A tech pack saves you money, here's how much. 

I’ve been asked about this a few times and it’s a good question! I thought I would write this up into a blog post with a few examples to help others calculate their costs. A quality tech pack should pay for itself, let me demonstrate. 

Please note that these figures are conservative examples. Prices vary wildly from country of origin, to quality of contractors and also based on the complexity of your design. Here are a few basic examples showing how you can save $$$.

 

The entire cost of your order

A tech pack is your product design “in writing”. You would never enter into any other financial, legal or formal arrangements without doing any paperwork and you shouldn’t in manufacturing either. I like to mitigate risk as much as possible myself, so that I don’t have to stress! 

A tech pack lets your contractors see all the product details clearly laid out. If any unexpected errors happen you have a document you can immediately refer to that illustrates the specifications you asked for.   

 

Get more and better quotes

Another great use of a tech pack is as a research tool. Send it to a sewing contractor/factory and they can give you a price estimate for your product. A factory cannot give you a truly accurate quote unless they can see ALL of the product’s details upfront. A tech pack will allow you to properly compare like-for-like prices and quality of workmanship. 

If you’re comparing prices from manufacturers who haven’t seen any info or specs, who knows what they have costed for... when it comes to actually producing your design, the price will just change later when they do have all the details.

Researching and vetting contractors upfront before you start manufacturing can massively pay off. Quotes can vary wildly depending on what, where and how your product is being made. Getting the best price per unit can save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Even more in the long term! So do your homework! 

Lets say you want to manufacture 100 pieces initially. One factory quotes you $18 to make your product which takes you to $1800. Another manufacturer quotes you $12 for the same product. If you use the second quote you are saving $400 on a single product widening your margin by 33%. Think about the number of repeat orders too. How many times will you be ordering more quantities of this? What products will be you doing next season or year and can you save on these too?

 

How Much Money Can a Tech Pack Save You?

 

Reduce your sampling costs

I’ve heard clients being charged 4 figures for samples. It really depends on where you are manufacturing and who is making the sample. In the US it can easily be in the hundreds. If you are manufacturing in Asia I’ve heard it’s more like $20-80 for a single sample. 

The high sounding cost is because a sample maker needs to create an entire pattern from scratch and cut out your fabric from this pattern by hand. Only then can the construction and sewing be started. It can easily take several hours to make up a single garment that isn’t even complicated. In most cases factories won't make any money at all from making samples. 

Imagine not having any exact instructions, specifications and technical drawings for a product you are supposed to be making a sample of. If no psychic visions come in to play, how many tries would it take you to get a product 100% right? Several? A dozen? Even if you try to explain a product verbally, the results are just light years away from the results you'd get from a good quality tech pack. 

For example 10 samples at $60 each is $600 in sampling costs, which is a conservative example! 

 

The cost of your time

How much is your time worth to you? Let us say it takes you 10 minutes to email a sewing contractor and you have to email them 7 times to explain your product fully and how you want the sample made. You get your sample back, it doesn’t look right, you email them again to explain the changes you need. This takes another 3 emails at 10 minutes each (1hr and 40 mins so far).

It takes till sample number 5 for you to get a prototype you’re happy with, lets say you send 2 emails for each extra sample. You’ve now spent quite almost 3 hours emailing and several weeks have past. Now you want to speak to other contractors and see what they have to say to compare. You now need to start again with each new contractor. 

How much is your time worth to you? $10 per hour or $100 per hour? If you want to contact let's say just 5 manufacturers. You've now racked up 15 hours just writing emails - do you see how it all adds up?

 

Keep it simple by getting a tech pack before you start. Invest in your product upfront and reap the savings later. 

Even if you don't value your time and this is worth $0 to you, we still have a saving of $400 in production, $600 in sampling, plus whatever the value you assign to "insuring" your order. You should be able to see by now how much you can really gain. 

 

Further Reading: 

Developing A Product? Use This (Real!) Sample Budget As A Guide - Makers Row

How Much Does it Cost to Start a Clothing Line - Lantie Foster

 
 
 

AUTHOR: BELINDA JACOBS

TECHPACKS.CO founder Bel (as she is affectionally known as) is a technical fashion designer from London. Belinda has worked with numerous high street retailers, independent designers and fashion start-ups since graduating with a first class honors degree in clothing design & technology.