Become a Better Bidder

DTG business owners


Every t-shirt printer wants more business. Opportunities are everywhere. There are businesses, schools, nonprofit agencies, and municipalities that all need screen printed items. However, the process for getting these entities to use you as their go-to person for screen printed or DTG printed garments can be very difficult. So one must learn to navigate this process. This guide will help you learn the tricky world of bidding. When you become a better bidder you will make more money.

Organizations require bids on projects that they consider large. A bid is typically required when a project exceeds a certain dollar amount. Most of these projects are very specific, such as shirts for every employee in a district or shirts for a concert. A bid can cover many different projects. Sometimes a bid will cover a period of time. Read the entire bid carefully. It could be disastrous to take on a job and be surprised by something that was in the bid that you can’t accommodate. If after reading the bid request you decide that you want this job then you must submit a bid. Here are some tips on submitting winning bids. 

Positive Bidding Practices:

Research: The bids are usually posted publicly. This gives the public the opportunity to review the bids for a period of time. Then potential bidders will submit their bids if they are interested up until the deadline. You may ask and receive previous years bids. From this you can review pricing, materials, delivery, and any other details. You should also review other clients to see what their winning bids look like.

Completeness: You must fill out the entire bid as thoroughly as possible. Committees that review all of the possible bids may throw out your bid if it is not complete. You don’t want your bid to be dismissed for some small detail. Address every item. Even if the item is not applicable to your situation you should address it. Write “not applicable” to those items. You must show that every detail in a bid is being addressed. This is good form for every bid. 

Deadlines: A committee will never review your bid if you are late in applying. They will simply throw it out. Don’t be late.

Samples: Some committees will require you to submit samples of your work. You should get in the habit of including these samples. Let your work speak for itself.

Neatness: First impressions count. Make sure that the paperwork that you submit is impeccable. You don’t want to give the committee the impression that you provide work that is not neat. Make sure it is clean. Make sure to spell check it. Check the order of the papers. Even the envelope that you send to the committee must be checked. Address it to the right person. An organization can have multiple projects going on and if you send your bid to the wrong person it may never be seen. 

Introductions: With every bid that you submit you need to include an introduction of yourself and your company. They may not know you. Even if you’ve done work for them in the past you want to introduce your company because somebody may review the proposal that doesn’t actually know you. Just give them the facts. Don’t give them your life story. Give them a short introduction.

Delivery: Whenever possible you need to deliver your bid in person. This will show them how much you want the job. Plus if you can beat the deadline then they will be impressed.

Bid Pricing

This is the hardest part of the process. If you cut your prices to get the job then you might not receive any profit. If you price your work too high then the committee may not go for it. 

Costs: It is a must to cover all of your expenses. If you are donating your work then you will not need to do this. Otherwise you must cover your costs. Once you figure out how much your costs are you will use this number as the starting point. Then you need to create a list of the most prominent items such as the cost of shirts, the cost of ink, and the cost of labor. You also need to evaluate the costs of different equipment that you will use to create the products. You can do this ahead of time and reuse this information for multiple bids. 

Numbers: You need to show your numbers in detail. When you bid they will want to see the fine details of the bid. Some may want a bottom line price, while others may give you the opportunity to offer multiple options. When you have your costs broken down then you can provide this information easily.

Partners: Check with your suppliers. They may be able to give you a break on this project to help you win the bid. You might get a price break if you are able to give them additional business.

Alternatives: They don’t know everything that you are capable of. These bids will call for specific types of shirts in their bid. They may not realize that you may have better alternatives at the same price. So what we are saying is give them exactly what they are asking for in you bid, but include alternatives that they may not have considered. You will need to submit additional sheets of paper with specifications and pricing.

Opportunities: Can your clients be flexible on style of shirt or the delivery date?  Can the work be done at a different time of year? Perhaps your slow time. You could give them a break. This would allow your shop to keep working during slow months.

Freebies: Everybody loves something free. Make your proposal as attractive as possible, but offer something for free. So figure out what the cost is for delivery and then add that into the price of the shirts. Then when you submit your bid you can let them know that there is free delivery. 

Discounts: You can offer a discount if the entity prepays. If the bid is extremely large you may need to get a line of credit to manufacture the shirts. This can get pricey. You will need to include this cost in your bid. Most entities will only pay when the job is complete. However, if you can convince them to prepay then you won’t need to take out that line of credit. Then you can give the client a discount. They will perceive this as an added savings. 


You may be hesitant to bid on large projects that cities or schools have, but they can generate large amounts of money and keep your employees working. This is good for the bottom line. Start looking for those opportunities now and start bidding. You may not get the first project you bid on, but eventually you will gain additional work through the bidding process.

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