Rival Screen Printing believes the more its customers know about the screen-printing process and what to expect from it the better. So here are answers to some frequently asked questions. Of course, any other questions are welcome and will be answered fully and honestly. Thank you for your interest in Rival Screen Printing. We look forward to serving you.

How much does it cost to print shirts?

The best answer to this question as it's asked here is, “It depends.” To get a more exact response, you need to provide more information. The first essentials include:

• How many shirts do you want to print?

• What kind of garment (“shirt” is a little general) are we talking about?

• How many colors does the artwork ask for?

With this data, you can get a preliminary estimate that will give you a pretty good idea of the price. However, there are other considerations, such as specialty services like all-over or over-sized printing and different kinds of ink to consider. In the end, the best way to get an accurate quote is to fill out a Rival Request a Quote form.

Can I print just one item or add later to orders already placed?

To the first question, sorry, but no. That would be like asking a commercial printer to print one business card. They’re simply not set up to do one-off work. Neither is Rival. It takes quite a lot of time and work to prepare for printing—just as much to do 10,000 pieces as to do one piece. You can arrange to have samples made, and you can get those prices from a Rival representative.

As to adding to orders: Rival does not keep a stock of garments because it’s not cost-effective. Ordering and receiving additional pieces takes up to three days. There are also additional costs when garment orders are under a dozen to 24 pieces. So, yes, you can add to orders, but it could add costs and slow the process.

If I provide the garments, why do I have to pay for printing them?

See the answer to, “Can I print just one item?” Then add this: If you’d supplied Michelangelo with the marble, why would you have had to pay for the statue he carved from it? It takes time, expertise, labor and supplies to screen print anything. Also, a profit is essential for any business to stay in business.

What’s the reason for rush charges?

Over the years, Rival has developed a pretty thorough understanding of how much time it takes to do the best possible job. We also understand that our customers sometimes have to have their products faster than they or we would prefer. It’s part of the business.

It’s important to realize just how much goes into fulfilling a screen-printing order. Here are some of the steps:

• Take the order and make sure it’s accurate

• Source the right garments

• Create artwork that exactly meets specifications for size and color

• Mix inks

• Burn screens

• Print the products

• Dry the products

• Deliver the products

And that’s just a broad outline. Getting into technical particulars would take up too much space. The point is that cutting the time to complete the process means taking particular care and probably asking our employees to spend more time. In other words, it costs more to do a rush order than an order that fits into our normal time frame.

“Discharge” doesn’t sound good. What is it?

No, discharge has nothing to do with disease or infection. It’s actually a really good thing. Normally, when you use plastisol inks to screen print garments, the ink rests on top of the fabric. Therefore, you can feel the ink when it’s dry. If you want a “soft hand” or “no feel” product, you have to get rid of the “feel” part.

Today, there’s a way to do that and end up with a truly “soft feel.” Discharge uses specific chemicals to remove the original dye from a garment and insert an ink color—or no color at all—in its place. The ink doesn’t sit on top of the fabric but is absorbed into it, so you can’t feel it anymore.

Now there are some limitations to discharge. For example, it works best only on 100 percent cotton. You don’t get the same crisp, clean color results on blends. Instead, the ink tends to look dull or weak. Also, discharge doesn’t work well on garments that are blue (except navy) or purple.

Why does your artwork cost anything?

Time is money, and artwork takes time—sometimes quite a bit of time—not to mention skill to create or alter. If you would prefer not to pay a fee for Rival-produced artwork, it’s best to supply your own. It also shortens the turnaround time for printing. Of course, you might have to pay someone else to produce the artwork anyway.

Why do ink colors look different on different kinds of garments?

The ink color is the same. It’s the fabric that makes the difference. The only way around the appearance of a difference in color is to mix the inks differently for each fabric. Unless every garment in the supply to be printed is the same fabric, there will be differences in the way the fabric takes the ink.

What’s with charging a new setup fee on a re-order?

Simply put, every order or re-order requires setup. Screens have to be burned and set up again. However, Rival keeps these fees as low as possible.

How do you handle shipping?

You can find your shipment tracking information on UPS.com on the business day after shipping. You’ll receive another email from Rival with all the details about your shipment.

Why is there a shipping fee when the order was picked up from Rival?

That shipping fee is for garments shipped to Rival to fulfill your order. Rival does not keep an inventory that includes all garment makes and styles. If your preference is not in stock, it must be ordered.