The entrepreneurship landscape hasn’t gotten any easier lately, with over 5 million new businesses launching in 2021 alone. Granted, they aren’t all in Florida, but you may find yourself competing against them just the same. You can bet that most of them launched websites.
That means you need solid online marketing strategies in place, but those strategies can mean less at the local level. At that level, other strategies like mailers and even t-shirts can make a big difference.
Of course, if you don’t personally do screen printing, that means outsourcing. So, how do you go about finding and hiring a good screen printing service? Keep reading for five key tips.
1. Ask Other Business Owners
Right at the top of your to-do list should be asking other business owners. Of course, you should narrow your search there to other businesses that have t-shirts you like.
If you know a business with crummy t-shirts that fall apart at the drop of a hat, that’s not a message you want to send to your customers. It’s a sure sign that the business was either cutting corners on the budget or just didn’t care about quality.
If you can’t think of another business owner who uses t-shirts as part of their marketing. Not all hope is lost.
You can attend events hosted by local small business organizations, such as the Chamber of Commerce, SBA, or SCORE. You can also look online for local business groups or online forums you can join.
These types of groups and forums routinely allow members to post questions. In this scenario, you can leverage the wisdom of the crowd. Just make sure you ask for references for a screen printer local to you.
2. Do An Online Search
If you fall short when asking for recommendations, there are other ways you can find a local screen printing service. This typically means hopping online and doing a Google search.
The good news is that those searches usually come with a map that pinpoints the businesses in your area. The bad news is that those maps often cover a big area. If you live in a large city, the map may cover a big chunk of the city.
You’ll need to zoom in on the map to find businesses that are relatively close to you. After all, there’s a good chance that you’ll need to physically go to the screen printer and pick up your t-shirts. You don’t want a place that’s an hour’s drive away.
When you do your initial search, make sure you frame the query specifically. Let’s say you want t shirt screen printing. You’ll want a query like: “T shirt screen printing near me.”
You can also add in your location, such as “T shirt screen printing in St. Petersburg.”
That should help limit your options to a manageable geographic area.
3. Check the Reviews
Once you have either recommendations, a list of screen printers near you, or both, you need a way to narrow down your list. Odds are good that there is more than one screen printer in the area. In a larger city, you might find dozens of them.
Even if you narrow it down by geographic nearness, you’ll probably still have several on your list. This is when you turn to online review sites, such as:
- Google Business Profile
- Better Business Bureau
A word of caution when looking at online reviews. Not every review is real.
Some businesses hire people to write fake reviews for them. Sometimes, a business will hire people to write negative reviews about a competitor. You must approach individual reviews with a grain of salt.
Beyond that, individual customers can sometimes leave scathing reviews after experiencing minor problems.
Don’t just look at one review site. Look at several. Look at how reviews have trended over the last year or two.
If the overall vibe is positive, that’s a good sign. If the overall vibe is negative, take that as a red flag. Use the reviews as a way to narrow your list down to two or three choices.
4. Visit the Screen Printer
Visiting the screen printer means more than one thing. If the business has a website, start with that. Odds are good that most screen printing companies will provide the service you want, but it never hurts to check.
More importantly, some screen printing businesses only handle bulk orders. If the business has a minimum order quantity higher than your needs, such as 500 shirts, you can eliminate them from your list.
Visiting the sites can also give you some insight into their overall pricing. This process should help narrow the list even more.
Once you get down to a couple of final contenders, take a trip over to the actual shop for a visit.
Talk with the owner. Chat with the employees. Handle a few of their shirts and ask to see a complete project.
You should walk away with a good sense of who you would prefer to work with moving forward.
5. Place Your Order
After making your final selection, placing your order is the end of the process. If you’re lucky, you can do that part online.
In most cases, you must pick a type of shirt, include a graphic, and select a quantity. The website then provides you with a bill.
If those options aren’t available online, you may need a phone call and email exchange to finalize the details for your order.
Screen Printing and You
Picking and hiring a company for screen printing does take some effort. Otherwise, you risk getting shirts that don’t meet with your approval in terms of quality.
See if other business owners will make recommendations. Look around online for screen printers near you.
Hit up the online review sites for some insight into how those businesses are doing. Pay a visit to check out their shirts. Then, make your decision.
Big T Printing specializes in marketing printing services, such as screen printing. For questions or to get started, contact Big T Printing today.