Used Commercial Embroidery Machine Buyer’s Guide Video Transcript
After creating an article on things to look for when buying a used commercial or professional embroidery machine and then turning that into a video presentation, we found there was some great information that we SAID, but never actually wrote in the original article! We’ve decided to offer this transcript of the presentation called “Used Embroidery Machine Buyer’s Guide”. You can consider it an expanded, more casual version of this article: http://www.avance-emb.com/home/used-embroidery-machine-buyers-guide
WARNING: This has only been lightly edited to make it more understandable.
Welcome to the 2015 used embroidery machine buyer’s guide, what to look for in new VS. used in commercial embroidery equipment. What we’re going to try to do over the next few slides and with a little bit of commentary is help you determine whether or not a used embroidery machine and commercial equipment is right for you and what the pros and cons are in buying new VS. used.
The biggest temptation for getting a used machine is probably the really low pricing meaning you’ll spend anywhere between 10 to 50 thousand dollars or more depending on what level of the business that you are going into for a brand new embroidery machine, now for the typical startup that is looking at a single head machine you’re going to spend between $11,000 and $16,000 for a new machine and probably between $8,00 and $12,00 dollars for a used machine.
So, the reason of course that you’re going to look at a used is because the pricing, now there’s also this kind of mystique behind a eBay and Amazon and Alibaba and places like this that kind of educate us or brain wash us into thinking that the best deal and the only way that you’re going to get a great deal is by buying something from a bid site, a discount site or from a manufacturing site like Alibaba; so there is a little bit of mystique there that might make you tempted to purchase a used machine and there is a friend of a friend thing, so you might not (even) be ready to get into the commercial embroidery business but, you’ve got a friend of a friend or someone who knows someone whose getting out of the embroidery business and has a machine that they’re trying to sell, so that’s really appealing, right ? Because you’ve already got a relationship whether or not it’s a first or second tier relationship with somebody that owns a machine and is looking to sell and that can be really appealing because you are saving money and you have a certain comfort level there of who you’re buying the product from or you may just be a deal hunter, I know some people that won’t buy anything unless it’s an amazing deal that part of the quality of a product or part of the goal in purchasing something is getting the best possible product at the lowest possible price, where price is intrinsic to the value of the equipment. That’s not always the case when you’re starting a business, but if you are a deal hunter then that is another big temptation why a used machine might be appealing to you.
But the first thing we need to do is to take a look at what makes a pro machine, what makes a commercial embroidery machine or professional embroidery machine and meet the requirements to called that and the first one is probably the commercial construction of the equipment. Now you can take a good high end consumer machine or prosumer machine that you’ve been embroidering on for years and really that’s lot of the way that people get into business is they’ve got a home embroidery machine and they enjoy using it and they start doing something for friends like maybe do logos or pillow designs or something along those lines and they want to move up into the professional world, but honestly if you use one of those even higher end consumer machines whether its a happy or genome or anything along those lines and you run it for eight to 10 hours a day five to seven days in a week like you will in a commercial business, it’s just not going to last , it’s not built for that kind of use. So a professional machine is built to be a professional machine, professional machines are almost always multi-needle, in fact if it’s not multi-needle than its probably just a commercial sewing machine designed for cut and sow projects as opposed to embroidery.
A multi-needle machine is necessary for the commercial business, because you’re going to be dealing with multi color logos or multi color designs and you simply will not have time to produce enough with a single needle machine to sustain your business and multi-needle can mean six needle monogram machine or 15 needle professional machine; the six needles is kind of going away in favorability most people are starting with a 15 needle or higher commercial embroidery machine and that’s one of the criteria to make it prop.
Now commercial or professional machines also have a large sewing feild as you can see from the graphic I am sure you’ve been eye balling this for a few minutes now, there is a big difference between even this brother, this is the sewing field on a PR-1000 the entrepreneur pro -which is built as a commercial machine but frankly this kind of sewing field eight inches by fourteen inches you’re not going to effectively be able to do the really profitable jobs which include jacket bags, it includes blankets, horse blankets; it might include large designs on bags or backpacks and a large sewing field is a mandatory requirement for it to be really a professional machine and of course professional machine comes with professional training and support. So if you purchase a consumer machine you will often get some decent training on it provided you do that from one of the local sewing center or sewing shops, but when you purchase a commercial machine they not only will go into the wide variety of products that you’re going to use that are different than the consumer environment but they are going to be there in the long term for continue training and continued support and that’s a big differentiator and of course there are common features for a commercial machines that includes being able to easily do both flats and caps, the large sewing field the multi-needle design, it has some kind of memory storage on board that we’ll talk about as well later, it is a heavy construction, normally a commercial machine also comes either as a part of or including a wheeled stand, so you can move it from one location to another because naturally because its going to be significantly heavier because of its commercial construction than a consumer machine one.
The other differentiator between a pro and consumer machine is what’s in the box and this is a big differentiator when you are considering a used VS. a new machine as well. So for example when you purchase a new machine like the little graphic for Avancé 50-1C over here you get two of each of the popular sized hoops, I think its 11 or 12 hoops that you get with the Avancé but any commercial machine is going to come with a suite of hoops and these can be very expensive they are anywhere between 30 dollars and 90 or a 100 dollars for a hoop and you want the hoops to come with the machine for a couple of reasons; first of all you’re going to get a job and you’re going to reach for the appropriate hoop, it’s not going to be there and you could lose the job or you could try to use the hoop that’s too large or too small for a design, you’ll damage the hoop or you’ll lose a customer because the design wont sew well properly, so what’s in the box is a big deal when you buy a used VS. a big machine. I you’re getting a used make sure it comes with a full suite of hoops.
Digitizing embroidery software is also a significant investment and also a significant differentiator between new and used so for example if you were to purchase a new SWF or a new Avancé machine or even some of the other brands like Malco or Tegima, they’re all going to come with some kind of digitizing software so, when you buy a new… and btw digitizing if you don’t know is when you take a customer’s image a graphic or a Jpeg or something that they give you or you create your own actual design as opposed to lettering, so digitizing software like Sierra stitch era universal or Liberty allows you to create original designs, bring in stock designs and add text to it or edit existing embroidery designs so that the customer might bring you or you might get from another vendor now that software can range anywhere from 50 dollars to a thousand or 1200 or 1500 dollars, normally when you buy a new machine that’s going to be included at some level with the purchase, if you’re looking at a used machine you may need to make sure that not only does it comes with digitizing software but it is easily transferrable to a new owner. So a lot of times with professional applications there is an actual key or dongle that goes in the back of the computer that may or may not be able to be transferred over from one system to another, it may be older so the software that comes with it may not be compatible with the new computer that you purchased with your business and to run your embroidery machine; or it may be able to be transferred but it’s a hassle and there is a fee or it’s just too much trouble.
So keep in mind that you want to make sure a used machine comes with hoops and comes with embroidery software that you can actually use and caps and cap drivers are a big deal, so embroidering on caps is one of the most profitable and popular commercial embroidery products that’s available and new machines at least in the professional space comes with what they call cap drivers, which is basically what they call hoops to embroider on caps, you want to make sure that if you’re getting a used machine that it has not only the ability to embroider on to caps but also has the equipment that it will take for you to embroider onto caps.
And lastly you’re going to need supplies you’re going to need startup supplies and not whatever is leftover in your friend of a friend embroidery business, okay? What you’re going to need is enough and a wide variety of backings of thread colors of toppings of solvie of oil for the machine, you’re going to need… everything that you’re going to use in that first second third fourth and fifth job that you get, because what you don’t want to have happen just like with the hoops is you don’t want to get a job and reach to be able to do the cap that you want to do or the embroidery design you want to do and not have enough supplies to fulfill the job, because then what happens then you’re on the floor with a vendor like Colman and Company you’re saying “okay I need this kind of backing and I need this kind of topping, you’ll have to get it overnighted and…” it’s not a great situation so just make sure that if you buy used that you get the supply kit that you need, if you buy a new product like the Avancé, you will naturally get whatever the supplies that you’ll need to start up.
Also when you’re looking at a used machine VS. new you need to think about the older machines, now, embroidery machines, professional machines have been around for a long time and they could still be in great working condition even if they are 5,10,15 or 20 years old they may operate just fine but there are some issues just because of the older technology and the first one is… that many, most older machines run on floppy drives and its a 3 and half inch disk , some of you out there may not even recognize this, but it’s the original USB, okay?
So, some of the older machines use floppies are actually getting a little bit hard to find, it’s certainly outdated and causes parts issues and of course you can only fit so much information on a floppy… modern machines use USB sticks which hold 2 gigs and above, which will probably hold every embroidery design that you will ever do on a single USB stick so floppy drives are a downside of using a older machine, now there are other memory issues just like all of us when we get little bit older, you might have some memory issues and with older machines they have smaller or even NO onboard memory, now the advantage to a new machine is for example on the Avancé, ill use that again as an example, is I can actually store well over a million stitches or 2 gigs worth of data on the machine and that’s a huge advantage because you’re going to have a suite of current customers that always want the same logo on a hat, they always want a same name on a shirt, they always want the same design on a bag and it is much more convenient just to keep those loaded on to the machine, just hoop up the garment or the cap, pull up the design on your control panel on the machine and hit So and you’re done.
Now many older machines don’t have displays control panels I will say just like the floppy drives there are add on aftermarket control panels as well as USB drives that will work with or are backward compatible with some older embroider machine, they are little bit expensive, it could still be a deal on an older machine you just have to keep that mind. Now, today’s modern machines all have display control panels where you at least get some idea of what the design is that you’re about to embroider, so if you have a USB stick with a hundred designs on it you can basically scroll through those and select the one that you want to output getting some kind of a visual display which you can always do on older machines. And of course newer machines also typically will have some kind of maintenance feature like the SWF automatic oiling system, so you just have to keep in mind that not only will you have to maintain them a little bit more because they are older but that maintenance may take you a little bit longer.
And lastly of course you have to bring up parts, the older the machine is the less likely you’re able to find readily available new parts in a box as a matter of fact SWF is a brand for example changes their part numbers and has end of life parts so sometimes you simply cannot get replacement parts that you need, so keep all that in mind when you’re looking at one of the older machines. Training is a significant, significant factor in (your) success if you are a startup commercial embroidery business, now if you are an existing embroiderer and you’re thinking about adding on some machines, you’ve had some past experience with commercial embroidery then you may not need training as much. But if you are not then it is absolutely vital that you get both hardware and software training on the product that you’re going to use because what you don’t want to do is try to figure things out after you get your first big job, you’ll lose business, okay? so the big question is how is will you learn the machine and the business at the same time that’s when training comes in, with any new machine on the market; so let’s say except for the Brother and any of the consumer machines you will get some kind of a startup training, with any ColDesi embroidery machine for example you can come to Florida or our New Jersey training center and get trained on site, there is live online training which is the best in the business and there are also self paced training classes that you or maybe an employee can take just as a refresher and you want to make sure that whatever training you’re (going to) get is both on the machine and the software, so it will be very inconvenient for you to buy used machine and then go out and purchase software separately and then try to arrange training on just the software, it’s a little problematic.
Support is of course also one of the biggest factors in purchasing a used embroidery machine VS. new. The first thing is the warranty options, can you afford a repair bill any new embroidery machine regardless of the manufacturer comes with some kind of a warranty often with extended warranties available. I don’t necessarily recommend the extended warranties but that basic warranty is a big deal; you get the embroidery machine you’re doing your first job (and) something breaks – you want to know you have warranty support and you want to know you have real tech support for businesses (and) not a consumer helpline because someone on the other end of the phone that is used to supporting commercial embroidery businesses they’re going to know the situation you’re in; they’re going to know the products that you’re dealing with they’re going to understand what you mean when you say you broke the needle the first time you tried to sow on leather or that you’re having hooping issues or know that your specific brand model embroidery machine is showing this error; so you need somebody that is used to running, operating commercial embroidery machines to support you, you’re also going to want some kind of an online resource for fixing errors, because frequently its going to be nights and weekends that you’re doing your work just to get a job out and having an online resource like a YouTube channel or a support site like support dot ColDesi dot com is going to be a big deal so you can just type in an error number and maybe get a video or FAQ or a white paper that will walk you through to fix it -so you don’t have to talk to a support technician at all so the big question is -if you’re looking at used embroidery machine its after you purchased it and you’re doing your first job if something happens, if the machine goes down if you don’t know what the problem is -what will you do? So make sure that you can answer that question before you purchase either actually a new or used embroidery machine.
So just a quick pros and cons a used commercial machine you get a much lower initial investment or at least you can or you’re going to possibly be able to buy more needles & more heads so for example maybe (if) you were looking at a single head embroidery machine -new maybe you can stretch that to a four head or a two head embroidery machine used or maybe you are looking at a consumer machine and you only have a few thousand dollars to spend, possibly you can get a better quality commercial machine that you can use then you can a new consumer machine or prosumer machine.
Now the pros to a new commercial machine is of course you get a new warranty you get consistent and usually free technical support with purchase and you get training on the software and help in the business usually and of course we want you to look at ColDesi and Avancé line of products for a new machine because of the low initial investment with the Avancé, the incredible warranty tech support and really industry standard training on the machine I think it will set you up the best for success VS. just about any used machine on the market today.
And of course one thing we didn’t mention the advantage to having a new machine typically is that you can trade up into a larger or newer unit with the Avancé for example there is a two year 100% trade up guarantee, so if you do spend the money on a new machine and you come in and you get great training, you have started a business and you are very successful and if within two years you think you need more, you think you need to upgrade into a four head or a six head or larger commercial machine which we always hope that you do; you will get 100% of the purchase value of the machine itself back towards a multi-head machine.
So, that’s it, that’s our guide, that’s our buyer’s guide that walks you through the difference between a new and a used machine when you buy it on the open market, I hope that this has helped to make you a great decision and really inspires and propels forward your commercial embroidery business, if you want more information on the Avancé on any of the material that we’ve talked about here, we have white papers and articles on our websites, just click down the ‘get more information’ button below the presentation or if you see one on screen click on that and we’re happy to help you at Avancé and ColDesi.
~End of Video~