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how much to charge for a test shirt?

1049 Views 12 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  selanac
I've been doing custom silk screening work now for over 2 years and this is a first for me although I know it happens more often with apparel labels.
I have a customer after me giving them a quote ask for a sample shirt.

I was actually a little ticked off because they asked me in an email, but then immediately followed it with "Thanks, please mail to:" with their address.

What do you charge for this sample shirt?
It's a 2 color design on a white shirt. NO halftones. simple spot color logo.
I told them it would be $60 which would include the 2 screens needed and the price of 1 shirt. The logo is already vectored so it wont' take me more than a few minutes to get it sized up correctly for exposure.

Any suggestions? I have heard other people ask for a lot more, but i'm sure that is because other shops have different prices for setup charges and designs that are more difficult and more colors require more screens/work/etc.

-Scott Lewis
Silk Screen Expressions
Hyzer Flip Disc Golf Apparel
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$60 sounds reasonable. Offer them a credit for screen charges if they place an order within a reasonable time frame.
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We don't screen print their design on sample t-shirts or shirts. We actually only give them a blank shirt so they can see the quality.

Did they actually ask for a shirt with their design? If that's the case, I would ask for the minimum screen printing cost. Screen Cost, Artwork, Flashing, 12 shirts, printing. If we have a minimum of 12 shirts, that means 12 shirts all the time.

It's really up to you though as to what you want to charge.
hey splathead,
Thx for the reply. I was going to definitely offer them the credit off the order if they did end up picking up shirts in a reasonable amount of time.

I did let them know that any modifications made after the sample would mean the setup fees would have to be charged again because of the labor creating the new screens.

I just can't afford to work for free right now even if it means getting a client in a week or a month. I'm getting ready to move so money is super tight right now.
This subject was such a pain in my a** last year that I went out and bought a direct-to-garment printer just to print all of these sample shirts on. I do a lot of printing for the promo industry (now both digital and screen) and a lot of those people are just "vendor hoppers" that expect you to jump through hoops to win their business. First I started charging the cost to setup the entire (potential) order as my sample shirt cost. Then I went to a flat $50 per sample. I don't think $60 or even more is too much to charge. You'll weed out the people that aren't serious buyers. The people that get mad at that price really don't know what it takes to setup most screen printing jobs.
Supposed potential customers like this I think are a can of worms.
Sometimes what they want is to get stuff FREE.
Other times, they think that you are there for their amusement and constant art changes at their whim.
The worst one I ever had was this woman who wanted me to do an airbrushed mural (which I do) on her entire motorcycle........quoted her a price, did a mass of sketches and got them approved (uhuh) THEN, after the approval, she started with changes......."Oh, let me see what it looks like with these characters" "Oh, I had an idea for doing this, draw up those new designs.......hmmm, now how about......."
Thankfully, I had gotten a sizable down payment.... I told her that she had blown through all of that with all these changes and additional concepts, etc and that any further changes would incur more money. I did, however, tell her that if she made no other changes, that I would do the job as quoted.......
It ended up that for months, yes months, she would call me, going on for an hour at a time that she had talked with her friends and they said for X dollars she should have a mural, not just sketches...........well, I kept telling her, with each phone call....that that would have been the case if she didn't keep making all these major requests for my art time............
long story short, ok, kinda..... I kept everything related, because I really thought that this would end up in court, but FINALLY she stopped calling.
On top of everything else, she was having a custom motorcycle built out of state that I had to tell her that I thought something didn't seem right in all the delays and excuses that they were giving her...........turned out I was right.........they took her money and ran.

ahhhh, she had some bad karma going on there............
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Sounds like a friend of mine. He's been waiting for months for Ford to send him his Mustang 5.0 he pre-ordered. They keep telling him it's on the train, then they had to call it back for a recall before he even received it.

I spoke with him today and he said, it's back on the train. lol.
"quoted her a price, did a mass of sketches and got them approved (uhuh) THEN, after the approval, she started with changes......."Oh, let me see what it looks like with these characters" "Oh, I had an idea for doing this, draw up those new designs.......hmmm, now how about.......""

First they get you to quote a price, then beat you to death with "minor changes", then get all hurt when you tell them they've exhausted your goodwill and any more changes will require more money. They think that since you have "talent" that you do everything because it's easy, or simply for the love of art. And the worst thing you can ever do, as you've probably found out over the years, is to let them look over your shoulder while you work. I've made that mistake once or twice and it never turned out well. The last time I got so fed up I sent the woman away in tears after putting up with her BS and indecision for a day. I didn't charge her, didn't give her any of the work, and told her to use the last guy she was so enamoured with (why wasn't HE doing it this time?).
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Actually, I meant to word it that I originally gave her a ballpark price, and then did a series of sketches, of which she signed off on......THEN she started all the BS with 'lets try this....blahhh blahh, "

And you're right, Tom, people seem to think that artists just have so much fun drawing, that, well, why wouldn't we be their free entertainment at the whim of their mind....................NOT
Hello Denise, do you do Cartoon Charactures? If so PM me.
Sample shirts are shirts printed up with my different inks or process's.
And the price of one shirt when done,is the price from thier quote.
But The shirt has all my buisness info and logo on it,, if they wear it, they advertise for me,,,,,
I have some for heatpress vinyl, screen printing , DTG and embroid.
So i have all my ways of creating that they may ask for ready to go..
I do not sample out Rhinestone Shirts,, there are many in my store they can just purchase,,, to sample.
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