How to save money when you are buying promotional products...
We've addressed this issue before at a seminar but it seems worth another look.
The two easiest areas to keep costs down are time and art work.
Time: Give yourself enough time so that you won't be hit by "rush charges," or expensive overnight shipping charges.
In general it takes about 3 days to get a proof of your design. It then takes (on average) about 7 to 10 working days in production and then shipping. UPS ground from CA can take 6 days.
Add to that however long you'll need to put the promo item together with other items or to distribute them.
Artwork. You need to have your logo created in what is called vector art. If you have a graphics person, they'll know what that means. If you don't, you probably can't create it on your own. Jpeg, Tiff, giff and PDF files aren't suitable.
Get your logo in the proper format before you need to order anything. Otherwise it will cost you both time and money.
Also, if your company name is long, consider having a "stacked" version of your logo to make imprinting easier.Long names have a tendency to be too small to read and for the letters to fill in when being printed. Especially on smaller items.
Can your logo be printed in just one color? If so you'll save money on extra set-ups and "run charges." (The cost to imprint a 2nd or 3rd color).
Can your logo be printed in a standard color rather than a PMS shade. There is usually a charge to match a PMS color.
Order as large a quantity as you can justify. Prices go down when quantities go up.
Choose something that you can use for multiple occasions throughout the year.
Don't put a date on anything unless it is for a very specific event. In that case don't over order.
Try to order at least the minimum, that will be the far left price column. Most suppliers will produce less than the minimum, (usually half), but they'll impose a surcharge.
If you're buying something heavy like bottled water, coffee mugs ask your promotional products vendor if they can be sourced locally. It will save you on freight charges.
Always insist on a proof. Even if it's a repeat order. (If you find yourself in a 'rush order" situation there won't be time for a proof.
If you've never used the product before, insist on getting a sample. If your vendor won't get you a sample get a new vendor.
So, these are the things we try to do for our clients to help them save money.