Accepting Apparel From Your Customer

Should you accept apparel from your customer? Although a personal decision, it is not recommended.  

You are a provider of custom printed shirts, and there really is no profit in just offering a portion of the process.  Would you bring food to a restaurant so that they can cook it for you? I’m sure you can find it for less than they charge which is what the customer tells you when they bring it to you. For the buyer to bring you apparel and accepting outside apparel will eat at your profitability.  If you buy the shirts, you know where to go and can get the item for less if an error is made. You also have more profit built in. How much can you really charge for doing just part of the process? Also, suppliers in our industry such as Broder, Augusta, San Mar, etc. sell blank garments that are meant to be printed; it is often a better quality than what the client picked up at a close-out store. A dealer of ours recently shared an experience when they did accept customer provided garments.  Their customer had brought in a sample and the prints were ordered based on the sample. However, when the larger quantity was brought in, they had not been able to get the same item but instead found something close. However, it was smaller. So the prints ordered could not be used and guess who ate that cost?  

So, remember your business model as a provider of custom printed apparel and sell only finished apparel where you have complete control and profit over all parts of the process. Do you allow customers to bring in apparel? If so, please share your experiences – both positive and negative.

QBK-149 from our Idea Book™

Accepting customer provided apparel reduces profitability from the start to finish process. This finished piece uses layout QBK-149 from our Idea Book™


We allow customers to bring in apparel. However, after reading this article, we will shy away from doing so.

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