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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Is anyone running a one man operation using a fulfillment service? If so, what has been your overall experience? Successful, less than successful, etc.? This is the direction I feel myself headed.


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success depends on your overhead, your wages and method of printing...laser, inkjet, DTG or screen printing...all have different costs and ability to be a one man operation. Off hand I would say that to be success in a one man operation is probably not the most viable biz plan ... especially if success equals full time salary after expenses

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347 Posts
The answer depends on a lot of things - your business model is the primary one.

I vowed when I started my garment decorating business 18 months ago that I would never expand beyond my one-man operation. Why? Well as a former manager at a few other companies, large and small, I found that the headaches associated with managing employees was the part I hated most. And with that limitation, I predict it will be quite hard for me to make what most people consider a "full time" income. But I'm OK with that.

But as others say, if you want to make serious money at this, and you are producing things yourself, you will probably have to have employees. I am constantly pulled between the need to be out selling and the need to be in the shop producing things. (I don't have a retail location). To alleviate some of this, I outsource larger orders if I can. I lose some profitability, but I gain time, time I can use to get more orders.

If you were to outsource all of your production, you might be able to do it alone. You would need to be working opportunities that are reasonably sized (say, $1000.00+ per order). Most of your time would be spent selling, the rest working with your suppliers to get orders produced. Even though you are not doing the production you still spend a lot of time communicating with your suppliers, dealing with artwork, etc. (plus all the overhead stuff- bookkeeping, paying bills, invoicing, etc.).

So figure out what you have to do in gross sales to make your income target. That will drive your decision to stay "one-man" or to hire.

Good Luck!

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526 Posts
It really depends on what your business is. Are you
setting up your own apparel line or are you going
into the screen printing business for others?

I know of a few people who started off with a simple
idea for an apparel line and grew it into a well known
business with a large following.

If you are starting your own apparel line then you
have a few options of doing it yourself while staying
in control of your inventory and keeping costs low.


Here are my thoughts on a one man operation
using a quality heat press and outsourcing the
transfers to a reliable company.

1. A heat press has an easy learning curve and
takes up little space.

2. You order your transfers from a reliable comany
keeping the colors at a low number. Some of
the most popular shirts have a one color design
and as you add colors the price goes up per transfer.

3. You decide what shirts you will use for your
line of clothing. You set up an account and
order them from a reputable company and
by doing so cut your costs down AND set up
business relationship with the suppliers.

4. You don't print the shirts until the order is made.
If you have 4 designs that all go on black shirts
then less stock is needed and you just print
the shirts as the orders come in. Do the math
and you will realize how much space pre-printed
shirts in all sizes would take and how much
inventory you will have stacked to the ceiling
as you patiently wait for people to order from you.

5. Keeping costs low and inventory low when you
start out is key. Rough figures but you can get
a decent shirt and one color transfer for under
$5.50 or even less depending on the shirt quality.
That is your cost of the item before shipping and
packaging. You can make the product (after the heat press warms up)
in less than 5 minutes. No fuss no clean up no headaches.

You can spend your extra time on marketing and
growing your business. When the apparel line grows
then you can think about getting your own screen
printing set-up or have it all outsourced locally.

If for some reason doesn't work out your initial
investment is low and you can still use your
heat press for doing shirts for local schools etc.

Hope that helps.

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