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Discussion, tips, pictures, reviews and peer to peer support for current and future owners of BelQuette manufactured machines, including the MOD-1 DTG machine and the Flexi-Jet set series of printers.



[MOD-1 DTG] 550 print run. Are we nuts?

 
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Old February 9th, 2011 Feb 9, 2011 4:18:06 AM -   #1 (permalink)
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Default 550 print run. Are we nuts?

We just got our mod-1 up and running and finished our first 30 piece order. Then my nephews school saw what we were doing and have a walkathon going on in April and want shirts for every kid. That's 550 shirts. And they can only pay $5.50 per shirt. Are we nuts to take this order? We need the money, but is our time better spent? Can the machine handle 550 prints? Oh, and it's 2 sides but it is on an off white shirt, so no white ink. We figured we'd be making about $1,900 profit after shirt cost and ink cost. I'd love to hear your thoughts. Were figuring we can pump out about 30 shirts an hour per side.
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Old February 9th, 2011 Feb 9, 2011 4:47:32 AM -   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: 550 print run. Are we nuts?

I assume as they want one for every kid they will have custom names on them?
 
Old February 9th, 2011 Feb 9, 2011 6:01:39 AM -   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: 550 print run. Are we nuts?

Kevin,

I tell people a dtg printer is a fishing hook that helps you get jobs. But in the end, you need to use the decorating technique that provides your client a quality product that they are happy with and puts the most profits in your pocket. Without knowing what the design looks like, no one here can tell you whether another type of decorating technique can be used. It may be something that you can get plastisol transfers done and be able to do one side of the shirt in 15-20 seconds (i.e. load the shirt on the heat press, place the plastisol transfer on it, press for 8 seconds, peel the transfer). However, there will be a different hand (feel) to the print compared to a dtg print. If you have a screen printer that you can do contract work with (which I recommend to all garment decorators to create a network of contract printers for doing other work not done in-house), then they might be able to print using waterbased screen print inks that give you the same hand. If this is the case, you could outsource the production... which you will not make as much money on... but you now have free time to do other jobs or go out and do marketing that can lead to other jobs. In the end, the dtg printer is used to get jobs and to fulfill some of the orders... but does not have to be used for all of them.

As far as the printer being able to handle the job, sure it can. But you need to take into account your time / labor that is going into this. Most people severely under-estimate the actual time it would take. Things come up (i.e. answer the phone, maintenance on the printer,...) that slow the production down.

Hope this helps you out in your decision.

Mark
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Old February 9th, 2011 Feb 9, 2011 8:48:25 AM -   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: 550 print run. Are we nuts?

Kevin,
it depends on how much time you have and what other work you have lined up? If you're slow and your machine is idle, sure why not take the job.

The problem is going that low in pricing, they will expect it every time. Almost every time we get a new customer looking for printing services, they are not only calling DTG printers, but calling screen printers and comparing price. Those that don't know the difference in printing techniques will always expect you to be comparable or lower than screen printing.
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Old February 9th, 2011 Feb 9, 2011 8:51:32 AM -   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: 550 print run. Are we nuts?

And one more thing to add .. I'm not sure how you are curing your shirts, if it's a heat press the MOD is going to show you the bottleneck real quick.

We did a batch run of 200 white shirts that were 10x14 .. we pre-treated them in advance so we only needed to do 1 pass to get excellent results. At 1440x720, the shirts were taking just about 60 seconds to complete .. we had a person, loading and another unloading .. what saved our butt was the conveyor dryer.
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Old February 9th, 2011 Feb 9, 2011 9:05:36 AM -   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: 550 print run. Are we nuts?

along with the points.. never question your machine without calling Belquette first. They will be more than honest with you about your machine. I had some potential customers with big ideas and we contacted them directly about what it would be able to handle in a time frame and they would tell us yes or no.

but 500 shirts is gonna be fine.. but like Adam points how he prepared himself for the big order made a difference. This is key to a successful run.. do you have an extra heat press? extra platens? if you don't want to purchase extra things now..plan plan plan

You stated April.. which should be more than enough time..but planning accordingly and whats been pointed out is customer's expectations for next time something you need to think about.
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Old February 9th, 2011 Feb 9, 2011 9:46:42 AM -   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: 550 print run. Are we nuts?

You guys are all so great. Each time I go to this forum, I get more and more impressed by the community involvement. Thanks

Here's more details:
As mentioned, we did our first run of 30 shirts for a client the other day. it went well.
Since we're just starting, and need money, we were thinking of doing this run of 550 shirts to get the process down, learn the printer really well, and how to handle workflow. At the same time we figured we'd be making about $1,900 for a week to a week and a half worth of work.

Detail about the print:
All the shirts have the same design. Small 4X2 logo on front left chest and a full graphic on the back. Its all only 2 colors. The school had them done last year for the $5.50 price, so thats why that is their set budget pet shirt. Plus we wanted to use it as an opportunity to get in the door with this school. (And we actually secured the school to handle ALL of their printing and create an online store for them - we're using Deco Networks.)

Back to the design. So the back graphic is an 8 X 8 inch design. All shirts are going to be on the "natural" color shirt which is a very light tan color. So NO white ink will be needed.

I liked the idea of the plastisol heat transfer. Anyone have more info about this?
I do want to meet with all other screen printers in the area and see what kind of a deal we can make with them and introduce ourselves and our services.

Our proposed process:
Heat press all shirts before printing for 10 seconds at 350.
Single pass print job at the 1440X720
Heat press for 60 seconds

And YES we have 1 youth platen but do plan on buying a second to speed up the process.

I would love all comments and suggestions to see if our process is ideal, and what you recommend. (contracting job out and getting a cut), use plastisol ink transfer, or is there any other process that we don't know of....

Thanks everyone....
 
Old February 9th, 2011 Feb 9, 2011 10:29:47 AM -   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: 550 print run. Are we nuts?

Kevin,

Where are you located? That will help in making some recommendations as to places where you might be able to see the different decorating techniques in person. Otherwise, you can do a search on this forum for plastisol transfers and you will find several threads that list the companies that will print them for you. The plastisol transfers will give you a similar hand as to what your client got last year. Many of these plastisol transfer companies will send out samples for you to play with.

Mark

P.S. I am giving a seminar on the different decorating techniques, passing around samples and showing short videos of the processes at the NBM Shows (www.nbmshows.com) this year. First one is Austin in late March. They are also going to video the seminars and post them online for a fee.
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Old February 9th, 2011 Feb 9, 2011 10:48:56 AM -   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: 550 print run. Are we nuts?

That may be a good option. Sometimes the front logo is a simple pocket print with a few colors so a good candidate for a transfer .. we've also done shirts for Events that had sponsor info on the back that was all black .. or maybe 2 colors. Also good candidates for transfers.

Just be sure to let the customer know the process you used because water-based prints can be ironed but usually plastisol cannot.
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