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How do you operate out of your Garage????

Posted on Mon, 19 May 2003 at 22:43



I am interested in getting started in screen printing of T-shirts. I have plenty of room in my garage to conduct business. But I really do not want people comming to my house to drop off orders or pick up orders. I have a good job that I like and will be doing screen printing on the side with my wifes help. I am gone during the day and my wife stays home with our small kids. How do you garage and basement operators do it? Do you always go to your customer to pick up things and drop off orders? Do you ship the orders to clients by UPS?? I am also thinking that potential clients will look at me operating out of my home address as be an anmateur, which I am but I dont want to look like one. What do you guys think? Thank you.

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Anonymous says: If you like what you're doing, why change? Screenprinting can be very time consuming. BUT it's a hobby that pays for itself after intitial investment. I started with bars, they are more than willing ...

If you like what you're doing, why change? Screenprinting can be very time consuming. BUT it's a hobby that pays for itself after intitial investment. I started with bars, they are more than willing to business at night. Be upfront, tell them you work out of your house. It was along time before I had a in-house customer. I go to customers location for order and deliver. If you get over working out of your house, so will they. It's a non-issue. Hell, I sell the point. Do you want to go to a sporting goods store and buy your team stuff from a kid who couldn't get your order right at McDonald's OR come to me where the owner of the company gives everyone of your T's the LOVE they deserve
SELL SERVICE and QUALITY discuss price LAST
good luck
Jim

posted on: Tue, 05/20/2003 - 9:08pm
Anonymous says: Hi Nick; Good question - you would probably be surprised by the number of screenprinters that started their operations in a house. Some go big time and move into a commercial spot, some stay at home and ...

Hi Nick;

Good question - you would probably be surprised by the number of screenprinters that started their operations in a house. Some go big time and move into a commercial spot, some stay at home and deal with all the little things that make it harder to be a business in a home, and some (like me) went home -big - home again.

WE now have a policy of strictly 'by appointment' when customers come over - and always make the offer to come to them - even in a storefront business, that's a better deal for the customer as most of them are in business anyway, and they might not have the time to get away.

The worst time-sucks in screenprinting are the lookie loos that walk through your door and want to talk talk talk. This kind of policy (by appointment or you visit) gets rid of that type. You don't make money in this business unless you are printing. Talking is not printing.

Until you are going crazy with orders, you will not have too many delivery people coming - work with one courier and have a spot they know, or your wife can receive the goods. This shouldn't be a worry - if it gets so bad that it is, you will be busting at the seams and need to move anyway.

Be very careful with neighbours and advertising. Many communities have weird home based laws, and they are usually driven by complaints. I had a bad experience when I opened my studio - a local t-shirt printer who happened to be located over city hall went crazy over me being in town - funny, I print fine art prints, not t-shirts, but that didn't matter. Had a license too, but that didn't matter.

Work at it one customer at a time. Word of mouth is the best advertising, and Jim is right, don't compete on price, sell quality, service, and then a fair price. Figure out who buys shirts and target them, don't just try to blanket the whole community. Be picky about your customers - easy to say, but sometimes harder to do, however...I think one of the hardest lessons I learned, and it seems to always hold true, is the person that is coming to you because you are 5 cents cheaper or is grinding your price because some other shop gave them a better quote and he wants you to match it will always be shopping, and invariably will be looking for small flaws or be super critical and try to grind the price even more. Or ask for better terms. Or demand rush service. These are signs, learn to read them. They identify the customer from hell. Life is short, dont' be afraid to say no, and in screen printing, the customer is not always right.

Check around in your community and see if there is a home based business association. We have one here (actually, me and a few others started it after I got tired of being jerked around by the municipality and that t-shirt printer) and it gives you some people to bouce common problems off, and a good networking situation.

Go for it. Keep the ink off your fingers.

Andy
www.squeegeeville.com

posted on: Thu, 05/29/2003 - 10:41pm
Anonymous says: Andy, great points. For all the new screenprinters learn how to say no and how to spot a fake customer. You don't want a bottom feeder or a customer from hell who is just worried about price. QUALITY, ...

Andy, great points. For all the new screenprinters learn how to say no and how to spot a fake customer. You don't want a bottom feeder or a customer from hell who is just worried about price. QUALITY, SERVICE & TIME. Sell these traits. And one day you will be where you want to be.

Happy printing.

posted on: Sun, 06/01/2003 - 10:53am
Anonymous says: Nasty nasty Mike; Let me guess - you have competitors in your area who work from home? Or do you truly believe new screen printers drop from the skies into fully equipped shops, trained and ready to ...

Nasty nasty Mike;

Let me guess - you have competitors in your area who work from home?

Or do you truly believe new screen printers drop from the skies into fully equipped shops, trained and ready to do business?

Oh I get it - you have the master squeegee franchise for 200 miles and are the only person allowed to pull a squeegee in the region, so nobody else is allowed to learn the trade.

Hell is going to get pretty crowded if we stick in every person who learned to pull a squeegee in a basement, garage, or spare bedroom.

The real fact of the matter is that 'home-based' businesses offer a valuable training ground for any entrepreneur who wants to turn an idea and a dream into a viable business. Squeegee dragger or widget maker. If you have been in business, you know that being able to pull a squeegee and produce a saleable product is actually a very small part of the mix of skills which will help a person succeed in turning an interest, idea, or 'hobbie' into a business. But why is that important?

Start-up businesses have an 80% failure rate in the first 5 years. Here in Canada, (and I'm sure it's the same in the USA) something like 90% of all new jobs are created by small business and most small businesses start at home. Did you know many of today's biggest businesses started as home based operations? Look around your community, skip the franchises and the chain stores that sell overpriced cheap garbage made in Asian sweatshops. I'll bet you find many of the successful local businesses, especially the manufacturers, started at the kitchen table or in the garage. Then they grew. The best chance we have as a society to maintain and grow employment locally is to encourage small business start-ups, and ensure they can make it through that first 5 years.

A home based business allows future healthy companies and their entrepreneur owners a chance to learn the hard lessons of business in a sheltered environment. The good ones soon expand to the point they have to relocate into leased or owned premises in a commercially zoned area. The bad ones, having failed for any number of reasons, just close down quietly, but in most cases the person who gave it a shot doesn't have to declare bankrupcy and lose everything, which happens to too many business start-ups who jump in to leased premises and have incredibly high capital costs and steep business skill learning curves.

I know lots of truly crappy printers who have 'legitimate' store front screenprinting shops. Where you are printing has nothing to do with how well you print - that is determined by how willing you are to continue to constantly improve your knowledge, abilities, equipment, and practices.

If you truly want to make screenprinting into a legitimate business, then put pressure on the education systems to take it seriously, tell their art teachers to get their heads out of their collective arses, start some dialogue with local graphic arts professionals, and show high school and college students how this amazing printing and manufacturing process really works, instead of letting it be lumped in with potato block printing 101.

Andy MacDougall
Home-based and proud of it.

www.squeegeeville.com

posted on: Tue, 07/08/2003 - 12:54pm
Anonymous says: Well said Mr. Andy....... This industry is so vast the opportunities are so great. One has to be creative in their pursuit for new business. This isn't your grand daddy's printing company anymore. Technology ...

Well said Mr. Andy.......

This industry is so vast the opportunities are so great. One has to be
creative in their pursuit for new business. This isn't your grand daddy's
printing company anymore. Technology is forcing the old mom/pop's to again
think of new innovative, attractive ways of obtaining new clients.
This has no bearing on in-home or leased space.

I have a friend who's been printing for 15-20 years. Now he's stuck
in his ways regarding pricing etc.. Again with the latest equipment
on the market some of the other local shops turn out 3x's as much
production at half the rate. I tell him to re-think his practices if he
wants to remain a contender in the business. He, after a few months
agrees with me and is now making a come back after revamping some
of his business practices. I guess the young can teach the old :-)

Kind regards,

STITCHEM

posted on: Sun, 08/31/2003 - 2:44am
Anonymous says: All you really need is at least a four-color (or more) print press, a dryer, exposure table, wash-out bin, a computer with UPS's Worldship software & label printer and an internet connection. Most ...

All you really need is at least a four-color (or more) print press, a dryer, exposure table, wash-out bin, a computer with UPS's Worldship software & label printer and an internet connection. Most of this equipment can be purchased from eBay or a print supply warehouse. You can call UPS at 1-800-PICK UPS to setup an account and order the printer. All you have to do is seach online for buisness (message boards, online distributors), print and ship.

posted on: Mon, 10/25/2004 - 9:35am

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