Tips for Choosing a Custom T-shirt Printing Company

As we’ve described in previous blogs, custom t-shirt printing has become extremely popular over the years as individuals and companies alike appreciate the freedom of being able to choose the words, graphics and even the photography they want on their shirts. Actually, custom t-shirt printing is a complex industry with numerous businesses in the marketplace, ranging from mom-and-pop operations to larger corporate enterprises. A quick Google search of “custom t-shirt printing company” will net you thousands of results.

So, with that, how the heck can you ever find the right t-shirt printing company for you? Please keep this in mind as you begin your search. Choosing a custom t-shirt printing company doesn’t have to be stressful.

No matter the occasion, there’s a t-shirt printer that will be able to fill your precise requirements. You just need to do a bit of research to find the company best suited for you and your needs.

That’s why, in this blog, we are going to present a variety of “tips” as a sort of mini-guide as you go about choosing the custom t-shirt printing company best suited to you and/or your company.

First and foremost, know what you want.

First up, you need to create a checklist of your exact requirements. Be quite specific on your list so that, when the time comes, you will choose the right company to print your custom tees. Your checklist might include quantity, apparel type, the available range of sizes, choice of printing techniques, turnaround times, who’s going to produce the artwork, delivery policy, and so forth. You then need to find out what exact services each printing company offers to compare them with your list.

So how many t-shirts are you looking to print?

One of the first questions you need to have answered is how many t-shirts do you want to get printed? Sounds easy enough but think about it. Do you require just a few shirts for your employees to wear on the job or do you want shirts for a corporate trade show, a huge promotional give-away or other special events?

It’s important to note that some printing firms will only do custom tees in bulk quantities, so if you want shirts for, let’s say, only 25 employees, these companies might not be able to meet your requirements for a small quantity.

Again, depending on your specific needs, you might want to make sure the company has a wide array of apparel options including long sleeve, short sleeve, women’s shirts, youth tees, tanks, and sizes ranging from S to XXL.

At this point, it’s also important to note that if your requirements go beyond basic tee shirts, you need to find out if the firm’s ability goes beyond printing tees to include other items such as hats, hoodies, jackets, sweatshirts and more.

Who’s going to design the graphics?

Let’s face it; the t-shirt design must be absolutely perfect!

That’s why you need to insist on the quality of the final design. Sometimes, it might be difficult to get certain logos or photos printed on shirts, so you need to ask the right questions concerning the company’s print capabilities.

A good custom t-shirt company should be available to answer any question about their graphics capabilities and, just as importantly, willing and able to show you samples of previous work.

Make sure to take a good look at any sample t-shirts that have been printed by the company to help you decide if it is the quality standard that you’re looking for. If your budget permits, you might even want to find out if the firm can run a small order to see if they meet your precise standards. Ask about their printing techniques. If possible, observe how they imprint their tees. Even an untrained eye will be able to tell you a lot about their capabilities.

If you’re providing your own artwork, some t-shirt companies will ask you to submit your design on a CD, others might be happy with an e-mail attachment of your art but will want print-ready files and hi-resolution graphics. Make sure you can provide what they need and, if not, find someone else who can work with you more readily.

Also, you might want to make sure your printing company has the know-how to print both the frontside and backside of your t-shirt, insert multiple pictures and are capable of altering the size, color, font and alignment of the text you want. Again, such things will tell you something about their overall qualifications.

You want it when?!?

If you need your custom tees quickly, this can be a crucial deciding factor. Some tee-shirt printing companies require a minimum number of days to turn your order around. That’s why you always need to check their lead times at the outset.

If you’re hard pressed for time, you might also want to look at a company that’s close by. If the printer is local to you, you can probably save a day or two by arranging to pick up your own order.

Okay, what’s it going to cost me?

If you’re buying a new suit, chances are you’d ask the price before trying it on. The same goes for a custom tee. Always discuss the price upfront. After all, you need to know exactly how much you are going to spend on your custom t-shirts before they’re into the production phase. But in doing so, keep in mind that high quality in both apparel and graphics is critical with t-shirt printing. You’ll always be able to find a firm that will do it cheaper but will the items last and will they present the right image for your company?

We’re even willing to go so far as to make this recommendation: Eliminating the cheapest option is a great tip when shopping for a custom t-shirt printing company. Shirts ordered at bottom-basement prices will probably be poor in quality. That’s why it’s important to research a handful of companies before choosing one.

It’s a fact. Many companies pop up, especially online, with little or no experience in the t-shirt printing business. Remember the ol’ adage, if a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is. In the end, it’s usually best to go with a reputable company that charges industry-standard prices. If we can get away with using another overworked adage, you get what you pay for.

Don’t overlook great customer service

A great company will be helpful online and on the phone. They’re willing and able to help customers during every phase of the process, from initial contact right up to delivery. They’re also ready to lend a hand with design advice. Asking questions about their services is also a great way to find out if a company is easy to work with.

Look for a printer who offers one-on-one customer service, and eager to provide phone or face-to-face support, no matter the size of your order.

A good t-shirt company will want to know exactly what you’d like printed, where you’d like the printing, the color of your t-shirts, how many you want, and when and where you want them delivered. If they are indifferent to these needs, you need to look for another company.

You say you’re not happy and you want to return them!

It’s vital that before you place an order, you agree with the company on their return policy. This will help you decide whether the company is in a position to do your job. Some companies will insist that any fault that happens should be your responsibility. You need to be able to negotiate up front with the company for a refund in case any risk occurs on your apparel. If not, move on.

Take the time to look at those reviews

Before you hire a t-shirt printing service, it’s good to look at their reputation. A good t-shirt printing company will always have a good standing in the industry. People who have used their services before will have something positive to say about the company. You can learn more about the reputation of a company by going through their online reviews. Here, you’ll get to know many of the things that you need to know about the company you intend to hire.

Companies with great reviews are more likely to be easy to work with and produce excellent products. It’s important to avoid companies that have too many negative reviews.

Reviews might also mention a variety of different t-shirt design options. If a certain type of t-shirt is desired, it could be helpful to choose a company that has good reviews for that particular style or print capability.

One last thing. The best recommendation is a great looking shirt. If you spot a custom shirt that is really appealing, really stands out, it’s important to ask where they had their shirts printed!

Ultimately, a variety of different factors will go into helping you decide on the right custom t-shirt company. Following the above tips can help you avoid some of the more common mistakes that people make when ordering custom t-shirts, especially the first time.

Now that you have a better idea of what to look for in a custom t-shirt printing company, we only ask that you give us a call at Excel Sportswear before you make that final commit.

We think that our unique, hand-drawn designs and commitment to outstanding customer service will go above and beyond your expectations!