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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone! I was wondering if you could help me out with a possible new client? A friend of mine referred one of his other friends to me for some tee shirts. From what I understand, he has about 30 designs. He wants to narrow them down to 20 designs and start a website and go out selling them on the street. This kid seems really smart, he has his masters degree too so I know he's not just some idiot. I met up with him today so he could check out my operation (just out of my garage at home) and discuss his plans. I told him I will charge a $20 set up fee per screen (I don't usually even charge a set up fee because im just out of my home for now, I just don't want to front the money for 20 screens.)

Ok, so here is my question...we're trying to figure out the best way to execute this. He doesn't want an inventory and I don't want to make one shirt at a time. He also wants me to maybe be able to ship the shirts out within a day or two.

I was thinking If I get some of that transfer paper and print say 50 or so of each design and then when there is an order I can just grab a shirt and press one of the designs into it. I want to know if the quality is be sacrificed at all during this process or is this the same as a standard print? he is going to give me $400 to buy and set up 20 screens and then $5 per shirt...do you think this seems like a good venture? Thanks in advance for all your help...
 

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I know to you this sounds like a good opportunity, but this guy has grandiose exceptions and you will take the risks.
$400.00 won't cover emulsion or labor.
My suggestion is if he want a line of shirts, get the money up front, your not his partner.
John

:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Oh, he completely understands that. He just needs a supplier and im the guy (or trying to be) $400 will be easily enough to money to buy the 20 screens. As far as emulation and labor goes its ok. Im trying to look at this like thats my investment in him. If this doesnt work out I get 20 screens out of it. I just do a few orders a month out of my garage. Im just not sure how all the transfers work and how the production of this order will work
 

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My suggestion is if he want a line of shirts, get the money up front, your not his partner.
John

:)

If he want a line of shirts sounds like barefoot talk to me. :p

I'd say if you get your costs covered upfront and you realize you are taking a risk that your effort might not pay off, then why not go for it. You never know what it might turn into over time.
 

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Nick, I wish you well, but I think this is a no money deal unless you demand more.
Yes and no... the customer has $400 invested in screens, and nothing to show for it if he fails. So he does have at least some incentive (beyond the desire to succeed) to make it work.

It's definitely a risk, but it sounds like nromano1212 has weighed up whether or not that's worth it, and to a certain extent has nothing better to do anyway. Sounds reasonable.

If it was me, I'd try and suggest a compromise: you don't want to print on demand, he doesn't want a large inventory. So do a small inventory. Make it large enough to cover all your materials costs and some of your labour, so you reduce your investment risk in the customer.

It sounds like you view this as a valuable learning experience, and/or a bit of fun - so if the labour costs aren't recouped it won't be too much of a hassle. It also won't be too much of a surprise, but if you don't like the experience you don't have to do it again :)
 

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Just my opinion, but $5.00 a shirt and he only want one or two at a time doesn't seem worth it. You have labor, electric, ink, emulsion or cap film, so it sounds like you wuld be working for free. It may sound like a great deal at first (and I guess it could be down the road) but a lot of people will come in telling you they are going to do huge things and it ends up nothing and you are out all the materials, time and other costs.
I had one person come in and tell me they were going to order all these wine glasses (I do pad printing as well), I gave them a price then she comes back and says I want 12 and then I told her what that cost would be and then she said great I would like to order 6. so it went from a ton down to 6 to get started. I told her it was not worth my time to burn the plate, set it up and clean up the inks not to mention the smell, so I am just saying people will get your hopes up and then take advantage

Again just my opinion, but if he is not wanting them all at once I would have to charge more than $5.00

I wish you the best whatever you decide. Let us know how it works out.
 

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plastisol transfers are a good way to go in a situation like this. Just make sure that he pays for the transfers that you do up front. Then if the work doesn't pan out in the end, then you're not out anything. You're right, applying heat transfers on demand is much easier than printing on demand. If you do the transfers properly, there will be little difference in print quality and overall look. There are some exceptions of course, but I would do a few and and show the guy how they look.
 

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If it was me, I'd try and suggest a compromise: you don't want to print on demand, he doesn't want a large inventory. So do a small inventory. Make it large enough to cover all your materials costs and some of your labour, so you reduce your investment risk in the customer.
I also think this is a good idea.

Nick, it sounds like you want to start an ongoing business relationship with this guy. So do yourself a favor and don't just think about this deal. Think about the future.

If you are not making enough money to cover your expenses and labor right now, what about when he starts wanting bigger orders, and naturally wants a discount for the larger quantity? You're going to be in trouble when that happens if you don't have your pricing correct from the start.
 

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To answer the issue of quality - yes, the quality of a plastisol is the same as regular screen printing.

One thing I would maybe try to do, is to get the guy to lower his quantity. I know he started off with 30 and narrowed it down to 20, but I would try and get him down to 10, and even then I bet there are about 5 good designs, if that. A lot of people think they need to offer more to look good. If you can get this number down, then you are not putting in as much work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hey guys, Thanks for all the great responses! I forgot to mention I told this guy i usually charge charge more per tee shirt on smaller orders but seeing where he will be consistently buying them, I will charge $5 per shirt no matter how many they are. I also forgot to mention he would like to buy like a 100 shirts up front as he wants to go out on the street to promote. After all the work/expenses of setting up all the screens I will only be making probably $150 profit but thats a decent amount of money for my time for just setting up screens...Also, if im going to expand my business im going to have to buy more screens at some point so if this doesn't work out for him, I still own 20 screens that he paid for....I know its not the most profitable deal on my end but like I said this kid seems smart and im sure he will sell shirts.
 

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It sounds like he wants you to be his Cafe Press. If you are doing his printing and supply and shipping, stocking and storage as well as your time executing his orders $5.00 isnt going to get you anywhere.

I assume at $5.00 a tee the designs are simple one or two color images or text and probably you are supplying the blank tees. I would be looking at ganged plastisol sheets to get the costs down as a first and maybe only option for print on demand in that design quantity.
 

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When you say"5.00 per shirt", are you talking about the cost of buying the actual shirt, or the cost per shirt for all your work. Just want to clarify this point. So on top of the $400 you'd be recieving another $500 for the 100 shirts?
 

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plastisol transfers are a good way to go in a situation like this. Just make sure that he pays for the transfers that you do up front.
very good point. also, make sure it is CLEAR that the 20 screens he is fronting the money for belong to you, and are not his to take if he wishes to use another printer in the future.
 

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After all the work/expenses of setting up all the screens I will only be making probably $150 profit but thats a decent amount of money for my time for just setting up screens
I see comments like this on the forum frequently. $150 for the amount of time to coat, burn and expose screens may be good. But you also need to count the time involved in meeting with the customer, time spent figuring out the best solution (forum research)for the both of you. Be fair with the customer but be fair to yourself as well.

I believe plastisol transfers are the best way to manage this. You customer buy's all the transfers up front and has no investment in t-shirts. That helps their cash flow and will enable you tobasically print on demand. The customer could also just order the sizes of the shirts that are selling the best.

Good luck with this...
 

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Hey guys, Thanks for all the great responses! I forgot to mention I told this guy i usually charge charge more per tee shirt on smaller orders but seeing where he will be consistently buying them, I will charge $5 per shirt no matter how many they are. I also forgot to mention he would like to buy like a 100 shirts up front as he wants to go out on the street to promote. After all the work/expenses of setting up all the screens I will only be making probably $150 profit but thats a decent amount of money for my time for just setting up screens...Also, if im going to expand my business im going to have to buy more screens at some point so if this doesn't work out for him, I still own 20 screens that he paid for....I know its not the most profitable deal on my end but like I said this kid seems smart and im sure he will sell shirts.
You are making a rookie mistake...Tell him to order a specific amount of shirts per design up front...It makes a cleaner deal between the two of you. And don't overlook the statement, "I don't want much overhead." I hear this a lot from people who order minimum quantities,...my answer? NO SHI* SHERLOCK! I don't want overhead either! Who does?

You mention he seems smart, and yes he is. Why? BC he has you figured out already, he can use you as a personal fulfillment service without the risks and premium that comes with the service. You have the short end of the stick with this situation.
 
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