2015 is off to a full throttle start already, and it’s about time to start thinking about Baseball pins for the season. For many parents/coaches/teams it is their first time purchasing pins for their organization. We thought it would be a fantastic idea to help you out by giving you 10 great tips to ease your mind and curb your fears of the pin buying process.
1. Research & Select a Reputable Pin Company:
There are many companies out there that promise you speedy manufacturing, the lowest prices, the best designs… many of those same companies can never deliver on their promises. Be sure that you do your homework when deciding on a company to work with. The right company for you should have fair pricing, good/solid designs, a website that is easy to navigate, samples of pins easily visible on their website, firm policies and procedures to handle any problems that may arise and a customer support staff that is trained, polite and available to answer your request, questions, concerns, etc… within a reasonable amount of time (24 hours or less during the work week). If you don’t get at least the majority of these within one company, find someone else that you know you can put your trust in. After all, you are paying them to produce a custom product for you.
2. Plan Early & Order Early:
Be sure to start planning to order your pins as soon as you possibly can. This will not only save you money on shipping, design & processing fees – often times companies will be able to get you a lower price because they are not rushing to get your order completed in time for an event. You will also benefit from better designs, a less stressed customer service staff and a less stressed out team/parent/coach situation when it comes to needing your pins… cause you’ll already have them!
3. Ask Questions & Get Answers:
Many first time customers will not know what sort of pin they are looking for. There are several types of pins out there, and if you can’t find the information on a companies website, ask a customer service representative to explain the different types of pins to you and be sure that they know how soon you need your pins. This will often determine the type of pin that is able to be manufactured in time to fit your needs. If you are getting to ordering late in the season, be prepared to pay a premium for upgraded shipping, rush fees and any other fees that companies will need to tack on to get your order to you on time. You should be able to receive an answer to all of your questions from a customer service representative within 24 to 48 hours (typically). And don’t forget… the only stupid question is the unasked question.
4. Get an Estimate Based on your Needs & Wants:
Once you’ve decided on a company to work with and get answers to the questions you had, you will want to get an estimate or a quote for your pins. To get the most accurate pricing from a company, provide them with as much information as possible. Typically most sites will have a quote form available on their website, but if they do not, send them a direct email or call them. Provide the customer service provider with your name, phone number, email address, the number of pins you want, the size pins you want, if you have any logos or designs available to work from, how soon you need your pins, if you’re a repeat customer, if you have a budget, about any specials that you’ve seen, and yes… even where you are located, so they can estimate shipping. With all of these things, a customer service provider will be able to get you a fairly accurate quote in a timely fashion. If you’re looking for add on items too (glitter paint, glow paint, bobbles, sliders, spinners, dangles, lights, crystals, etc.) be sure to let them know… these items do cost more to add on… and you don’t know if you don’t ask.
5. Get Your Pin Designed:
Once you’ve received a price for your pins, you can get started on a great design that will wow the other teams and still remain in your budget. Your designer will want as much information as possible. If you have a logo, colors, team name, city name, state, samples… send it! The most collectible pins have the following items on them:
- Team Names and/or Numbers
- Tournament Name (i.e. Cooperstown, Pony League, Little League)
- Age Group
- Glitter or Glow Paint
- Moving Parts (Dangles, Bobbles, Sliders, Spinners)
- Pin sizes 1.5″ to 2.5″
6. Settle On & Approve Your Design:
Once you have received the designs back from the company, be sure to make any changes, suggest an alternate design (if you don’t like what they’ve done) and approve your lapel pin design when you are ready. Keep in mind, if you are on a time crunch to get your approvals in to the company as soon as possible.
7. Place Your Order:
Once you have your artwork approved you are finally ready to place your order. Be sure to have the final count on pins, confirm your pricing and provide your customer service representative with a proper shipping address along with phone number so they are sure they know where to ship your pins. If you are running short on time and have to get your pins shipped to a hotel or location where you will be staying, be sure to make prior arrangements with the hotel/motel/lodge where you may be staying and get the correct shipping address and information to your customer service representative. The customer service rep. will then send you a proof to sign off on for your signed approval (via some sort of signature software/proofing website/print & fax, etc.) You will also receive an invoice that has to be paid for in advance in order to process your custom order. Many companies require you to pay up front for these items because they are custom in nature and once they are in production, they can not be stopped.
8. Receive Payment/Approval & Production Confirmation:
Once you have paid, submitted your signed approval and your order is in production you should receive a confirmation of some sort from your customer service representative or company that you are working with. They should notify you of your order being sent to production and that when there is shipping information available to them, they will provide it to you asap. They should also tell you when you should expect your pins (an approximate date is usually provided – or if you have given an in hands date… they should confirm this as well).
9. Wait & Get Your Pins:
And now you wait… this can seem like an eternity, but soon your pins will arrive. Depending on what type of pin you ordered, will depend on how long your wait will be. If you are quickly approaching your deadline and the company hasn’t contacted you regarding your pin order and when it should arrive, call them or send them a quick email and ask if there is a status update. They should be happy to provide you with any updates that they have. As awesome as your customer service representative has been up to this point, they are human… and don’t always get a chance to contact you about your shipment (especially during the busy season) so contact them and ask. They should be happy to help.
10. Inspection & Feedback:
Once you have received your pins, be sure to take them out right away and inspect them. 9 times out of 10 you won’t find any issues with your pins, but in case you do, be sure to contact your customer service representative asap. If everything is good with your pins, contact your customer service rep and let you know that you’ve received them and everything is good. If you’d like to provide them with some feedback, that is very useful to them and who knows… you may see your testimonial later on or your pin in the company’s portfolio.
Bonus Tip: If you’re extremely happy with your service from a company… pass their name along! The best sort of advertisement a company can get is word of mouth. Loyalty to a company means a lot to many pin businesses, so they will often provide you with loyalty pricing if you have an additional order or order with them the following year.
Above all… be smart about your pin purchase. We have provided you with a good list of ways to make your pin buying process much less stressful and it may even save you some of your hard earned money! Good luck!