PrintHustlers Guide To: Growing a Successful Screen Printing Business, Chapter 8: Training is Undervalued

Business Lessons

You’re about to board a flight from Chicago to Los Angeles. But this flight is unique because you get to choose your pilot. One is untrained, while the other has had six months of training. Which pilot do you choose? The one that’s been trained, right? 

Makes perfect sense doesn’t it? Yet many print shop owners rush or skip training new team members because they believe there isn’t enough time, or haven’t developed their training method. If you don’t put in the work to train your team, here’s what you’ll learn:

  • An untrained employee is not happy. They’re confused. They will underperform, and you will be frustrated because they’re not doing what you want. Your new hire won’t stay long and you’ll have to spend time searching for another person, which will cost you time and money. 
  • The quality of their work will be very low. Don’t believe the new hire’s deliverables will be exactly what you asked for – you didn’t take the time to teach them properly! You’re going to have to redo most of their tasks, which costs you time and money.
  • Hiring the wrong people will create unhappy customers. Your customers are your lifeblood, and well-trained employees provide better service. Unhappy customers look elsewhere, and may not return for future business with your shop.

Now that we understand the value of training team members, let’s walk through how to set up your new hire training. 

  1. Create a PowerPoint slide deck about your company. You should include company history, your goals, the company’s values, descriptions of team members’ roles and responsibilities, why working at your company matters, who your target customer is, who the competition is and clearly laid-out employee expectations. Include the slides in your employee handbook as well. 
  2. An employee handbook is essential for any business. Include the following: 
    1. Equal Employment Opportunity disclaimer
    2. Anti-harassment disclaimer
    3. Anti-retaliation disclaimer
    4. At-will nature of employment disclaimer (if applicable to your state)
    5. Pay frequency policy
    6. Benefits policy
    7. Sick leave policy
    8. Paid vacation policy
    9. The assessment process for promotions and raises
    10. Process for filing a complaint
    11. Annual office holiday closures
    12. Internal tools policy (see below for details)
  3. List out all the tools you use in your print shop, including email, calendar tools and internal communication systems. For each tool, it’s important to review how your shop uses it. You may think reviewing how to use Gmail is unnecessary, but it’s easier to eliminate concerns down the road by providing clarity. 
  4. Create a company scavenger hunt with a worksheet for your new hire to complete. This will test their problem solving, communication and social skills. Provide at least 30 questions to be answered. We’ve created a sample scavenger hunt for you to start.
    1. Where are the bathrooms located?
    2. For production-related issues, who do I reach out to?
    3. What’s our company phone number?
    4. We handle what types of decoration?
    5. What’s the difference between screen printing and direct-to-garment printing?
    6. What’s our standard turnaround time?
    7. What’s our rush order fee? 
    8. Our recommended t-shirt is what?
  5. Create a detailed new hire schedule. The goal is to create a precise plan for how you will spend your time with new hires in minute-by-minute increments. Here is an example to get you started.

Time

Name

Description

9 a.m.-9:15 a.m.

Welcome

Walk through Wooden Cotton and meet everyone!

9:15 a.m.-10 a.m.

Company culture

Listen to culture presentation and learn what we value, our goals and why we do what we do.

10 a.m.-10:15 a.m.

HR

How payroll works, benefits and more.

10:15 a.m.-10:25 a.m.

Break

10:25 a.m.-10:45 a.m.

Tools: Gmail/Calendar

Communicating via email and how we write to customers

10:45 a.m.-11 a.m.

Tools: Printavo

Shop management solution

11 a.m.-11:15 a.m.

Tools: Slack

Internal chat communication

11:15 a.m.-11:30 a.m.

Tools: Shipping

How we handle shipping 

11:30 a.m.-11:45 a.m.

Tools: Phone

How we speak to customers on the phone

11:45 a.m.-noon

Break

Noon-1 p.m.

Lunch

Group lunch

1 p.m.-1:45 p.m.

Screen printing 101

Go over how screen printing works. 

1:45 p.m.-2:15 p.m

Order process

How we process orders at Wooden Cotton.

2:15 p.m.-3 p.m.

Your role

Your responsibilities at Wooden Cotton.

3 p.m.-3:15 p.m.

Break

3:15 p.m.-4 p.m.

Scavenger hunt

Complete our scavenger hunt worksheet.

Thanks to Wooden Cotton Print Shop for their example new hire schedule.

Here are some tips to make the new hire experience truly enjoyable:

  • Purchase a blank greeting card for everyone at the shop to sign. Walk around and ask each person to write a quick note for the new hire. 
  • Set up your new hire’s desk with necessary materials, like a computer, pens, notebook and new hire schedule.
  • Give them a few shirts/hoodies with your company name on it.
  • Allow them to leave early on the first day.
  • Take them to lunch with management. 
  • Have new hires start at 10 a.m. This gives you time to start your day and catch up on what’s needed before fully focusing on education.

Screen printing is a multi-billion dollar industry with customers from every part of the world. Every year, thousands of entrepreneurs discover their passion for screen printing - and they want to claim their cut of the billions and billions of dollars spent on custom printed apparel.

But the majority of new screen printing shops fail before they reach the 5-year mark. They fail because of poor business planning, dull branding, and a lack of ability to scale.

Your shop can be different.

This is an excerpt from our book, The PrintHustlers Guide To: Growing a Successful Screen Printing Business. Written by Printavo's dynamic founder Bruce Ackerman, Campus Ink's enterprising Steven Farag, and Adam Cook. The PrintHustlers Guide To: Growing a Successful Screen Printing Business is the next generation's guide for building your own lucrative print shop.

You can purchase a physical copy of the book on Amazon.

Previous chapter: Chapter 7: Equipment

Next chapter: Chapter 9: Accounting and Profit

Coming soon!


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