When looking for a contract screen printer there are several key questions that would be wise to get answered before you get in too deep with a particular decorator.
1) Do you sell direct as well as contract?
Most printers sell direct as well as contract. It is just too tempting for most companies to pass up making full margin which can be up to four or five times more than what they would bill out on a wholesale basis. If you can not find a decorator that strictly works on a wholesale structure it would be wise to out source to a printer far enough away from your client base that you do not have to worry about them competing with you on the same business that you are sending them.
2) What are your turn times?
If a printers normal turn times are ten business days and you know that your customers expect their orders to get turned in five days you are going to have a problem.
3) Do you have any samples that you can send me?
This is a good way to see what they consider quality. If it does not meet your standards, steer clear.
4) Do you have an in house art department?
This will let you know if they have creative capabilities or if they just do separations. This is not a big deal so long as your artwork is typically buttoned up by the time that it reaches the printer.
5) How many autos and manuals do you operate and what are the make and models of each of them?
This one is often over looked but is one of the most important. You want to make sure that the contractor that you choose is operating newer up to date equipment from one of the leading manufacturers. This will make such a huge difference in the quality of their finished product and the turn times. The manufacturers that any reputable screen printing company are typically going to be using are as follows: M&R,MHM, TAS, and Anatol. Be weary of any screen printers quality and turn times if they are not running these manufacturers equipment. Furthermore, be sure that they have at least one automatic printing machine.
6) How many colors can you print?
If you know that a good portion of your business is going to require 8 colors or more then be sure that your printer has the capabilities that are going to be required to facilitate your orders. 7)Can you print 4 color process or simulated process? This will let you know what kind of capabilities your screen printer has.