T-Shirt Forums banner
1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
37 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey Guys,

What are some good strategies for getting into contract printing?

I'm just starting out in my area, I actually have a meeting with my local hispanic chamber of commerce this weekend to get involved with them for some business contacts.

What are some other ways I can get the contract ball rolling?

Thanks in advance,

Mike
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
675 Posts
You'll need a price list that outlines your print charges, as well as setup charges. Also, samples of your work would be handy to have as you go from business to business. As previous poster stated, ad speciality distributors, trophy shops, and embroiders (that don't already do screen-printing) would be good customers to call on. Go see them in person, show off your samples, and leave a price list & card.
One thing you MUST do is make sure you meet or exceed your customers "in hand" date. Don't take any job that you feel you can't make a deadline. Understand that your customer is depending on you to deliver on time, so that they don't look bad to their customer. If you miss a deadline, you'll probably loose that contract customer forever. Also, make sure your qualtity is top notch; once again, your contract customer is depending on YOU to make them look good. Do those 2 requirements constantly, and you'll have plenty of repeat biz.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,628 Posts
When contacting other decorators connect with those who are outside your immediate area so they are less likely to feel that you might "steal" their customer. Teach those who are aren't familiar with screen printing how to price jobs and what file format and job information you need. Recommend an artist if you can. Offer drop shipping and shipping services.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,628 Posts
I think whether someone can make a good living as a contract printer depends on a number of factors including need, pricing, equipment, labor and interest. Is there enough need in your area or are there many contract printers? You'll have to carefully price everything so that it is profitable for you while allowing those who use you as a printer to add their profit. Do you have an automatic? It would be hard to do a lot of consistant quality printing on a manual. Do you have enough labor? It seems like one of the toughest problems is getting & keeping good help at an affordable wage. If you do contract printing you'll have to print more to make the same profit. That may be fine if you like to print, have necessary equipment and help and hate doing sales. In addition to the labor problem I think artwork issues can eat up a lot of time if you're not an artist. You'll have to charge an artwork fee and if you not an artist find an artist (who understands screen printing) to prep artwork. I would probably start doing both and see what you prefer doing and what is more profitable.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
37 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I would probably start doing both and see what you prefer doing and what is more profitable.
Yes, I am aiming to do both, I have a DTG machine and I am a graphic/web designer, I've been around trad screenprinting for a few years and now I am trying my hand on my own. I am just wondering how to pull it off, mainly because the printer's in my region may view me as having a conflict of interest since I would be doing direct sales and contract printing. All is fair in love and marketing right?

Is there a way to do both and maintain positive relationships within your region?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,628 Posts
Anyone in business should understand that there is competition but the one thing that does ruffle feathers is when a former employee sells to customers using information (contact information, pricing) they obtained while being employed. I don't have a DTG printer but my understanding of that type of printer is that it is great for small/multiple color runs where tradition screen printing isn't cost effective due to set-up/screen costs. You might be able to offer the service of doing these type of jobs to other local printers and thus maintain a good working relationship with other printers. I must add that I've hear that traditional screen printing is better (more profitible) for large runs. I would ask some quesions in the DTG section of this forum if you haven't already.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,074 Posts
I wouldn't recommend contract printing unless you are a seasoned printer. I have contracted thousands of jobs to hundreds of vendors over the years and rarely use anyone that isn't recommended by someone I trust. If you jump into contract printing without a good bit of experience then you risk poisoning the waters, in other words all the mistakes you make in the beginning will damage your reputation among other professionals so you need to make those mistakes with retail customers before tackling B2B.

Once you are competent you need to shop yourself to all your competitors. Believe it or not, printers trade work back and forth all the time with others they know and trust. If they are the more experienced shop then you may need to source a little work their way to firm up the relationship. Sooner or later you'll find that some printers are more willing to share work than others. If B2B seems like the way to go then you just build on those relationships, find out what those printers need and provide it.

Over the years I've noticed common traits among companies that provide B2B services - they are reliable, they are consistent, they provide acceptable quality, they communicate well but not excessively, they solve problems, they meet their turnaround times at all costs, they expect you to know what you're doing and they are very inexpensive.
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Top