10 Management Mistakes Screen Printing Businesses Make

10 management mistakes screen printing businesses make

Owning a screen printing business is a worthwhile venture with proper planning and preparation. You can grow your business from selling tens of printed garments to hundreds and even thousands when you incorporate the right tools and strategy. 

There is potential for mistakes in the production side of screen printing. However, many screen printing business owners fail to consider the essential and overlooked aspect of managing a screen printing business, which is proper planning. 

Many screen printing businesses are prone to making the same mistakes repeatedly. We do not want your business to be a victim of these mistakes, so we curated a list of the common business management fails for screen printing businesses. 

1. Agreeing to Work Beyond Your Capacity

A woman writing on a calendar.

As a screen printing business owner, you should understand your production schedule more than anyone else. You also know your staff’s speed of work and the maximum capacity of your printing machines. Do not take on more work than you can do.

A prevalent mistake we see screen printing business owners make is being dishonest about their production capacity in a bid to get more work. Often, this leads to a lag in production and customer dissatisfaction. 

How much can you print within a specific time? How much would the size and design of the print slow down production? What are the technical limitations of your shop?

Be truthful with your client upfront. Do not take up work beyond your capacity. Aim for customer satisfaction. When a customer is satisfied, they will definitely come back for more.

2. Failure to Check Production Process

Man checking screen for screen printing

The problem is not always with your ink. Stop blaming your ink or production assistant for every challenge you encounter while printing. If the print is dull, it is the ink: if the design is smeared, it is the ink: if the design fails to form, it is the ink or your production assistant.

You should always check your mechanical processes and printing machine. Take a look at the art, the screens, the press, the print set up and your squeegees, etc. Be sure everything is in place. Sometimes, your print may even be affected by the quality of the garment. Always pause to check on these elements before blaming the ink. 

3. Not Understanding Your Market

T-shirt with superheroes printed onto it.

This is where having a niche comes in. For your business to thrive, you should have a well-defined goal for the clients you choose to serve. You should know your target market in and out. What sort of designs does your market love? Do they want a colorful tee full of designs, or would rather have a plain t-shirt with just a brand name? Do they want a t-shirt fit to size or do they prefer an extra-large one?

Knowledge of your target market will help you print the perfect designs and cut production costs as you focus on printing what your target market will buy.

So, who is your target market? 

Are you printing for kids, teens, or adults? Is your business focused on the male or female demographic? You can choose your target audience by age, gender, culture, etc.

When you are sure of your target market, do not just jump into bulk production. Go in conservatively and usually with pre-sold inventory to reduce out-of-pocket expenses. 

4. Poor Documentation

People shaking hands in a warehouse.

Various screen printing businesses do not take a well-detailed inventory of their supplies and sales. You cannot run a screen printing business if you do not have an accurate record of your daily, weekly, and monthly supplies as well as profits and expenditures. How will you order more stock if you do not know your inventory? 

Accuracy is vital, and speed is also a factor. The quicker you work on your inventory, the better for your business.

We understand how stressful and confusing taking inventory all the time can be. However, you can quickly automate this process with a screen printing shop management software – like YoPrint – to free up time for other tasks, such as creating beautiful designs. With YoPrint’s Inventory Management tool, you can easily know your stock in hand, goods you need to order, and goods you need to receive, all in real-time.

5. Inadequate Employee Training

Employee heat pressing a design onto a t-shirt.

You should engage in employee training often. Your staff, including the front desk, should be knowledgeable about the latest printing techniques, trends, and innovations in the screen printing business. If you are a one-person squad, you should work towards learning new trends in the printing industry.

Engage your staff in cross-training. Let your employees be knowledgeable about one another’s roles. If there are any production gaps or staff shortages, an employee from another department can quickly fill up for the defaulting staff.

However, this does not mean that you should overwork your staff. The emphasis is on ensuring that employees are knowledgeable about the screen printing business while still focusing on their various areas of expertise.

The training could be monthly, quarterly, or even twice a year. Your business size and your resources will determine the frequency of your training. You could also agree with your staff on how frequently you should have training. 

6. Not Automating Processes

A woman using a calculator and manually writing down and tracking orders.

Many screen printing businesses still engage in the stressful activity of manually taking stock, booking, and other administrative tasks. These manual administrative tasks consume precious time, energy, and other resources that you could spend creating beautiful designs and printing them.

Learn to automate your processes. Switch to a business management software for apparel decorators. You may think that automating your operations might be too expensive for your business. However, focus on the ROI in terms of material, labor, time, and other factors for your shop. 

What do you hope to achieve with your business? How can a business management software help you achieve your business goals? Automating your processes is a well-thought-out decision, not a gut decision. 

YoPrint is a shop management software that helps you automate your processes. You can manage customer orders and your inventory, track your order and deliveries, integrate with payment processors and accounting software, and do a lot more with YoPrint.

7. Prioritizing Cost over Quality

T-shirts hanging.

According to Henry Royce, the quality will remain when the price is forgotten.

Many screen printing businesses usually compromise quality in a bid to save costs and sell at a cheap rate. However, this is a significant business killer for screen printing businesses. 

Your customers would rather pay more for a high-quality garment and design than pay less for an inferior make.  

So, focus on quality and ensure your customers are satisfied. Whether that means forking out extra for a supply of better quality garments, consistent employee training programs, or equipment that best fits your needs, you should always consider if the extra cash will impact quality and customer satisfaction. 

8. Starting Big Right Away

Man carrying boxes of t-shirts.

You have an extraordinary design idea or unique print that you think would revolutionize the industry. You are sure that your idea is the future of print t-shirt fashion. So, what do you do? You go into bulk production and print thousands of t-shirts right away.

This is one area where many screen printing businesses get it wrong and fail. When starting a screen printing business, there are certain factors to consider. 

Do you have an expert to help you? What about a ready market to buy your designs? Can you handle your new screen printing business?

Start with a small production to test the market. After that, you can begin to work on an expansion plan.

9. No Proper Marketing Efforts

An open journal, a cup of coffee, and a laptop and phone screen that display WordPress.

Do not just focus on printing only. What is your marketing strategy? 

Ensuring that your customers are satisfied is a marketing effort. Word-of-mouth is an excellent way to market your business, and you can achieve this when you make your customers satisfied enough to recommend you to others. Don’t forget to make valuable connections too. Interact with people within and outside your industry to increase your business awareness and visibility.

Focus on content marketing as well. By giving valuable content, tips and advice, your target audience will begin to regard you as the expert in screen printing, and you become the first choice to purchase from.

You can also engage your audience with ads both online and offline. Where can you find your target audience? Focus on groups your target market belongs to offline and online, and then pitch your brand to them.

10. Not Understanding Your Cash Flow

100 dollar bills

To properly do business, you must understand the influx of cash into your account. You must also be up to date with your expenses.   

Some customer projects may entail you doing business with your resources first before getting paid. You can only have the capacity to take up such work when you understand your cash flow and have the financial bandwidth for such projects.

Understanding your cash flow helps you know if you are running at a profit or loss and enables you to take up more projects, or decline them accordingly.

Following up with credits, debits, balancing accounts, and cash flow management can be cumbersome and frustrating. Thankfully, software like YoPrint makes it easier to manage your business’ cash flow by allowing you to integrate payments gateways and accounting software, and synchronize it with your orders.

Growing A Profitable Screen Printing Business

The ultimate goal is to have a thriving and profitable business with an active pipeline of orders and production. To achieve this, you must automate some processes to have the time and capacity to take in more orders. 

By using YoPrint, you and your team can easily follow up with administrative and business activities such as sales orders, stock, inventory, payments, and customer communications.