Tag Archive for: charges

What Are Those Extra Charges?

On most orders of promotional products, you’ll see some charges in addition to the item cost, which you may have not been expecting. Depending on the imprinting method, you may encounter screen charges, set up charges, die charges, plate charges, PMS match charges and running charges. Why these additional charges? Let me try to explain:


Set Up Charges:  Most suppliers charge this per location, per color, per size. This covers the cost for the supplier to set up their equipment, load the inks and plates or screens, and get the order ready to run. It may also include the cost of plates or screens. If a supplier doesn’t charge these, it simply means they have rolled that cost into the price of the item.

Screen, Plate or Die Charges:  These are charges for the silkscreens, plates or dies used to create the imprinting material from the supplied artwork. These materials are then used on the printing equipment to transfer the imprint to the item. Some suppliers include these charges in the Set Up Charge. Since for each color there needs to be a separate screen, plate or die, you are charged per color for these.

PMS Match Charges:  Most suppliers will have a list of stock ink colors they keep on hand or have preloaded in their imprinting equipment. If you want your imprint color to match the PMS color of your logo as close as possible, then most suppliers will charge the PMS Match fee. This covers the extra cost of exact PMS inks, and also the labor to clean the printing equipment, load it with the specific color, and to clean it again to reload it with the stock color.

Running Charges: The majority of items are priced with a one color imprint included in the item price. If you decide to imprint in multiple colors, or in multiple locations, then running charges apply. These cover the cost to run the items through the printing equipment multiple times – once for each color and each location. Usually the only time you won’t have running charges is if the item is being digital printed. When printed digitally, all colors are laid down on the item at one time.

Less Than Minimum Charge:  If you want to order below the minimum quantity listed for the item, most suppliers will allow you to order 1/2 of the listed minimum…for an additional charge. This charge covers the portion of the set up they have already included in the item price and have allowed for with the minimum quantity listed.

Proof Charges:  To make sure your imprint is going be positioned correctly, sized right and all the elements are there, the suppliers send an email proof, usually showing the imprint positioned on the item. (There are some that just haven’t been able to figure this part out, but we’re working on them!) The proof charge covers their cost of the additional paperwork and delays in the production process to prepare the proof. Now, it is always your option to forgo the proofing process, but an option we strongly oppose. There are times there might not be time due to a tight deadline, but whenever possible, it’s best to have a proof sent to make sure everything is right.


These are the most common charges that may show up on your order, depending on the items, imprinting method, and colors. When you work with The Creative J, we will always send you a confirmation showing all your charges BEFORE we place the order. Once you approve the confirmation and charges, then your order is placed and the process should be clear and simple for you to follow.