Girl wearing a cap

Branded Caps: Your Buying Guide

Girl wearing a cap

What is a promotional product? A printed pen or mug and a branded cap.

Caps are such a promotional standard that they have transcended their original purpose in many ways. Today, branded caps are a collector’s item, a symbol of fatherhood, a good luck charm, an expression of solidarity. Caps have the potential to be so much more than just a promotional product.

Caps began as a lightweight and aerodynamic option for sports. It seems that both baseball and cricket evolved their headwear into the modern style of cap at the same time, around the turn of the 20th century. Since then, the informal and functional cap has become one of the most popular styles of hat in the world. What started as a way to keep the sun out of the players’ eyes, became a way for fans to support their teams and now is a marketing opportunity for everyone from restaurants and car dealerships to start-ups and tourist locations.

As promotional products, cap styles and pricing vary dramatically. To help you choose the snappiest snap-back for your brand, we’ve put together the below buying guide.

Why are some branded caps cheap?

Being so high in demand, it’s easy to find cheap and quickly-made caps. There’s a plethora of options, but the cheapest caps are polyester, cotton or a combination polycotton. Plastic brim inners are the norm for modern caps. This means that they’re more durable and easier to clean, as well as being easier on the pocket.

Style-wise, an inexpensive branded cap is simple, six panels around the crown with embroidered eyelets (the little holes in the sides) and a simple Velcro crossover or snap back. Standard, basic designs made from basic materials mean that caps are available for all budgets. However, when things start to get very cheap, the quality also declines. Loose strands, warped peak and a skewed, awkward fit are the main signifiers of a cap that was too cheap. In this case, no matter how striking your branding is, cutting corners on the cap itself will do more harm than good.

Why some are expensive?

The quality of an expensive branded cap is clear. The fabric will feel sturdier and more well woven. Eyelets are firmly embroidered or metal, and the stitching is straight and symmetrical. Some brands leave it up to the specialists and will only buy from brand name manufacturers like Flexfit, Stormtech, or the Italian-made Atlantis Headwear. This option is great for brand credibility if that’s what you’re after. The brand guarantees consistent quality and service that you can pass on to your customers and clients.

Branded caps are known to be cheap and cheerful, but their potential for high-end brand representation is huge. Classic styles that fit well will endure many wears without losing their shape, adding to their longevity and increasing their value. Specialised styles can cost a little more but will better represent your brand. Flat caps, sandwich peaks and A frames, while still affordable, are priced slightly higher than a standard hat and will be a better fit for your clients and customers. After all, you know them best.

What pushes our price up?

Taking the above into consideration, a cheap standard cap can still become expensive. But how, you ask? Once you have it, you need to make it yours and that’s where branding comes in. The way you decorate your company’s caps will increase the cost, even if it’s just a simple logo.

It’s important to note that embroidery isn’t always more expensive than a print. However, because embroidery pricing is determined by the number of stitches, a large or detailed artwork will be more expensive than a small and simple one.

There are so many ways to decorate a cap. More than just print or embroidery. There are also metal, PVC and leather badging, silica lettering, embossing and woven patches. Then when you do get to embroidery there is 2D, 3D, metallic, chenille, textured and felt applique. Each one of these decorations will push the price up between $3.50 and $20+ per cap, but will also increase the value you give your clients and customers.

Caps have such great space for branding. They’ve got multiple panels, a peak and a crossover that can all be decorated. Where you choose to brand your caps will influence the end cost. For example, if you want your logo on the front and your slogan on the back, you’re doubling the set-up (the cost of setting up the decorating machine for each different decoration and location). Having a custom ribbon in the middle of a sandwich peak cap, or an embossed buckle to hold the crossover will also increase the cost.

All the little details are important to you because these products are an extension of your brand. Get the details right and your branded caps will have the desired effect.

What pushes our price down?

Part of the answer to that question is ‘the opposite of above’. Going for a print or digital transfer instead of large embroidery, just on the front, no other bells and whistles and a simple style. These will keep the price down. But there are also a few other things that will keep your branded cap well within budget.

Long lead times are great for the hip pocket. If you order well in advance, our manufacturers can make your caps and ship them off without the need for express service or delivery. Both of those cost you money. That being said, shipping to one metro location only is the cheapest way to have your caps delivered.

Buying in bulk is another way to lower the cost. Yes, the overall cost increases with the quantity, but the unit price goes down considerably between MOQ (Minimum Order Quantity) and the next few quantity breaks. Also, the full cost of the order absorbs decoration set up and any other incidentals, like poly-bagging well. Bulk ordering is great if you know you’ve hit a winner with your branded cap and they’re sure to be divvied out.

Basic pricing examples

You want to know what the price actually is when it’s all said and done. We’ve put together some standard pricing to demonstrate what your regular 6-panel, flat cap and Atlantis Headwear cap will cost. These amounts include embroidery up to 5,000 stitches and do not include shipping or GST.

Branded Caps Pricing

Why are branded caps a promotional staple? What makes them stand out?

Large decoration area, available in different colours and styles, highly customizable – these are the characteristics of great promotional products. Caps tick these boxes.

The large area on the front of the cap is prime real estate for branding. The peak is also good, but harder to see when someone is wearing it. Speaking of wearability, caps are so visible that a single branded cap rewards its brand with 3,400 impressions over its average ten months of ownership. Every time it’s worn, walking through town, playing sports, doing everyday things, your brand is seen by potential clients and customers.

Here is something caps can do that pens, mugs and mousepads can’t. They become a part of personal branding. If your branded cap is incorporated into someone’s personal style, congratulations, you’ve won. You’ve created a high-value product that will guarantee ROI for a long time to come. How do caps do it? How can your caps be that valuable?

Tap into a cap’s versatility. They can be youthful, sporty, fashionable, on-trend. They can also be functional, distinguished and sentimental. Your branded caps can be whatever your audience need to express themselves. Because their owners make them their own. They put their own personality in to them; and sometimes it becomes their whole personality – we all know the guy who never takes his cap off. NOTE: Don’t forget branding on the back if your audience are the ‘wear them backwards’ kind of people.

Caps come in a wide range of styles for all budgets. This means that you can splurge if a brand-name cap and stand-out decoration is what your clients would resonate with. Whichever way you go, consider what quality, style and decoration would increase longevity. More time spent in your clients’ hands and on their heads means more impressions. More impressions equals more business. And the path to more impressions? Value. The value that your clients see in your product and your business.

Our team can help you find the best branded cap for your business.

Promotional Products Pricing

What Makes Up the Cost Of Promotional Products? How Pricing Works in Branded Merchandise.

Promotional Products Pricing

Some promotional products can be cheap and nasty, some are cheap and pretty nice. Most often though, they are reasonably priced and quite good quality. A full spectrum of pricing and quality exists in the world of promotional products – if you’re willing to pay more money, you will get a branded product that is beautifully crafted.

It’s important to put away the idea that printing your logo on a promotional product means branding a cheap piece of plastic that will likely be thrown away within 24 hours. Readjusting your perception of what branded merchandise is will also open your eyes to the huge range that exists. We guarantee that there are products out there that you have not even imagined could be used for promotions, and they really are available to you.

The cost of branded merchandise is dependent on the following four factors:

Decoration

There is a myriad of ways that your logo or slogan can appear on promotional products and it depends on the material to be decorated but the main methods are as follows.

Printing:

Almost anything can be printed on and it is the cheapest way of getting your brand on to the product. The simplest way is screen or pad printing where price is determined by the amount of colours to be printed, e.g. a three-colour pad print will cost more than a one-colour. A direct digital print will use a computer to print directly onto the product with full colour, and a sublimated print is where the print impregnates that material. Heat transfers are another option often for complicated or fine print work where the full-colour image is printed onto heat transfer paper, which is then pressed onto the product. Decal and resin-coating are common methods of enhancing print decoration on hard surfaces.

Embroidery:

Think textiles; shirts, hats, bags and jackets. Embroidery is priced by stitch count – the bigger the logo, the higher the stitch count, the higher the price.

Debossing/Embossing:

Debossing and Embossing is pressing the artwork into the product with a stamp to make a raised or recessed image. This decoration type looks great in leather, paper and cork.

Engraving:

Metal and wood items are the most commonly engraved promotional items. The top layer/s of material are removed with lasers or specialised machinery for a high-end feel. This decoration method is generally more expensive than printing because of the specialised equipment and the additional value you receive with a more permanent finish. Fantastic effects can also be made by laser engraving garments.

Etching:

Etched branding happens on glass products and the costs are similar to engraving for the same reasons stated above. Etching scratches the design into the surface of the glass, giving a sleek, lasting finish.

As well as decoration type, the number of positions where the decoration appears will influence price. For example, a mug with your logo printed on the front and back will be slightly more expensive, whereas a shirt with large logos embroidered on the chest, back and sleeves will be significantly more expensive than a shirt with one logo on the chest.

Quantity

Most promotional items are bought in bulk, so factories are used to making high quantities. The more you buy, the less you can expect to pay per unit. While this may not make sense for deluxe items – things that you’d be purchasing small amounts of – the cost of products for trade shows and other events will greatly benefit from a lower unit price per quantity break. It’s helpful to note that the quality of a product does not go down when the quantity goes up.

Shipping

Quality

As stated above, quality varies across manufacturers and you’ll be able to tell by how much you’re being charged. Check out our other pricing article to give you a rough idea of what you should be paying. While there may be cheaper products out there where the quality is just fine, keep in mind that the products you’re buying will be distributed to the people you want to attract to your business. If you’ve only been given cheap products in the past, how have those products affected your perception of the company who gave them to you?

Potential customers will only continue to use the promotional products you give them if they think they have value. Human aversion to waste is a great tool because we hate to throw away something that we think might have cost something substantial. So going above the cheapest possible product will pay off in the longevity of your brand with an individual.

Shipping

How a promotional product gets to its final destination is a large factor in the overall cost. There aren’t that many options and you can’t always choose how it arrives, but it’s good to know why it costs what it does.

Our offshore factories offer air or sea shipping. Air is faster but more expensive, both in general and especially for large quantity orders. The price comes from the materials needed to pack the items, what they weigh and the space they take on the ship or aeroplane. Items coming from overseas will often spend at least a week in customs and have an extra cost associated that goes under the banner of duties and taxes.

Local and national shipping is easier to control as the cheapest or fastest courier can be selected. The deadline of your items may influence who can carry your products to your door, which is why it is always better to be prepared and order well in advance.

When you’re next thinking of promotional products, we hope that this information can help you understand the numbers associated.

Promotional Products Cost

How Much Do Promotional Products Cost?

Promotional Products Cost

As you’d imagine, the scope of promotional products is enormous. This innumerable list of items ranges from the plastic fantastic to the luxury bespoke, so the variance in price is also enormous. Even when items are the same, the way it is decorated or packaged and the way it is shipped will influence the cost. We’ll try to break down the costings for the most common promotional products below. Note that all prices are in AUD.

Swag

These small items are usually purchased in bulk, which drives their cost down. The more you buy, the cheaper they are per unit.

Pens are one of those trickier items because they can be cheap and cheerful in plastic or they can be a high-quality luxury item complete with presentation box. The decoration options on a pen are printed one or more colours, or engraved (if the surface allows). That being said, a plastic pen with a one colour and one position print, will start at $.50, while a top of the line pen in a presentation box can set you back upwards of $100.

Stress balls are simpler to price. The easy sphere stress ball with a one colour print in one position will set you back around $1 per unit. Then, if the ball is not interesting enough, there are a myriad of shapes to squeeze the tension away. These include stars, hearts, trucks, tools, doctors, sheep and many others. Alternative shapes cost about $2.50 per unit.

Drink bottles are a common swag addition that may actually be more expensive than you first thought. Plastic drink bottles with a simple one position print are priced from $3. Metal and glass drink bottles are favourites because of their higher perceived value. These can be etched and engraved as well as printed, upping the unit price to around $12 per unit.

Wearables

There are so many different options for wearables that it is extremely difficult to put a number to them. Below are the most common and what determines their price.

Hat pricing is dependent on the style and quality of the hat. The decoration type (print or embroidery), decoration size (embroidery is priced by the number of stitches e.g. the bigger the logo, the more stitches, the higher the price) and decoration placement (where the logo is positioned and the number of positions) also play a big part. All of these variables combined put a simple promotional hat at around $9 per unit.

The same variables make pricing shirts just as difficult, except the option for logo placement is much greater. Clients also often require multiple logos or artwork on a single shirt. Various sizes and the difference between men’s and women’s shirts can also be a factor. Considering all of these, a one-colour tee-shirt with a multi-colour print in one position is around $10 while a simple, medium quality polo with one embroidered logo in one position is about $15 per unit.

Bigger Products

It can be hard to guess at the price of larger promotional items because while they are big, they’re often bought in higher quantities. Shipping plays a role in pricing large items because the cartons (boxes they’re shipped in) are larger or don’t fit as many products. However, the quality of large items is always the highest contributing factor when pricing these promotional products.

Golf umbrellas are big items. Their quality varies and therefore so does their price, ranging from between $10 to $60. Decoration and manufacturing will also have an impact on what you’ll pay for a branded dry day on the links. Golf umbrellas come in aluminum or fibreglass ribbing, with fibreglass being the more durable. They can be printed on 1, 2, 4 or all 8 of the panels. As per decoration pricing, you’ll pay per colour, or slightly more for a full-colour print.

Trade show and promotional signage is another larger item where the cost can be tricky to guess. It is primarily dependent on the quality of materials that make up the base, stand or fabric of the sign. We’ve all seen low quality examples that have been torn to shreds in the wind, or drooping under their own weight. Indoor pull-up banners can cost you upwards of $180, while smaller feather banners will be under that and wall event banners will be much more.

Boxes for Shipping

Technology

Tech items may be small, but the engineering in them increases their cost. When they’re bought in bulk, the cost goes down but they may still not be as cheap as you’d think. They also range in quality.

USBs can set you back between $5 and $15 depending on the storage capacity and decoration (more colours or engraving will be more expensive than a one-colour print). Impact only supplies A-grade chips so the quality is always guaranteed. USBs are a fun item to customise in terms of shape, and the options there are endless.

Branded portable speakers range incredibly in price due to their variable quality. Basic Bluetooth speakers start at around $10. Higher-end speakers with fabric and wood accents can cost over $100.

Earphones are also variable based on quality. Simple corded earphones will set you back $5 per unit and the promotional, Bluetooth versions are more in the range of $60.

In conclusion…

This is by no means a comprehensive list of the many promotional products out there and their corresponding prices. This is a snapshot of what you may be looking at forking out when you go to order custom, branded merchandise. We hope this is helpful to you as you begin your quest and that it gives you some insight about what goes in to the promotional products you come in contact with.

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