Thursday, March 3, 2016

Spring means athletic numbering. Are you ready?

March Madness is soon upon us and the brackets are already conversation topics.  These game bring excitement and spectacle but also they remind us that athletics are an ongoing business potential.  The    merchandise items that are produced for the tournament turn net profits in the millions of dollars for the NCAA and the teams involved.  For those of you who have licensing contracts, you know this is great business.

What March Madness also means that spring sports are coming.  Local baseball, soccer, lacrosse and many more begin their season as soon as the snow melts.  First games in the northern sections of the country are usually in mid-April.  This is where more profit potential is.  But a shop must have the tools to capitalize on the opportunity.  

The first thought from many shops is that they own a heat press so they will just use transfer numbers.  That sounds simple enough.   And we might agree if a shop only had a few teams.  However, that is not how you make money.  

Lets do the numbers.  Recreational leagues are the typical job for a community printer.  These are low margin jobs so your best bet is that you can sell the shirt for $5.  Dark t-shirts cost $1.79 each.  Heat seal numbers cost $0.25 each.  And you print the team and league sponsors on the front for $0.25.  Total cost, not including labor or shop time is $2.54.  So you make about $2.50 per shirt.  For one or two teams, that margin is acceptable.  

What happens when you get an entire league?  That changes everything.  We are now talking about 70 teams of 15 people each.  With coaches and add-ons this is an order of over 1000 shirts that are all custom.  Many shops will skip the opportunity.  It does require a lot of handling and special organization.  However, those that take it seriously see benefits in their bottom line.  So here are the numbers again.
  • shirts $1.79 x 1000= $1,790
  • numbers $0.25 x 2000 (remember these are double digits)=$500
  • front print $0.25x1000=$250
  • Net sale $5 x 1000=$5000
  • Profit about $2500 on the job.
Let's add it up.
  • shirts $1.79 x 1000= $1,790
  • numbers $0.10 x 1000 (remember these are double digits)=$100
  • front print $0.25x1000=$250
  • Net sale $5 x 1000=$5000
  • Profit about $3000 on the job.  

Exactly what you need to pay for a machine.  The first job pays off the investment in new machinery.  Cool, don't you think?

The labor for heat seal and direct print are presumed the same.  Shops will defend either version as being faster.  We are not going to make that part of the debate.  But, don't you think that if your profit went up by $500 for every job of 1000 pieces that would be a good idea?  

So, put me in coach.  I'm ready to play.  But let's play with a real equipment to hit a home run with this opportunity.  Enjoy the Sweet 16 and the Final 4, but be ready because soon the phrase will be "Play Ball".