Custom T-shirts local vs online

custom t-shirts local vs online

Kirkwood Trading Company t-shirt screen printing in Saint Louis

custom t-shirts local vs online

As a screen printing company that specializes in custom t-shirts and logo wear, we often get asked the question by people in passing how do we compete with large online custom t-shirt companies. The quick answer, the easy answer is PRICE. We also get a lot of potential customers who send us links or pictures of shirts they have mocked up on large companies websites which made us think. If they have gone through the time to design their shirts on this big companies website, why are they contacting us to talk about their custom t-shirts.

So we did a little research and here is what we found.

Ordering custom t-shirts from a large online company
First of all the whole process is pretty automated. I’ve never tried to call customer service but with the amount of automation and the self help sections it appears it’s geared towards answering any questions on their site. This isn’t neccessarily a bad thing, but could be a potential pitfal for people who like to speak with a live person on the phone.

When it comes to custom t-shirts local vs online. Here is what you get with online companies.

1. They advertise free shipping but really the cost of shipping is built into the per shirt cost. We know USPS, UPS, and FEDEX don’t ship things for free. Especially 40 pound boxes of t-shirts.
2. Most, if not all orders are not even printed by the company you are ordering from. You order from Company A, they have shirts dropped shipped to Company B who does the printing. In the meantime, Company A ships boxes to Company B with Company A logo on them. When Company B finishes printing your shirt order, they pack them in boxes sent by Company A, and then are shipped to you. COMPANY A never sees the shirts you ordered. So quality control is left up to a 3rd party.
3. Since two companies are involved in printing your t-shirts both companies are getting paid, a piece of the pie if you will. This causes your t-shirts to cost more than they need to.
4. The time frame is usually 2 weeks or more. To get your shirts sooner costs you extra.
5. It’s rumored that when you order t-shirts from big online companies you have to pay an opt out fee so their company logo isn’t printed somewhere on the shirt.

Bottom line is there are some cools design tools and it lets you completely automate your purchase. The down side is time frame, having multiple companies involved in the process, all leading to a higher cost per shirt than you need to pay.

When it comes to custom t-shirts local vs online here is what you get when ordering from a local company.

Ordering custom t-shirts from a local screen printer
When you contact a local screen printer generally it’s pretty easy to contact someone by phone to answer questions or place an order. As the owner of a local screen printing shop it’s very seldom a customer calls to place an order without having a few questions. Dealing with a local screen printer is a more personlized service.

1. There is no shipping cost as local means you can pick up your shirts or in some cases have them delivered.
2. Your shirts are boxed in manufactures boxes that they were delivered in from distributor
3. Only one company is involved in most cases unless you are dealing with a print broker. Our company handles everything in-house from customer service, artwork, printing, and complete order execution.
4. Local companies are more flexible on time frames. You may pay a rush order fee in certain circumstances but generally local companies can accomodate their customers tight time frames. Our standard turn around time is pretty fast, it’s 4-6 business days. Most companies are two weeks are less on a local level.
5. There are no hidden fees to remove any local companies logo from your shirts.

Bottom line is the less hands involved the higher the quality product you receive and the price is much lower because fewer hands are touching the order.

You can contact Kirkwood Trading Company for a free quote by phone or email. You can use our online quote form or our online t-shirt design studio.