What are they, and why do I pay them on every promotional product I purchase?
We’ve all seen that line item on our promotional product invoices – Set up charge. But how many of us really understand why we pay them on some things and not on others, and why we often have to pay multiple set up charges?
Set up charges, sometimes called plate charges or imprint charges, are how the suppliers we work with are compensated for the cost of preparing the items you order for imprint. Different types of products require different machines or processes for imprinting. There is a different sized imprint area on each product as well. So for the majority of orders you will need to pay a set up charge for every product ordered. Most suppliers break out the set up charge as a separate line item, but some build the cost into the unit price of each piece. The amount of the set up charge is also determined by the supplier. Charges generally range between $35 – $75 per product.
Many suppliers will only charge the set up fee the first time you order a particular product with a specific imprint. If you order the exact same item again, with the exact same imprint, there is usually no new set up charge, at least within a stated time period. Other suppliers charge a reduced-rate “repeat set up charge” for follow-up orders of the same product with the same imprint. But be aware – if you make even one little change to the imprint, or if you order a different product with the same imprint, you will need to pay a new set up charge.
Similar charges are incurred for decorated apparel. For items that are screen printed there are usually screen charges for every color and every location that is printed. For embroidered items, you’ll normally incur a digitizing charge for every new design. Screen charges may be waived on following orders with identical imprints within a specified period of time. Embroidery digitizing charges are normally not charged again unless the design is changed or resized dramatically.
So the next time you receive an invoice from your promotional product distributor, look for that line item that tells you what you’re paying for preparing to imprint your product. And if you still have questions, be sure to ask your professional promotional products distributor.
Betsy Andrade is the founder and owner of Andrade Promotions, an iPROMOTEu affiliate promotional marketing organization. Contact Andrade Promotions for marketing consultation, project planning, and promotional marketing items – www.andrade-promotions.com – We Simplify Your Marketing!