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Discussion Starter #1
ok so I'm a newbie,

My start-up has been in the works for the last 2 months and it will be finally up next!
as i was doing the research on how to get started mostly on this site... i saw the services of printmojo and spreadsheat...etc ...

but the deal although not risky doesnt seem like its as profitable as doing everything yourself! I think!

but the service of them mailing the shirt is great, since i just want to market, the site rather than deal w/ packaging and mailing and so on...

so i've decided on an alternative...

what about using an e-commerce fullfillment service... once i have my shirts i would mail it to the company.. and they mail the shirts to the addresse(s) i request

the charges are about 3$ per shipemnt plus shipping... there is also a storage fee usually less than 50$ monthly

so my question is, should i do that and concentrate on marketing or should i mail the packages myself.. keep in mind that i have full time job!! ???
 

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I don't have my site up and don't have to deal with this yet, so you may want to wait for someone with more experience in the area to answer you, but I will give my .02 for the heck of it!

I think that you should keep your money in your pocket! Use it on marketing! Anything but this! I think a service such as this is only cost effective once you have to take up most/all of your time mailing shirts.

Let's say you are just starting out and you are doing VERY well and selling 100 shirts per month, 25/week. How much time will it actually take you to ship out 25 shirts in a week. I haven't shipped out any shirts, but it can't take THAT long. Now let's look at how much that would cost you. $3 per shirt, multiplied by 100 shirts, plus the $50 monthly fee...that's $350! Talk about profit-eating! Ouch!:eek:

If you shipped out orders when you got them at an average of 25 per week (again generous estimate), you're only talking about shipping out 5 shirts a day.

You could do this yourself (ship out 5 shirts/day) or pay someone $350 to do it for you.

I know what I would do...:D
 

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I agree. This does not sound like a good idea... you can even get USPS to pick up shipments at your door in some cases, to make it easier there. I'd say you're really going to want to either go mostly all out and do it all yourself, OR have someone else (be it a local shop or an online fulfilment company) do most of it for you -- not somewhere in between.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
hi guys, to be fair, the 3 dollars includes packaging sorting and shipping, they have a free return service..if the customer get the wrong order,

they even email the customer the tracking info...

i want to start w/ great customer service... no subpar service...

and then i can concentrate my full attention in marketing...

I feel that this is a great idea...
 

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I understand what you're saying. I have a full-time job as well. I work 8-10 hours a day in the health insurance industry, then come home and put in another 6-8 hours on my business, and my site isn't even up yet!

I agree that marketing is extremely important and that you also want to start with great customer service, but customer service IS marketing! EVERYTHING you do is marketing! Even with all that you say they do for you, there's just no way it seems cost effective to me. You asked for the opinions, and I give my freely. Like I said before, I haven't had to deal with these issues yet. But one thing I know for sure is that I consider them to important to trust someone else with them.;)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
hmm thanks for input....

one thing for sure, its risky, especially since i dont know how much sales i'll get once i get started...
 

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Discussion Starter #8
good news guys, thank for your help, i've found a freind who is going to help me mail the products...so it looks like we will be shipping 3 times a week...

now i guess i'll be starting a shipping method packaging thread... ..
 

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Hey Nolawi,

You'll probably go through a few shipping phases. Your friend will be able to ship in the beginning, but hopefully you’ll get to a point where it becomes too much for your friend. Then you really have to look at your labor time on shipping and exact expense and decide to keep it in-house or outsource.

You’ll probably always be able to handle all your packing and shipping yourself for less than outsourcing, but at what expense? What happens when your friend goes on Holiday for a few weeks? Is your whole time going to be tied up in shipping? What if he doesn’t want to do it anymore? Now you have to find another person, train them, etc. If you’re working from home, do you want an unknown working from your home?

The BIG question is going to be; What are you worth when you’re not spending your time on packing and shipping? If the answer is zero, then you are your best shipper! If you’re worth a lot more when your time is spent on marketing or designing, then you’ll probably want to outsource.

I think Mojo is great service! I don’t use them and never have, but I’ve looked at their business model and it’s a pretty good! It’s definitely better than using a separate printer and separate third party shipper, unless you’re moving thousands of shirts a week and love your printer! There’s a ton of hidden costs in third party shipping that you don’t occur w/ Mojo. While Mojo has minimums, they’re pretty reasonable. It’s not worth the time or money to outsource a few hundred shirts a month to a third party shipper. You’re paying rent to store your stuff. Your paying a restocking fee on returns, your paying a stocking fee when you ship them new stuff, it goes on and on.

It’s all going to depend on how BIG you want to go, and where you want to spend your time.
 

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nolawi,

Once you get into the swing of things, you will develop your own best method for dealing with the shipping. With all the on-line tools now available to help with the process, it's not really that hard to handle, and with shipping and handle fees, you usually end up making a little extra profit on each shipped order too.

I haven't been to this site in a little while due to a trip, so I don't know if you were going to be making these shirts yourself, or if you have your own website to sell them or what, but if you do, then you will be keeping track of the sales anyway. You will still have to see who bought what and where they live.

Using USPS for example, you can order all the shipping supplies you need for Priority Mail on-line for free. Then you use an on-line postage program to handle the creation of mailing labels. Copy and paste the address into the program, print it out a label, slap it on the Priority envelope and stick it in the mail box. If your sales are good enough, buy a bigger mailbox. You can, and should make enough money with shipping and handling to cover your time.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Cool hand,
your post seems like a plug, printmojo and spreadshirt offer a great service but it seems to me that its a rip off...plus i want to print only on the best shirts...which i beleive is american apparel.. thanks for input..

decal, how do i pack the shirts do i need to buy plastic bags? and then put them in a carton or what?---

where do i get the carton? does usps provide those..?

i think right now i'll only be shipping about 40 shirts a month..//
 

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I've always liked ShurTuff plastic satchels for shipping, and many postal services offer similar prepaid items for free (apart from the postage cost)
 

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your post seems like a plug, printmojo and spreadshirt offer a great service but it seems to me that its a rip off..
What part seems like a "rip off" to you?

You can make money with just about any t-shirt fulfillment service. They are there for the folks that don't want to do it all themselves.

If you don't mind handling the various aspects of setting up a t-shirt business (getting shirts printed, hosting, designing a website, customer service, inventory, warehousing, shipping, ecommerce, merchant accounts, etc), then those services may not be for you. That doesn't mean they are a ripoff.

People make money every day with cafepress, spreadshirt, printmojo etc. Just like people make money doing it themself.

Let's say you are just starting out and you are doing VERY well and selling 100 shirts per month, 25/week. How much time will it actually take you to ship out 25 shirts in a week. I haven't shipped out any shirts, but it can't take THAT long. Now let's look at how much that would cost you. $3 per shirt, multiplied by 100 shirts, plus the $50 monthly fee...that's $350! Talk about profit-eating! Ouch!
Just to clear things up. There is no $50 monthly storage fee with PrintMojo. There are no monthly fees at all.

The $3 fee is actually a $3.50 fulfillment fee. It's also not per shirt it's per *order*. So if you have a customer that orders 3 t-shirts in one order, the fulfillment fee is still $3.50. The fulfillment fee covers the stuff you would be paying for anyway (web hosting, product storage, credit card processing, ecommerce, customer service, etc). If you don't sell any tees, you don't pay any fulfillment fees.

I have shipped 25 shirts a week, and along with processing the emails, handling customer calls, answering email questions, pulling inventory, printing labels, packing up orders, checking for correctness, it can get time consuming.

Me, I still like doing all that stuff. Maybe because I'm a bit of a control freak :) But it IS time consuming.

I have stores at cafepress, spreadshirt, printmojo and zazzle and I can tell you when there's a spike in sales in those stores, I am pretty thankful that I don't have to handle the fulfillment on those orders. I can sit around barbecuing while the sales notification emails come in, knowing someone else is handling the orders.

Like I said, I like doing it myself for the orders I *do* process and fulfill on my own, but there is definitely a place for the fulfillment companies that do it all (or some) as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Rodney, dont get me wrong, they offer a great service really great service;

what i meant to say is they make a good profit while you dont... ofcource they do a lot of the work too...
 

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Discussion Starter #15
monkeylantern said:
I've always liked ShurTuff plastic satchels for shipping, and many postal services offer similar prepaid items for free (apart from the postage cost)
ups does this....??
 

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Rodney said:
Just to clear things up. There is no $50 monthly storage fee with PrintMojo. There are no monthly fees at all.

The $3 fee is actually a $3.50 fulfillment fee. It's also not per shirt it's per *order*. So if you have a customer that orders 3 t-shirts in one order, the fulfillment fee is still $3.50. The fulfillment fee covers the stuff you would be paying for anyway (web hosting, product storage, credit card processing, ecommerce, customer service, etc). If you don't sell any tees, you don't pay any fulfillment fees.

I have shipped 25 shirts a week, and along with processing the emails, handling customer calls, answering email questions, pulling inventory, printing labels, packing up orders, checking for correctness, it can get time consuming.

Me, I still like doing all that stuff. Maybe because I'm a bit of a control freak :) But it IS time consuming.

I have stores at cafepress, spreadshirt, printmojo and zazzle and I can tell you when there's a spike in sales in those stores, I am pretty thankful that I don't have to handle the fulfillment on those orders. I can sit around barbecuing while the sales notification emails come in, knowing someone else is handling the orders.

Like I said, I like doing it myself for the orders I *do* process and fulfill on my own, but there is definitely a place for the fulfillment companies that do it all (or some) as well.
Just to clear things up a bit more, in the quote Rodney mentioned above, I was speaking specifically to the thought of him getting a source "only" to mail his shirts and handle shipping after he got them printed, not of any "traditional" fulfillment service such as cafepress, spreadshirt, etc.

I just thought that it would be quite a bit to go through the process of setting up your own site, marketing, finding your shirts, making designs, getting them printed, THEN mailing those shirts to a company just to have them mail them to your customers. The prices he quoted for this seemed quite exorbitant. After going through all of the other steps and just trying to start your business, it seems paying $350/month to a third party company just to mail out 100 shirts/month is a bit much. Not to mention your cost of shipping the shirts to them after you get them printed.

So again, neither I, nor I believe he, was referring to Printmojo, cafepress, or the others when we were talking about the $3 per shipment or the $50 monthly storage fee. We were referring to his "alternative" that he said he found to Printmojo...

...Just to clear things up.;)
 

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USPS (post office) has the better selection of mailing supplies for free. The large size bags for priority mail can averagly fit 3 shirts. Plus the bags themselves are water resistant and tear resistant. UPS has similar bags also. And like someone mentioned earlier, if you go USPS or UPS and can print and pay for shipping online. Then drop in a box, at the store (UPS), post office, or call for pick up. Personally, I would pack and ship myself as long as I could keep up. I can't see paying for something (shipping service) if I have the time. If time is your issue just pick a company and try them for a month. If you are not completely satisfied, try another. It's like ketchup, there are multiple brands because people have different taste. Each one has that subtle little difference that makes or brakes it for the person.
 

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Monkey said:
It's like ketchup, there are multiple brands because people have different taste. Each one has that subtle little difference that makes or brakes it for the person.
"Three tomatoes are walking down the street: Poppa tomato, Momma tomato, and Baby tomato. Baby tomato starts lagging behind and Poppa tomato gets really angry; goes back and squishes him, says, "Ketchup.""--Mia Wallace


Not everybody likes ketchup, though....

VINCENT: You know what they put on french fries in Holland instead of ketchup?

JULES: What?

VINCENT: Mayonnaise.

JULES: ******!

VINCENT: I seen 'em do it. And I don't mean a little bit on the side of the plate, they ****** drown 'em in it.

Sorry, I couldn't help it!:eek:

Okay...I'm done!:D
 

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nolawi said:
what i meant to say is they make a good profit while you dont... ofcource they do a lot of the work too...
That's a big difference from:

printmojo and spreadshirt offer a great service but it seems to me that its a rip off
As I mentioned earlier, you can make a good profit with any of the services. It's not uncommon to make anywhere from $5 - $12 profit per shirt using a fulfillment service.

But you are correct in that the more risk/responsibility that you handle yourself, the higher profit margins that are possible. When you use a t-shirt fulfillment service, you are paying for the service and convenience of not having to do it all yourself so you can spend more time marketing and designing t-shirts.

Enough of me on my soapbox though :) I just really wanted to clear up the inaccuracies in the earlier post.
 
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