9 Mistakes Embroidery Businesses Make and How to Fix Them

We all want to make money, and making mistakes in any business can be detrimental to the overall success of the business. With tight margins and stiff competition, many commercial embroidery quotes have really thin profit margins built-in, and having to redo work or discard items can become costly for your business.

1. Underquoting

Underquoting and underestimating the increasing costs of materials is a common business mistake that needs to be addressed with the clients. Building a good relationship with clients is essential to allow for some margin to be added in for escalating costs of embroidery supplies, any mistakes, and investing in resources that will save you time and money.

2. Selling on cost and not on service

Not all commercial embroidery businesses are the same. Competing on price is just a race to the bottom for all concerned. Clients land up with inferior products and quality as the business needs to reduce costs to compete in a price war.

Positioning your business as a quality supplier with great customer service, top of the range equipment and software, quality materials, and skilled staff, should be the offering to the client.

3. Not Setting Expectations

In the creative world, expectations need to be laid out and reconfirmed all the time, as everyone has a different vision of what they are looking for. Outcomes can often be subjective, leaving one or the other party, not 100% happy with the final result.

This can be as simple as a color selection or a fabric quality. Ensuring you work with your client and do sample approvals before you invest in stock or complete the job and they do not accept it.

Redoing work or having to throw away completed jobs can make or break any business, so the best thing to do is avoid this.

4. Not Having a Contract

For small jobs and quick turnaround times, it is often not even something that many companies get into. Normally, these kinds of jobs are of low risk. When you have larger quantity and high-risk jobs in the system, it is crucial to lay out the requirements upfront, to protect you and the customer from any misunderstandings.

Contracts can include the following:

  • Garment quality, sizing curves and volumes
  • Turnaround times and milestones
  • T’s and C’s on specialty garments
  • Payment terms
  • Returns and exchanges

It is not always essential to have a lawyer drawn up a separate contract, but it is important to have these laid out and agreed to by all parties involved.

5. Not investing in your business

So often companies continue for years at a time and never upgrade their styles, equipment, software, and materials. With new opportunities coming into the market all of the time, it can often happen that you find your product and service offering out of date. Not being able to fulfill and order because of outdated technology in your shop is an unforgivable mistake, that can easily be avoided by being keen and willing to invest in your business’s future.

Some of the ways to futureproof your shop can be:

  • Sending staff on updated training for new techniques and styles
  • Opening up your shop to new suppliers to present their offering to you
  • Attending a trade show to see new machinery and opportunities
  • Investing in updated equipment and software

6. Using the wrong fabrics, needle or thread for your project

When setting up an embroidery project, considering all of the requirements upfront is critical to reducing mistakes and ultimately wastage. Combining the right material with a specific type of stitching can achieve the best results.

Ensuring your fabrics can support heavy stitching if that is what is required, rather than a flimsy or fine fabric that would distort and pucker. Planning the job from the beginning will also help with your quoting and avoid the underquoting mistake already mentioned.

This is a checklist to consider when starting a new project:

  • Always read the instructions first
  • Choose the correct material and thread count for the job
  • Selecting the right sized needle for the project
  • Using the correct type of needle for the fabric
  • Select the correct type and thickness thread
  • Sizing and selecting the correct hoop frame for the job
  • Having enough embroidery thread on hand to complete the job
  • Washing your hands

While they may sound like simple instructions to follow, many veterans have made silly mistakes like using thread from existing stock and running out mid-job, resulting in a color variance and an imperfect delivery.

7. Not allocating enough time for the job

We have heard it all before, the client has an event or deadline, and to try and help, we agree to an insane timeframe for delivery. This can be detrimental to your business overall, as this industry relies heavily on referrals and word of mouth for new clients.

Rushing to complete a job and doing a sub-par job, can be more damaging to your reputation in the long term.

It is important to understand the ramifications of these decisions and consider if they are worth the outcome.

Some solutions that can help in these cases can be:

  • Share the workload by creating alliances with other businesses you trust
  • Investing in Commercial grade equipment that can handle higher workloads faster and more efficiently
  • Run staff shifts to allocate enough time for the delivery to be done properly and on time

8. Not outsourcing enough

Many businesses started small and for entrepreneurs and small business owners, they are used to doing everything in the shop.

Entrusting your business with a partner that understands your business challenges, the industry limitations, and are aware of operational costs, can vastly improve the running and profitability of your commercial embroidery business.

9. Not having an order management system

Many businesses are still operating using pen & paper. While this is a great place to start, things can quickly start falling through the cracks as your business grows. The more staff you have, the more chaotic it can get.

Consider using an all-in-on shop management software like YoPrint that’s been specifically designed and developed for embroidery industry. YoPrint for example, can manages all aspects of your embroidery business from creating quotes, purchase orders, inventory management, artwork approval, and reporting, all on one user-friendly platform.


There you have it. The 9 common mistakes made by embroidery businesses with ways to combat them. If you are looking for a software solution that can increase efficiency and help you grow your embroidery business, give YoPrint a try! Sign up for a free 15-day free trial here or if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to be in touch by calling us on (206) 552-9026 and a skilled consultant will be in touch.

CEO & Principal Engineer at

Having worked as a software engineer for Amazon and Microsoft, Anbin founded YoPrint to build the best-in-class print shop management software. Anbin aims to use cutting-edge technology staple to tech giants to help modernize the print industry.

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