National Or Local Screen Printer
When searching for a reputable company to fulfill your custom shirt order, the question of whether to go with a national or local screen printer usually comes up.

We know what you’re thinking – of course we’re going to try and convince you that if you’re in Las Vegas, you should buy locally from us and if you’re anywhere else, you should use us because we’re a national screen printing company.

The fact of the matter is we have clients both locally in Las Vegas and from all around the nation and we appreciate all of our clients putting their trust in us to deliver their orders as opposed to going with another company, whether it be a national franchise or local company in their area. So, to help you answer this question, we’ll give you some pros and cons of each and hopefully this information will help you become a more enlightened buyer so you can make a better, more informed decision.

Local Screen Printers

Benefits

They’re local

Even with all the advancement in communication technology, video chats, etc. there’s really nothing like being able to actual see the person you’re dealing with face-to-face. That’s why conventions are so popular and important. They give people who normally are restricted to phone or Internet communication a chance to meet with the people they’re doing business with in person.

From pre-sales meetings to dealing with any issues that arise, having the ability to meet with the person can be invaluable. However, keep in mind that even if the company is local, sometimes getting in touch with them can still be a challenge. It doesn’t matter if you’re 10 miles or 1,000 miles away from the company – if you can’t get in touch with them, it doesn’t matter if they’re near you or not.

More cohesiveness

When you deal with people and businesses in your local area, you have a better understanding of the general nuances of doing business with people in your area. While there’s no difference from doing business in one area as opposed to another, things like communication, customs, lifestyle, relations, etc can oftentimes be more in sync with someone that is from the same area you are.

Rush orders

In general, if you have a rush order, it will probably be better to go with a local company. By going with a local company, you eliminate the biggest liability in receiving your order – shipping. If the company is local, you won’t have to worry about shipping delays, mixups, etc.

You support your community

Let’s face it, when you buy locally you are helping the community where you live and work. You help provide jobs and help build your local economy.

Check out this post from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts outlining the reasons why supporting local business is good for your community.

Drawbacks

While there are many positives with going with a company that’s in your area, there can be some drawbacks.

Finding a good printer can be challenging

Depending how big your city is or the level of sophistication of the printers in your area, finding a good company in your area can be a real challenge. They may not have the knowledge, experience, equipment and resources to put out a consistently quality product. They may also not be equipped to handle large orders or be able to turn around a job within your time constraints.

Customer service availability

Unless your local printer is a national printer focused on a lot of retail printing, customer service will not be available 24 hours a day.

If you’re working late or after hours and you have a question or need something addressed right away, you will not be able to get a hold of someone. This may lead to additional panic and stress.

Costs could be higher

If the area you’re in has a higher cost of living, then you’re bound to see higher prices because of the increased cost of doing business in your area. From rent and utilities to labor and insurance, the business has no choice but to raise their prices so they can survive.

Further, if the local printer is located far away from a wholesale distribution center for supplies and products, then it may increase your costs due to the shipping costs the printing company must incur to get the products to them.

This distance may also increase turn-around times as the printer (and you) typically have to wait longer to receive your products from the wholesaler.

National Screen Printers

Benefits

National name recognition

People like doing business with large, well-known companies. This gives the client a sense of comfort and confidence that their order will get done right.

Consistency

With a national company, in most cases, you know what kind of product you can expect. If it’s a company that’s known for turning out good, quality products, then the consistency is there. By going with a local printer, you may not be familiar with their work and finding a good local printer can sometimes prove to be challenging.

However, we say “most of the time” because national companies will often sub contract out an order to a local company. Now, the national company will most likely ensure the local company they use has high standards, however, the national company has no way of ensuring good quality control when they contract out the work to a local printer.

Drawbacks

No personal service

Your only form of communication with a national company is either through the phone or by some type of digital communication (Skype, email, chat, etc).

This definitely can detract from the personal service you may get from a shop in your area.

Paying higher prices

National companies have much higher overhead costs than local companies.

National companies who advertise heavily on television commercials, online and through affiliate marketing need to charge a higher dollar amount for their orders because they have to pay for all their advertising.

On top of the advertising, they also need to pay for their staff. Many times, they operate 24 hours and have people in call centers and in other departments on an around-the-clock basis.

All this increased overhead means they need to charge you, the customer, more to cover their costs to make a profit.

Delivery is always an underlying issue

While many elements of your order are the same whether you use a local or national shop, the one big difference is shipping. Getting your order to you is a factor that is beyond the control of the national company and, believe it or not, shipping companies do mess up. And when they mess up, whether it’s their fault or not, you’re stuck with no product.

If you are ordering something for employees, having it delayed a couple of days or a week may not be the end of the world. However, if your shirts are for an event or something that is time sensitive, then it doesn’t matter who’s fault it is, you won’t have what you need. Sure, you can often times get compensated by the shipping agent for the misplaced order in one form or another, but that doesn’t help you with your event.

Harder to deal with problems

If you’ve ever seen the movie Pulp Fiction, one of the most famous lines from Harvey Keitel’s character Winston Wolf is: “I’m Winston Wolf. I solve problems.”

Everybody is happy when everything is going smoothly. It’s when problems arise that crank up the stress meter and you can really see how the company you’re doing business with handles issues.

When problems arise, it’s just easier to deal with it locally. The national company may be great and do everything in their power to help rectify the situation, but we find clients are put more at ease when they have someone they can talk to face to face and will be with them to help see the issue get resolved.

I solve problems

National companies use local printing

As we eluded to before, in many cases, national companies will sub out the work to a local company. In essence, they’re just acting as a “middle man”.

They claim they get a fabulous rate from the local company that you, as an individual or business, will never be able to get. While that is most likely true, even if you don’t get the fabulous rate the national company gets, you would still probably get a better Out The Door (OTD) price by going directly through the company yourself than paying the “marked up” price of the national company.

So which should you decide?

There are obviously pros and cons for both options. Here are some questions to consider to help make your decision.

• Am I the type of person that is comfortable with doing business over the phone or through email?
• Is my order time-sensitive?
• What do I expect to happen if problems arise?

Ultimately, the choice is up to you. Either option can be very rewarding or a complete nightmare. Look at all the factors involved.

Also, contact the company and tell them your situation and see what they say. Although not every company will do this, we put the client first and have no problems giving our opinion with the best interest of the client in mind, even if that means directing you to someone else.

Have an experience with national vs. local screen printing services? Write about it below and let us know what factors you used to help make your decision.

  • Reply

    John

    17 09 2015

    Great article here. I found out your point about national companies using local companies the hard way. Pretty soon I just cut out the middle guy and started buying direct. Saved me a bunch of money.

    • Reply

      Kent Reston

      17 09 2015

      Hi John,

      Thanks for the comment. Yes, it can be very frustrating when you find that out but I’m glad you are now getting a better deal.

      Be sure to contact us if you have any questions. We never sub-contract out our work for local or national clients.

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