How to Pick a Spirit Wear Vendor for Your School Project

Every year, a new set of parent volunteers takes on the responsibility of fundraising and promotions for their local high schools, middle schools, elementary schools, and booster clubs or PTA and PTO organizations. The first task is often to plan, produce and sell school related spirit wear.

Here are some important questions to ask potential screen printers or embroiderers so you can ensure you have a reliable spirit wear vendor that will deliver your project on time, on spec and on budget.

How many years have you been in business? There’s no need to experiment with a newbie, there are plenty of experienced screen printers and embroiderers available.

Can you please provide some references? Any reputable decorated apparel provider should have plenty of references available. In fact, they should make their references available on line so you shouldn’t have to ask.

Will you assist with the artwork? Getting good quality artwork is probably your biggest challenge. If there isn’t someone on your team who can produce vector artwork, see if the vendor can.

Are there charges for graphic art support? There will almost always be an extra fee. If you don’t use a vector artwork program like Adobe Illustrator or Coreldraw, your vendor may need to redo your artwork.

Is there a setup fee? This is usually the case unless you are ordering a very large quantity or a very simple design.

Can I see the design before you print or embroider the item? Usually the screen printer can provide an electronic file and an embroiderer can provide a sample stitch out.

What is your turnaround time, and does it vary by order size or time of year?

Is there an extra charge for rush orders? What constitutes a rush order?

Are there charges for shipping and/or handling?

Is there an upfront deposit required or can you invoice the school? Will you charge sales tax or can I provide my non-profit tax waiver form?

Can I have a detailed, written quote? Any screen printer, embroiderer or promotional products supplier should always provide a detailed, written quote that clearly states its valid duration.

Do you provide a customized order sheet? Most experienced vendors have a sheet that will help you keep track of sizes, orders, and payments.

Can you provide an on-line store? If you need on-line ordering and shipment for individual orders, you need an on-line store. You don’t have to go to a national internet vendor. Most local companies can provide you with this service, too. Just ask!

Is there any additional charge to reorder? Embroiderers always keep your logo or design on file, so you should not get charged a subsequent digitizing fee. However, there typically are set up charges for repeat screen printing orders.

These 14 questions will help you become comfortable with your candidate vendor’s qualifications and will help you select the best partner for your spirit wear project.