6 Things You Should Have Ready Before Contacting a Screen Printer

Remember the old adage, time is money? For a small business owner like yourself, this couldn’t be more true. We get it!

To help make sure your print project is uber successful, here’s a list of 6 things you should have ready before reaching out to a screen printer. 

Have Your Logo(s) Ready

One of the first questions your screen printing is going to ask you is if you have a logo or print-ready artwork. I’d say 90% of the jobs we print here at Automatic, Ink are either full front or left chest and full back. 

We do offer additional print locations such as left and right sleeves but adding additional print locations drives up the per item cost. To keep costs down we strongly encourage our customers to limit the number of print locations to 1 of 2. 

Make sure you have multiple file formats of your logo. A vector based Adobe Illustrator file or .ai or PDF are ideal. But if all you have is a PNG OR JPG your decorator will be able to make it work. 

Automatic, Ink has a vectorizer service that converts your PNG or JPGs into a vector file for only $29.

Click here to learn more.  

Having all of your artwork ready to send to you the screen printer is going to ensure you hit the ground running and that your print job gets off to a good start.

Next, your screen printer will most likely ask that you send your logo(s) to their email or upload them a dedicated page on their website.

Automatic Ink has streamlined this entire process by allowing potential customers to upload their logo(s) directly to the product(s) they are interested in.

Now that the screen printer has your logos, they can/should make mockups for you to approve the artwork. This is known as the “artwork approval process” or “proofing process”. If your screen printer can’t or won’t provide mockups for you to proof before moving forward, think twice.


Have An Idea of What Product You Want

Before the screen printer can mock up anything, they’re going to need to know what items you’re interested in i.e. t-shirts, hoodies, hi visibility clothing?

If they are good they’ll even be able to help you put together entire outfits or even plan entire collections

There are a ton of resources available to boil down what you’re looking for

Lookbooks & catalogs are a great way to get ideas for your project

Construction companies can get a ton of ideas from our Construction & Military Industry Lookbooks while Schools & Teams would find teams catalog helpful.

Sidenote, I love how the Schools & Teams 2022 Catalog organizes entire collections by color!  


Try to be as specific as possible. It takes out all the guesswork out of tracking down items you may or may not like. 

When you find an item you like, take note of the SKU number.

Having SKUs ready is going to save everyone involved time and is super helpful. 




Be Able to Provide a Due Date

It’s crucial to communicate when you need your order in your hands. Sometimes it’s a holiday while other times it’s an event. 

It’s a good idea to give you and your printer a little cushion. 

During the slower season (winter) turnaround times are typically 8-14 business days. 

Peak printing season starts around April and goes through September but can go into October

It’s not uncommon for turnaround times during peak printing season extend 2-4 weeks

The point is, be prepared and give yourself enough time to sort and distribute your new gear

It’s a good idea to have them early rather than too late

Be Sure to Have the Quantities for Each Size 

Have Budget In Mind

If you’re on a tight budget, screen printing might not be feasible at the time you need to place your order. 

A small order of at least, let’s say 24 black t-shirts, starts at close to $400 for a two-color, one print location (A simple one color print,  on a black shirt, using white ink is actually two colors, but more that later).   

The investment in an order of hoodies is even higher. On the lower-end, an order of 2 dozen black hoodies with a two color print on the front and back is going to start at $700. The more premium the product is, the greater your investment. 


If Screen Printing Isn’t  In Your Budget Consider DTG

If screen printing isn’t in your budget don’t worry, there are other options. Direct-to-Garment or DTG is the fastest growing method of apparel printing. 

There are both pros and cons to DTG

DTG can cost anywhere from $20-$28 per t-shirt and $45-$54 a hoodie. While this might seem like a lot there’s no minimum or quantities (MOQ) so you have to invest nearly as much in the beginning to get you logo on some apparel

Even better, you won’t have to pay any setup fees. 




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