Planning on buying some stock patches? Haven’t got enough people for a custom patch? Here are some patch buying tips to ensure you get the best stock (not custom) patch for your activity for the best price in the best time.
- Get an early start
This is the golden rule of planning almost any activity. Time can be your best ally or your worst enemy where deadlines are concerned. Start early and, when placing your order, ensure the patch company is confident of their ability to deliver on time.
- Explore the patch suppliers who serve your market
When your activity is in the early planning stages, browse the patch websites that serve your market. If, for example, you’re planning a Girl Scout activity which will require a fun patch, visit the online websites that specialize in Girl Scout fun patches. Avoid browsing random online patch catalogs as you’ll be less likely to find patches designed for your specific activity.
- Find the best patch match to your activity
Even if it means tweaking your activity to suit the patch, do your best to ensure the patch matches the activity, the theme (if any), and whatever creativity you’ve built into the plan. The goal should be to allow your patch to be able to trigger those memories you helped create – ten, twenty, forty or more years later. This is especially important for groups that repeat the same activity each year because it will help distinguish one from the others.
- Pad your reg deadline
Advertise your registration deadline early and pad it so you’ll have more time to accommodate stragglers, procrastinators, late deliveries of materials, volunteer drop-outs, etc. The importance of keeping time on your side cannot be stressed enough. Set your registration deadline two weeks or more before the real deadline.
- When is comes to money, do the math
Your patch company will probably offer quantity discounts. If so, be sure to do the math and identify the break-even point (find it here). If you can get extra patches for no extra cost, you may want to give them to others (volunteers) as thank-yous or keep them as spares in case some of your people register late or lose their patch.
- Get the best price
Don’t be embarrassed to ask if there are special offers or discounts available especially if you’re buying for a charitable or nonprofit organization. For example, you could simply explain that your budget is slightly lower than the asking price to see how firm the price is.
- Always consider transit times (distance = time)
Remember that when your patch company ships your order, the transit time or time en route to you is beyond their control. Ask for the anticipated transit time given their recent experience. And when discussing product delivery times, always differentiate between the ship date and the date you’ll have the patches in hand. You may want to request air freight, next day, second or third day delivery, etc.