Six Questions to Ask Your Screen Printer
So you’ve decided to have some safety shirts or safety vests printed for your company or organization. Many choices now exist when selecting a screen printer, from local businesses to venture capital-funded, nationally advertised printers.
So how do you know WHO to work with and WHICH company will provide you with the best shirts at the lowest prices featuring the finest custom screen-printed artwork?
The answer is simple – ask them the right questions, starting with these six below that deal with custom printing processes for t-shirts and sweatshirts. The answers you receive will help you to identify a trusted partner versus a nightmare print job in-the-making!
Are there any hidden or confusing charges for your custom screen printing services?
Some screen printers confuse or complicate the quoting process by having additional charges that may not be evident or apparent. These fees may be hidden or not obvious to you during a job estimate, only to show up on the final bill.
- Per Style Charge – Several safety vendors have additional charges if you select more than one style of safety apparel., or require that your minimum order is all one style. At National Safety Gear we allow you to mix/match styles to meet your needs.
• Art Fees – increasing the resolution of the logo, converting art files to Vector files, fixing jagged edges in the rough logo … we will spend the time necessary to make your art better typically at no additional charge. Most charge for these services, we don’t.
• Per Color Fees – some businesses actually charge an extra fee such as $15 per color to set up the print in the t-shirt printing press. This seems redundant to us – shouldn’t that just be part of the print job to begin with?
• Flashing Fee – An additional color charge is typically incurred for flashing – the bottom foundation base color for something printed on black or dark material. These color fees can add-up quickly!
• Shipping – “Shipping and Handling charges” can add-up rapidly that have not been explained ahead of time to you, the customer. Shipping a shirt across the country can cost up to an additional $0.50 each. Our shipping charge is a straight forward and typically less than what it actually costs us. We do not look at “shipping” as a profit center.
Our quotes are all inclusive….no surprises!
What will be done with my art?
As mentioned above, sometimes artwork needs corrected in order to print it well on custom shirt orders. A good screen printing company will work to ensure that your logo artwork displays as perfectly as possible BEFORE printing. Increasing image resolution, trimming jagged image edges, converting to vector files for the best resolution … these tasks should be accomplished before your order is printed and you should expect your printer to do these and more to ensure a great-looking, quality logo is presented on every print.
In addition, when using an online design tool, your logo may not be in the appropriate place. This where “pride in workmanship” is more important than churning out shirt orders.
Will my order be printed in-house?
Surprisingly, the printer you hire and to whom you trust your custom apparel may not be the outfit doing the printing! Some national and local screen printers “farm out” their jobs to contract printers who handle their overflow when the original printer is too busy. This network of printers may not use the same inks or even the same techniques. Once you receive your order from these contract printers, are you likely to send them back if the quality is a bit less? Unlikely! All of our printing is done “in-house” where we can control materials and workmanship.
What types of screens are you using?
Like most artistic processes done on a mass scale, equipment means everything. The quality, integrity and clarity of your custom-print logo is largely due to the type of screen used for the printing process.
WOOD screens warp over time, causing the screen to not meet the surface of the fabric completely. This produces a distortion in the image as well as uneven ink coverage. With ALUMINUM screens, the screen mesh becomes loose so that the logo image is once-again distorted and colors may not align properly. RETENSIONABLE screens can be retightened as needed, keeping the image in great shape for multiple printings with very little downtime for adjustments required. Except for special requirements, we have chosen to use retensionable screens even though the cost is significantly higher. We feel the quality difference will be appreciated.
What kind of screen printing press do you use?
As with point Four above, equipment means everything. When it comes to mass production for large runs of company shirts or other custom printing jobs, the printing press itself is a remarkably valuable system.
MANUAL screen printers that rely on the hand and arm strength of the technician working the press are subject to inconsistencies in print quality because the individual working the press gets fatigued over time. This results in screen prints that are lighter than others and often look “half done.” AUTOMATIC screen presses are pneumatically and electrically powered and never tire – the first print looks like the last print no matter how many hundreds of prints happen in-between. We use a state-of-the-art automatic press that does a great job for our customers day-in and day-out.
How will my items be delivered?
For many screen printing companies, getting the finished product to their customers is the least of their concerns. Once the package has left their premises, it’s Uncle Sam’s business – not theirs. Packing and shipping our custom-printed shirts and safety wear is the final quality-assurance step we are proud to take.
Many printers execute a quick “printer fold” that isn’t tight and flips around in the mailing package. Our printed tees, sweatshirts and safety gear are folded with THREE FOLDS each for a tighter, less wrinkled shipping experience. Each order also leaves our building in a new shipping box to insure the integrity of the shipment. Lastly, all our printing orders are shipped UPS Ground or Priority Mail – no surprises – with tracking and guaranteed delivery in the time frame we specify.