"Can anyone offer any insights?"
yes, getting involved in injection molding with:
very little (or no) injection molding experience, a client who appears driven by price alone & a vendor w/o a stellar track record
is a great way to REALLY learn the process by trial & error.
when it's all over you know a whole lot about injection molding
your situation has most, if not all, of the initial condtions for a disaater
How many injection molded parts / molds have you been involved with?
I've done only a couple & my first thought would be hire a competent tool maker to make the mold & give to a competent shop to make the parts.
what material are you shooting? desired / expected tool life (shots)? single cavity? multiple? how many?
has this thing ever been made before?
successful mold making requires a competent mold designer and / or a competent tool maker
you might be able to "contract" your way out of this by putting all the risk on the mold mfr (esp) if they're the company doing the production runs
progess payments for the mold dependent on producing XXX? good parts
tell your client this............................................................
"the bitterness of poor quality is remembered long after the sweetness of low price has faded"