If you read part 1 of our series, you learned about the two main issues with print on demand services. 

Here are two other issues:

Making it worth your time:  We are very upfront about selling retail items in the gym: they need to be worth your time. This is also known as selling these items for a profit. Your apparel items are not “free marketing”. They are a revenue stream. They need to be treated as such- with care, attention, and a plan. If you’re putting up a recycled design on a print on demand service, you are essentially giving up on this revenue stream. You will never gain enough attraction or interest to truly make it worth your time. You will see a big “pop” up front for 20-50 items. After the initial pop, you will be vacuuming up nickels for eternity. One or two shirts sold here and there. Oh look! A profit check for $15! Don’t spend it all in one place! 

We have spent the entire month of December interviewing big gyms, small gyms, and everyone in between. It turns out that apparel is a much bigger revenue generator than we imagined. With some gyms reporting gross sales exceeding $40,000 a year and considering we know the margins on these items to be around 100%, you do the math on how profitable apparel can be. 

Read the fine print: If you have a web store agreement with any vendor, you may have missed the fine print. When will you receive your items? Well if you read the fine print, you will see this: there is no timetable! You get it when you get it. I’ve found that people are willing to wait about 7-10 business days. Based on our experience with these companies, you will probably receive it in about 4 weeks. Which is insane. If something is wrong with it, you’re looking at another 4 weeks. If you want to truly piss off your members, tell them to pay for a $30 shirt and then have them wait 4 weeks for it. Also, think about drop ins. If you direct them to a website to pick up a shirt while they are on vacation, it is deflating and insulting. They chose your gym to drop in and visit. They want a tank right now and to pack in their suitcase. By the time their purchase is delivered, their vacation is long gone and your shirt finds a place in the back of their closet. What a terrible experience!

If you have made a print on demand service work, please e-mail me. I have not found any gym to make this work in a sustainable, profitable manner. We are on the phone no less than 6 times a week trying to get people off these stores. We spend a significant amount of time getting people back on track and reestablishing trust with members to offer apparel. If you’re stuck, out of ideas, or have no idea where to start, simply e-mail us with your situation and we’ll work with you to get back on track.