When placing an order for promotional products, you may wonder why there is this crazy “setup fee” added to your invoice. While not all promotional items have a setup fee associated with them, we are here to solve the case of the Setup Fee and clarify any loose ends. This way, you can feel better knowing exactly what a setup fee is, the next time you encounter one – whether it is for a first time order, a reorder or for when you are dealing with multiple colors in your artwork!
A setup fee is a cost that is associated with setting up the artwork (your logo, image, marketing message, etc.) onto a plate, screen, die or any other attachment to the machine that prints the logo onto the products. For example, for screen printed items, the setup cost is associated with preparing the screen with your logo – or burning your image onto a silkscreen. For laser engraved items, the setup fee includes calibrating your artwork into the laser.
A setup fee is determined by the amount of colors in your logo. So, sometimes, you may be charged multiple setup fees (or setup fees “per color”). This happens when your artwork to be printed has multiple colors associated with it. When multiple colors are involved, multiple fixtures have to be created, and prepared for each part of your imprint that is a different color. The only time you will not pay a setup for multi-colored artwork is if you are having an item digitally printed or when you are having an item die-sublimated. In this case, there is one setup fee for the artwork.
Finally, a “reorder setup fee” is a fee charged when you want to order more of the exact same product with the exact same artwork as a previous order. In this case, you may have a lower setup fee, or you may not have to pay a setup fee at all. Artwork is normally saved for up to 1 to 2 years, but, sometimes the fixture will have to be recreated in order to print your logo on an item. For example, if you wanted more screenprinted shirts, you will pay a lower setup fee because the artwork is stored but the silkscreen is made with materials that will not hold over time. Therefore, the silkscreen will have to be washed after the first use and re-burned onto the silkscreen when you place your reorder.