Q: A Distributor Asks: Has anyone paid for a freelancer to do market research for them, such as researching a client’s industry and ongoing trends, idea-generating, identifying what competitors are doing or finding the latest and most relevant products? If so, what sorts of information did the freelancer provide, and was it worthwhile?

I help my clients with ideas all the time. It should be what suppliers are providing along with pricing, etc. It’s a creative industry and the fun part is the brainstorming. Our industry is great in that we share with one another.

Andrea Holland Fenner
Mid-Atlantic Sales Rep
NC Custom
Hicksville, New York
PPAI 111662, S7

I think it depends on the size of the project and the quality of the results. There’s not enough margin in $1,000 or $2,000 jobs to pay enough to make it worth your while. Now, we’re talking about a $10,000 job, and I’d happily pay a couple hundred bucks if I got results as good as or better than mine, and it freed me of the task so I could focus on the other revenue-generating tasks. As a business model, I think the only way to do it is by subscription. Charge someone a monthly fee, perhaps with a discount for paying a year upfront, but that would be really hard to sell. You’d really have to knock it out of the park.

Kurt Hoge
Reno Type
Reno, Nevada
PPAI 561482, D3

I would consider it, but I would need to know that I’m not presenting the same core of item types to every/most clients. I choose products to present to my clients based on a variety of factors, including their branding, messaging, theme of an event, goals, call to action and more. Of course, budget and quantity are a part of that, but those are basic guidelines to help me choose the right product types.

Rama Beerfas, MAS
Lev Promotions
San Diego, California
PPAI 218331, D1


Q:  A Distributor Asks: What do you do if a decorator loses your product, if you have proof of delivery and they claim they never received the items?

The name does not necessarily even mean the merch was delivered. We have had this issue a few times. When our delivery is made, the driver simply puts the name in the computer, showing the “delivery” was made. We don’t sign anything anymore and not all packages get delivered. They can do a GPS track on that specific tracking number. Give your decorator the benefit of the doubt until you know 100-percent it was delivered.

Eddie Robbins
Embroico, Inc.
Miami, Florida

Were there multiple boxes in the shipment? If one box was delivered, it will show “delivered” for the tracking number. However, there is a drop-down arrow at the bottom of the page, and if you expand that view, you can see the location of each box in the shipment. We’ve experienced this several times.

Erica Phillips
Co-Owner and Co-Founder,
Delta Range Outfitters
Owner, Ink and Thread
Tomball, Texas

As a decorator, I can say that while we do not normally have extreme issues, it does happen. Sometimes, my UPS driver lets me know when something he is supposed to deliver, he can’t find on the truck, or he will deliver everything he “thinks” he has, then swing back through an hour or so later to deliver more. I have had them say it was signed for by “Michael,” and there is no Michael there, or say it was delivered only to have a neighbor drop it off a couple hours later. Not saying it’s anyone’s fault but give the decorator the benefit of the doubt and let them see if by working with [the delivery company] and yourself, they can figure out where it went.  

Collette Wilhelm
Contract Impressions
Cape Coral, Florida


Do You Have An Answer?

A Distributor Asks: My spouse will be retiring in two years and I’m beginning to question whether I should walk away from my business. On the other hand, I’m thinking, “Why should I?” I still have loyal clients, but they, like me, are aging, and I’ve seen a major turnaround with their replacements who tend to work with someone they’ve dealt with in the past or order online. Are any other distributors in a similar situation? Should I walk away, sell it or keep grooving?

A Distributor Asks: I’m wondering how to go about selecting an embroidery vendor to work with. What are the criteria that you look for, and what distinguishes one company from the next—and a good job from one that is fair?


What’s Your Answer?

Email your response(s) to Question@ppai.org for the chance to be featured in a future issue of PPB.


Danielle Renda is associate editor of PPB.