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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I do 90% custom apparel, but just got into the promotional products industry too. I have been using ESP online, and found it pretty helpful (but am nowhere near my return on investment yet!) Just found out about Distributor Central and got my account started today. I can't believe it's free! Does anyone have any feedback on which one is more helpful for their business. Is there any reason why I should pay a large monthly fee to have ESP over Distributor Central? It looks like a lot of the suppliers are on both...
Thanks all!!
 

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I know what you're talking about. Had a free trial of ESP. It was great, but ultimately couldn't justify the cost of using it. Seeing as how promotion is such a competitive market, I had to look for local customers - people and businesses that don't have any idea what ASI is.

Perhaps the solutions that ASI offers is good for establishing long-term relationships with other business partners - kind of like online dating.
 

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We're currently using both. There are some suppliers listed with ASI that aren't in DC and vice-versa. With a subscription based service you need to make sure you sales volume can pay off the amount that you pay for the license.

ASI and DC are both great tools but without any marketing you won't be able to pay for the license simply because people don't know you can get all of the great stuff that ASI/DC suppliers can provide. Basically put if you advertise yourself as being a distributor that can provide a lot of great services then I think you can make your money back on the subscription as we are doing right now.

As for which one you should get then that's a decision that you'll have to figure out for yourself. Make a list of pro's and con's of each (since you're using them both) and see which one comes out on top.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Great feedback! I am currently really busy with orders and new business (but the majority are apparel orders), and so far pricing out promotional products has been really time consuming and has been taking away from the time i could be spending on the industry that i already know... that is one of the reasons ESP is so frustrating i think. I spend so much time researching products I know nothing about, when I could be selling the items i am most familiar with. Maybe i should cancel my ESP for now, play around with DC and get back to ESP once I have a greater knowledge of what the industry is all about...
 

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Great feedback! I am currently really busy with orders and new business (but the majority are apparel orders), and so far pricing out promotional products has been really time consuming and has been taking away from the time i could be spending on the industry that i already know... that is one of the reasons ESP is so frustrating i think. I spend so much time researching products I know nothing about, when I could be selling the items i am most familiar with. Maybe i should cancel my ESP for now, play around with DC and get back to ESP once I have a greater knowledge of what the industry is all about...

You definitely sound like you have it figured out. As you said it's time consuming researching products that you know nothing about. It's also time consuming to provide quotes to your customers and to ask questions from suppliers that may not be answered by ESP.

As they say it takes effort to make money. If you're willing to put in the effort and time it takes then you can have a nice return but as you said if you're brand new to it and are busy being profitable doing something else then perhaps the paid subscriptions are not for you :)
 

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I have been in the promotions industry for nearly 15 years, here's my feedback:
1. ESP and Sage have the best software but ESP is very pricey, I don't think it's worth it

2. Distributor Central is very archaic, I find their software cumbersome, not accurate and poorly made, we tried to use it during the early years but it's just such bad software. We also found their customer service not-so-great.

3. Commonsku is a new software, very user-friendly, you may want to check that out. We found the interface and backend software very advanced and pricing is reasonable.


If you walk the floors of PPAI show (the largest industry show) and ask around, I'm pretty sure most distributors will tell you that ESP and Sage are the leading products to use.
 

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Hello, I am operating ASI Supplier account for over 9 yr now (As a Employee) and been with 2 companies, so far what I have noticed is that you will definitely cover your cost of subscription (Basic ASI Supplier Membership) if you have a connection with Whole sellers such as Wasatcht or Alphabroder or Nissin etxas for my knowledge they are the giants of the industry and offer cheapest price for most of the promotional products (e.g: Tote bags, Towels, Bandannas, Aprons and Tshirts etc)
But according to my experience most of the clients require printing and if any one of you is from the industry so you'll know how hard it is to find cheap printers with experience (In-House, no third party's).
Let me conclude by advising to get the Supplier membership as it will bring you the orders from resuplliers and promotional firms.
 

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Distributor Central is free to join and use. ASI is really expensive for the same vendors.
 
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