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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, all!
Just wondering how you all allow for spoiled shirts in your shops? Let's say a client requests shirts that I don't have on hand. Do you tell them you need to order an extra or 2 of each size, and have them cover the cost? Do you then print on the spares if they're not needed?
Thanks for any info!
 

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You have to build that into the cost to your customer. You cant ask your customer to pay for your mistakes. (your not supposed to make any) The cost depends on your scrap rate. 5%? 10%? 2%? What is your track record. On a 100 shirt order, how may do you scrap. Cost this as a percentage of the overall job and you come up with a scrap rate. Use this figure on future orders to cover yourself. Unless your scrap rate is real high, it will not add much to the cost of each shirt.
 

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When i first started i was a bit worried about this. Years later I found that its not really an issue. Nowadays if i need 100 cardinial red shirt, i order 100. If i need 24 polos to match, i order 24. Once you get the hang of everything , you will see that you rarely mess one up. If you do, add it to the box of other messed up shirts and use them as test prints. Ive messed up quite a few in my day, but just go with it. Its part of the job.

As far as factoring "what if" you really cant do it. There is just a competition out there to secure the print jobs, that if you add in extra money to cover your mistakes you arent going to win the job. They will simply call someone else after hearing your quote.

For you direct question is you basically order exactly what they ask for, and pray you dont mess up. If you do, or a replacement. If they needs them by an exact date, and you cant get them right away ( i have a wholesale company about 30 min away) I might order an extra one or two. If you dont mess up you can either save them, return them or print something else on them and give them away to a big custom as a "Look, i threw these in free as a thank you" or as a "I threw these in to show you something else you might want to order next go around".

Two free shirts to a good client makes them think they are special and helps build relationships. What cost you like $5 as a blank would have cost them much more as a printed garment so they think youre really hooking them up.
 

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I run a 2% spoilage but have found that it should be built into pricing. I made the mistake of telling a client that the order was 1 piece short (out of 700 total) and they did not take it well, even though a 2% spoilage ratio was applied. Now also note that if running discharge, oversized, and all over I do expect to have a spoilage rate of 5-7% and usually tell the clients to expect large variants such as ink fades and the seams causing issues. The spoilage ratio is a tuff situation to deal with.
 

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order the 1 or 2 extra per size..sure it cost you money, but if you mess one up all you need to do is walk across your shop grab the extra and problem solved. I really hate when the exact amount was ordered and one gets messed up or it has a hole in it, torn, anything. My biggest pet peeve is having to set up a 4 color job again just to print that 1 shirt..it cost this much "$" to order 1 extra or it can cost you this much "$$$" to re-order, re-set up, re-print that 1 that got messed up.
 

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Everyone makes mistakes in orders and everyone knows it, but you never tell your customer that they need to pay for extra shirts in case of mistakes (unless you are a contract printer and they are supplying the shirts). The customer will feel like they got screwed over, so your spoilage rate just needs to be factored into your cost when generating the price the customer will pay. This is no different than any other business, like retail stores that factor in a percentage for stolen items into their prices.

I always order 1 extra per size and that is included in the cost of shirts. So in a 100 shirt order with 4 different sizes, I would order a total of 104 shirts and assuming 2.50 a shirt, then I am looking at 260 shirt cost instead of 250. In my opinion, ordering exactly what the customer ordered and praying you don't mess up is a bad plan. We are all human and we make mistakes, factoring your price on you being perfect is a quick way to be out of business. When something goes wrong one of two things will happen, either you will give the customer a shirt with a bad print, or you will have to go back to the supplier to order just 1 shirt which will be more expensive than if you had just ordered it with your order and it will come out of your profit.
 

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Everyone makes mistakes in orders and everyone knows it, but you never tell your customer that they need to pay for extra shirts in case of mistakes (unless you are a contract printer and they are supplying the shirts).
This exact thing happen to us over the weekend with a contract job, luckily my wife recognized the shirt as one that was sold at Walmart, she jumped in the car and brought back a replacement that saved our butt.

We figure 2% spoilage but on tees we have so much stock that we rarely need to order extra anymore, if we don't use the extras sometimes we'll use them to print samples for other potential customers which works out really well since another customer has paid for the shirt.

Hope this helps.
 

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Spoilage is B.S. if a customer pays for 100 shirts you give them 100 shirts. Its up to you how you handle your inventory.
Agreed the customer gets what they order regardless of misprints, but unless your perfect you need to allow yourself a margin for error, a couple extra shirts isn't that much money to divide up and add it to your charges, I just consider it insurance.

JMHO
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Ok, that is the very question, though, mrvixx.
What are some effective ways to handle your inventory?

I don't think most people would suggest making a practice of shorting your customers. Spoilage happens whether you like it or not, though. The details are what I'm curious about:

IE ordering extra in the 1st place, or ordering enough and then buying extra if needed; print the extra shirts and throw in as freebies, or keep extra blanks in inventory; build the extra shirts into your pricing, or eat cost yourself.. That kinda stuff.
 

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If you are doing a really intense job with a lot if registration, there is no reason you can't be upfront with your customer about the potential for burning a shirt.

We do a lot of simulated process and run an 14 colour automatic, and we do a lot of 6+ colour runs in the thousands for corporate clients. We, as a company, don't have small print (some companies do) that cover them for burning shirts. But in a situation where we're printing tons of shirts and there is potential for registration issues, we are upfront with the client (even though our last run of 10.000 shirts had a burn rate of .001%). They appreciate that.

But for smaller runs, simple spot colours, i say practice. You really have to be careful. We check registration many times on scraps before printing. Because if a client wants 20 shirts, chances are, there is a softball team of 20 people waiting for them.

Assess your situation and see what is acceptable. If you're doing a really simple run, and messing up, maybe you're not ready to offer your services yet. Customers are paying for product quality and experience, thats really what your cost should reflect.
 

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sounds like the best rationale of the bunch
order the 1 or 2 extra per size..sure it cost you money, but if you mess one up all you need to do is walk across your shop grab the extra and problem solved. I really hate when the exact amount was ordered and one gets messed up or it has a hole in it, torn, anything. My biggest pet peeve is having to set up a 4 color job again just to print that 1 shirt..it cost this much "$" to order 1 extra or it can cost you this much "$$$" to re-order, re-set up, re-print that 1 that got messed up.
 

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Here's what we do! On all orders we ask the customer if they ordered extra. If not we make sure we print the order a couple of days before the due date in case we gat a bad shirt. Customers don't care who put the hole in the shirt they just don't want a new shirt with a hole it. If we mess one up we call the customer and ask them if they need that shirt, if so we replace it, period. If not then we take it off the bill. We don't order extras and don't carry over stock on odd colored shirts. We do carry overstock on white and black shirts. The thing is have a plan in place. I could not tell you how many times a printer down the road has called me asking if I had what ever type of shirt in my shop to get him out of a bind and I have done the same.
 

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All most every shop I've worked for in the past had a under/over policy with the percentages set for each individual process and if the customer wanted to make sure it was exact on the money quantities we charged an "exact quantity" fee. 9 out of 10 times we always hit the exact count or had the shirt to replace any misprints but at least gave us a built in loop hole in case the worst scenario happened and we didn't have a replacement shirt. As long as you're honest with the customer upfront and have it on your order form they sign the customers are all ways pretty cool with it.
 

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i could be completely off base...but i can't believe some or most screen printers charge the customer for "just in case we screw up shirts" If you screw up man up replace it and give the customer what they ordered...but don't charge them for a 'replacement" you don't plan on giving to them anyways. When we go to Mcdonald's and we order 2 big mac meals do they charge for a 3rd just in case they mess one up...NO..!! they simply replace it and everyone is happy....Oh yeah free of charge...
 

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he problem is, sometimes there are rush jobs. Its all well and good if you can get the same shirt you burned from a supplier, but what happens if its a specialty like a burnout, or a supplier is out of stock, or even if the job is due that evening? What if you're printing for a boutique client who makes their own luxury shirts and you misprint one of those? Not everyone prints on a readily available Gildan. Unfortunately, this isn't a black and white subject. You need to assess the risk, and pre-warn the client. If its a shirt you don't have in stock, and you were printing for me, I would want to know the risk so I'm not surprised. Afterall, its the nature of screenprinting. It's not like your the only one who will have, even if very low, a misprint %.

All in all, the more jobs you print, the more you'll get an idea of what your own misprint rate is. The easier it will be to assess the risk (factoring in how complicated the print is, etc.), and you'll find out how to approach the subject with a client if you feel it is necessary.
 

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We don't charge just in case, we charge because we know we are going to screw up. Maybe not on your order but it will happen. We build the cost in the cost of all garments, maybe 5 cents a garment on all customers. At the end of the day it's a wash. McDonalds makes billions and billions of burgers, they are just sitting under the heat lamp, waiting to get picked up. When your order a burger they don't have to call a vender to order shirts, create a custom recipe (art work) for your burger, have a long set up time just for your burger or clean up after each burger they cook. I'll promise you they have an exact number of their spoilage and it goes right into the cost of the burger you just ordered. This is a unique business, the general public does not know what all is involved in this process. They think we can go in the back and hit a magic button on a magic machine and shirts will pop out. We count on a 1% spoilage rate in our shop. The problem is we can do 100% good on 99% of the orders but that 1% get burn you every time. You best plan on it.
 

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When we go to Mcdonald's and we order 2 big mac meals do they charge for a 3rd just in case they mess one up...NO..!! they simply replace it and everyone is happy....Oh yeah free of charge...
I guarantee you McDonald's along with every other company in the world has some sort of spoilage rate that is factored into the price you paid for that Big Mac. For a better example, i will stick with a place like J.C. Penny. When you buy a shirt from them, a % of the price you pay is a mark up because of stolen goods. The higher the probability of an item being stolen, the higher the mark up is for it. Now it is not our fault that someone stole a shirt from them, yet we all pay for it in the price we pay when we buy a shirt there. From J.C Penny's point of view, stolen items are a part of the cost of doing business. In their business model, people will steal from them.

In our business model, people will make mistakes on shirts, shirts will come with holes in them etc. It should be built into the cost of every job you do as a cost of doing business. No different then having to buy chemicals to clean your pallets or degrease your screen. All I do is add my 1% spoilage rate to the cost of the shirt when I am figuring the quote. So a $2.50 shirt I list as costing me $2.525 in my quoting spreadsheet. Again, that is just what I do, as someone else posted earlier, you just need to have a plan.

With that said, I would not go to the customer and tell them they need to buy more shirts nor would I give them anything less than what they ordered. If they ordered 500 shirts, then they get 500 shirts. If you have a spoilage rate higher than 2%, then you have issues in your shop that you need to fix and in a hurry ( again, my opinion )
 
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