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Choosing T Shirt Screen Printing Shops and Best Practices

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August 3, 2019
t shirt screen printing

When it comes to t shirt screen printing shops there are a multitude of options you can choose from. Whether you’re getting a few shirts printed for fun or a bulk order made for your streetwear clothing brand you want to go to the best place possible to ensure the quality of your garments. Not only do you want to go to the best print shops you can, but you’re also going to want to know the proper way to work with them to make the entire process as easy as possible. In this guide we’ll go through some of the best methods for choosing t-shirt screen printing shops regardless of where you’re located. After we’ve established these methods for choosing the top screen printing shops we’ll then dive into the best practices for going about getting your pieces made. By the end of this guide you’ll have a great understanding of where to find great t shirt screen printing shops and how to go about getting your garments printed. 

T-Shirt Screen Printing Shops

When trying to decide upon a shop to get your shirts printed you are no longer restricted to the places near you. Utilizing the internet you are now able to use any business who you think is the perfect fit for you and your brand or you and the pieces you’re trying to have made. You will have no problem working with t shirt screen printing shops through email and phone to get the best print job possible. Ensure the quality of your t-shirts and other garments you might want to get printed, as well as your customer experience throughout the process by using these methods to vet potential shops you’re going to use. 

Great Reviews

First things first, you’re going to want to use Google search to find a few different articles or Yelp review lists full of different top rated t shirt screen printing shops. Don’t worry about the ranking each shop receives, going to these lists is just a method of finding at least the places that are being talked about by others. The rankings don’t matter on because if the company has had enough mention by customers to even make the article in the first place then it’s definitely a place to look deeper into. Find at least three solid articles or lists that you can refer to and pull further information from. 

Once you’ve located these top ranking lists of best t shirt screen printing shops you’re then going to want to begin going through the reviews of each place listed. This is where you’re going to let other people’s experience with each shop guide you in the right direction so you can then further vet each shop yourself. Look first for the number of stars left by different people and read both the good (usually 4 to 5 stars) along with the bad (1 to 2 stars) reviews. You’re going to want to get an understanding of the different customer experience each person received and see if you can find any patterns in the comments those customers are leaving. Patterns can be negative things such as “turn around time was slow” and  “the prints faded after a couple of washes” or positive like “the entire production process went smoothly, (insert name here) was great”. When looking through these reviews I am most often looking for 4 to 5 star reviews with comments about specific employees names being a pleasure to work with. This gives me both an understanding of the quality print shop they are as well as a name I know I can ask for if I were to decide to go through them. Look over these review site articles and sort through the different comments left on each print shop. Gather a list of 3 to 5 potential t shirt screen printing shops you’d like to use based on those comments and reviews for further evaluation. 

Print Shop Websites

Once you’ve gathered this list you’re then going to want to locate the website url for each place. These are most often left in the description on the review sites you were just looking through, but if not a quick Google search with the print shop name and where its located should bring it up. Head over to each website for the print shops on your list and look for the following..

Is the website well maintained and easily navigable? Are there pictures of previous projects they’ve worked on and a description of the project? Do they offer an online system where you can place your order through the website? Really what you’re looking for in this part of the process is whether or not, based on their website, if each t shirt screen printing shop looks like a reputable brand. You can tell a whole lot on the quality of a business from the look of their website and how well put together it is. A rule of thumb I’ve lived by when finding any sort of contract based work online is the presentation of their website and/or portfolio. A sloppy and outdated website often means a sloppy and outdated shop as well as the products they create. This isn’t always the case, but when you’re trying to make a quick judgement call on the quality of the business, I find the quality of their website being a great telltale sign. 

Inquiry Emails

After you’ve reviewed each of the websites of the t shirt screen printing shops on your list you should have either narrowed your list down or at least confirmed that your list is full of shops. Finally, the last test you’re going to want to run each print shop through is how fast they respond and the attentiveness to their customers. To accomplish this I send off an email to each of the print shops on the list inquiring about getting pieces printed on. Since I run a brand I inquire about a bulk order of pieces I need to have printed, but you can request however many you need for yourself. All that matters here is that you inquire about your specific order that you’re actually looking to get printed. We’re looking to see how fast they respond which will be telling of how fast we can expect to hear from them in between messages, along with how attentive they seem when responding.

Small and big orders alike you just want to make sure the t shirt screen printing shop is going to give the same level of attentiveness to each order. It’s taken shops as little as a day to get back to me all the way up to two weeks or even no response whatsoever. I also find it quite easy to tell through an email correspondence how attentive that shops going to be on the orders I send their way.  Once you’ve finished these three steps of the vetting process you will definitely have a good idea of the t shirt screen printing shop you’re going to want to go through. If they bring to the table a great website, consistent good reviews, and respond timely and attentively to your inquiry then you are in a good position to move forward and get a sample order started. 

Getting Your Pieces Made

Now that you’ve vetted the shops on your list and have narrowed your options down to one great t shirt screen printing shop it’s time to start getting your pieces made. The first part of getting your order started was that inquiry email you sent earlier. You should have listed out in great detail the specifics of your order and what you’re looking to have accomplished at the end of the project. The shop will confirm your order and give you the pricing per unit based on the size of your order. They’re going to ask you to upload the graphic(s) you’re looking to have made either to their website or to send it to them through email. If you’re using the blanks that the t shirt screen printing shop provides, then you won’t have to worry about having the blanks sent to them. If you’re sourcing your blanks from another company then you’re going to need to send them to the print shop yourself or have them shipped by the company that you purchased your blanks from. The shop will confirm your designs you’ve provided and confirm what style of print you’re looking to have done. This will be a consistent back and forth correspondence through either email or phone, depending on the print shops preference. 

Once you’ve had all the specifics of your order okayed by the print shop you’ll then make your payment required for them to begin production. Depending on the size of your order and the efficiency of the t shirt screen printing process the shop has you’ll have your pieces shipped to you or ready for pickup. I’ve had this time take as little as a week and upwards of 3 weeks for larger orders. Plan ahead to make sure that the production time for the printing is accounted for and doesn’t mess up any deadlines you might have in place. Finding and working with t shirt screen printing shops is an extremely smooth process when you know how to vet them correctly and understand the process of going about getting your pieces printed.

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