Custom Embroidery Outsourcing

Custom Embroidery Outsourcing

How to Grow Your Business Using Custom Embroidery Contractors

Let’s say you own a business and have a limited amount of time.  And like the rest of us, you have a limited set of skills that you know how to do well right now.

Maybe, on some things, the time it takes you to do things may be a little longer than someone else.  Or, you also may not be at the point in your business where you can hire a part-time or full-time employee.

It may not be right for your business – you may be content to work out of your home, and it doesn’t make sense to hire someone. But very often, It makes sense to explore your options and give part-time contractors a try.

Maximize Your Best Skills and SubContract the Rest

Why would you take one of your greatest skills and outsource it someone else? Sometimes it’s about grasping the bigger picture for your business.

You may have started this business by yourself and become good at creating designs. But you’re also trying to grow your business. In this example, you have two options:

1. You become the artist, and you hire someone to run your business.

2. You manage the business and bring someone in to do the artwork.

What are a few of the jobs/tasks you can outsource?

  • Web Development
  • Web Design
  • Digitizing
  • Accounting
  • Writing
  • Art
  • Design
  • Marketing
  • Social Media
  • Sales

Lessons I’ve Learned

In our many years of hiring outsourcers, there have been some lessons. If you hire contractors, chances are you’ll experience similar pain points. We want to help you to avoid as many as possible.

One of the signs of a good contractor is that they ask you questions about the job. They realize the rules and expectations were going to talk about below.

Have a clear, defined description of what you want to be done

“I want a t-shirt about rabbits. Give me something funny.” Is not clear and defined. In a few sentences (5 or less) do a description of the job. Later you’ll create a more lengthy description, but when you’re initially looking for a person, you want this brief description to help you weed away all the people who aren’t qualified.

Examples: if you’re hiring an accountant, you would want to specify that they need to be an expert in QuickBooks (if that is the program you’re going to use). Perhaps they need to be local so they can come to you.

Have a budget

How much are you willing to or can afford to pay? But also, figure out how much you should expect to pay.

If you decide you want to outsource the digitizing of artwork, do the research to find out what the range is. Then determine if you can afford it.

Be as open-minded as you can. You might be thinking about outsourcing someone to do your books. Looking at the numbers you’re concerned about how much it will cost.

Why are you considering outsourcing in the first place? Have you made mistakes in the past that have cost you money?

Does it take too much of your time? What has doing it yourself cost you in the past (labor and error cost)? That helps to define whether the cost is worth it.

Put a good job description together

Is this going to be a one time job or ongoing work? Do you need someone to provide work on a regular basis or occasionally and not on any regular schedule?

“I’m looking for a partner to help me develop the graphic image for my company, by producing t-shirt designs on a regular basis. Likely have 5-15 different jobs per month. Looking for someone who’s available long-term.” or “I have one big job and need help with x, y, z.”

Depending on the type of job and the task, the job description may be a few extra bullet points or may go into more details – the days of the week they need to be available or expected delivery dates of work. You can also put technical specs in the description.

If you were to hand this job description over to someone else, they would be able to find the right person for the job based on what you wrote.

Timeframe

Define when you want the whole project done and when you want parts of the project done (if it’s a big enough project).

For example: If you’re getting a new website done and you want it to launch in two months, you don’t want to say “I want the website done by X date.” You want to put some milestones in between.  – Review the outline/wireframes within two weeks.  – E-commerce part ready by x date

Communication Standards

Do you need to hear from them every day to give you a progress report? Or a weekly check-in for bigger projects.

What you want to avoid is if you need a project done in 10 days and you hear from them on day nine that they haven’t even started yet.

Now they have all these questions. Or they had another project come up, and now your project is going to be late. Or they disappear completely. You may also want to set expectations that if you email them, they need to reply within 24 hours, and you’ll do the same if they email you.

100% agreement of expectations

Everyone signs off on the work that’s being done, how much is being paid, when the delivery date is, and the other terms of the agreement.

One good tip is to ask the contractor to describe back to you the job in their own words. This could be formal like a contract or verbal if you are working with a local artist on a small project.
If someone does this for a living, they may have a customer expectation document/contract.

Another big thing is that friends and family do not get a pass on this process. This is where the potential for real issues takes place. It could be your son who’s doing some graphic design for you, and they mess up.

Unfortunately, now it’s a business issue. If you late pay your own family, it’s now a personal issue. You may want to give your family a shot, but you also may need a professional and the ability to fire that person if it doesn’t work out.

Protect your private information

This includes passwords, bank account information, etc. Be wary about when it’s okay to give out passwords and to what.

Do they need access? Often you can create secondary accounts that provide contractors access to only what they need. For example WordPress, Bing Ads, Facebook Advertising, and Google Ad Words.

If you’re unsure of how to set up accounts for sub-contractors, you can always contact the service and get more information.

Where can you find contractors?

  • Ask for referrals – Talk to other business professionals and see who they work with. Then do your research to find out if that contractor will work for what you need. Ask questions such as: How long have you worked with them? Did they make any major mistakes that have cost you money?
  • Go to Craigslist – We have found good people to work with on Craigslist. With any source or service, you go through you need to ensure you’re following all the steps above and asking for referrals to ensure they are a professional.
  • Outsourcing services – Freelancer.com, Upwork. – The benefit of sites like this is that you have a 3rd party go-between. You put the funds into Escrow (holding place), and you have some recourse if the contractor disappears or doesn’t do the work properly.
  • The contractor has a vested interest in completing the work. Plus there is the opportunity to leave reviews about the contractor. They want a good review so that other companies will want to hire them.

Tackling Your To Do List

Take a look at your To Do List. What is something that needs to get done that you don’t have time for? What’s been on the list for the past month that you haven’t been able to get done? What eats up a lot of your time?

What would happen if you hired someone to do one of those tasks? What’s the opportunity you would gain? How would that help your business?

Hiring a contractor is a bit of a mindset shift. People look at it as something they’ve spent money on. Remember that this is for the betterment of your business, it’s an investment.

Can you afford not to hire that contractor? Are you turning away jobs because you’re spending too much time digitizing? Are your accounting mistakes costing you fines?

Look at the hours you’re spending on tasks. Can you pay someone else the same amount of money (or slightly more) to do the task in less time and with better quality?

Be Bold and Go For It

You may be hesitant to hire people from outside the USA. You can easily hire from other countries, and they do great work.

They’re not necessarily inexpensive, but we sometimes can’t find people with those particular skills locally. Or they’re just more available or their time works better for us. I’ve worked with contractors because they’re working overnight. We can give them a job during our day, they work on it “overnight,” and when we get to work in the morning, it’s done.

To help you get your feet wet in hiring contractors, you may want to find something simple in your business, like digitizing and hire someone to do it for you. It may be one time that you get them to do this for you, or you try it out for a month. It also gives you that connection so if you’re ever in a pinch you’ve potentially got someone to reach out to for that particular task. Either way, you know how to go about hiring a contractor for another job.

Ready to Start or Expand Your Embroidery Business?

Chat with us below, call us at 877-793-3278 or click button and let us help you get your business growing.

Professional Embroidery Machine Options For Start-ups 2018

Professional Embroidery Machine Options For Start-ups 2018

Comparing Single Head vs. Multi-head Professional Embroidery Machine

Return on Investment

The Avancé professional embroidery machine line is a serious game-changer in the market.  The brand’s low price is combined with the highest quality parts and TONS of great features.

Each machine comes standard with 15 needles, a large sewing field and full color LCD monitors.  Plus, single-heads come with a 2-year trade up program that cannot be found anywhere else.  Add to that the industry’s best training and support and it’s easy to see why the Avancé brand is the right choice for professional embroidery machine owners who are looking for the best return on investment.

Here we compare line by line the costs and profits that EACH level of machine provides.  We compare single-head VS multi-head options to help you decide which professional embroidery machine makes the most sense for your professional embroidery business.

 

Production Time Comparison

Let’s compare a sample logo design. You can see the image of the Avancé 1501C control panel on the right already loaded with the ColDesi logo design.

This logo file is 9,970 stitches, and as you can see the speed is set for 750 stitches per minute, which is average for this type of sew out.

To get an estimate of how long it will take to embroider each design.  You’ll also want to know how to price your embroidery.  However to get the time, just divide the number of stitches by the stitches per minute:

9,970 stitches/750 stitches per minute = 13.29 minutes to completion

This calculation is just an estimate because it does not allow for thread color changes, geography of the design, etc. When we ran this design for the video on the right, it took almost exactly 15 minutes to run.

The sample order we’ll use for comparison is embroidering this ColDesi logo onto 50 garments.

Single Head Results

To complete this job with a single head Avancé 1501C professional 15 need machine would take:

1 garment in 15 minutes = approximately 4 per hour50 garments/4 per hour = 12.5 Hours to complete the order

When using a 4-head machine, like the Avancé 1504 shown in the other demonstration video on your right, the set-up time is comparable.

You load the design into the control panel in a similar way and hooping your garments takes the same amount of time each. BUT the math is much different!

Multi Head Results

New for 2017
Introducing the Avancé 1502 2 Head Professional Embroidery Machine

Choosing the 2-head machine up front is like getting an instant efficiency upgrade.  Labor costs per head are nearly halved, and there is nearly $3,000 savings per head compared to networked single-head machines.

Jobs load up the same way as a single head and color selection is handled the same.  The 2 head machine can be placed on a table top or counter if needed and while much heavier, it can be transported to retail events to maximize your output and profits. The Avancé 1502 is a great upgrade which helps you get paid at twice the rate of single heads.

4 Head Production Comparison

With the 4-head machine, you are just loading the design once, then embroidering 4 garments simultaneously. Now you will produce 4 garments in that same 15 minutes!

4 garments in 15 minutes = 16 garments per hour
50 garments/16 per hour = slightly more than 3 hours to complete the order

In that one, long 12.5-hour day I could either complete ONE 50 garment order on a single head or FOUR of them on the 4-head machine. You will literally make FOUR TIMES THE SALES in the same amount of time.

The 1506C Difference

Guess what happens when you choose a 6-head professional embroidery machine like the Avancé 1506C?

The math just gets better because the time it takes to complete each design is constant, but the number of designs you can produce in the same period increases by the number of heads. Our ColDesi logo job that we’ve been comparing changes in this way:

6 garments in 15 minutes = 24 garments per hour

50 garments/24 per hour = a very little more than 2 hours to complete the order

Now how I can produce 6 times the number of garments in that long 12.5-hour day, which means I can make more than SIX TIMES THE SALES with the 1506C than I would with the 1501C.

The Avancé 1506C – Compact 6 head professional embroidery machine comes with installation and training.

Productivity vs. Price

Let’s compare this in an even more important way, because how many jobs you can do in an hour, or day or week, is the limit of how much money you can make in the embroidery business.

Save more by upgrading now

Instant Upgrade to 1502:  Saves about $3,000 per head

Upgrade to 1504:  Saves about $4,800 per head

Upgrade to 1506:  Saves over $6,000 PER HEAD Wow!

** Compared to individual networked single-heads.

Commercial Machine Price Comparison

We’ve seen very clearly what the productivity benefit is when you upgrade to a 4 or 6 head unit from the 15 needle single head, but what about the pricing?

Budget aside, when comparing prices of multi head systems the most useful comparison to make is “price per head”.

The table above clearly shows what a value the multi head machines are in a price comparison.

The value of the single head machine is the MSRP, but you are paying almost 40% less per head for the 4-head machine and over 51% less with the 6 head.

The Avancé 1506C is TWICE the value per head of the 1501C when you look at it this way

Sales & Marketing Advantages

Of course, you can obviously start your business and make a good living with your single head professional machine, but there are distinct advantages to a multi head bringing in more business as well as producing it.

Turnaround Time

The ability to do 4x or 6x the work in the same time means that you can offer what many other embroiderers cannot; faster delivery. Imagine a business shopping for 100 polos embroidered with their company logo and the difference between offering to complete the order in 4 hours with your 6 head or in 6 hours with your 4-head machine vs. a 3 or 4-day delivery.

Business Image

There is no question that the Avancé 1501C is a high quality commercial machine. It’s obviously built well and looks like a real piece of business hardware. But it’s also constructed in a small format so it fit in a small home or side office and can even roll into a closet when not in use. If your website or company brochures have pictures of a 1504 or 1506C, which are larger and have a much more industrial look you may get larger clients and more work. Perceived capabilities are important for marketing! Also consider the impression made if a potential client visits your place of business and how the Multihead will appear vs. the single head machine.

Embroidery Return on Investment

There are many factors that go into the sales and profitability of your new embroidery business, here are just a few:

Will you work from home, lease warehouse space or be in a retail environment?

What is your local competition like?

Will you be a one person show or hire employees?

What will your pricing strategies be?

Are you taking a salary?

Can you manage your business expenses?

The ROI of your equipment purchase will be influenced by all those factors and more, but we can make some simple estimates based on the things discussed in this article and a few assumptions.

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Assumption #1

You can make $40/hour running a single head Avancé – which is a common goal in the embroidery business for startups.

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Assumption #2

You can fill 40 hours of work with business – this is less likely when you first start out and much more likely as you grow your business. You can change this number to do your own estimates.

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Assumption #3

You are charging $1.25 per thousand stitches. We recommend using the Market Down pricing model described in this article, but that means customizing this scenario by local market, which we can’t do here. The $1.25/m is a mid-range price derived from a quick survey of our own embroidery pros.

Let’s use that ColDesi logo job as our example again:

At approximately 8000 stitches x $1.25 per thousand you would charge $10 for each finished design. You can finish 4 designs per hour, so running this on your single head machine would mean revenues of $40/hour.

 

Here’s another table to compare your potential income depending on the machine you are using:

See How To Price Embroidery

We did a complete guide to pricing that shows you the different formulas for pricing embroidery work.

Using these figures, you can see that if you can keep your machines running for 40 hours per week, you can make $1,600/week with your single head machine and up to $9,600/week with your 1506C!

24 designs per hour x 8 hours per day = 192 designs/day

192 designs x $10 each = $1,920/day in sales

$1,920/day x 5 days = $9,600 per week

The Avancé 1506C is $23,000 more than the 1501C single head embroidery machine, so that means a much bigger investment up front. But as you can see above, you can also make up to an additional $8,000/week with the 1506C so it will take you less than 3 weeks of sales to pay for the difference in machine price.

Estimating Your ROI Numbers

These scenarios and pricing are all made to be as simple and clear as possible and represent an ideal business. Some designs need to be run slower; you may encounter production delays for maintenance or repairs. On the other hand, it does not take into consideration the profit on the blank shirts, the fact that you can be more profitable with caps, or any number of factors that may make your results idea. But they are as true and accurate as we could make them and represent good information to help you make your buying decision!

Ready to Start or Expand Your Embroidery Business?

Chat with us below, call us at 877-793-3278 or click button and let us help you get your business growing.