Team gear can help develop group cohesion and team pride. While buying new team gear is exciting, there are so many different brands and companies to pick from that deciding which is the best option can be overwhelming.
Here are the top five things you should take into consideration to make this process easier:
1) Quality of Product
Product quality varies across different companies. When looking at quality, you need to account for the following factors: the material (fabric), the ink/stitching, and the durability of both the fabric & the ink/stitch. Begin your search by knowing specifically what quality of product you are looking for.
From jersey style, to pro-mesh, polyester, jacquard or cotton, there’s plenty of materials to choose from. Work with your sales rep to figure out what kind of material will work best for your specific sport, the environment, and budget. After that, make sure you confirm durability (both the material & ink) of the product you’re ordering. Pro Tip: Ask for a sample of the item you are ordering. You may have to pay for the sample, but it’s worth it if you are placing a big order!
Reviews will be your best friend in discerning whether a specific company has high-quality products. Be sure to check website reviews, Facebook, Google and other sites to learn everything you need to know.
Personalization and customization are what distinguishes your team’s gear from another’s. When it comes to putting names, numbers, and logos on uniforms, look into what different companies offer and the prices that go with those options.
Make sure when you are reading an ad online or talking with a sales rep, you understand the incremental price increases for each additional customization. Also make sure to ask about sublimation, a printing process for athletic gear that drastically lowers the price of having custom colors and designs!
3) Customer Service
We’ve all had bad customer service experiences. Buying team gear from a company with poor customer service can be a nightmare and cost you valuable time & money. There are many ways to tell if a company has good customer service but one of the first ways you can tell is how quickly a real person responds after you reach out to them. Communication is key to making sure your order looks good and gets to you on time!
Another way to identify if a company has great customer service is by reading their reviews. You can also search for the company’s name on social media to see what past customers are saying.
4) Turnaround Time
The industry standard is two to four weeks for basic screen printing and embroidery. The more complicated the customization is for your order, the longer it will take. The addition of individual names and numbers typically adds around a week to the production timeline. So, six to eight weeks is normal for fully customized uniforms. Take advantage of companies like 323 Sports that still provide you with high-quality custom uniform options but offer shorter, four to six week windows.
5) Setup and Shipping Costs
Be on the lookout for potential hidden costs and fees. Setup fees and shipping costs added at the end of an order can be frustrating and kill your budget.
There are typically set-up charges for screen-printed and embroidered items. Some companies include set-up costs in the price, while others quote them out separately. Be sure to read the fine print on ads or ask your sales rep if the quoted price includes any setup fees.
High shipping costs can completely off-set any discounts or deals you might get on an order. Make sure your quote includes an estimated shipping cost before you proceed with the order. (Or, you could work with a company like 323 Sports who offers free freight on every order with 12 or more apparel items. 😉 )