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A Textile Printer's Guide to Estimating Production Time

(January 1999) posted on Sun Jan 23, 2000

Combs presents good estimations for good business.

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By Terry Combs

When to subcontract Anytime a customer asked me to quote on a new product, I asked myself some questions. First, I wanted to know how much money it would cost me to produce this product. Next I wanted to know if I needed expensive equipment, unusual screens or emulsions, or special ink. Were there any special production techniques to master? If the answer was yes to any of these questions, my next question was where can I find a subcontractor who will sell me the finished product, ready for resale? Why did I look for a subcontractor? Because I wanted to make a profit on every job I printed, and I learned from hard, expensive experience that it's almost impossible to make a profit on the first production run of any unfamiliar product.


Fig. 2: Standard Job Times on an Automatic Press
Times shown in minutes 1 color 2 color 3 color 4 color 5 color 6 color
Production time/garment 0.15 0.15 0.15 0.15 0.15 0.15
Setup and breakdown 12 25 40 54 70 87
Calculating production times is relatively simple if you use an automatic press, which should run at essentially the same speed regardless of how many colors you print.


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