There will always be demanding customers. They are everywhere. They want everything for free or as close to free as possible. Plus they want it done fast. Faster than any other order currently in your shop. You will have to balance between keeping your customers happy and your staff happy as well. That is why they call it management. When customers want their order rushed it causes a significant burden on every aspect of your business. This is especially true if you run a direct to garment print shop, a traditional print shop, or even an embroidery shop.
A rush order can affect your art department, printing department, and your sales department, Not to mention a headache for the manager or yourself, the owner. At any moment, a rush order could create chaos in your store. It can cause arguments and angry employees as well as customers.
The real question is whether taking on a rush order can be done effectively without driving everybody crazy. We’ve developed this guide to help you when you are considering whether you will accept a rush job or reject it.
Can You Deliver The Screen Print Order?
When you look at your schedule you must ask yourself whether or not you can actually complete the order. Your print schedule may simply not allow for a rush order. If you have too many orders to complete you may not be able to deliver the final product to the customer. Not to mention failing to deliver for your other customers. You may want to consider asking your staff what they think about the situation. The staff always has some sort of opinion. You will want that opinion. If they think they can do it then at least you have their support and it will potentially make them happy to be included in a decision that could affect their own short-term happiness. If you can’t accommodate the rush order then politely turn the customer down. Make sure you apologize for being unable to accommodate them.
Evaluate the Job
Take some time to evaluate the job accurately. Will the rush order fee be enough to cover the overtime of the job? Do you have the supplies for the job? Will you have to pay somebody to deliver ink to you overnight so that you can print the shirts? How much will that cost? Do you have to make new screens? Maybe you will not have any issues at all. A rush fee can be tailored to the individual circumstance. Give them a quote for a rush fee. Make sure it is appropriate and covers all of your costs.
Put Good Customer Relationships To Work
With the right customer relationships you can make anything happen. See if any of your other orders can be pushed back. Offer a customer a discount to push their order back. See if the original person desiring a rush order can shift another potential order around. If you can move jobs around you may make everybody happy.
Don’t Let Money Make the Decision
When a customer has an unreasonable printing rush demand you can very well triple your fee. Make them pay. You have to go above and beyond to get things done. At the same time be reasonable. If they need something in a few days then you can charge them a small fee. If they need it in 3 hours then you can charge them a large fee. Remember that you want them to come back, so cover your costs and move on. If they are a really good customer then just do it. You have a great customer and you want them coming back. Don’t forget your employees. They have to drop everything to get things done as well. Maybe buy them dinner. Pizza works wonders.
Tackle The Beast
A rush order should not happen every single time with a customer. It should happen occasionally. Unfortunately some customers think that this is something you can do all the time. It isn’t. Your staff would scream bloody murder if you had to constantly do a lot of rush orders for your clients. If this becomes a regular occurrence then you need to sit your customer down and talk to them about how your production schedule works. At the same time you need to find out what is causing the rush orders. This may not be your customers' fault. This may be their boss making last minute decisions. This may be a financial issue. There could be a lot of reasons for the rush order. Just find out what it is and see if you can work with them to fix things. You’ll save a potential relationship because otherwise you may need to turn them away. Of course they may be perfectly fine paying for rush orders. Then you need to reassess what you consider a rush order.
Parting Ways With Screen Printing Customers
Alas, it’s true. Sometimes you have to let a customer go. A customer does not have the right to demand everything quickly and a discount on top of that. When customers disrupt your business processes repeatedly then it may be time to fire them. Your staff may just thank you for it. Let them know that respectfully you cannot accommodate their needs. Provide them with referrals to other shops.
Customers will push you in directions that you never thought that you would go. But suddenly one day you are dealing with things that you don’t want to deal with. Rush orders shouldn’t come as a surprise. They happen in a lot of businesses. How you react to them is the most important thing. Don’t punish your staff for a customer rush job. Try to accommodate the rush, but don’t undermine your own business to get it done.