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worth it? Comparing my business

1925 Views 9 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  jtrainor56
I started off just with embroidery. I found a great deal on a heat press and started doing transfers. Here's what I've found. With embroidery I can do 8 production shirts (like a school logo) an hour on my single head. I'll charge $4 for that so I make $32 on that hour, but minus thread/stabilizer, etc... it's about $31.

With heat transfers I can press around 20 shirts an hour and make over $5 each on them.

I'm starting to wonder why I would keep providing embroidery except to just have a wide array of services. And the comparison I gave was simple production embroidery, not the single put a name on a bag embroidery. Those take much longer because you've got to do it up on the computer and then figure on a weird hooping scenario. Sometimes I'll be lucky if I don't end up spending an hour total on a small one item thing. Now, I know that a lot of that is just me not being efficient, or charging enough but it's still so much more labor intensive than pressing shirts.

Am I alone in this thinking? Granted the embroidery does fill the gaps in business, but sometimes I just wonder if it's worth the hassle (and that's with a good running machine).
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If you think you need to be everything to everyone you might need to keep embroidery.....But I think you have a pricing problem....That price looks more like a wholesale price versus a retail price....

As far as heat pressing......I think you are right on the money...So if this is a better line of work for you, you need to focus your marketing effort in this direction....Also, you can increase your margins by watching for sales....Sometimes it will be regular stock marked down or closeouts...
You are charging multi head prices and running a single head. Change your pricing or buy more heads. Or both...

Maybe it's time to step up and hire some employees. Someone can do the embroidery, someone can do the heat pressing. You do the sales and work on growing your business volume.

Do yourself a favor and write a business plan with some short, medium and long term goals. Visualize what you want to be doing next year or ten years down the road. Write a game plan to make that happen.

It's Ready. Aim. Fire. Not ready, fire, aim.

Good luck,

Y'all are right about me charging too low. I've got to do a rate increase and pronto. I'll be honest, when we first got our machine we did a LOT of business just to do it and for the learning experience. I really didn't have any idea what to charge and asked around at the various (there are many) shops around town and picked something in the middle to cheap side. I guess it's time to do an inquiry again because I have a feeling we're low. What's funny is that I didn't even realize what a chore embroidery was until I started heat pressing.
The great thing about embroidery on a single head is that you can start one, hoop one and then heat press in between. Also, if you are only getting $32/hr. then you aren't charging enough. You should be making at least 50% more than that.
The other thing to look at is are you getting any mark-up on garments?? If not then you need to up your prices even more.

When we were doing embroidery at horse shows, we found that we loved doing the big jacket backs. We would sell a jacket for $80 ($40 profit) and the embroidery would be another $80. Take about an hour to run and profit of about $120 on one jacket. We quit taking embroidery to shows a couple years ago when embroidery became "passe" and too expensive for most people.

My point is that embroidery will come back again as the decoration of choice. In the meantime, keep up your heat pressing and watch your pricing on embroidery (too low). Also get a mark-up on garments - meaning you supply them.

Good luck :)
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you need to go to a 4 or 6 or 12 head emb machine. you can get into the biz with a single head but you can't make any money with it. or rather, you can't make enough unless you have some special high priced item that you sell.
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1. Focus on your printing...its your cash cow.

2. 2nd line is a security so don't close the embroidery. Even though you may do your research on current going prices, it doesn't necessarily mean you have to match them. If your quality and service is better you can charge even more, so if you have a backlog of 2 weeks work in hand, its time to raise the prices and consider getting a 4 head.

We run 120 embroidery heads 24 hrs a day but our objective is to keep the machines running so our prices could vary from time to time on new enquiries. If I was busy I'd quote higher, if not then I'd drop my quote to get that order as long as my machines keep running. This is because the machines have already paid themselves off.
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When figuring pricing you need to figure everything, not just thread and supplies. You need to figure in shipping, waste, utilities, phone, rent (even if you work from home), office supplies, trash, property taxes, etc... A single head is fine to start with but you'll never make a living with it, you need multiple heads. I used to do custom made tournament fishing shirts and with embroidery I had no problem charging $200-300 a shirt. If you want to stay with one single head then you need a lot of these to keep you busy. Good luck.
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