By Steve Conde
First, let’s answer the question: “What does it mean to farm out business?”. This is something I do all the time. When a customer comes in and wants 144 coffee cups, there is no way I am going to try to sublimate them if I don’t have to. I will send the job to a screen printer who is set up to do cups. The job will come in much cheaper than sublimation and it leaves my time free to do something even more productive. I have a customer who orders 10,000 labels at a time. I could sublimate them but if I farm them out, it frees me up to sell something else while the labels are being made on huge printing presses that I could never afford.
I will admit, there is some controversy about farming out business to other companies. Some say they don’t like it because they lose control over the work, others because they can’t trust the company they are farming out to, to deliver on time.
The facts are these: Farming out business to companies that can do things you can’t do adds to the bottom line. That’s why we are here – to build a strong bottom line.
If you have trouble with a company not delivering on time, don’t use them again. There are plenty of good companies that will bend over backwards to accommodate your customer’s needs.
Did you know that you can farm jobs out to Condé? You can. If you don’t have a big enough press to make a banner, flag, floor mat, etc., Condé will make it for you. This means you don’t have to invest $10,000 to be able to make floor mats for cars or ceiling tiles for commercial buildings. Need 500 ceramic tiles made? Farm it out. Don’t tie up weeks making tiles for just one customer. Use your time to do what you do best and let someone else do what they do best but let them do it for you.
There are many companies you can farm out work to and expand your existing business. Consider offering bronze signs, bronze baby shoes, screen printed cups and glassware, ribbons, ADA signage, embroidered products, commercial labels, and promotional products, only to mention a few. This is a way to expand your business with little or no investment; plus a chance to sell something more to existing customers, with little or no additional training on your part.
Sometimes, these companies are hundreds of miles from your location and that’s fine but don’t overlook companies in your own backyard that you can work with. Engraving shops, sign shops, embroiderers, screen printers, printers, etc.
Sublimation is a wonderful process for short runs such as labels and mouse pads but what if you need 1,000 or 10,000? At what point does it behoove you to farm the job out to someone equipped to do big runs, either with sublimation or some other process? Using your time and energy wisely is a major part of adding to that bottom line and in the words of a wealthy businessman friend of mine, “Anything that adds to the bottom line is a good thing”.