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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been screen printing shirts for local schools, clubs, and teams for about 6 months now, in addition to my own designs. I was hoping to get in (and have already quoted) on an order of about 300+ shirts for a specific school event coming up here in a few months.

The thing is, another parent and PTA member provided approx. 400-500 shirts for the beginning of the year at an unbelievable price I can't touch. He claims he got them printed and delivered for only $3 ea. and the school sold them for $5. These are navy blue shirts in both youth and adult sizes, 2-color, one-sided -- a brand of blanks I've never heard of, or can find online. Even if I could get a slew of colored irregular blanks for $1 wholesale at those quantities, that'd still only leave 2/3's of the total sale to account for ink, screen set-up, film, emulsion, labor, etc.

Can this be real? Or do I need a few extra grains of salt with my tequila? Artwork be damned BTW, the typography is terrible and the mascot simple clipart.

WTH?

:confused:
 

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Re: Lowballing?

I've been screen printing shirts for local schools, clubs, and teams for about 6 months now, in addition to my own designs. I was hoping to get in (and have already quoted) on an order of about 300+ shirts for a specific school event coming up here in a few months.

The thing is, another parent and PTA member provided approx. 400-500 shirts for the beginning of the year at an unbelievable price I can't touch. He claims he got them printed and delivered for only $3 ea. and the school sold them for $5. These are navy blue shirts in both youth and adult sizes, 2-color, one-sided -- a brand of blanks I've never heard of, or can find online. Even if I could get a slew of colored irregular blanks for $1 wholesale at those quantities, that'd still only leave 2/3's of the total sale to account for ink, screen set-up, film, emulsion, labor, etc.

Can this be real? Or do I need a few extra grains of salt with my tequila? Artwork be damned BTW, the typography is terrible and the mascot simple clipart.

WTH?

:confused:
I hate to say it but IMHO some school personal lie just as much as regular customers do, now I'm not saying that they are but schools and related organizations are notorious chiselers when it comes to buying something from you, from using the "it's for the children" line to just flat out telling you they don't want you to make anything off the job.....They always have a friend or brother-in-law who can do it for way less, he just doesn't have the time right now to get to it. ( I read that as he got burnt on the last order and is just being polite telling them he's too busy...lol!)

Hope this helps.
 

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Re: Lowballing?

agreed with IVF on this one. While it is possible to run at that price with standard blanks. I would think yeah they are not giving you all the info. Did they pay screen fees? setup? art maybe this "insider" worked a deal for something else in return.. you just never know. Working with schools you will always run into the "i gotta a parent who can print these for nothing..."

why chase a buck that will turn you just a headache in return? just my thought - its not worth it if you cant make it work for you.. or maybe offer the schools a contract to do all their work for a low price based on the shirts and inks used.

find a way to turn it around in your favor... good luck! :)
 

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Re: Lowballing?

Print a sample of what you can do and take it to them. I have received so many new orders that way. When the customer does a side by side comparison they often chose quality over price.

On the other hand I have taken a loss on a few jobs just to get my foot in the door.
 

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I know of a few starving printers that are selling their work for as little as 30c per shirt profit.

We have seen white one color t's advertised for as little as $299 for 100.

On 300 t-shirts though, I would look to make a buck or maybe a little more. There just isn't much value in that type of work for us.
 

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Re: Lowballing?

Print a sample of what you can do and take it to them. I have received so many new orders that way. When the customer does a side by side comparison they often chose quality over price.

On the other hand I have taken a loss on a few jobs just to get my foot in the door.
I have to agree with sickpuppy. We live in a small town of about 3K ppl. The best way I have found to get your foot in the door is to show them what you can do. People are visual, not everyone can see what you imagine. It is difficult to relay to someone that your design would be better because of this fact or that... all they hear is you want more money for a shirt.. bla bla bla...

But if you have a shirt in your hands and say... This is why my design/price/tshirt/whatever is better.... they can actually see what you are talking about.

just my 2 cents
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the info all, I was just checking to see that I wasn't way out in left field on this. I can't do it for that little with all the time and effort I put into my work. I'm going to buy a couple for my kids today and put them through the washer and dryer right away - we'll see how that goes.

I forgot to mention also, they're selling pullover heather youth hoodies for $10; 2-color breast image, 1-color image down each entire sleeve. Last time I remember quoting hoodies, best I could find was $7-$9 wholesale. Another head scratcher...

:confused:
 

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I just lost an interesting school order. Turns out a parent has a wholesale aco**** with one of the big distributors, gets the boosters the shirts at cost and the printing is done at the local PRISON! Of course, someone has to make two trips to the prison to drop off and pickup but the printing prices were about the same as the local lowball shops. More power to them I guess, I actually have to pay my employees...
 

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Yeah, this is a problem that often plaques our industry. There are alot of offers out there for inexpensive shirts with imprinting on them, I have distributors calling me almost every day claiming they have a price from a printer in Florida who can print their shirts for less, I always say go ahead and save a buck but when they investiagte it more the orders always comes through to me. Your best bet is know what your costs are, overhead, employees, blanks, etc and then don't ever cheat yourself.

Steve
 

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I agree with everyone. I have begun to dislike the vendors with little requirement to get a "wholesale" account. We have a couple of school employees or parents that have opened these accounts just to see if they were getting a good price. On a polo shirt that cost us $14 they wonder why we charge $25 embroidered......

As for $3 per shirt on colored shirts-someof these guys with autos will sell it that cheap all the time. They get their art fee, screen fees and all of that. They likely ended paying closer to $3.75 each. But the printer made $1.50 per shirt on 300. $500 profit for what takes an auto press to run in less than an hour is not bad.

They see it as no different than contract work.

I think it hurts us all in the long run. Let's not ruin the market if we can help it.
 

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It's only possible with an automatic press.

If you mark a $1.65 shirt up 25% = $2.06
That leaves about a buck for printing 2 colors

Our automatic can run @ 60dozen/hour, but more realistically about 40 dozen/hr, which is close to the 500 shirts they printed.

If you have 3 people in the production line making $12/hr, then labor for the order is about $40.

Here's the totals:
$3.00 shirt - $1.65 shirt cost = $1.35/shirt
500 shirts x $1.35 = $675
$675 - $40 labor = $635/hr profits (not too shabby)
of course everyones over head is different, but a large shop distributes that cost over multiple machines and orders every day. Plastisol ink is so little you can't even calculate it, we're talking pennies per shirt. You can get thousands of prints out of a gallon of ink.

Of course cotton has skyrocketed, but large shops could have stock purchased at lower prices still on the shelf they'd be happy to sell.

Here's what our price sheet for a similar order produces:
500 dark shirts, 2 colors, 1 location print= $3.42ea.
That numberh includes the $25 for two setups
 

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Willy, I work for a school district and they get mail all the time from companies offering shirts for $2.99, but they want them to buy in the hundreds. To my knowledge they haven't been using these companies. My problem is they have been using certain companies and with me being new in transfer, they use the companies they have been using or someone else that work there family has a business and they use them.
I will say they have been good about using me for embroidery.
 

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It's only possible with an automatic press.

If you mark a $1.65 shirt up 25% = $2.06
That leaves about a buck for printing 2 colors

Our automatic can run @ 60dozen/hour, but more realistically about 40 dozen/hr, which is close to the 500 shirts they printed.

If you have 3 people in the production line making $12/hr, then labor for the order is about $40.

Here's the totals:
$3.00 shirt - $1.65 shirt cost = $1.35/shirt
500 shirts x $1.35 = $675
$675 - $40 labor = $635/hr profits (not too shabby)
of course everyones over head is different, but a large shop distributes that cost over multiple machines and orders every day. Plastisol ink is so little you can't even calculate it, we're talking pennies per shirt. You can get thousands of prints out of a gallon of ink.

Of course cotton has skyrocketed, but large shops could have stock purchased at lower prices still on the shelf they'd be happy to sell.

Here's what our price sheet for a similar order produces:
500 dark shirts, 2 colors, 1 location print= $3.42ea.
That numberh includes the $25 for two setups
agreed thats about right. depending on the client and the long term qtys are - it is possible to run shirts cheap and still make a $

I mentioned before to get them into an contract type situation where you are the all-inclusive supplier for the district. we have done this here and while you may get a few orders (low qty runs) that the profit is low. over the long term it pans out pretty good.

now take that theory and repeat with 10-12 more districts - get them to talk to each other. just thoughts but the potential is there.. :)
 

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Yes, we have five campuses in our district and I am at the middle school, last year I approached one of the elementary campus and asked if they were doing graduation shirt, because we have kindergarten graduation and no one had been to them so I got the jobfor right at 100 shirts. A couple of days ago they called me and ask me to do their start to school shirts there are over 500 students plus the staff. I know every student won't purchase, but still I will be glad for the opportunity, and I all ready have a design waiting to show them for the end of the year shirts.
 
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