TK Promotional Products Educational Series: Transparent Pricing

As companies and marketing teams look to implement improved marketing strategies, promotional products are often the final consideration. However, research suggests that promotional products can and maybe should be the centerpiece of a strong marketing campaign. Branded products have numerous advantages over other advertising mediums, but with over a million products, seemingly endless decoration techniques (fees) and art requirements (more fees) the process can be challenging to navigate and understand on your own. This is where a PPAI certified representative and transparent, dependable supplier can change your world.

The following glossary may help understand industry fee structures and how to minimize fees when possible.

Setup Fees

When you visit your favorite retailer either in-person or online as seems to be the case more and more in our current environment, you select a product, checkout and your product either walk out the door with you or shipping is initiated instantly. In the promotional products world, things are bit more complicated. Suppliers keep large quantities of each product on hand to accommodate orders up to 10,000 + in many cases.  As each order is received, blank product is pulled and an internal art department begins the process of customizing client art for that specific product and creating a virtual for client approval.  Once the art and the decoration technique are approved, the art and the product art sent to the production floor (where 10’s of thousands of products can be decorated per day) and placed in line for production. Depending on the technique (a screen may have to be burned, a custom may have to be made, a computer may have to be programmed or thread may have to be set-up), the appropriate instrument or machine has to be “set up”. A setup fee pays for all of this additional work and is usually quite necessary. To ensure that you are not surprised by any unexpected charges, practice good communication with your vendor partner and ask about any setup fees on the front end. In most cases these fees should be clearly noted on any estimate you receive from a reputable vendor.

Art Charges

This fee often comes as a surprise to clients who believe they should not have to pay if they provide a logo or artwork. Typically, high res vector art files (either ai or eps files) are required to execute decoration of product. If you are unbale to provide appropriate high res files, many distributors can convert those files in house or through a third-party graphic arts service. Fees for converting art files are generally charged by the hour and can vary based on the type of file and the complexity of the art. Work with your vendor rep early on in the process to determine what is needed and what fees might be necessary to accomplish proper execution of your brand.

Proof Charges

In general, e-mail proof should be included at no cost. Proof approvals are a value-add to ensure that your order is decorated correctly. If changes are necessary, a second proof should be provided at no charge, as well. On occasion, proofing charges may be required for special circumstances (i.e. physical proof, art changes as noted in the art charges above, etc.) that require additional time or resources.

Shipping Fees

In a time when many big box and online retailers are offering “free shipping”, client expectations have shifted. Shipping product has a real cost regardless of whether it is buried in the price of the product or shown on a separate line item. On large orders, the shipping cost can be quite impressive/shocking. For most distributors shipping is not a profit center. Work with your vendor representative to get shipping estimates prior to ordering. Most suppliers will supply that information when given a zip code and a description of the product to be ordered.

The beauty of promotional products is the physical media presence they provide.  When executed properly, branded merchandise can stimulate all 5 senses and help your brand stand out from the competition. If you are looking for a more transparent and uniquely creative approach to implementing branded products into your marketing strategy, contact TK Promotions at info@tkpromotionsinc.comor give us a call at 804-740-8800. We look forward to serving you!