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Brain Squad

24 Things That Take a Ton of Time but Are Totally Worth Doing

Screen printers name a range of time-intensive yet rewarding tasks, from reclaiming screens to squeegee building.





IF YOU LISTENED to Season One of the Screen Saver podcast you know we asked each of our guests the same three questions at the end of every episode. We gave our Brain Squad the chance to answer the third question: What takes a ton of time to do, but at the end is totally worth it? Here’s what they had to say:

  • Data, data, data. — Alison Banholzer, Wear Your Spirit Warehouse, Huntingtown, Maryland
  • Customer service, especially with custom designs and revisions. However, I love catering to my customers and giving them their hearts’ desire. Being able to serve a need like that is totally worth it to me and it keeps them coming back. — Deonjala Williams, Dee’s Sweet Tees and Heart and a Heat Press, Lake Worth, Florida
  • Keeping the shop clean. Not normal print shop clean, but like actually clean. Keep everything nice and tidy as well. Saves SO much time in the long run. — Joshua Rogers, Grunt Style, Carol Stream, Illinois
  • Stretching our own screens, re-tensioning and work-hardening, and taking really good care of them. Better stability, register, uniformity, ink flow/deposit, reclaimability, and lower off-contact. — Kyle Baker, Baker Prints, Chicago, Illinois
  • So many things. Making a jig/screen for a 3D metal part is always challenging and time consuming, but when done makes printing the part so much easier. My favorite is matching a color by eye. You have your 10 gallons of different colors out trying to get the right combination. The one that customers/friends always are amazed at is the steps of the screen. Taking the ink out of the well, wiping down the squeegee and floodbar, then cleaning the above. Then reclaiming the screen, de-inking, de-greasing, drying, coating, drying, exposing, drying, block-out/pinhole, and dry. We’ve all done this thousands of times but I guess when you think about it, it takes time. But when you get a good screen 99 percent of the time, it’s worth it. — Robert Francis, ScreenPrintPlus, Naperville, Illinois
  • It takes time to write out business processes and train people on them, but it’s likely one of the most high-level things to do for your business that will deliver amazing results for a long time into the future. It’s totally worth the time it takes. — Gavin StGeorges, Proud TShirts, Miami, Florida
  • Growing your team to be better, happier, and healthier both in life and at work is a never ending task, but watching them succeed both at work and at home is absolutely worth it. — Mark Kistler, FireSprint, Omaha, Nebraska
  • Training a new printer. Alternatively, building new squeegees. — Eric Carnell, Independence Printage Corp, Bellevue, Washington
  • Keeping the shop clean and spotless. It’s not easy but it helps with organization and customers notice when they come into our shop that we care about our workspace. — Jim Heiser, Bullseye Activewear, Brunswick, Ohio
  • Writing SOPs. — Michael McCall, Chattanooga Labeling Systems, Chattanooga, Tennessee
  • Good artwork. — Bill Bischoff, Bischoff Design/Atomic Tees, Modesto, California
  • Pre-production sample to troubleshoot complex separations before they hit a production press. — Doug Heminger, SS Designs, Winter Haven, Florida
  • Making processes and creating the workflow for people to follow! — Kevin Oakley, Stoked On Printing, Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Deciphering when the supply chain in our industry is going to get back to normal or when products will become more available. — Luiz Enchinton, 3 Little Birdz, El Paso, Texas
  • Crunch numbers. — Arnold Footle, Dahlgrens, Deerfield, Illinois
  • Reclaiming screens so there is nothing left in the mesh. I hate it when we send screens back after coating and exposure because they have crap in an opening. — Andy MacDougall, MacDougall Screen Printing, Royston, British Colombia
  • Finding and working with a freelance HR company. Using a freelance HR company for hiring, terminations, policies and procedures, managing government labor law changes, and new COVID protocols has been one of the best things I have ever done. I pay them as per the job they work on (rather than hiring a full-time HR person) … saving time and money, protecting the company using hiring agreements and understanding my rights and my employees’ rights, as to avoid unnecessary conflicts. — Tracey Johnston-Aldworth, Traces Screen Printing, Waterloo, Ontario
  • Documenting detailed procedures of your processes! It offers another resource for your team to turn to for answers if you aren’t available to answer questions, or would prefer to have them problem solve on their own first. — Joe Ortinau, Ortinau Art, Pemberville, Ohio
  • Analyzing your customer base for growth and profit potential. One of the first steps in moving away from working hard toward working smart. — Mark Coudray, Coudray Growth Tech, San Luis Obispo, California
  • Create the perfect artwork for your customers. — Kristin Deutsch, Hair of the Dog Graphics, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
  • Content marketing. You control the story. How it is created, the message, where it goes, and how it is delivered. Look at the 90-9-1 rule. Ninety percent of the people in your circle will notice, read, view, watch, listen, or consume the content you create. Only nine percent of people will actually like, share, retweet, comment, or direct message you. The sad fact is that only one percent of people actually create the content that everyone consumes. Be in the one percent. — Marshall Atkinson, Atkinson Consulting, Mesa, Arizona
  • Maintenance. — Danny Gruninger, Denver Print House, Lakewood, Colorado
  • ISO. We are ISO 9000:2015 certified. It forces us to continually improve what we do and how we do it. — Jim Bradley, Bradley Nameplate Corporation, Fremont, California
  • Inputting all of your customers data into your database: emails, phone numbers, address, etc. — Ron Augelli,, Dickson City, Pennyslvania
  • Quality always. If it bumps the quality, it’s always worth it. — Nathan Leber, Leber Design & Print, Grove City, Ohio

What’s the Brain Squad?

If you’re the owner or top manager of a screen-printing business, you’re invited to join the Screen Printing Brain Squad. Take one five-minute quiz a month, and you’ll be featured prominently in this magazine, and make your voice heard on key issues affecting screen-printing pros. Sign up here.



Let’s Talk About It

Creating a More Diverse and Inclusive Screen Printing Industry

LET’S TALK About It: Part 3 discusses how four screen printers have employed people with disabilities, why you should consider doing the same, the resources that are available, and more. Watch the live webinar, held August 16, moderated by Adrienne Palmer, editor-in-chief, Screen Printing magazine, with panelists Ali Banholzer, Amber Massey, Ryan Moor, and Jed Seifert. The multi-part series is hosted exclusively by ROQ.US and U.N.I.T.E Together. Let’s Talk About It: Part 1 focused on Black, female screen printers and can be watched here; Part 2 focused on the LGBTQ+ community and can be watched here.

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