The embroidery stitch count is the number of stitches in any embroidered piece. You may wonder why this is important, and how it relates to your purchase of branded business uniforms. The stitch count helps an embroidery service know how much to charge a customer. Most commonly, embroidery is charged at a cost per thousand stitches.
How Embroiderers Charge For Pieces
When a design for a logo is submitted for embroidery, the embroiderer takes a look at the artwork and must be able to estimate the approximate number of stitches that will be required to complete it. There must be a balance between affordability to the customer and profitability to the embroiderer for doing the work.
Although pricing per thousand stitches may not be the easiest way to come upon a price for any job, it remains the only aspect of the embroidery industry that is reliable. Judging the complexity of a design simply by looking at it is too subjective, as one embroiderer may not think a design is as complex as another embroiderer may. The same can be said of time. One embroiderer will work at a different pace than another. Stitch count bypasses both complexity and time and helps to keep things simple. However, this does not mean that time is unimportant; by using stitch count, one can estimate how long a certain job should take to complete.
Although the name may sound like a piece of machinery, the digitiser in the embroidery process is a person. That person’s responsibility is to create the design that will later be embroidered. Using software, the digitiser creates a design that’s object-based. The design file must then be converted to a stitch file, which can then be edited or combined with other designs by the embroiderer.
The design a digitiser receives from the embroiderer should ideally already have a stitch count estimate from that embroiderer. Without it, the digitiser must estimate the stitch count, which can become overestimated.
Stitch ratio is another way to estimate the cost of a job. Unlike the thousand stitch rule, the stitch ratio takes the different elements of a design into account, as well as the type of stitches used in all design areas. Of course, a lot about embroidery will have to be known in order to estimate using the stitch ratio method.
Stitch Count Pricing Risks
There are some caveats to pricing on stitch count alone. While they provide a starting point for the cost estimation of a job, there are other aspects to consider, such as the number of trims and number of pieces that are required.
If a design contains four colours, it is important to know whether the digitiser went back and forth with them resulting in several changes of thread. If so, this will take an embroidery machine longer to complete, and the embroiderer may reflect this in their price.
By using stitch count as the sole measurement, total production time is ignored, and therefore not charged for. Jobs with small amounts may result in any embroidery being completed sooner, but the set up of the job may be longer. Larger volumes are less influenced by time to set up equipment.
Stitch counts that are underestimated won’t cover the embroiderer for their time. Overestimations can cause customers to go elsewhere for their embroidery needs. A professional that is able to estimate accurately the number of stitches a particular order will require is one that will get repeat work from their customers.
Now that you’ve read this article, you have a better understanding of the time and work involved with professional embroidering companies.