom built chairs. Their manufacturing processes are entirely different from TiLite, etc.

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