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Custom Screen Printing: The Definite Guide to Hiring the Best Printer

Any time you interact with a business to receive a product or experience a service, questions are bound to come up. Especially when it comes to custom screen printing.

Whether or not you remember to ask these questions is another story.

Have you ever left a meeting of any kind, whether it be an open house or a job interview, remembering a bunch of questions you forgot to bring up?

We’ve all been there. We’ve all kicked ourselves as we drive home, wishing we asked the tough questions before saying yes or no.

When it comes to custom screen printing, you can avoid all that kicking. That’s why we’ve created the Definitive Guide to Hiring the Best Printer.

Basically, we did the hard part for you. You’re welcome!

With a big purchase like custom shirts for your event or organization, you want to get it right. You want to make the right decision and hire the best printer.

As with any investment, whether it’s a new home or an inventory of your custom designed t-shirt, it’s all about preparation.

Are you ready to approach custom screen printing with confidence? Let’s get started.

Step #1: Establish Specifics

Get some aspects ironed out before you reach out to prospective printers. We’re talking numbers, here.

It can be hard to know where to start when ordering your custom shirts. Do you make calls first and let printers pitch you, letting them tell you what they think you need?


You know what you need in a printer. You just have to put a name to it.

Start here by answering the following questions:

  • When do you need your shirts?
  • What does your timeline look like?
  • What quantity do you need now?
  • Will you need more in the future?
  • Is your design ready?
  • Do you have ideas for your color scheme?

Once you’ve answered these questions, you will have identified some of the things you need to nail down before you even begin to research custom screen printing companies.
Don’t have your color palette? Find some inspiration online so you can ask printers if they can accommodate your taste. (Hint: Pinterest is always a good place to find complementary color schemes!)

choosing a color palette for custom screen printing

















Don’t know the exact number you’ll need? Time to send a mass email to gauge specifics.

These questions help lay the base for finding the printer that can help you bring your big idea to full fruition… with as few speed bumps as possible along the way.

Step #2: Research Local and Online Options

Would you feel more comfortable going to a physical location to print your shirt so you can see the process first-hand?

Or, do you crave the convenience of an online service that will simply ship to your door?

Stop right there. While one or the other might seem like a no-brainer, really give this some thought.

Just to be sure, check the following off your list before you proceed:

  • Make a list of both options: brick-and-mortar and online
  • Gather necessary contact information: phone number, email addresses

do a local search for custom screen printing

The best solution is typically a printer that combines both to offer flexible service options.

You might think you want to be hyper-involved in the process, but your schedule might demand a list-minute switch to the convenience of online capabilities.

Or, you might sign off on an online-only option, but wish you had a chance to sneak a peek at production at the end of the project.

That’s why you should try to opt for both, if possible. Why confine yourself to one strict option?

Step #3: Prepare Thorough Questions

Don’t go into a meeting, call or email correspondence with prospective printers unprepared. Map out the questions you have beforehand so you don’t forget anything important.

This might seem like a laundry list of questions, but as we said before: preparation is key.

The right custom screen printing company won’t mind the inquisition.

In fact. The best printer will happily answer your questions and show that they are, in fact, the most qualified to take on your project.

Some might even have helpful FAQ pages to address these in detail, or inspire further discussion.

check out the FAQ page when searching for custom screen printing

Here are some topics to cover:

  • What is your product turnaround time?
  • Do you have a portfolio of past work or customer testimonials?
  • What shirt style options do you have in stock?
  • Do you have the resources to produce the exact shirt that I envision? Remember specifics: size, brightness, color scheme
  • What is the pricing for my desired product?
  • How do you determine pricing in general? Ask to disclose any potential hidden fees or costs that might come up during the production process.
  • What is your policy on mistakes or misprints?
  • What guarantees can you make in terms of quality or customer service?
  • What locations do you have? Do I have access to these locations?

While you’re at it, don’t forget to jot down highlights from your conversation, including specific answers to these questions.

You’ll thank yourself later for this record of what sets each option apart!

Step #4: Prioritize

What aspect of your order is most important to you?

Now that you have a wide range of questions answered, you must determine where your priorities lie.

When it comes to your order, what is the #1 component that simply can’t be compromised?

That being said, it’s a good idea to map out #2 and #3 as well.

The thing is, certain printers might specialize in one thing over another.

Example: If access to an array of shirt styles is your #1 priority, it wouldn’t make sense to go with a printer who offers only a few standard options, even if past customers boast about their high quality and rapid turnaround times.

check out apparel suppliers for custom screen printing

Good for another project, perhaps, but not yours. Make sense?

It’s all about finding the right combination of services that fit your unique needs like a glove.

Step #5: Finalize Your Design

Get to the final stage of your design before you make your final decision.

If your design is ready to go, you can ask different printers if they can work with it.

Hint: Having art in multiple file formats will help ensure you have what is needed, but a good screen printer can often help if you don’t have the exact format needed. Here are a few suggested file types:

  • .pdf
  • .psd
  • .eps
  • .png
  • .ai

properly set up your files for custom screen printing

This is especially helpful if you have your heart set on a certain look, whether it be original artwork or custom lettering.

You don’t want to have just a rough concept in mind, only to go with a printer that can’t fulfill your final vision.

Step #6: Make your decision

At this point, you’re ready to make your final decision.

You’ve covered your bases, you’ve asked the right questions and you’re feeling excited and secure with your impending project.

We call that confidence.

It’s what you need to have in the custom screen printing game.

The only thing to do now is choose!

Ultimately, the purpose of hiring a printer is to reduce as much stress and uncertainty as possible so you can get your hands on the shirts you’ve envisioned.

Spoiler alert: designing, ordering and printing your shirts through custom screen printing should not be filled with troubleshooting and miscommunication. But you knew that!

It all comes back to being confident in the questions you’re asking.

Visit and learn how we can turn your custom t-shirt dreams into a reality. We’re ready for all your toughest questions!