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Re: [Paparazzi-devel] Import tax enquiry

From: David Conger
Subject: Re: [Paparazzi-devel] Import tax enquiry
Date: Mon, 02 Feb 2009 14:29:33 -0800

Hi Paul,

I am the owner of PPZUAV. I can't answer the customs question but from how people order I think US Postal seems to be a popular choice for Europe Customers. I think it's due to Customs. 

As the person putting together the bundles and wanting to be sure you get what you order I can comment from my end:
- PPZUAV makes nothing on shipping. Really, it makes no difference to me. Shipping costs are calculated via an API from each carrier directly and are pretty accurate with what I am charged. If it costs less I refund the difference. 

- Bundles take some time. If you order a bundle take a look at the cables and labor that will go into it. I power the autopilot and do all the steps on the Wiki. Before I package it again it's working in GCS and I see Satellites and a 3D fix in GCS. The u-blox GPS gets a new firmware from u-blox programmed in and I upload the configuration for Paparazzi from the WIki. I then have to make all those cables. The average wait for a bundle should be approx 7-10 days unless I have about 20 orders ahead of yours. It happens, when it does I email everyone to inform you the status and offer you a refund if you wish. 

- Service has costs. PPZUAV costs are based on our costs to do business. I have in many cases without any questions refunded in full or replaced items customers didn't need, didn't want or even killed. An example: Customer X from this list ordered 2 of everything and decided they only needed 1 of everything. I took it all back, gladly. 100% of sales are word of mouth driven. Feel free to give me feedback how to improve and if I can do it I will. PPZUAV recently donated a bundle to a University (UCLA) to compete with. 

- How long does it take to get your order? It varies by the number of orders ahead of yours. Feel free to email me beforehand I can give you an idea of how long it will take. But if you want only the parts and buy them separate it can be as little as a day or two. Some recent examples of order times: 
 1. Someone ordered 14 TWOG and 14 GPS boards last Monday and this AM I shipped them out programmed and with cables for the GPS boards. That's 7 days from order to ship (5 business days). 
2. Order was for 5 TWOG (non-bundle so no programming).. I shipped those out in 1 day. 
3. Just got an order for 2 Tiny2.11. I shipped those out in 1 day. 
4. Tiny2.11 Basic bundle with RF took 8 days. I had to program, here's what's included:

What's Included:

  • Tiny2.11 Autopilot with LEA-5H GPS Module (programmed)
  • IR Sensors bundle with cables
  • FTDI Serial Adapter Cable (3.3v)
  • Serial to Tiny Adapter (use as modem or to program GPS)
  • USB Program Adapter (use to program Tiny2.11)
  • XBee 2.4ghz 50mW RF Modem for Grounstation SMA connector (XBP24-Z7SIT-004)
  • XBee 2.4ghz 50mW RF Modem for Aircraft Wire Antenna (XBP24-Z7WIT-004)
  • Serial to XBee adapter cable
  • RC Cables Bundle 
It just took some time to do all that and in the order received (i.e. I had about 6 other orders ahead of this one). Right now with the steady business I have now it's a part time thing. So for now it's very informal and I answer all the emails and handle all but he finances. Fortunately for me my wife is a CPA and handles that. My point is that it may take a little longer than ordering from some large company that has a large dedicated staff. But you get the perks of talking to the owner and getting more personalized attention that I think most everyone appreciates. If business suddenly takes off I'm prepared to staff up and grow. Just right now it's not there yet. I appreciate every order and every email and project I can help with. Thank you.

I hope this answers your questions about the company. For customs it's pretty much up to the country but as a business I have to keep it legal. I write on the customs form basically what it is. Model airplane stabilization kit parts or model airplane autopilot kit. It's all a kit and all pretty much parts so I'm just trying to make it easier to help get it through customs. Any feedback appreciated on how to better label it for customs to clear it quickly. The costs for customs likely are related to what I put. Hopefully you are not charged too much. I know when I import things the charge is around 1-7% usually. Since PPZUAV is a legal entity and that has to file taxes and most importantly is organized to be around for a long time I need to keep it all very legal and follow all laws and regulations. 

Good luck with your Paparazzi Project. 

David Conger

On Feb 1, 2009, at 10:17 AM, Paul Rawlinson wrote:

Hi all,
Just a quick enquiry.
Has anyone in the UK purchased equipment from PPZUAZ in the USA?  If so, were the items you ordered taxable by HM Customs or were the items delivered directly to your door?
I'm trying to get all my components in one go but I have a fairly tight budget and after ordering things from the USA in the past I know our government likes to stick a fairly hefty import tax on items sometimes.

Best regards,



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