FAQ1 - US Colorworks FAQ1 - US Colorworks


What thread do you use? Do you have standard thread colors?

We primarily use Robinson-Anton Super Strength Rayon.  Our stock thread colors are scheduled in our 2017 USCW Price List on page 10 and 11.  If you require a different type of thread or a thread color not available, we can order it for you at a cost of $25.00 per thread color.  This covers the cost of ordering & stocking six spools of your custom thread.  We will maintain the custom thread for future reorders.  If your order is over 150 pieces there will not be a custom thread charge.

Can you estimate the stitch count in my design?

Yes, however, quotes for stitch counts are estimates only and may vary greatly based on final digitizing.  Final stitch count will be based on the DST file of the approved sewout proof.  Run charges and digitizing (if applicable) will be adjusted on your final invoice to reflect the final stitch count.  All stitch counts are rounded up to the next thousand.

Can I combine shirts and hats for quantity pricing discounts?

Unfortunately not.  Shirts and hats are loaded and run on the machines in completely different methods.  Even the actual digitized file may need to be done differently to accommodate the way the machines embroider on these different types of items.  As such shirts and hats cannot be combined for quantity pricing.

What is your policy on sewout samples?

When we perform a sewout sample the fabric used may not match the exact fabric used in the actual order.  This may cause slight variances in texture and stitching of your final production. USCW will not be responsible for slight variances in production results vs sewout samples unless you provide swatches/samples of the exact fabric being decorated.  If you wish to eliminate this potential variable, it is highly suggested that you provide a swatch or the actual garment for a sample.

Do you have any special requirements for hat orders?

Customer must supply two additional hats for sew out purposes.  Sew out quality varies from garment to garment.  If customer does not provide extra hats, customer will accept full responsibility for the production run not matching the sample sew out.

How are my orders prepared for shipment?

All embroidered shirts are steamed and folded at no additional charge.  If additional services such as polybagging, stickers, hangtags, etc., are required please see applicable table in our price list showing packing and finishing charges.

I already have my design digitized. Can you work off of my files?

In most cases, yes.  In the event you supply us a previously digitized design, we MUST run a sewout for you at a rate of $5.00.  It is mandatory that a sewout be performed on customer supplied embroidery files.  Variances in sewout results are typical between machines based on how they are digitized.  A design that was digitized for one machine may run differently on another machine.  In the event sewout results yield an unexpected result, tape edits will be charged at a rate of $25.00.  USCW is not responsible for sewing results on customer supplied DST files.

I have a complicated order with multiple locations, high stitch counts, etc. Will you require additional time to complete the job?

While we do everything possible to stick to our stated production time, there are some situations where we simply need more time.  Complicated orders with multiple locations or large stitch counts may require additional production time. You will be notified as soon as possible in the event our standard production timeline needs to adjust to accommodate the complexity of your order.

My supplier is on backorder on some of the items necessary for my order. However, I need to get what is available decorated right any and the balance when they become available. What are our options?

Subject to some limitations, in the event all of your goods have not arrived due to a backorder, at your request, USCW will split your order into separate runs for a fee of $15.00 per run.  This will allow you to enjoy the per piece run charges of the higher quantity while also covering the cost of us having to reset the job to complete your order.

What is your minimum order size? Do you have a minimum order charge?

While we don’t have a minimum order size there is a minimum order charge of $25.00 per order.  While we are happy to perform small runs, even as few as a single piece, please understand the amount of administrative work involved on every order …  from customer service time entering the order to artist time in preparing the DST file for decoration.  As such, we need to charge the minimum order charge to cover these administrative costs.


Can you provide me with a Non-Compete Agreement or a Non-Disclosure Agreement?

US Colorworks is happy to review and sign any Non-Compete or Non-Disclosure Agreement that you provide to us. However, we are NOT able to provide you with the actual documents. Since we would not be aware of the exact requirements of your customer, or know of any specific stipulations, we would not be able to create the document for you. Additionally, since you would be the injured party, it would be a conflict of interest for us to provide the document. Please contact your sales rep for any specific questions on this policy.

How do I know US Colorworks will not try to contact my customers & will keep our contract relationship private?

US Colorworks has a long standing policy of keeping ALL customer information confidential. This means will never contact your customer directly. We will stay completely anonymous in the production process. We take a number of steps to make sure your customer knows nothing about us.

My order requires special packaging and distribution instructions. Will this slow down the order?

Orders requiring specific packaging and distribution instructions to include multiple ship to locations, polybagging, or special packaging may require additional time.  If you submit an order with this type of requirements and that order is time sensitive, please discuss with your customer service representatives.

What happens to any unclaimed goods received at your facility?

Any unclaimed merchandise will be donated to a worthy cause after 60 days

Looks like I provided and approved colors that clash with the garments. Why didn’t you catch this and stop the order?

USCW cannot be responsible for your ink or thread colors clashing with garment colors provided in your order.  We can’t always tell what customers want.  As an example, occasionally customers want black thread embroidered on a black garment.  We print several hundred orders every week.  The incredible variety of artwork colors being decorated on various garment colors is immense.  Everyone has their own ideas of what is proper.  We can’t be the judge of that.  We decorate what you ask us to so please be explicit and precise on your orders.

Call I call in and place an order over the phone?

All orders must be in writing.

Do you ship order out in new boxes?

All orders are shipped in the boxes as received.  New boxes are only used when specified by the customer on the PO and are charged at the rate of $3.00 per box.

Can you decorate both screen printing and embroidery on the same garments?

Certainly, however, orders requiring both embroidery and screen printing may require an additional day or two to complete.  If you submit an order that has this type of mixed media decoration and that order is time sensitive, please discuss with your customer service representative.


Can you print copyrighted artwork?

We can certainly decorate copyrighted artwork, however, copyrights are the responsibility of the customer.  Appropriate use of copyright marks and payment of licensed property royalties are the responsibility of the customer.

My customer just cancelled an order that I have placed with you, now what?

We will work with you to accommodate this request, however, cancellations cannot be accepted for finished product.  Cancellations prior to production will be billed for all charges incurred up to that point.  You must confirm cancellations in writing. 

Can you do name drops, athletic numbering and other types of personalizations?

Certainly, however, orders requiring both personalizations and or numbering may require an additional day or two to complete.  If you submit an order that has this type of decoration and that order is time sensitive, please discuss with your customer service representative.


How do I establish a relationship with US Colorworks?

USCW only performs contract decoration for companies within the Ad Specialty industry.  All new customers must fill out and return the following documents to get established as a customer:

  1. Credit Card authorization form
  2. Credit Application (if you wish to be considered for credit terms)
  3. Sales Tax Exemption Certificate for your state

Once you have provided the above documents we can get you set up in our systems and begin processing your orders.


What happens if my goods don’t arrive 3 business days prior to the Production Schedule Date?

While we will do our best to keep things to the original schedule, if all your goods have not arrived 3 business days prior to the Production Schedule Date, we reserve the right to reset the date as appropriate.  We make every effort to keep you informed of potential delays related to missing product, but ultimately, it is your responsibility to ensure that your vendors have supplied us with the necessary product to complete your order on time. 

When do my goods have to arrive at your facility to meet your Production Schedule Date?

All goods to be produced must be in-house THREE (3) business days prior to the Production Schedule Date to avoid delay and the resetting of the Production Schedule Date.  If all required goods have not been received THREE (3) business days, we reserve the right to move your Production Schedule Date.

We make every effort to keep you informed of potential delays related to missing product, but ultimately, it is your responsibility to ensure that your vendors have supplied us with the necessary product to complete your order on time.

How does your order scheduling work? When can I expect my goods to ship?

There are three key dates that ultimately determine when your order will ship.

ORDER ENTRY DATE:  Upon receipt of your completed purchase order, you will receive from us a system generated Order Confirmation which will require your approval.  This Order Proof will be sent to you the same business day you submit your completed PO to us provided we receive your order before 4:00 PM (EST).  Orders received after 4:00 PM (EST) will enter our system on the following business day.

ARTWORK PROOF DATE:  You will receive your artwork proof from us the next business date following the Order Entry Date.  This Artwork Proof will require your approval.  It is imperative that you approve your proof in a timely fashion so that the order can enter the production schedule.

PRODUCTION SCHEDULE DATE:  Once you have approved your Order Proof and your Artwork Proof, your order will be placed into our production schedule.  The date scheduled will be FIVE (5) business dates from the date you have approved both your Order Proof and Artwork Proof.

Based on the above, provided you place your order with us before 4:00 PM on a business day, you will receive your Order Proof the same day and your Artwork Proof the following business day.  Once you have approved both your Order Proof and your Artwork Proof your order will ship 5 business days later (provided all your goods have arrived to our facility three days prior to that date).


How to I ship garments to you for decoration?

Please send your inbound shipments to us as follows:

Your Company Name & PO#

c/o US Colorworks

4910 Starcrest Drive

Monroe, NC 28110

How do you determine the date that my order enters the production schedule?

Order forms, artwork, and all merchandise to be decorated must be received complete prior to being placed on the production schedule.  Additionally, all payment arrangements, when appropriate, must be finalized prior to the order being placed on the production schedule.

Additional details can be found in the Order Scheduling FAQ’s.

Can I combine multiple orders on the same purchase order?

No, each job must be written and submitted to us as a separate purchase order.  You cannot combine multiple jobs on the same order.


Can you separate an order and ship it to multiple locations?

Split Shipping: $5.00 Per Address

Absolutely, we are happy to split up your order and ship it to multiple different address at our drop shipping rate of $5.00 per address.  If your split shipment request requires special packing slips or inner packs there may be an additional fee.  See the Packing guidelines for further details.

We have special packaging requirements where products need to be bundled and packed separately before shipment. Can you accommodate that?

Absolutely.  We have a couple different ways of doing this and can customize an approach based on your particular needs.  In most cases these types of requests are handled in two different ways:

Specialty Sort/Pack- Finished Orders: $0.15 Per Piece.

  • When you have needs for a non-standard pack-out, we can accommodate that request in most cases at a cost of $0.15 per piece.

Player Pack Sort/Pack:  $2.50 per player

  • When you have needs for multiple designs or product types to be packaged together for distribution individual players/students based on a distribution list.  Player packs will be packed in a clear bag and will include an individual packing list.  Standard fee includes up to 8 items per individual.  Additional items charged at a rate of $0.15 per item.


I received my order and I am missing units. What next?

Please refer to your invoice and any subsequent credit memo to determine if there was any spoilage/damage on your order.   If there are still discrepancies beyond our spoilage allowance please contact customer service.  We will review all paperwork on the order and determine if there is an issue with a carrier.  In the event all of our paperwork matches up the USCW count is considered final.  US Colorworks has multiple audit points during the process to insure our production and shipping counts are accurate.   


I was charged to receive in an order without a PO. Can you explain?

If for any reason we receive product in from your supplier and we do not have a purchase order from you to match the receiving in our system there will be a fee of $5.00 per order and $2.00 per box to the receive the goods in.  Please make sure you have provided us your purchase order before you have goods sent into us.

Do you charge for returning blanks to my supplier when there was an error or a cancelled order?

In the event product received from your vender is incorrect or your order is modified after receipt of inventory, please provide a 3rd party shipping number or electronic prepaid label to return goods to your vender.  There is a $15 fee per return to handle the paperwork and additional time for this service.

This fee is waived when the goods are from the SanMar’s PSST program or from Carolina Made.

Why is there sometimes a charge to remove bags, tags, pins, etc.? What is the charge?

Oftentimes on more expensive blank goods, the manufacturers are packaging the blank goods in a way that requires additional time to prepare them for decoration.

We charge $0.15 per piece for goods unpacking where removal of bags, tags, pins, etc. is required.

Why is there sometimes a charge to sort my goods prior to production? What is the charge?

In the event we receive inbound shipments from your garment supplier that require us to separate them into individual orders to match your orders to us we incur additional expense.  The easiest way to avoid this fee is to have your orders ship into us from your supplier packaged by your PO.

Goods sorting to breakout bulk are charged at $30.00 per hour, billed in 10 minute increments.


Can you accommodate RUSH production requirements?

We pride ourselves on doing the impossible and attempt to keep some capacity free to meet the tight turn times demanded in our industry.  When necessary, we can advance the Production Schedule Date at the below rates.  Note that rush charges apply to the complete order cost.

Rush charges of 20% – (4 Business days)

Rush charges of 30% – (3 Business days)

Rush charges of 50% – (2 Business days)

Rush charges of 100% – (1 Business day)


Why is flashing required when I only want white ink on a dark shirt?

Unless you specifically want a dull & distressed looking print it is necessary to print the garment with the first coat of white ink, flash the garment so that the first layer of white ink hardens, and then print the second coat of white ink on top of the first coat.  This will ensure a vibrant print on dark garments.  Due to our use of automatic presses this process requires 2 screens, 2 films and 3 stations on the press.  Think of the necessity to print an underbase white as the same as painting a dark wall.  You will never get a vibrant white wall color unless you paint a primer coat first.

By default, we always print an underbase on non-white shirts in order to get the necessary color vibrancy unless you specifically request just “one hit”.  You may want a “one hit” print on a dark shirt when you are looking for a softer hand, distressed looking print.  In this case you can eliminate the second screen and film on your order.  Just keep in mind that a “one hit” on a dark shirt will result in a distressed looking print that lacks color vibrancy.

Do you have a standard ink pallet that you use?

Yes, please see the detailed chart on Page 7 of the 2017 USCW Price List for a complete listing of standard ink colors.  Keep in mind that we PMS match for free.  Just make sure you specify on your order if particular PMS colors are required in your design.  Otherwise, we use the closest ink color from our standard ink chart for your design.

What is the maximum imprint size for each size shirt?

Please see the detailed chart on page 6 of our 2017 USCW Price List.

Can you print in unique locations where the design requires the print to cross seams, zippers, or collars?

Yes, however, please understand that printing over seams, zippers, collars, or other unique locations can lead to ink buildup, coverage, and consistency issues. This is an unavoidable occurrence related to these unique locations and USCW will not be responsible for these issues and our normal damage allowance will not apply.

Some of the tags in my order curled and there appears to be some shrinkage of the shirts. What happened?

Keep in mind that all garments are exposed to a high degree of heat to cure the ink.  This exposure may cause some slight shrinkage to the apparel.  Additionally, some brands of apparel use tags that will curl when exposed to heat. These are both risks inherent to the screen printing process that USCW cannot be responsible for.

Can you print on both youth and adult garments within the same order using the same design?

Usually this can be accommodated, however, keep in mind that the same size artwork is used on every size garment in your order unless you direct us to change the print sizes.  If you direct us to modify the print sizes to accommodate the different sizes within your order your print charges and setup fees will be based as if these are separate and unique orders.

My customer is extremely picky and expects the design to be in the exact same place on every item. Is this possible?

No.  USCW, like all printers, has a printing tolerance of ½” to 1” in any direction. While all technical means are used to control the printing tolerance, there is inherent variances in the process.  USCW will not be responsible for these slight variances in design placement.

Can we get a Pre-production sample?

Yes.  Pre-production samples are the only way to ensure imprint accuracy as it relates to PMS matching of ink colors for screen printing.  USCW will not be responsible for slight shifts in colors without a pre-production proof.  When requested and paid for as part of the order, USCW will send out two physical samples.  One sample can be retained by you and the other provided to your customer.  Preproduction samples are charged at a rate of $25.00 per color per location placement.  For orders over a thousand pieces we will credit you back the pre-production sample cost on your final production order invoice.

Do you offer PMS color matching? How much is it?

USCW provides FREE pantone matching within a 90% tolerance.  We can make NO GUARANTEE on an exact match of a previously run job without you providing a decorated unit from the previous run, and even then, within a 90% tolerance.

Do you retain any ownership rights in my designs?

Absolutely not.  Your artwork, your designs, your copyright.  However, we do retain the rights to all screens, films, and separation files used for output.

My last order with you was over 2 years ago. Do you still have the artwork and the films?

Unfortunately, no.  Jobs older than 2 years are usually destroyed.  New screens and films will be required for re-orders over 2 years old.

Can I have my neck labels custom printed?

Yes, provided the blanks you provide contain tear-away labels.  Custom neck labels can be printed with a minimum of 6 pieces per size and are priced as a separate print location. You will only be charged one screen and one film for up to 6 sizes.  Please keep in mind that neck print will typically show through to the other side of the shirt. This can become especially noticeable when the contrast between the ink color and the shirt color is great.

Do you offer SPOT Processing printing and what are the limitations?

This is the most common type of color separation and is by far the most popular.  Most of the color separations done today are simulated process.  Spot Process separations, unlike true process (CMYK) use spot channels and regular plastisol inks to generate a full color image.  Spot Process can be printed on white, light and dark shirts.  Pricing for spot process is by quote only. This type of work is typically priced as if it is an 8 to 10 color job with associated run charges, screens and films.  There is an additional charge of $30.00 for art separation when spot process printing is requested.

Do you offer Four Color Process Printing and what are the limitations?

Yes.  This process uses CMYK printing whereby only 4 ink colors are used.  Cyan, magenta, yellow and black are layered over each other to print a full range of colors.  Exact PMS matching is not possible and this type of printing is not a good choice when there are large solid areas of color in the design. Additionally, USCW only prints 4 color process on WHITE shirts.  If you require process printing on colors, we can utilize a process called Spot Process. There is an additional charge of $15.00 for art separation when 4 color process printing is requested.

I keep hearing about problems with dye migration on polyester & pigment dyed goods. Can you explain?

Dye migration on polyester and pigment dyed fabrics cannot be 100% avoided and USCW will not be responsible for its occurrence. Dye migration is a problem caused when the dye in the fabric of the garment sublimates and turns into a gas.  This gas then tries to escape the garment and can get caught up in the ink that is applied to the garment. This can cause the discoloration of the ink. Unfortunately, there is no consistency to when dye migration may occur but is most likely to occur with reds, maroons, kelly green, and darker shades of blue.  Dye migration may occur after the ink is cured or in some cases as much as two weeks later. To minimize the likelihood of dye migration, an additional barrier base gray screen is required. USCW cannot control dye migration and is a risk the customer must be willing to accept when printing on any garments containing polyester fibers or garment dyed fabrics.

I already have films from a previous suppler. Can you print my order using customer supplied separations?

Unfortunately, we cannot accept separations supplied by our customers as we create our separations specifically to account for our factory work flow.

What artwork requirements do you have?

To avoid an Artwork Charge we require vector line art in .EPS, .AI, or .PDF format.  Make sure there are no bitmap embedded images.  Colors should be in Pantone solid coated, no CMYK or RGB.  High resolution raster art is also acceptable provided it is layered in a .PSD or .TIF format and it is set to print at 300 dpi at the size needed.  Please remember to convert all text to underlines before submitting your files.  Failure to convert your fonts to outlines is the single largest factor in artwork errors.

Are the shirts folded before being shipped?

All shirts are bulked packed in a printer’s fold.  A printer’s fold is a basic fold when the shirts are bulked together, typically by size and in batches of 12, and folded in half with the sleeves ticked into the fold.  We offer additional folding and packaging options, at a fee, to meet whatever requirement you may have.  Simply discus with you customer service agent and they will find a way to accommodate any special fold requirements.

What is flashing & why is it required on colored garments?

Flashing is a process where items being screen printed are flash cured by exposing the items to high heat while on the press to harden the ink so that additional colors can be printed on top of each other and when tight registration exists.

Flashing slows down the production process but is essential when printing on colored shirts and even white shirts when the design has many ink colors and tight registration exists.  Oftentimes, an item is flashed more than once to dry it before applying the next ink colors.  However, we only charge 1 flash charge per location regardless of how many times your design may require flashing.   This flash charges ranges for $0.25 to $0.10 per unit depending on the quantity being decorated.  See the price list for the exact charge.

What is an underlay and why is there an additional charge for it?

An underlay, also known as an underbase, is a base of white ink that is printed on a garment before printing the primary colors on your items.  This underlay allows the various other ink colors in your design to appear more vibrantly.  Without the underlay, your design would lack the pop you want and the ink colors would be muted.  Just think of an underlay as a primer coat when painting a wall.

This underlay requires an additional screen and film, and is considered an additional color in the calculation of your run charges.  Additionally, whenever an underlay is needed (printing on all color shirts and sometimes on whites), the item also needs to be flash cured.


Can you ship on my account number or use my chosen carrier?

We are happy to ship using your prescribed method and to ship using your desired account number; however, this information must be clearly stated on your purchase order.   In the event you request a shipping method other than FedEx there is a possibility that your ship date may be delayed by a day leaving our facility as our pickup times for UPS/USPS are 3pm while our pickup time for FedEx is 6pm.

The carrier lost my shipment, now what?

While, USCW IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR SHIPMENTS LOST OR DAMAGED IN TRANSIT, when goods are shipped on our account number we will work with you in filing any insurance claims, when necessary.  Additionally, we will do our best to rush the production of your replacement order but keep in mind that normal printing charges will apply on the replacement order.

If the order was shipped on your account number you will need to contact the carrier for reimbursement.  We will do our best to rush the production of your replacement order but keep in mind that normal printing charges will apply on the replacement order.

Is shipping insurance provided?

Goods shipped via FedEx or UPS are automatically insured for a maximum of $100 per box.  If you require insurance beyond the automatic $100 per box you MUST specify the value you would like your order insured for on your purchase order.

Insurance on goods shipped via LTL/Truck Line are also limited based on the carrier.  It is highly suggested that you request insurance when shipping via LTL/Truck Line.

How is the shipping fees calculated?

Shipping fees are based on weight, dimensions, zip code, and address type and will be charged at FedEx published rates and added to your invoice.   

Which freight carrier do you typically use?

Unless otherwise directed in writing on your PO to us, your order will be shipped out via FedEx Ground.  Goods are shipped FOB US Colorworks, Monroe, NC, which means once the order leaves our dock, we are no longer responsible for the carriage of that order.   

Can you ship internationally?

Sure, we can handle your International Shipments with a $25.00 service charge, PLUS the cost of the freight.  Please complete our International Shipment Declaration Form and provide it with your purchase order.

Why is it so important to specify if an address is residential or commercial on my PO?

This is the single biggest area where chargebacks from the carriers are incurred.  From the carrier’s perspective, they route the packages based on the address provided and in many cases use different equipment and even have different delivery days depending on the address type.  If you do not specify an address as residential, when appropriate, the package(s) will end up on a truck only making commercial deliveries and then this later needs to be rerouted.  Additionally, in the case of FedEx, they make deliveries of residential packages on Saturdays but not on Mondays.  So, if you do not properly indicate the type of address your package could even be delayed.  If the event you fail to correctly specify an address as Residential you will be assessed a $15.00 per box charge.  This charge will be invoiced separately and will be charged based on your original payment method.  We do not typically know of these types of additional charges until 10 days after the order has been delivered.

Can you ship to residential addresses?

Absolutely, however, it is imperative that you indicate on your PO if the ship to address is a residence or a commercial address.

Any fees for incorrect addresses requiring a change by FedEx/UPS or unspecified residential addresses will be assessed a $15.00 per box charge.  This charge will be invoiced separately and will be charged based on your original payment method.  We do not typically know of these additional charges until 10 days after the order has been delivered.

Looks like I was charged a fee after my order shipped due to an Incorrect address. Can you explain?

Both FedEx & UPS charge an additional fee after the packages have been delivered if an incorrect address was provided and they adjust the address in order to make delivery.  This happens in most cases when a suite number was not specified.  In the event we are charged back from the carrier due to an incorrect address that you provided us on your PO then we will charge your account an Incorrect Address Charge of $15.00 per box 


How do you handle damage/spoilage?

Our typical damage/spoilage rate is insignificant; however, misprints are an unavoidable occurrence.  Our damage allowance is 2% per logo placement on white garments and 3% per logo placement on colored garments, with a minimum of one piece.  For tri-blend, pigment/garment dyed or 100% polyester goods, the damage allowance is 4%.

In the event there is damage/spoilage on your order, you will be provided a credit for both the decoration cost and the cost of the garment, up to $40 per garment, beyond the stated allowance rate.

If exact quantities are required for your order please provide extra blanks.  If extra blanks are not provided and we are required to set the job back up to ship complete then those units will be treated as a separate order and priced as a separate order.