Impressions - February 2012 - (Page 65)

Digital Decorating talking SHOP How to Develop A DTG Pricing Mindset, Part 2 Pricing digital printing profitably is more complex than simply adding up the cost of the substrate, ink and print time. You must account for all of the variables. By Greg Kitson, Contributing Writer o ne of the challenges for newcomers of digital direct-to-garment printing is pricing. The reason is a lack of knowledge about this relatively new process and a lack of experience doing it. While some of the same principles apply to pricing digital printing that apply to screen printing or embroidery, there also are some unique variables that are learned only through experience. Some of these unique factors include the printer’s maintenance needs, the machine’s environment, the need for regular usage and the element of human error. One of the keys to profitable pricing is conducting time studies. Although a time study is simple, many apparel decorators neglect to run them because they are too lazy or think they’re too complicated. You always should run time studies, as they allow you to truly understand how different processes run in your shop, how efficient your employees and equipment are, and where there is room for improvement. A time study is simply a matter of writing something down on a clipboard or saving it on your smart phone. Note when you started a specific job, what your objectives are, how long it takes to complete the job and what the challenges or problems are. So on day one, you may start at 8 a.m. and end at 9 a.m. and produce 20 shirts. On day two, you may begin at 7 a.m. and go to 9:30 a.m. and produce only 10 units. After you do this for several weeks, you will establish an average for how many digital units the machine produces per hour, what the common problems and bottlenecks are, and the most important aspects of staying on track and running profitably. Once you have production numbers and averages for an extended time period, start pairing this data against consumable and overhead costs to understand how efficiently you are running, and what a good price matrix for your business is. I recommend running these studies for several weeks in the beginning, and then continuing on a regular schedule to ensure pricing remains accurate. You will have to set up different pricing matrixes for various substrates. Most likely, you will develop a price list for digital printing on white substrates and another one for darks (or what I call digital printing that includes white ink). Many decorators adopt this two-tiered pricing structure to reflect the additional time and cost associated with the necessary pretreatment for digital white ink printing. In our case, we use only one price list with our customers. We do this because we’ve found that trying to show our customers multiple price lists, then learning about what they want, and saying they’ll have to pay extra to “get their order right” (whether it’s a print on a dark substrate or it needs an underbase layer to match the client’s color request) turns them away. We follow the rule of charging our mid-ground fee to everyone, which may price us out of some jobs, but prevents us from the complications of trying to explain extra fees, or higher-per-unit prices, to customers who don’t understand the You always should run time studies, as they allow you to truly understand how different processes run in your shop, how efficient your employees and equipment are and where there is room for improvement. All photos courtesy of Mind’s Eye Graphics, Decatur, Ind. February 2012 | Impressions 65

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Impressions - February 2012

Impressions - February 2012
First Impressions
From the Show Director
Product Gallery
ISS Conferences
Flocking Meets Fashion
How to Choose a DTG Printer, Part 2
Working Wearables
Shop Spotlight
Embroidery Technique
Embroidery Production
Screen Printing Graphics & Design
For Screen Printers Only
Digital Decorating
Online Directory
Business to Business
Ad Index

Impressions - February 2012