Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Embroidery: Customer purchased vs customer supplied garments

Many embroiderers struggle with their pricing policies on several levels. What should my margins be? What is my competition charging? What garments/brands will I offer and what’s the most cost efficient way to get them in and turned around for my customer?


Another often pondered dilemma is whether to accept garments supplied by the customer for embroidery.  Many embroiderers struggle with this question and go back and forth, especially when they hit a snag.

Many larger embroiderers simply won’t do this. The reasons are many but the basics are:

·         Can’t make a profit on the garments if they are supplied

·         Can’t control the quality (many customers buy the cheapest they can find, which then effects the quality of the finished embroidery)

·         Can’t replace a garment if the machine tears a hole or otherwise damages it

·         Wreaks havoc with production - Many times customers will bring a “laundry basket” of different garments in for a design (or worse, many garments, all with different designs). Every garment sews differently and consistent placement can be a struggle on multiple garments. Production suffers and profit goes down.

Smaller embroider companies seem to be more willing to deal with these issues and will charge more on the embroidery side to make up for it. It’s up to you whether you want to accept customer supplied garments in your business but if you do, here are a few things (in addition to the ones above) that you want to consider making a few rules about in your shop:

·         Only accept clean, new garments….yes, customers will try to bring you old (smelly) sweatshirts that haven’t been laundered or team shirts that have already been worn (stained) for a few games. This makes your equipment dirty, can pound dirt into your needle plates and leave residue for your next orders making it difficult to keep other garments clean.

·         Make the customer sign a waiver acknowledging that they understand that you cannot be held responsible for garment damages and will not replace items.  Some embroiderers state a 2% or 3% waste policy on larger quantities. Make sure your customer understands your policy.  Believe me, it will not be profitable in any way to spend time and money driving around town (away from your business) to replace a customer’s garment at retail prices just so they can save a few bucks by providing them to you.

·         Most embroiderers will refuse items that are irreplaceable such as grandma’s quilt or heirloom handkerchiefs or baby christening gowns. Also, items that are extremely expensive or leather items. Not many embroiderers will sew a leather jacket back and punch hundreds of thousands of holes into a good leather jacket that costs way more than the embroidery. All it takes is one to tear a hole and all the profit from the job goes down the drain.

·         Make sure you’re charging for your time to go over multiple garment jobs with the customer about where the design location will fall on the different garments and thread color differences between the garment colors. Multiple garments usually means the design will need alternate colorways on certain ones to insure the design shows well. Also go over the garments with your customer and point out any flaws/stains so you aren’t blamed for them.

If you want to allow customer supplied garments, try it for a while and see how it goes for you. You may decide to re-evaluate your stance at a later time. At any rate, make sure it’s profitable the way you’ve set it up. We’ve all been there in one way or another, which is usually what formulates the policy in your shop.

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NeedleUp Digitizing LLC is owned and operated by Donna Lehmann, a 20yr veteran of the embroidery/digitizing industry. She can be reached at NeedleUp, donna@needleup.com or  303-287-6633 for digitizing, consultation and private classes M-F.

9 comments:

Embroidery digitizing said...

it is the best way of job

Embroidery digitizing said...

geart post

Jenifer Jackson said...

Very interesting article. Like it very much.
Digitemb

Nassim O'Shaughnessy said...

Thank you for addressing financial struggles with embroidery. My cousin just opened a shop and doesn't know what to do when customers bring in gross, unwashed clothes. I am definitely going to share this piece with him so that he can get up the courage to stand up to his customers.

Nassim O'Shaughnessy | http://www.graphicstitches.com.au/embroidery.html

Victoria Hannah said...

I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own weblog and was curious what all is needed to get set up? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny?

I’m not very web smart so I’m not 100% positive. Any tips or advice would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks
Admin JpgArt

NeedleUp Digitizing said...

Google Blogger is easy and free! You do need a small bit of computer savvy for graphics and such but you can find all the info you need by "Googling" it.

Sara said...

Really impressive.

Jahanzaib Murtaza said...

I am looking for a cute monogram for beach towels and this one looks wonderful for this project.

jenna said...

Thanks for the wonderful pictures and post.