professional-embroidery-machine-options-for-startups - Avance-emb

Professional Embroidery Machine Options for Startups

Comparing Single Head vs. Multi-head Machines

Return on Investment

Comparing Single Head vs. Multi-head Machines – There are many articles available that compare different brands and configurations of professional embroidery machines. They cover choosing a real commercial model at 15 needles vs. available 12 or 10 need prosumer machines, embroidery field size, warranty, trade up options, training and support.

But with the advent of the Avancé multi head professional machines and their low cost of entry, you will also want to understand what the differences are between single head embroidery machines, 4 or 6 head embroidery machines, and what that can mean for your new embroidery business.

A larger initial investment can make a HUGE difference to your businesses profitability!

The key to how a multi head machine can affect your profits is in how you look at cost per head and an analysis of production time per job.

Production Time Comparison

Let’s compare a sample logo design. You can see the image of the Avance 1501C control panel on the right already loaded with the ColDesi logo design.

This logo file is 9,970 stitches, and as you can see the speed is set for 750 stitches per minute, which is average for this type of sew out.

In order to get an estimate of how long it will take to embroider each design, just divide the number of stitches by the stitches per minute:

9,970 stitches/750 stitches per minute = 13.29 minutes to completion

This calculation is just an estimate because it does not allow for thread color changes, geography of the design, etc. When we ran this design for the video on the right, it took almost exactly 15 minutes to run.

The sample order we’ll use for comparison is embroidering this ColDesi logo onto 50 garments.

Single Head Order

To complete this job with a single head Avancé 1501C professional 15 need machine would take:

1 garment in 15 minutes = approximately 4 per hour50 garments/4 per hour = 12.5 Hours to complete the order

When using a 4 head machine, like the Avancé 1504 shown in the other demonstration video on your right, the set up time is comparable.

You load the design into the control panel in a similar way and hooping your garments takes the same amount of time each. BUT the math is much different!

4 Head Production Comparison

With the 4 head machine you are just loading the design once, then embroidering 4 garments simultaneously. Now you will produce 4 garments in that same 15 minutes!

4 garments in 15 minutes = 16 garments per hour

50 garments/16 per hour = slightly more than 3 hours to complete the order

In that one, long 12.5 hour day I could either complete ONE 50 garment order on a single head or FOUR of them on the 4 head machine. You will literally make FOUR TIMES THE SALES in the same period of time.

The 1506C Difference

Guess what happens when you choose a 6 head professional embroidery machine like the Avancé 1506C?

The math just gets better..because the time it takes to complete each design is constant, but the number of designs you can produce in the same period increases by the number of heads. Our ColDesi logo job that we’ve been comparing changes in this way:

6 garments in 15 minutes = 24 garments per hour

50 garments/24 per hour = a very little more than 2 hours to complete the order

Now how I can produce 6 times the number of garments in that long 12.5 hour day, which means I can make more than SIX TIMES THE SALES with the 1506C than I would with the 1501C.

1506C 6 Head

Compact 6 head professional embroidery machine comes with on-site installation and training.

Productivity vs. Price

Let’s compare this in an even more important way, because how many jobs you can do in an hour, or day or week, is the limit of how much money you can make in the embroidery business.

Machine Price Multiplier Productivity Multiplier Price Per Head
1501C The Price 1 $11,995
1504 2.5 X The Price 4 X Productivity 7,248.75
1506C 3 X The Price 6 X Productivity $5,832.50

In the table above it shows that for the price of the 1504, for example,  you can do 4x the jobs than with the 1501C and for the price of the 1506C you can do 6x the jobs than with the 1501C. Basically, you can make up to SIX TIMES the amount of revenues in the same period of time.

Commercial Machine Price Comparison

We’ve seen very clearly what the productivity benefit is when you upgrade to a 4 or 6 head unit from the 15 needle single head, but what about the pricing?

Budget aside, when comparing prices of multi head systems the most useful comparison to make is “price per head”.

Machine MSRP – Regular Price Number of Heads Price Per Head
1501C $11,995 1 $11,995
1504 $28,995 4 7,248.75
1506C $34,995 6 $5,832.50

The table above clearly shows what a value the multi head machines are in a price comparison.

The value of the single head machine is the MSRP, but you are paying almost 40% less per head for the 4 head machine and over 51% less with the 6 head.

The Avancé 1506C is really TWICE the value per head of the 1501C when you look at it this way

Sales & Marketing Advantages

Of course, you can obviously start your business and make a good living with your single head professional machine, but there are distinct advantages to a multi head bringing in more business as well as producing it.

1. Turnaround Time – your ability to do 4x or 6x the work in the same time period means that you can offer what many other embroiderers cannot; faster delivery. Imagine a business shopping for 100 polos embroidered with their company logo and the difference between offering to complete the order in 4 hours with your 6 head or in 6 hours with your 4 head machine vs. a 3 or 4 day delivery.


2. Business Image – there is no question that the Avance 1501C is a high quality commercial machine. It’s obviously built well and looks like a real piece of business hardware. But it’s also constructed in a small format so it fit in a small home or side office and can even roll into a closet when not in use. If your website or company brochures have pictures of a 1504 or 1506C, which are larger and have a much more industrial look you may get larger clients and more work. Perceived capabilities are important for marketing! Also consider the impression made if a potential client visits your place of business and how the Multihead will appear vs. the single head machine.

Embroidery Return on Investment

There are many factors that go into the sales and profitability of your new embroidery business, here are just a few:

  • Will you work from home, lease warehouse space or be in a retail environment?
  • What is your local competition like?
  • Will you be a one person show or hire employees?
  • What will your pricing strategies be?
  • Are you taking a salary?
  • Can you manage your business expenses?

The ROI of your equipment purchase will be influenced by all of those factors and more, but we can make some simple estimates based on the things discussed in this article and a few assumptions.

Assumption 1: You can make $40/hour running a single head Avancé – which is a common goal in the embroidery business for startups.

Assumption 2: You can fill 40 hours of work with business – this is less likely when you first start out and much more likely as you grow your business. You can change this number to do your own estimates.

Assumption 3: You are charging $1.25 per thousand stitches. We recommend using the Market Down pricing model described in this article, but that means customizing this scenario by local market, which we can’t do here. The $1.25/m is a mid range price derived from a quick survey of our own embroidery pros.

Let’s use that ColDesi logo job as our example again:

At approximately 8000 stitches x $1.25 per thousand you would charge $10 for each finished design. You can finish 4 designs per hour, so running this on your single head machine would mean revenues of $40/hour.

Here’s another table to compare your potential income depending on the machine you are using:

Machine # Designs per Hour Price Per Design Income Per Hour
1501C 4 $10 $40
1504 16 $10 $160
1506C 24 $10 $240

Using these figures you can see that if you can keep your machines running for 40 hours per week, you can make $1,600/week with your single head machine and up to $9,600/week with your 1506C!

24 designs per hour x 8 hours per day = 192 designs/day

192 designs x $10 each = $1,920/day in sales

$1,920/day x 5 days = $9,600 per week

The Avancé 1506C is $23,000 more than the 1501C single head embroidery machine, so that means a much bigger investment up front. But as you can see above, you can also make up to an additional $8,000/week with the 1506C so it will take you less than 3 weeks of sales to pay for the difference in machine price.

Estimating Your ROI Numbers

These scenarios and pricing are all made to be as simple and clear as possible and represent an ideal business. Some designs need to be run slower; you may encounter production delays for maintenance or repairs. On the other had it does not take into consideration the profit on the blank shirts, the fact that you can be more profitable with caps, or any number of factors that may make your results more or less idea. But they are as true and accurate as we could make them and represent good information to help you make your buying decision!