Pricing, minimums, tips and advice on buying custom gear for your team or club
Cyclist/Runners/Team sports have more options than ever for buying custom-printed kits. Whether shopping for head-to-toe clothing for a huge club or just a single jersey, you can find a company that will design, produce and ship to your home.
It is important to figure out what your needs are,” Do you just want custom graphics on whatever piece made wherever? Do you want a really custom approach with options for your needs in climate, fit, amount and type of use, price and turnaround time? A free event jersey for 500 people does not need to be the same level as that which a team member will train and race in all season — or more. Don’t be afraid to ask specific questions.”
Type of clothing turnaround times, pricing and minimum-order requirements vary considerably, and this guide will help you determine the best fit, based on your priorities.
philosophy of choosing a custom company based on your team’s priorities. There are many viable options when it comes to clothing suppliers. “Make a list of the these most important things to your team — delivery time, reliability, customer service, quality of clothing, print quality, price, selection — and then stick to finding the best solution based on those needs.”
Once you have settled on a supplier, make sure every last detail is spelled out in an email or in a contract. “Get it in writing!” . “Pricing, delivery date, everything that has variable expectations. Leave nothing to be interpreted. Finally, get your team organized. Your order is only as fast as the least organized member of your team.”
Delivery typically takes between two and eight weeks from the time the order is approved, so get started now by reading the tips below.
Size of order
companies vary in how many pieces you must order to get a custom kit going. The more you buy, the cheaper each piece is. Typically, once you have placed the first order, reorders require much smaller minimums (even a single piece sometimes), since the artwork is already produced.
A high-mileage masters racing team has different demands than a club looking to make custom jerseys for a one-time charity ride. Some companies, who are more specialize in quality garments but require a 35-piece order. Other companies can get you going for an order of only five or six pieces at a reasonable cost. And a few companies will design and sell you a single piece, but you will pay a premium for this.
Quality of the fabrics and construction
All companies will tell you that they use high-quality materials and construction techniques. But how can you know what’s great and what’s not?
“Great fabric means great color, compression that will last multiple years, and technology in the process that does not blur. Great chamois pad means comfort, pliability and breathability.”
We would also add that a great chamois pad means proper placement too. Also be sure to check the feel of the seams; are they stiff or pliable?
Asking around for recommendations is always a good practice. Ask people on group rides for their thoughts on last year’s team gear, and their experience with custom companies.
Try on the clothing if you can. Many companies will ship you a fit kit once you’ve decided to do business with them. This is a good way to get a feel for the product — but getting your hands on a sample beforehand is even better. Just make sure that what you check out is what you buy, as many companies have different levels of product.
Look closely at the chamois offered . “Think about how much time you will spend on the saddle.”
Bottom line: Do whatever you can to get a good feel for the product before you buy.
“Art is the most time-consuming part of a custom project,” “Make sure you have high-resolution art files to submit the company you choose to work with so you can get through their art process efficiently.”
All companies will help you design your kit, but policies vary on cost. Some companies include it, others charge hourly. Make sure to ask for the specifics of how the process will work,
We have integrated the design into our websites, so you can upload your logos, choose colors and select the general direction of the design. Then, there is some iteration back and forth until you are happy with how it looks.
“Don’t be afraid to ask questions and ask for help when needed,” The good companies in the business welcome your questions and input. You should not only get the product you want, but your experience along the way should be enjoyable. Designing a jersey or kit should be fun.”
An increasing number of companies offer online ordering systems, which can simplify some steps of the ordering process, but can also disconnect you from the people involved. Ask how the company operates, and whether (and when) live customer service reps are available.
Correct sizing for everyone on your team
With custom clothing, the company is only making what you order, so get the sizing right. There is no sending it back for another size later.
“Always request a fit kit,” A fit-kit party is a great teambuilding exercise that can be held at local bike shop or sponsor’s facility. Most companies will offer the kits by simply reserving a credit card.
Heini provides fit kits for all of our cycling/running and team apparel at our facility in Coimbatore. We have different cuts, luxury line, Race Cut, Sport Cut and Loose Fit. It is important to know which style is appropriate for your team or club.”
Sometimes jackets fit differently than jerseys, for example, so just because you’re a medium in one thing doesn’t mean you’re a medium across the board.
Women make sure you are happy with the chamois options, as well as the jerseys and the short and/or bib shorts. Some companies have minimum-order requirements about including women’s clothing as part of the order; others do not. As with everything else, investigate and get the agreement in writing.
Even within a given company, there are typically varying levels of quality and corresponding price.
Better stuff usually costs more. And buying more brings the individual price down.
Beyond that, be careful to ascertain what other costs there may be. Does the company charge to ship you a fit kit? Do they charge for artwork set-up? Are there price breaks built into the contract should they deliver late?
Make sure that if you are promised a deadline, it’s on the contract. We see too many stories of orders produced in longer time than advertised,”
When companies quote their turnaround times, they are referring to the period between your final approval of the order and the delivery of the order. Setting up the design and getting all your teammates to decide on what they want is not figured into this.
With that in mind, the earlier you order, the sooner you’ll be riding in your new custom gear.