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I am having problems finding a screen printing company to work with us on the initial small orders, they all want large numbers or charge huge$$ what did other people do when they were starting out?
 

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re: [CLOTHING LINE] What did you do when you started out with smaller screen printing order?

What is the art like? Sometimes if it's a specialized print like all over, or lots of colors, you will see high costs with low quantities.
 

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re: [CLOTHING LINE] What did you do when you started out with smaller screen printing order?

How many shirts are you trying to order?
What does the artwork look like?
 

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re: [CLOTHING LINE] What did you do when you started out with smaller screen printing order?

There are a few colors (5) and it has a distressed look, but I thought I would find someone!
 

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re: [CLOTHING LINE] What did you do when you started out with smaller screen printing order?

Is it one design your trying to have done or many different designs? What do you mean exactly by "small" qty's?
 

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re: [CLOTHING LINE] What did you do when you started out with smaller screen printing order?

We have 5 designs, at the moment we are looking to get one of them printed, we want to form a relationship with a printer that we can work with, i.e. start of getting 10 or so shirts printed so we know it all looks right and then orders would be 100+
 

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re: [CLOTHING LINE] What did you do when you started out with smaller screen printing order?

You're asking for a lot of work for the possibility of additional prints.
I would be charging you $40 a colored shirt with 5 color print and only 10 prints.
Plus screen set up $20 per screen (x5).
As printers, we're always being told that lots more shirts will be ordered down the road.....most times it doesn't pan out...

Just the way it goes.
And, let me tell you, it's a whole lot of work for us (screenprinters)
 

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re: [CLOTHING LINE] What did you do when you started out with smaller screen printing order?

Yeah, that's what I expected to hear. Many printers don't even add a 4th or 5th color to thier grid until the qty reaches 36 pc.
 

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re: [CLOTHING LINE] What did you do when you started out with smaller screen printing order?

you could also look for a DTG printer, small orders are a niche market and perfect for some.
 

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re: [CLOTHING LINE] What did you do when you started out with smaller screen printing order?

I suspect that if every screen printer had a dollar for every customer that wanted cheap samples with a promise of much higher quantities later, they'd all be retired...

In reality, what usually happens is the customer takes the cheap samples and then goes to another screen printer to try to undercut the prices the first one gave them. It's pretty much the same throughout the decorated apparel market, regardless of if it's screen printing, DTG, embroidery, etc...
 

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Re: [CLOTHING LINE] What did you do when you started out with smaller screen printing order?

what did other people do when they were starting out?
When I started, I just started small and understood that I wouldn't make the same profit per t-shirt that I would if I was able to purchase bigger orders.

There's nothing wrong with that :)

You just have to understand that you're not at a point yet where you can do larger runs that will bring the price per t-shirt down. You have to make some tough decisions like:

- change the art so it's less colors
- start off with less variety. Do one design in a higher run, see how it SELLS, and grow from there
- invest more money in your company and make sure you have the marketing budget to backup the larger orders (so they SELL)

You can't expect the printer to "work with you", as their actual costs go down as the order (of the same design) gets larger. The price they quote you is fully dependent on the number of colors in your design and the quantity you are running per design. Those are the factors you have control over to change your price. Otherwise, you're asking them to lose money by risking money on your business that you're not even to risk your own money on (by buying more t-shirts or paying for inventory)

If you call around to 2-3 different printers locally (and maybe online) and you get the same answer, it's probably safe to say there might be a good reason why they don't. Reliable, trustworthy printers have to make money to stay in business.
 

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Yes! I don't even like to respond to a quote request for 5 color designs for a 10 shirt runs because I know they will never place an order because its too expensive. The fact that they say its a 5 color design tells me that most likely the art isn't very designed because if it was some of the colors could be eliminated.

One tip - if you expect you'll initially need extra time with your printer when getting started (most people do), contact the printer during their slower season which is January-February for many. Then they'll be more likely to spend extra time with you. Also, don't be in a rush. If they aren't too busy the decorator will be more likely to spend extra time with you whereas if they are in the middle of their money-making season they realize that they can't forgo the good jobs to spend time with you and stay in business.
 

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So pretty much what this forum is saying is that if you are a small t-shirt business trying to expand, you shouldn't bother because most of the time you will just get lost in the shuffle because printers do not want to bother making small runs of things.

If small t-shirt design guys saved up all their money so they could print 100+ of a design they would not have much for anything else. (100 shirts x about $4 = $400, then shipping and we havent even gotten anything printed yet).

I would think that there are not many people creating t-shirt designs to be printed and in my area alone there are maybe 10+ printers who reject our time and effort. I guess that it maybe only profitable to only deal with big businesses.

So, I guess the answer is don't bother designing or dreaming unless you happen to get a couple thousand of dollars you don't need for rent or anything like that, but hey, if I have that, then I am going to buy printing materials and skip the middle man all together...
 

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So pretty much what this forum is saying is that if you are a small t-shirt business trying to expand, you shouldn't bother because most of the time you will just get lost in the shuffle because printers do not want to bother making small runs of things.
No, this is not what the forum is saying at all. Rodney's post very much hits the nail on the head, you should probably read it again.

Many printers will do small runs, but they will charge you accordingly. What you want to avoid is expecting a printer to give you pricing based on high volume when you are doing low volume. It may sound silly, but believe it or not, there are customers that do expect this.

When it comes to screen printing, prices get lower as volume gets higher. So as long as you understand that you will pay premium prices for low volume, then you should easily find a printer willing to do work for you.

If small t-shirt design guys saved up all their money so they could print 100+ of a design they would not have much for anything else. (100 shirts x about $4 = $400, then shipping and we havent even gotten anything printed yet).
Yes, if you intend to build an inventory of 100+ screen printed shirts, you should expect to pay well more than $400. If that's an issue, just wait til you realize how much your marketing budget will be to actually sell 100+ shirts.

I would think that there are not many people creating t-shirt designs to be printed and in my area alone there are maybe 10+ printers who reject our time and effort. I guess that it maybe only profitable to only deal with big businesses.
You have to understand it from the printer's perspective (and let me mention that I am not a printer, I am a clothing brand that outsources to screen printers). Printers do not make money on their client's time and effort. They make money on clients placing regular orders on a consistent basis. It's a fundamental fact that bigger businesses place the orders that keep screen print businesses in business. So these clients will always be priority. This may be unfortunate for small startups, but trust me, you will find printers who will work with you. Just keep looking.

So, I guess the answer is don't bother designing or dreaming unless you happen to get a couple thousand of dollars you don't need for rent or anything like that, but hey, if I have that, then I am going to buy printing materials and skip the middle man all together...
You make it sound like everyone should be able to start a business with a dollar and a dream. Sorry, but it doesn't work that way. In some cases, it takes substantial capital to get started, but in other cases, you can get started with modest capital. But in every case, it takes a properly planned budget and the discipline to stay within budget.

If you don't have a couple thousand dollars to spend on outsourcing the printing, then how are you going to purchase equipment and still afford blank shirts, inks and everything else that goes into printing yourself?

Anyway, there are other print methods you can use that may work out better. Look into DTG printing, heat transfers or vinyl. You can also look into fulfillment services which offer on-demand printing so you don't have to carry inventory.
 

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So, I guess the answer is don't bother designing or dreaming unless you happen to get a couple thousand of dollars you don't need for rent or anything like that, but hey, if I have that, then I am going to buy printing materials and skip the middle man all together...
Maybe I'm misreading you, but it sounds like you are complaining because printers won't change their business model to suit your business model? They've defined what their cost and profit levels are to offer a service and you think they should essentially work for free so you can make a couple of bucks? What am I missing here?
 

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Being a printer, i deal with people that want me to print for next to nothing so they can make more.
Over the past couple of years the question that i was asked over and over was, "hey that job we did last year, the blank shirts cost more this year so can you print for less so it will cost me the same."

Back to the the "Dont bother" Nobody said that. If your idea is a good one offer to give a percentage of it to a printer that likes it. A printer could make a great partner.

Ive liked many ideas. Some i have partnered up with people.

If you have the next life is good, No Fear, Big johnson, Give me a call. I would love to be your partner.

But if you have the next "yawn" its 20 per screen and 24pc minimum.
 

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You make it sound like everyone should be able to start a business with a dollar and a dream. Sorry, but it doesn't work that way. In some cases, it takes substantial capital to get started, but in other cases, you can get started with modest capital. But in every case, it takes a properly planned budget and the discipline to stay within budget.
I am sorry if I seemed snippy, that was not my intention at all. I am trying to follow so many point of views that I am not clear at what I am looking at. I (we) are having issues right now with reliability with printers. No one wants to deal with our volume and if they do, they make us wait over a month (with only 3 of 4 designs finished and no word on when the final will even be attempted)

I currently have shirts, an account with AA and a company that has done some of our printing. They have completed some work, but in general, we are not a priority at all. I understand that a larger volume (and profit) would take priority, but I am not fortunate to have a financial backer for this project. I guess what I was asking was that it seems to be more beneficial to just forget making small prints and scrap the project and wait to get my own screen printing machinery. By out sourcing, I am not a priority. We really just wanted to make a few designs and see what the reaction was before throwing down any substantial money in large scale printing. We were focusing more of our funds on marketing because we felt that was more important than trying to have 1000 shirts on day one (having a website professionally done and other things)
 

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The fact is that your art needs to be re done. Sorry to be so blunt about it but there is no printer that would take a five color job for ten shirts. The screen charges alone would kill you. I struggled with the same problem at one point and I found some options.

Design your artwork with colors and screen charges in mind. Use the biggest print size you can and make one and two color designs as ornate as possible. Visual interest can make up for lack of colors. Also learn to use the color of the actual shirt in the design to cut down on cost. Also try to use high contrast colors; light color ink on dark shirts and vice versa.

lastly explore other printing methods. Find an experienced DTG printer and the number of colors won't matter. Also dye sublimation may work for some of your designs where shirt color isn't an issue. Hope this helps.
 
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