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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have big client that just found a website that sells all the shirts $.25 to $.50 more then i can get them through sanmar or S&S etc. Is anyone else seeing this? they now want to buy the shirts and have me print them super cheap. when I signed my agreements with the wholesalers I remember a clause that I could not sell shirts unless I altered them or printed on them.

just upset that a costumer can get the same $7 shirt as me for $7.25. that is not much up sell for overhead.
 

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Many printers don't print on customer provided garments. We have no control over what kind of shirts they get, what fabric, how they are dyed, etc. and we can't afford to be financially responsible for anything that may go wrong. Even if you just do a sloppy job or make a typo they don't catch on the proof, the customer will ask you to reprint the job and this time they'll expect you to supply the shirts yourself.

If you do agree to print on their garments, credit them the exact price you would have bought them for wholesale. Check to see if they are on sale and if so credit them the sale price. Your estimate should already include a garment markup and you should retain that for yourself. (Or else you'll be actually paying THEM to bring their own...)

Also, explain to them that printers sometimes make mistakes just like everybody else, and you're letting them know that ahead of time. Since they are providing the shirts you will ask them to also provide any necessary replacements in the event of errors, register slip, or whatever. You can even ask them to provide two or three extra shirts in each size to have on hand in the event you spoil a shirt or two.

If they're any good at math they'll realize that their oh-so-clever scheme will cost them more money, and they should just let the professional printer provide his own shirts.

I wonder if they would take a raw steak to a restaurant and ask them to cook it....

(edit) Also, there's no reason that they should know what you are paying for the shirts. For all they know you buy in such volume that you get those shirts for $5, not $7.
 

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Many printers don't print on customer provided garments. We have no control over what kind of shirts they get, what fabric, how they are dyed, etc. and we can't afford to be financially responsible for anything that may go wrong. Even if you just do a sloppy job or make a typo they don't catch on the proof, the customer will ask you to reprint the job and this time they'll expect you to supply the shirts yourself.

If you do agree to print on their garments, credit them the exact price you would have bought them for wholesale. Check to see if they are on sale and if so credit them the sale price. Your estimate should already include a garment markup and you should retain that for yourself. (Or else you'll be actually paying THEM to bring their own...)

Also, explain to them that printers sometimes make mistakes just like everybody else, and you're letting them know that ahead of time. Since they are providing the shirts you will ask them to also provide any necessary replacements in the event of errors, register slip, or whatever. You can even ask them to provide two or three extra shirts in each size to have on hand in the event you spoil a shirt or two.

If they're any good at math they'll realize that their oh-so-clever scheme will cost them more money, and they should just let the professional printer provide his own shirts.

I wonder if they would take a raw steak to a restaurant and ask them to cook it....

(edit) Also, there's no reason that they should know what you are paying for the shirts. For all they know you buy in such volume that you get those shirts for $5, not $7.
The problem is the company she found online will sell Gildan 5000 for $2.10 each 2000s for $1.90 ish and all other brands that S&S and SanMar sell. free shipping over $200 etc. I will post a link when I find the website again.
 

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you can also explain that you have no idea how the shirts were prepped from their supplier
what if they have stain-guard, or some sort of of anti-bacterial sprays?
where you purchase yours are specifically made for re-decoration
your customer needs to be made aware that you cannot logically provide any guarantees as to outcome or longevity

another reason to consider re-labeling
 

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We still charge the markup on the shirt and they pay for spoilage. We also do not guarantee the print quality and we take payment up front, 100% with no refunds.

If you see the shirts take a look at the tag and see if it is cut or cut off. That is an indication it is a second.
 
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I've had customers bring in shirts they bought from craft stores for almost as much as I pay, and your big box store starts with a W sells Gildans and FOL low enough people want to bring them in..I have a simple sheet I have them sign, stating they understand that My company is not responsible for any damages, loss or catastrophic failure of the prints on their garments, and that sometimes stuff happens that's beyond our control. We will be glad to reprint and provide you with a replacement product similar but made for the print industry at your cost...after that if the still bring in their own stuff I charge them accordantly, I normally charge for a provided 1 color shirt 6.50, I'll charge them 4.50 maybe 4.00 they got "A Deal" and I made my margin.. Bottom line is they'll come back..
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Well either the site is down or the prices have already changed. The site I thought it was my cart is now empty and the price is up $1.50 more for Gildan 5000's even the raglan's she wanted are now more expensive. I was charging $9 a raglan and $3 a print per side (1 color) she found the shirts at my cost of $7 and found another shop to print them. most likely they ordered the shirts themselves and printed them $2 cheaper than I quoted. I just hated to lose this costumer as they place big orders yearly. They never had a problem paying it in the past before she found the website I mentioned above. Anyhow thanks for all the advice i will try looking at it differently next time.
 

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It is the beginning of the end of the commercial world as we know it. The old traditional supply chain of manufacturers/importers- distributor - retailer - customer is breaking down. On the face of it the customer benefits, until as such times as he has limited choice of supplier.

When I started in business in the late 1980's (retail), you had to 'grow a pair' and take way larger entrepreneurial risk than you do today. Getting stock to sell involved either going from warehouse to warehouse (usually with a minimum of £500 spend) or opening accounts which required references, bank details and tax numbers. Now anyone can deal with trade suppliers online with a few £'s. No business credentials required, and very little risk.

Selling to the end user was also harder. You generally needed a premises, which came at a cost, and needed to physically spend time in those premises. Now there are dozens of ways to sell online that require no bricks and mortar premises, no inventory and no time spent until ( if and when ) you sell something.

In 20 years time all the middle ground - the small businesses - will have gone. This industry will be dominated by an assortment of mega corporations at one end of the scale, and micro 'dinning room table' hobby businesses at the other.

It is the 'rise of the machines'. 99.9% of us will just be cogs in those machines.

It is being so cheerful that keeps me young.:D
 

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The problem is the company she found online will sell Gildan 5000 for $2.10 each 2000s for $1.90 ish and all other brands that S&S and SanMar sell. free shipping over $200 etc. I will post a link when I find the website again.
But if she provides shirts she bought at $1.90 and you credit her $1.75 per supplied shirt AND require her to provide extra shirts for errors, how does she plan to save money by doing this?

From your last post it sounds as though your pricing has the shirts itemized which led her to believe that she can purchase them cheaper than you can, since your markup is included in the pricing. This is the reason I don't price my work that way. I give them a lump sum and if they ask me to break out the cost of the shirts I do exactly that. Break out the COST of the shirts.

You can still credit her your cost and explain that your sell price includes a markup for storage, overhead costs, handling, unpacking, sorting, folding, packing, liability, and (how evil) a profit for your business. Not to mention the time involved for her to drop off the shirts, which sounds like nothing but I guarantee will turn into 20 minutes of lost work time (at a time that's convenient for her, not for you.)
 

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It is the 'rise of the machines'. 99.9% of us will just be cogs in those machines.

It is being so cheerful that keeps me young.:D
Except all that the machines really need are customers, not cogs! I've been pondering this for nearly 40 years. How does the economy continue to work if a "Replicator" can produce any desired thing with no human labor? Yes, that is a bit Star Trek, but cheap offshore labor and AI driven automation are steps in that direction that sooner or later effectively cross the same line and break the world as we know it.

So cheer up! You won't even be a cog ;)
 

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It amazes me how cheap people can get. The same idea is parking the car in front of the grocery store at the closest possible parking space when just five spaces farther away would be almost the exact same time walking in and out of the store....you would think people would like to just drive into the store.

We just had a new client refuse to pay $7 each for a 2-color screen print one side but will pay $6 a piece....for an 87 shirt order. At least, they did not bring the shirts to us. We did get a $25 per color setup. How can we make a living going cheaper than that?

It is a sad state of affairs when Gildan sells to these big box stores t-shirts that appear to be the exact same ones we buy from Sanmar and S&S. How can we as a community unto ourselves talk big companies like Gildan and FOL and Jerzees out of selling our unfinished product to big retailers?
 

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It is a sad state of affairs when Gildan sells to these big box stores t-shirts that appear to be the exact same ones we buy from Sanmar and S&S. How can we as a community unto ourselves talk big companies like Gildan and FOL and Jerzees out of selling our unfinished product to big retailers?
Some of the online sites that will sell to anyone, and will sell at low, low prices on quantities of 25 or 50 or so, are in fact subsidiaries of the very same wholesalers that we buy from. So it's not just Jet/Wal*Mart, it is every step in the chain getting all they can for themselves. I'm just glad Amazon's bid for American Apparel didn't win ...
 

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I tend to charge $5 bucks per shirt for a one color design if someone brings the shirts to me. I also make them bring extra shirts and let them know that we are not responsible for long-term outcomes of the items. Payment is required upfront.

Edit: I should also state I still charge for screen fees and ink color changes as if I were supplying the shirts myself.
 

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i think also need you need to get some other option for printing, not just screenprinting, screen printing need screens, time, and custs are now aware of pricing, also competition killing each other, and now companies killing resellers cause sell to retail. try some other techniques. so you can improve quality and time.

i sent you attachment on some of my work, my cost in that tee is 2.75 ready to go. and time for printng around 5minutes, quality guaranteed on materials, so what i do is giving better quality, nice design, some advice service, and now i use diferent techniques for printing.
 

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Its like this in all business. Im not a printer, im just trying to get started in the sesign/brand end of things but I had a successful remodeling business for 20 years.

There was never a shortage of customers wanting to supply there own materials to keep from paying the mark up, thanks Home Depot, or squirrely contractors underbidding jobs, sometimes below what the materials would even cost from any of the lumber yards. On occasion I would lose a job to one of these characters but would get the call back to fix the disaster after the con artist took the money and ran.

At the end of the day it all comes down to building good relationships with customers and how you present your invoice/estimate. part of building that rapport is explaining your pricing schema being transparent enough to build trust without giving away the whole enchilada.

IE. cost of supplies for the job are broke out per phase but not itemized. An simplified invoice I might give a customer looked like this. The real thing was a lot more detailed and impressive looking but this gives you an idea of the strategy that was employed.

Materials:
framing: wood- 2x4, 2x20, pressure treated nails, misc = $200
sheetrock: gypsum board, glue, plaster, nails, misc = $225
Labor: prep site, demolition, framing, hanging sheetrock, finishing sheetrock, clean up = $600
Business cost: dumpster, overhead, inspection fees = $500
total = $1525

So for printing might look like

Printing medium: apparel
Materials: 65 AA shirts black, ink, chemicals, packaging = $300
Labor: art optimization, pre-treat, labor, overhead, screen set up = $200
total = $500
price per shirt $7.60 whatever it works out to. (There are a lot of ways to present the numbers, this is just the way that worked best for me.)

The more you break out in each overall line the more the customer sees what all is involved. This helps the customer feel there is more value in whats being done and dispels the notion that its just getting a shirt and putting ink on it.

Of course there will be folks that pressure you for a line item breakout. You just tell them its your policy not to do that type of invoice/estimate due to supplier agreements or whatever, and ask if they feel the price is fair.

If they try to talk you down dont budge unless you built in wiggle room in the price. Everyone seems to think its ok to haggle with a service provider thats not a massive corporate entity. reassure them that the price is the best you can offer and most important build the value of your service again to them. Warning of the potential pitfalls of using cheaper services. Its about salesmanship. Think of the movie Tommy Boy.

Also dont be afraid to let certain customers walk regardless of the job size. Sometimes its a blessing in disguise as doing business with them is more costly than the job is worth. I have flat out refused to do business with potential clients based on the "pain in the a**" metric in the first couple of meetings.

There will always be undercutting whether on the service side or retail side. All we can do is build the perceived value of our product or service, use best practices, be trustworthy, fair, and honest.

I know you guys are old pros and been in the business for a long time but I hope theres something to take away from all that mess. haha
good luck
 

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Its like this in all business. Im not a printer, im just trying to get started in the sesign/brand end of things but I had a successful remodeling business for 20 years.

There was never a shortage of customers wanting to supply there own materials to keep from paying the mark up, thanks Home Depot, or squirrely contractors underbidding jobs, sometimes below what the materials would even cost from any of the lumber yards. On occasion I would lose a job to one of these characters but would get the call back to fix the disaster after the con artist took the money and ran.

At the end of the day it all comes down to building good relationships with customers and how you present your invoice/estimate. part of building that rapport is explaining your pricing schema being transparent enough to build trust without giving away the whole enchilada.

IE. cost of supplies for the job are broke out per phase but not itemized. An simplified invoice I might give a customer looked like this. The real thing was a lot more detailed and impressive looking but this gives you an idea of the strategy that was employed.

Materials:
framing: wood- 2x4, 2x20, pressure treated nails, misc = $200
sheetrock: gypsum board, glue, plaster, nails, misc = $225
Labor: prep site, demolition, framing, hanging sheetrock, finishing sheetrock, clean up = $600
Business cost: dumpster, overhead, inspection fees = $500
total = $1525

So for printing might look like

Printing medium: apparel
Materials: 65 AA shirts black, ink, chemicals, packaging = $300
Labor: art optimization, pre-treat, labor, overhead, screen set up = $200
total = $500
price per shirt $7.60 whatever it works out to. (There are a lot of ways to present the numbers, this is just the way that worked best for me.)

The more you break out in each overall line the more the customer sees what all is involved. This helps the customer feel there is more value in whats being done and dispels the notion that its just getting a shirt and putting ink on it.

Of course there will be folks that pressure you for a line item breakout. You just tell them its your policy not to do that type of invoice/estimate due to supplier agreements or whatever, and ask if they feel the price is fair.

If they try to talk you down dont budge unless you built in wiggle room in the price. Everyone seems to think its ok to haggle with a service provider thats not a massive corporate entity. reassure them that the price is the best you can offer and most important build the value of your service again to them. Warning of the potential pitfalls of using cheaper services. Its about salesmanship. Think of the movie Tommy Boy.

Also dont be afraid to let certain customers walk regardless of the job size. Sometimes its a blessing in disguise as doing business with them is more costly than the job is worth. I have flat out refused to do business with potential clients based on the "pain in the a**" metric in the first couple of meetings.

There will always be undercutting whether on the service side or retail side. All we can do is build the perceived value of our product or service, use best practices, be trustworthy, fair, and honest.

I know you guys are old pros and been in the business for a long time but I hope theres something to take away from all that mess. haha
good luck
This was incredibly helpful. Especially as a newbie. Thanks!!
 
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