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How to Manage Your Sublimation Business Expenses

Posted: 2/21/2019

How much money are you really spending on your sublimation business? Accurate accounting for all expenses – even ones you don’t think about as business expenses, such as gas or mileage – is critical in building both pricing and profit strategies. All money spent on the running of your business needs to be factored into your pricing model, to ensure profitability.

If, after you’ve done this, you’re still not making enough to grow your business, it may be time to look at where you can cut back on expenses. When it comes to managing expenses for your sublimation business should focus on making your production and shop as efficient as possible, as this is where you have the most room for making an impact on your bottom line.

Here are three ways that you can keep your sublimation shop running lean and efficient.

1. Buy Strategically

Shipping costs are a necessary expense in the sublimation business. Most suppliers are not local and will need to ship you all manner of supplies. Making multiple small orders throughout the year ends up costing more in shipping than ordering only two or three times a year.

There are a few reasons for this. First, many suppliers offer free shipping if you spend a minimum amount of money. This is a big savings to take advantage of if you can. Second, it costs more in labor and materials to ship five items in five boxes than five items in one larger box. This makes the shipping cost for a larger order less than for multiple smaller orders, in most cases.

Keeping this in mind, plan out the purchase of supplies to minimize shipping costs. This may mean keeping some inventory, but that, too, has some advantages. These include quickly fulfilling orders, offering new products and selling more items. Also, take advantage of sales and promotions. Some are annual, like Black Friday, and you can plan for them well in advance. Others are announced through social media and emails, so be sure to follow your suppliers and keep up with their news.

2. Sell Strategically

Your goal should be to print and press as many items per hour as possible, and this means keeping sales steady. Doing so actually decreases your cost of production per item. Why? Because your labor is being used as efficiently as possible.

Think about this. If you’re paying someone $10 an hour to print and press your products, and you make a profit of $15 per item, does it make more sense to have 1 item or 10 items produced per hour?

With one item, your labor cost alone is $10, leaves you with $5 in profit. If one or more mugs break or images ghost during production, you could actually end up losing money. However, if 10 items are made with no waste, your profit is much closer to $140.

Aim to fill every working day of the week with printing and pressing. Let the answers to these questions guide your sales strategy. What products sell best? What are you promoting this week or month to keep that production schedule packed?

3. Reduce Waste

Waste can cost you a lot of time and money. There is a learning curve to developing an efficient sublimation production routine. But once you have your times, temperatures, pressures and techniques down, reducing waste become much easier.

Create a manual for your production routine, so that you and others can reference it whenever needed. Also, make sure that you have production equipment and supplies that you can rely on. The quality of an inexpensive mug may not be as good as one that costs more – or it could be better. Test substrates and equipment for quality before committing to keeping them as your production staples.

When you have a printer that delivers reliable prints every time, a heat press that stays hot all day long and substrates that are perfect before and after pressing, you reduce production waste and save money.

Now that you’re thinking about how to make your shop more efficient, take a look around and see where you can make immediate improvements, and what might take some time and planning. Keep track of your changes and you very well may see a big difference in your 2019 bottom line.