Whether you are spending £5,000 or £20,000, buying an embroidery machine from a supplier with little or no support is fraught with danger. Managing director of Amaya Sales UK, Peter Wright, explains.
If you think you are getting a bargain by paying a low price, you may be in for a shock. If you buy from someone who cannot support the equipment, then you may as well throw your money down the drain.
Take a single head machine for example. I have known customers that have paid £4,000 or £5,000 pounds for a new machine when the standard industrial single head would retail for between £10,000 and £12,000. Sometimes the machines may work in the beginning but when they break down or you need help on technical or production, there is no one to assist you. Eventually most of these customers end up buying a reputable piece of equipment, leaving the lower priced machine sitting in a corner with a cover over it.
I am not saying that you should pay the highest price for a machine, I am saying that you should find the best machine for your requirements from a supplier that has a good reputation for support and has been established for at least five years.
Some of the cheaper imports also stitch at lower speeds. Even though their specification might say 1,200 stitches per minute, these machines normally average around 700. Stitching at higher speeds can compromise on stitch quality. So, what I am saying is, buying a quality single head machine will give you the same production as a two-head inferior machine. You will also have support if anything goes wrong.
Support keeps your business running
So, you have decided to venture into the embroidery business, how do you decide which machine to go for and which supplier to trust? There are several manufacturers around, some good and some not so good, some with new technology and some with very old technology.
Research the market by reading articles in magazines like Printwear& Promotion. The internet can provide masses of information but beware of some of the forums. Forums provide a lot of good information but read carefully and look at the dates of the comments, some are really old and out of date and can be miss-leading. Because forums are normally worldwide you can find conflicting reports from different countries. A poor distributor can give a product a bad name in one country but a good one the opposite in another, this is down to support and knowledge of the equipment they are selling.
Look for a trustworthy established machine supplier that can not only provide you with the best machine but that can also provide the support from their own employed factory trained technicians. Ask about the training you will receive and the amount of warranty given. Always do your own research and be careful when asking existing embroiderers for their advice. They will have chosen a certain make for themselves and will normally think it’s the best (because it was their decision). In the past few years some manufacturers have taken giant steps in technology but some are still where they were 15 years ago. Some of the new technology will give you more production, more efficiency and more profit.
Service response times
Ask the supplier about their service department, how long it takes to respond to a technical problem. Ask how many technicians they have and where they are situated. It’s also important that the supplier’s technicians are employed by the company and not self-employed. If they are self-employed they cannot be totally controlled by the supplier which may cause a delay in response time.
Make sure that the supplier you decide on gives you an idea on their call out times. Ask if they can remotely check any software issues. Some machines are controlled by operating software, with these, many issues can be solved remotely, saving many hours of downtime.
It also helps if their technicians are experienced at talking you through a problem on the phone. Many issues are simple and can be fixed by you or your operator and again save many hours of downtime.
Check out how comprehensive the warranty is. Most suppliers offer one or two years parts and labour warranties, some offer five years. A warranty is only as good as the company supporting it locally with first class technicians. Check also that travelling time, mileage and labour is included. Sometimes on the longer ones, only parts are covered.
So please, be careful when starting in embroidery or adding to your existing machines. Choosing wisely will save you money in the long run and give you the peace of mind that you have a supplier to count on.