Quality DOES matter.
Can you contact someone personally, and right away? Some online resources are little more than a west coast computer connected to a factory in China. Make sure there's a real person taking your order -- able to answer any and all questions -- before committing to any purchase.
Can you talk to someone that is familiar with the product & processes? Imprinted products involve a wide variety of materials and imprinting processes. Your contact should be well-versed in the production process -- or be able to obtain production information quickly for you should you require it. Your local distributor is -- or should be -- able to contact any manufacturer directly -- not just rely on a catalog information page.
Are shipping costs (and where your order ships from) included? You should obtain at least an estimate of the shipping costs. What may seem like a reasonable or desirable product price might actually cost more if shipped from a distant location. There might be a nearby manufacturer that can supply your product with less shipping costs.
What about surprise costs? Is everything included? Sometimes there are setup charges, plate charges, artwork fees, special packaging requirements --- stuff that should be disclosed up front, to help you make an educated decision.
Will you see and approve a proof? Make sure you'll have final OK on any layouts or designs for your products before they are imprinted. Don't let a "RUSH" scenario replace common sense. If there's no time to approve artwork, then you may be looking at additional costs and missing your deadline anyway.
Are they a member of a local Chamber of Commerce? A Better Business Bureau logo isn't enough. A "no complaints" listing doesn't mean there haven't been some that have been satisfied, and won't reflect those that have not been officially called in. A Chamber of Commerce membership is usually a better indicator of a business that is established, community based, and not just working out of a PO box someplace.
What about personal service? There is no substitute for personal, one-to-one communication and interaction. There can't be enough online boxes on a webstie to check to cover all the information that you may desire or need.
(If we use yours,
you'll recieve a FREE GIFT!)
crap - noun
4. Cheap or shoddy material.