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The Bidding War - Why Losing Might Help Your Print Shop

Business Lessons

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How often are we up against a competitor? It is easily a shop owner’s biggest headache.


“They’re printing for $4.25, can you beat that?”


“The printer down the street said they’d do an extra color for free.”


“I need these shirts as cheap as possible, I can get them online for $3.00,”


“The other embroiderer said they wouldn’t charge me a tape fee, can you do the same?”


When you get this kind of customer coming into your shop, who is in control of the situation? Knowing very well that printed goods are often not paid for the entirely by the group organizer, why should you play into the bidding war game?


Here is the truth. It is okay to lose a bid. It is okay to tell a customer "no". If they don’t choose to work with your business over a few dollars and cents, then they are not the customer that will help lead you to success.


If it comes to this, have you ever thought to explain to your customers that you are a for-profit business? That you are a business that calculates the cost of every shirt in order to stay open for business so you can continue serving the community? Or better yet, does your customer respect the business you’re in and not over-challenge the price?


That is the customer you want to retain, and those are the types of customers you want to foster a relationship with.  


How do you build a winning customer base that makes your job easier, more enjoyable, and ultimately more profitable?

Follow these tips:

Build a Relationship 

Relationships are everything. Remember, you are the master of your craft. The artisan. The supplier in the transaction. If you spend time sharing your passions and listening to theirs, customers will grow closer to you. Take the time to reach out to your customers. Get them to like you.


Educate Your Customers

Take the time to explain to your customers all that goes into a job to deliver the best possible product. Give them a taste of your business. Pull an embroidered sample, or a screen out from the back to show them. Let them recognize each order is delicately handled, and walk them through all the hands that will touch their product before they receive it.
Become Solution Oriented - Recognize that your customer was put in charge of ordering products for a specific group, team, company, or organization. They were trusted to not screw up. Help make their lives easier by giving them best practices to make their job go smoothly. For example, let them see a page on your computer screen and what you’ll do to make sure their job is going to go perfectly. This will build trust.

Use Real Life Examples


Build rapport by using basic goods that you and your customer purchase on a daily basis as a benchmark. Compare your shop to something as simple as grocery shopping. Every grocery store has different quality, cleanliness, reputation and prices.  Create some common ground on a grocery store you both enjoy going to, and why your business has similar characteristics.

Hold Your Ground 


If you allow a customer to push you around early on, it gives them the confidence to continue controlling you - and it will drive you nuts. Can you blame them? We all like going back to the same place we can get the best “bang for our buck”. Say NO early on to something minuscule so it shows them you are in control of your business. It will build a mutual respect. Remember, it is not about bringing a horse to water, it is about how you make them drink.

Always remember, the large majority of shops are buying supplies from the same distributors with very similar prices. If a competitor is severely undercutting your prices, that might be a desperate move for them to stay afloat.

Don’t fall into this game. This is a red flag for them, and an indicator that they might not be around for a long time if they continue going down that path. Let them write their own destiny, as you grow yours.


Next Post: 4 Ways To Reduce Errors And Misprints In Your Shop


About Printavo

Printavo is simple, shop management software. We work with screen printing, embroidery, awards & engraving, signage and digital printing companies to make your workflow easier. Our software helps you keep your shop organized by handling scheduling, estimating, quote approvals, workflow, payments, accounting and more. This all allows you to work smarter, not harder.

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