Insane prices for Paul C Buff gear in Europe. Why won't US store ship internationally?
/forum/topic/1141046/0

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Rickuz
Registered: May 22, 2012
Total Posts: 461
Country: Sweden

Big dilemma here..

I have been saving up money to buy two Einsteins, with triggers / transceivers, two PLMs, vagabonds, e.t.c.

A couple of day's ago I finally had all the money I needed, and so I went to PCB website to order the gear. But then the horror struck me.. "Sorry, we only ship to US and Canada". I always thought they shipped internationally just like B&H and Adorama, but I guess I was wrong. (My misstake.)

Then I noticed that they have a website for european customers. However, my joy was cut short when I saw that their prices are almost three times of what the US shop charges!? ..I almost puked. Can someone explain to me why they are running things this way? There is no way I'm going to pay the crazy price at the european website.

I am pretty sure PCB would sell alot more gear if they shipped internationally.. They lost me for sure.



PeterBerressem
Registered: Sep 05, 2007
Total Posts: 729
Country: Germany

Not a fair comparison if an overseas distributor has to compete with the domestic prices of the factory outlet.



Beni
Registered: May 31, 2005
Total Posts: 8586
Country: United Kingdom

But their prices are still ridiculously over high.



PeterBerressem
Registered: Sep 05, 2007
Total Posts: 729
Country: Germany

Compared to...? Einstein is 500, Elinchrom 600RX 550, Bowens 500Pro 470 (from WEX UK). Sorry, I don't see the ridiculously over higher price tag (or...I'm too naive to see )



Kirivon
Registered: Jan 22, 2011
Total Posts: 69
Country: United States

www.paulcbuff.com/faq.php#international



Beni
Registered: May 31, 2005
Total Posts: 8586
Country: United Kingdom

PeterBerressem wrote:
Compared to...? Einstein is 500, Elinchrom 600RX 550, Bowens 500Pro 470 (from WEX UK). Sorry, I don't see the ridiculously over higher price tag (or...I'm too naive to see )


Compared to the US price. Or indeed the US prices of the above mentioned units if you really want to go down that path.



colinm
Registered: Nov 21, 2005
Total Posts: 1983
Country: United States

Don't forget we don't have a national VAT in the US. Even if you could magically transport the flashes overseas for free, they're still going to be substantially more expensive due to tax.



alohadave
Registered: Jul 26, 2005
Total Posts: 843
Country: United States

Rickuz wrote:
Big dilemma here..

I have been saving up money to buy two Einsteins, with triggers / transceivers, two PLMs, vagabonds, e.t.c.

A couple of day's ago I finally had all the money I needed, and so I went to PCB website to order the gear. But then the horror struck me.. "Sorry, we only ship to US and Canada". I always thought they shipped internationally just like B&H and Adorama, but I guess I was wrong. (My misstake.)

Then I noticed that they have a website for european customers. However, my joy was cut short when I saw that their prices are almost three times of what the US shop charges!? ..I almost puked. Can someone explain to me why they are running things this way? There is no way I'm going to pay the crazy price at the european website.

I am pretty sure PCB would sell alot more gear if they shipped internationally.. They lost me for sure.


You know that Alien Bees gear is 120V right? You'll need a voltage converter to plug it in to use it.



jshalvorsen
Registered: Dec 13, 2010
Total Posts: 72
Country: Norway

alohadave wrote:


You know that Alien Bees gear is 120V right? You'll need a voltage converter to plug it in to use it.


This is not true, it works on both 120V and 240V



Beni
Registered: May 31, 2005
Total Posts: 8586
Country: United Kingdom

The Einstein will work on both, the Alien Bees have to be ordered in either 120 or 220V



kenyee
Registered: Jul 08, 2008
Total Posts: 1528
Country: United States

Beni wrote:
Compared to the US price. Or indeed the US prices of the above mentioned units if you really want to go down that path.


You're still comparing factory direct vs. from a distributor

If the distributor price is need way too high, *you* could look into being a distributor and make a profit if you can undercut the other distributor's prices while still staying profitable (just remember that you have to hire your own staff for customer service, have a line of credit to buy the gear to put in the warehouse you rent, pay shipping/customs, have offices w/ phone/electic bills, etc.) And PCB has always run a pretty low margin even from the factory so you'll maybe get only 5-10% off the factory prices for buying in quantity.
I'd bet the process would be educational for everyone since this topic seems to come up every few months



cordellwillis
Registered: Aug 24, 2004
Total Posts: 5080
Country: United States

This question will apply to ALL business across the water no matter if you are looking from the U.S. side or the European side of the water.



dmward
Registered: Apr 12, 2002
Total Posts: 1854
Country: United States

Just to put it perspective. When I was doing product development for a startup in the US we wanted to partner with an Australian telecom company. They were eager to have a US partner. They were willing to give use the best discounts they could based on quarterly volume. Even considering all the incentives they were willing to provide, the market price we had to charge put their products at a premium compared to US competitors.

I had exactly the same problem when trying to introduce US products into Europe, India, and Asia. By the time we did all the add-ons our price was nearly double what we were selling the product for in US.

PCB has made his business model in the US a direct model. There is no way for a US company to do that in Europe or Asia.

Here we benefit from the advanced technical design of the Einstein and the direct model price advantage. There you have to be satisfied with the technical design advances for the same price as other options. Just makes the decision that much tougher.



wilt
Registered: Sep 06, 2005
Total Posts: 1046
Country: United States

A distributor buys product at a slight discount from the US retail price.
The distributor has to charge sufficient markup to pay for


  1. VAT
  2. corporate income tax
  3. salaries of sales staff, secretaries,
  4. salaries of service personnel who must be on staff to fix broken items from customers
  5. carrying costs of what can be very extensive service parts inventory
  6. costs of power cord conversion to AC plug suitable for local markets
  7. facilities costs (buildings, desks, telephones & copiers, etc.)
  8. other costs (utilities, cars, etc.)
  9. local language translation cost and printing, to comply with CE Mark requirements for user documentation
  10. regulatory agency testing, to comply with CE Mark requirements for safety labels


If Buff carried all of those costs in multiple countries directly, the US price for his products would be considerably higher than what they are today.


John Skinner
Registered: May 31, 2007
Total Posts: 752
Country: Canada

What about having a friend IN Canada or the US order it for you and reship?

With a note saying thanks for lending this to me during your last trip?

I'm just say'in....



shortpballer
Registered: Oct 08, 2009
Total Posts: 613
Country: United States

Look in the buy/sell section and buy some used gear. Or buy another brand. For not so much more you can pick up some older profoto gear, or elinchrom...



JuliusCesar
Registered: Apr 08, 2005
Total Posts: 6
Country: Germany

PCB could win in the European market hands down.

One of the leading brands here is a company that sells chinese ripoff strobes at premium prices:

http://www.foto-walser.biz/shop/Artikel/2240/230/Studioblitz_Studioset_400Ws_walimex_pro_VC_400_Studioblitzleuchte.htm

These guys are alchemists, they turn garbage into gold. 299 Euros, that is 390 USD, for a chinese piece of junk that will last four weeks before it goes up in flames or electrocutes you.

Of course, these companies have a customer service desk. They do not repair anything, they just send a new strobe, but there is no compensation for ruining your photo shooting.

Many photographers in Europe would prefer PCB gear because it's cheap, reliable and well-designed. But the British office does a perfect job locking PCB out of Europe. I sent a few emails to England, just asking for delivery time - five email, no answer within two weeks. I called their office, but nobody picks up the phone. I just gave up trying to contact them.

If I were Mr. Buff I would kick their butt, eliminate the middlemen and take orders from the rest of the world. The funny thing is, even if I paid the shipping plus customs fees and taxes a direct import is still much, much cheaper than buying from the British.



PeterBerressem
Registered: Sep 05, 2007
Total Posts: 729
Country: Germany

JuliusCesar wrote:

If I were Mr. Buff I would kick their butt, eliminate the middlemen and take orders from the rest of the world. The funny thing is, even if I paid the shipping plus customs fees and taxes a direct import is still much, much cheaper than buying from the British.

He did exactly this in the past, wasn't worth the trouble sending items back and forth over the big dividing blue. Believe me, the money the British distributors make from an Einstein isn't THAT much as you might assume.



kenyee
Registered: Jul 08, 2008
Total Posts: 1528
Country: United States

JuliusCesar wrote:
even if I paid the shipping plus customs fees and taxes a direct import is still much, much cheaper than buying from the British.


What makes you think they wouldn't have to pay all these import duties to sell them there :-P



Mark_L
Registered: Sep 28, 2010
Total Posts: 2611
Country: United Kingdom

Yup. A $25 beauty dish bag was over 60 by the time the bonkers delivery change was added on by PCB Europe. They also tried to charge 25 postage on a 51" plm.

OP, you probably don't want PCB lights outside the US anyway because the support will be almost non-existent.



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