10 Commandments of a Custom Product Business
1. NEVER USE THEIR PRODUCT ( i.e. their t-shirt)
Using their product prevents you from making money on the blank.
The markup can be 100% of the cost of the blank.
Using their product takes that money out of your pocket.
Generally, there is no room for error if there is a mishap
2. ALWAYS GET A DEPOSIT OF AT LEAST ENOUGH TO COVER YOUR MATERIALS BEFORE YOU START THE JOB.
Until you are paid for the order, at least the deposit, it isn't an order but a wish.
3. ALWAYS GET A SIGNATURE FROM THE CLIENT (THE PERSON RESPONSIBLE) ACCEPTING THE DESIGN.
Include Spelling, Design elements, dates, etc. in the final approval.
4. TREAT THIS AS A BUSINESS FROM YOUR FIRST AD OR ORDER.
Friends and family try to be supportive but remember you are in business to make money not give away your product or profits
5. UNDER-PROMISE & OVER-DELIVER.
This one sounds scary like I want you to give things away. Set a delivery date for the customer, but make your delivery date one day earlier. This gives you a little wiggle room if something does go wrong.
6. NEVER PAY FULL PRICE FOR BLANKS.
Research sources that deal wholesale. You will pay less and make more profit.
You will need a Tax ID number
See this link for information on Tax ID
Apply for an EIN (See my post on starting a business)
7. YOUR BEST FRIEND CAN BE YOUR WORST CUSTOMER.
With few exceptions, your friends will not fully understand what you do and the cost involved.
They will many times devalue your work by asking for “favors”
8. FINDING AND KEEPING CUSTOMERS IS YOUR #1 JOB!
Anyone can make a product
Why should they choose you?
Why are you better/different?
9. SPECIALIZE – TOO MANY DIRECTIONS CAUSES A LACK OF FOCUS.
Find a niche and stay in it!
10. INVEST IN GOOD, RELIABLE EQUIPMENT
You must have a backup digital cutting machine
The same brand, etc. so ramp-up time is 0
Run that backup machine regularly to keep it ready