Monday, November 11, 2013

Athletic numbering. Worth the hassle?

Athletic numbers are difficult. 
Athletic numbers require a lot of patience.
Athletic numbering jobs are everywhere.

Anyone you talk to in the industry will agree that athletic numbering is one of the most difficult jobs to do. This explains why it seems to be a vanishing breed.  We understand why people get frustrated and decide to use transfers, contract the job out, or order the uniforms numbered by the manufacturer.  But avoiding numbering jobs, or finding the easy way out, costs many shops easy money.

Let’s take a look back to when you were first opening your shop.  Why did you open a screen print shop over a retail transfer shop?  There were probably a couple of reasons:
  •  The final look of the garment
  • The feel of the garment
  • The longevity of the final product
  • Customer satisfaction
Now with that being said, when shops receive their $45.00 Dri-Fit Jersey how can they justify placing a transfer on it?  How do you match the colors?  The look, feel, longevity of the final product will decrease customer satisfaction.  Not what you were looking for when you started this business.

Next comes the ordering of the transfer!  The average print shop has at least one high school in their   That means at least two sports per season with 2-3 teams.  So let’s call it 6 teams with 15 kids each.  And, of course, they all want to pick their own numbers,  Gone are the days of 1-15.  Oh yeah, and at least one of the teams wants an off the grid color.   That makes a total of 90 athletic shirts plus the parents that will want one!
town.

Sounds confusing doesn’t it? ….. So let’s take a look at what we need per team.


Alright, Team A needs home and away shirts with Kelly Green 8" numbers on the back and 4" on the front.  This would be your order to the transfer people.
  • 9 - #1’s
    • two  8” packs of 5 for a total of $7.30
    • and two 4” packs for a total $7.30
  • 2 -#2’s 
    • one 8” packs of 5 for a total of $3.65
    • and one 4” packs for a total $3.65
  • 2 -#3’s 
    • one 8” packs of 5 for a total of $3.65 
    • and one 4” packs for a total $3.65
  • 3-#4
    • one 8” packs of 5 for a total of $3.65 
    • and one 4” packs for a total $3.65
  • 1-#7’s 
    • one 8” packs of 5 for a total of $3.65
    • and one 4” packs for a total $3.65
  • 2-#8’s
    • one 8” packs of 5 for a total of $3.65 
    • and one 4” packs for a total $3.65
  • 2-#9’s 
    • one 8” packs of 5 for a total of $3.65
    • and one 4” packs for a total $3.65
  • 2-#0’s
    • one 8” packs of 5 for a total of $3.65 
    • and one 4” packs for a total $3.65

Freight   =$4.95
Total cost  = $65.70

And now it is time for Team 2…. Don’t worry we won’t go through that again.  You get the idea.

After all is said and done.  Each team will cost you anywhere from $40.00 to $75.00 in just the transfers.

If you are to screen print the numbers you have the ink that matches, the quality will be higher, and the time is the same.  The cost per print is $.06.  Total cost of materials for direct printing is $3.60 - $5.00.  
If it were up to us, we would gladly put the extra cash in our pocket!


The truth is print shops have struggled in the past to accomplish number printing by not having the correct set-up and decided that transfers are easier.   Unfortunately, it is most likely due to printers try to jig up a press, make our own stencils, or burn 15 screens to get the job done.  Any of these three options would make us look the other way as well.  Athletic numbering machines have made huge advancements and have finally made it printing numbers in house worth another look.  If you operator can walk up to a printing station as easily as he can walk up to a transfer press and produce the job for 1/4 of the cost, then the machinery is paid for quickly and you make more money.


Hey, making money was the real reason that you opened this crazy business.

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