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8 Ways to Save Money in Your Decorated-Apparel Shop

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8 Ways to Save Money in Your Decorated-Apparel Shop

et’s start with saving money. You need as much capital as you can gather to make the best investments. Ensuring you’re efficient in finding ways to cut down on spending will definitely help you save for future growth.

1. Actually save money.

“The best way to save is to plan for it,” says Marshall Atkinson, business consultant at Atkinson Consulting.

“Divert a percentage of each order’s profit into your savings account. That way, when you need new equipment, you’ve got a war chest of funds, so you might not even need to take a loan.”
Marshall Atkinson, business consultant at Atkinson Consulting and host of Success Stories

2. Get paid 100% upfront.

Print shop consultants like Roberson and Atkinson wish that more shops would switch from the 50% upfront and 50% upon delivery terms model that many are afraid to shed. “I see super-busy shops that don’t actually have the cash to buy blanks for their orders,” Atkinson says.

“Stop chasing money. Stop being a bank. Print shops say that schools will only pay on a purchase order, but many printers get paid upfront by their educational customers. If you conditioned your customers that this is how you operate, you can ‘uncondition’ them just as easily and move to 100% upfront payment.”
Marshall Atkinson, business consultant at Atkinson Consulting and host of Success Stories

3. Outsource work.

"I’ve trained shops that completely cut out full-color printing or other processes because they don’t have the proper equipment, time or employees to either get the job done, or they lose profit because of the time it takes to complete the order.”
La Tonna Roberson, owner at Lady Print Boss Consulting

“That’s a big mistake, because you can easily outsource these jobs to another shop that has greater capabilities. Then, you don’t have to walk away from the orders.” Things like digitizing designs or even creating custom artwork could be outsourced, if you’re finding everyone has got their hands full in your shop. While it may not make sense for you to have certain equipment in-house or a full-time artist or digitizer on staff, you should build a network of vendors or outside professionals who can handle those jobs as they arise. You can still make money on the orders, instead of turning them away.

You can also reach out to temp agencies, so they can send you seasonal workers when you’re in the middle of a holiday rush and need more hands in your receiving, packaging or shipping departments. 

Conversely, look to be a shop that can take on extra work if you have time to run jobs for someone else. “Outsourcing can also be a great source of extra income for your shop, if you have the room to take on that work,” Roberson says. 

4. Be strategic about everything in your shop.

The key here to saving money is smartly saving time. Remember, your shop loses money whenever you spend too much time on a process. “Most shops will look for ways to streamline their print process to save, which they should, but they fail to look at ways to streamline the administrative side of their business,” Roberson says.

“A task as simple as spending too much time talking to clients, or taking too long to get pricing to a client can cost your shop money, so how can you streamline that process?”
La Tonna Roberson, owner at Lady Print Boss Consulting

5. Use your data.

Data has become the watchword in many industries and decorated-apparel shops definitely should be no exception. For example, the industry-wide shortage of some products and materials was the driving force that prompted T-Shirt Shop Dallas to see how they could save more money in their print department. First, the team looked at what jobs made the most money and how many of those jobs they were turning out.

The result? The shop made most of its money from one- and two-color screen prints, rather than more time-consuming, full-color printing. “Instead of screen printing full-color process jobs, we opted to send those out to a larger printer,” Roberson says.

6. Get your best deals.

Next up, reach out to your suppliers and negotiate the best possible prices on your blanks and supplies. The lower your per-item cost (and shipping), the better your profits.

You may also consider switching your business model to bulk or more print-on-demand orders so that you don’t have product sitting on your shelves. Ask your sales rep about the best deals you can get for higher-quality products. If you offer a customer a shirt made from higher-quality fabric or designed for a retail fit, you can charge more and improve your bottom line.

7. Jump into print-on-demand.

POD is a business model that makes sense for a lot of reasons. Traditionally, shops print a lot of shirts to place on shelves waiting to be bought. This costs you in two ways. First, you have to pay for the materials and the printing costs to create them. But, you also have to pay for storing them. If you don’t sell them, you’re out a bunch of time and money.

By pivoting towards print-on-demand, you won’t have to worry about storage costs for overruns or extra supplies. You literally only have to print what you need. And, as a bonus, if you’re charging 100% upfront, you get the money when the customer places the order, meaning you don’t have to lay out capital to print items before people buy them. Shops that fulfill online stores to clients find that POD pairs perfectly with ecommerce. 

8. Switch things up, but stay consistent.

Consider changing your business model by offering services like online stores, kitting, packaging and fulfillment, if there’s a customer demand for it. However, if you do, make sure to constantly streamline your production workflow so you consistently complete orders on time. Everything in your shop should run like clockwork so that if a rush of big orders comes in, everyone knows exactly what they need to do.

Continue to Reevaluate Your Business.

A big part of growing your business, is consistently reevaluating where can you make adjustments to save on time and money. Hopefully, these eight suggestions will be a good place for you to get the process started and start putting some extra cash in your company's pockets.

May 6, 2022