Screen Printing Business Tips: Selling to Schools

Home Based Business Opportunity | Sep 30, 2013

Get advice on marketing your screen printing services to schools.

With back-to-school season in full swing, now is a great time to reconnect with schools or even find new schools to work with! From elementary schools and high schools to colleges and universities, schools are big customers for many screen printing businesses because they place large quantity orders.  

There are so many different opportunities available when it comes to selling screen printed items to schools. You can sell custom apparel for sports, spirit wear, “class of” gear, custom apparel for parents, and more. The most difficult aspect of marketing your screen printing business to schools is getting your foot in the door.

How to Get Started

School markets tend to be very competitive with many printers, both local and national, vying for their business. It can be tough to obtain orders from schools without a contact on the inside, as many schools give screen printing jobs to friends and relatives of employees. Generally speaking, a school has to be unsatisfied with its current screen printer in order to consider a new vendor. If you do not have any inside connections at a school, consider approaching private schools, which are easier to solicit than public schools and colleges. Another option is to hire students at a school to work as part-time salesmen for you, and pay them commissions for every order they get from different groups and clubs within the school.

There is a lot of competition for high school orders, so start by approaching elementary schools and middle schools. Other easy targets include nursery schools and daycare centers. Printing a few samples of custom apparel with the school’s logo on them is a great way to get some business. 

Locate the Right Person

Locating the people within a school who actually place orders for custom printed goods can be a challenge. Start by approaching coaches, club sponsors, and school stores. Parent/Teacher Associations (PTAs) or Parent/Teacher Organizations (PTOs) typically purchase a lot of custom printed products, so they are also a good starting point when you’re trying to get your first school orders.

At many schools, a new PTA or PTO president is elected each year. Once you get in touch with a PTA or PTO president and succeed in making a sale, ask them to pass your info on to next year’s president. Schools are generally required to get three bids and in many instances, new PTA presidents do not know of any vendors to contact. Being the first screen printing business to get in touch with new PTA presidents precisely when they need your services can go a long way.

One way to obtain the contact info of PTA presidents is by emailing principals at the beginning of the school year and asking them for the new PTA president’s contact information so you can be placed on the bid list for t-shirts. You’d be surprised at how many principals will respond to your inquiry. If you work on building good relationships with PTA presidents, you’ll be able to get a lot of business in a short amount of time.

Building a reputation as the go-to screen printing business for many schools can be a lucrative endeavor. Try to develop relationships with various groups and decision-makers within a school system and don’t be afraid to branch out and approach schools outside of your local area. Never stop seeking out opportunities and take it slowly when soliciting schools so you can determine which promotional methods work best and tweak your marketing efforts as you go along.

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Printa Systems are a fun and effective way to increase your profitability. Our product line includes screen printing machines, infrared and convection dryers, pad printing machines, and other supplies. Call 1-800-601-6240 today if you’d like to expand your home-based screen printing business!