10 Free Tips to Buying Printed Apparel for Your Company

Just like anything else in business buying printed apparel for your company or event is a process that everyone wants to be as stress-free as possible.  So we compiled 10 tips that we feel will help in your buying process.

1. Plan Ahead: Don't forget that when ordering there are probably orders ahead of yours in the pipeline.  Many times busy printers run 7 to 10 business days out once everything is approved and ready to go to press.  So plan accordingly to make sure you get your job done on time.

2. Hire a Designer:  We all love free, but usually, you get what you pay for.  Printing on apparel is not like other print mediums and it takes a designer that understands this.  Spend a few extra dollars and find a designer that knows how to put together good shirt artwork.  Many companies like ours offer this service and sometimes we do it for free based on the size of the order.

3. Get Proper Artwork Formats:  This is closely related to the number 2 on the list.  But this goes hand in hand with having a designer that understands the best artwork formats for apparel printing are vector formats.  This would include .eps and .ai for example.  Be sure to get these file formats from your designer when completed, as well as .jpg and .png to use for electronic mediums like websites.

4. Order Quantity and Save:  If you are able to order in quantity you will save in the long run.  Here is an example.  Client orders 300 shirts and pays $5 shirt = $1,500 for the order.  Or Client orders 50 shirts 6 different times and pays $7.50 per shirt each time.  This equals $2,250.  Easy math.

5. Get Apples to Apples Quotes:  Too many times people get 3 quotes and just look at the bottom line price.  Many times it's not an apples to apples comparison.  Did all companies quote on the same style shirt?  Are set up fees included in quote?  Did the printer quote on just the printing and not the shirt?  This all matters in the final pricing.

6. Look at Online Reviews:  Yes, online reviews matter and you should look at them.  I generally feel that if at least 85 to 90% of the reviews are positive you will be treated well by your printer.  But don't just look at the percentage, look at the actual number of reviews.  If one company only has 5 reviews and another has 30, maybe the company with 30 is doing such good work and taking the time to interact with customers more, those customers want to tell others.

7. Don't Ask for a Discount:  Asking for a discount up front sets the wrong tone for a lasting partnership with your printer.  Remember they also need a healthy bottom line to grow their business.  Many printers will offer discounts such as pre-pay discounts or may throw in a few extras, but they are more willing to do so to clients with whom they have a solid partnership.

8. Make Referrals:  Did you know that travel agents many times travel for free because they bring so much business to hotels and restaurants and other vendors that make money from their clients?  We have extended discounts and sometimes thrown in some freebies for our clients that send others our way.  Yes, we reward those that refer clients to us.  Here's a non-print example.  Our family has referred much business to a local professional woman in our community.  Recently she showed up and gave our family free passes to a theme park for everyone to enjoy.  Yes, those of us in business tend to recognize those that help us and we want to reward their efforts.

9. Buy Local:  This is not one of those pleas to help put Amazon out of business.  We love Amazon.  But when local businesses or events come knocking on our door and want us to support our community, then those same businesses buy our products online from a faceless group based in an unknown city across the country?  That means we don't have the money to support our community.  So, yes, you may save a few dollars online, but in the end there becomes no community relationship.

10. Don't Purchase on Price Alone:  We always encourage folks to get multiple quotes, and as stated in #5 make sure it's Apples to Apples.  But our final tip is not to make your decision on price alone.  There will always be someone cheaper if you keep asking, but usually, you end up getting what you paid for.  We usually suggest gravitating towards the quotes somewhere in the middle.  This tends to be a fair quote, and most likely the printers will want to serve your needs and win you as a long time customer.

I hope these tips have helped and given you a few things to consider when purchasing your next round of printed apparel!

Thread Zone does printed apparel for many industries and includes screen printing, embroidery, and promotional products.  Call us today for a quote 407-907-6788.