Professional Embroidery Machine Options For Start-ups 2018

Professional Embroidery Machine Options For Start-ups 2018

Comparing Single Head vs. Multi-head Professional Embroidery Machine

Return on Investment

The Avancé professional embroidery machine line is a serious game-changer in the market.  The brand’s low price is combined with the highest quality parts and TONS of great features.

Each machine comes standard with 15 needles, a large sewing field and full color LCD monitors.  Plus, single-heads come with a 2-year trade up program that cannot be found anywhere else.  Add to that the industry’s best training and support and it’s easy to see why the Avancé brand is the right choice for professional embroidery machine owners who are looking for the best return on investment.

Here we compare line by line the costs and profits that EACH level of machine provides.  We compare single-head VS multi-head options to help you decide which professional embroidery machine makes the most sense for your professional embroidery business.


Production Time Comparison

Let’s compare a sample logo design. You can see the image of the Avancé 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.

To get an estimate of how long it will take to embroider each design.  You’ll also want to know how to price your embroidery.  However to get the time, 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 Results

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!

Multi Head Results

New for 2017
Introducing the Avancé 1502 2 Head Professional Embroidery Machine

Choosing the 2-head machine up front is like getting an instant efficiency upgrade.  Labor costs per head are nearly halved, and there is nearly $3,000 savings per head compared to networked single-head machines.

Jobs load up the same way as a single head and color selection is handled the same.  The 2 head machine can be placed on a table top or counter if needed and while much heavier, it can be transported to retail events to maximize your output and profits. The Avancé 1502 is a great upgrade which helps you get paid at twice the rate of single heads.

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 amount 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.

The Avancé 1506C – Compact 6 head professional embroidery machine comes with 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.

Pricing below are sample numbers for the purposes of comparison only. Your actual cost may be different. Please contact us for current price comparisons.


Save more by upgrading now

Instant Upgrade to 1502:  Saves about $3,000 per head

Upgrade to 1504:  Saves about $4,800 per head

Upgrade to 1506:  Saves over $6,000 PER HEAD Wow!

** Compared to individual networked single-heads.

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”.


Pricing below are sample numbers for the purposes of comparison only. Your actual cost may be different. Please contact us for current price comparisons.

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 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.

Turnaround Time

The ability to do 4x or 6x the work in the same time 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.

Business Image

There is no question that the Avancé 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 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:

See How To Price Embroidery

We did a complete guide to pricing that shows you the different formulas for pricing embroidery work.

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 hand, 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 idea. But they are as true and accurate as we could make them and represent good information to help you make your buying decision!

Ready to Start or Expand Your Embroidery Business?

Chat with us below, call us at 877-793-3278 or click button and let us help you get your business growing.

35 Embroidery Business Ideas

35 Embroidery Business Ideas

Brainstorming ways to make money with your commercial embroidery machine.

ColDesi has sold thousands of embroidery machines to entrepreneurs launching new businesses or expanding existing ones. It seems that everyone interested in starting in the custom apparel world has at least one great idea, and sometimes more, but they also ALWAYS ask what else they can do.

You can approach your business either with an Item specialty, like embroidering on Caps or Hats, or a Vertical Market focus. A vertical market is a general industry, like athletic wear, baby clothes and accessories, etc. We gathered all of our answers together with our customers own ideas and came up with these 35 Embroidery Business Ideas to share with you. They’re broken up into Items for inspiration and Markets

20 Things To Embroider On To Make You Money.

  1. Aprons – both uniform aprons for food businesses and novelty aprons for consumers. Barbecue aprons, cook aprons, mom aprons, dad aprons
  2. Place Mats – once again, both commercial and personal. Place mats with restaurant names, kids names, baseball/football themes.
  3. Beach-wear –  Towels, wraps, umbrellas
  4. Golf related – golf towels for the golfers to carry, either personalized for them or for the Club. Golf bags, golf flags for events
  5. Baseball Caps – this one may seem obvious but it’s important not to overlook it. There are even kiosks and stores in shopping malls specializing in embroidered caps.
  6. Shirt sleeves – put employee names or company names on the sleeve instead of or in addition to left chest logos
  7. Dance wear – embroidery is great for dance performance wear because it’s soft, won’t scratch and metallic thread look great under the lights
  8. Pageant Sashes – Miss Tampa, Mrs. Universe, Mr. Tomato Festival or any sash for beauty contests is a great business
  9. Custom Bibs – name drops on bibs and other baby clothing
  10. Baby Blankets
  11. Karate Belts – martial arts clubs put names, ranks and styles on the belts and sashes they wear
  12. Name Tapes – military and other name tapes are removable name badges.
  13. Jacket Backs – Motorcycle clubs and other groups that wear jackets are a profitable market because the designs are always large
  14. Tack Twill – Letterman jackets and sweats are a easy and fast to add names and number onto
  15. Medical Scrubs – many Doctors and Nurses like to have their uniforms embroidered with their names on them.
  16. Lab Coats – just like scrubs, lab coats all look alike. Lab techs, scientists and other professionals want them personalized.
  17. Running Shorts – especially for competitive teams like in High School Athletics, College, etc, where running shorts are the only uniform
  18. Pillows – boutique hotels and resorts are great prospects for having customized embroidery on pillows and bedding as well as towels
  19. Patches – embroidered or iron on patches are simple to make and can be profitable if you offer low volume. Colman and Company has an embroidered patch kit that makes it easy.
  20. Gym Bags – anytime a company sells gym bags (tennis bags, etc) or a gives them away as a promotion, they may want the company logo or persons name added.

15 Vertical Market Ideas For Commercial Embroiderers.

  1. Medical – scrubs and lab coats
  2. Uniforms – direct embroidery and/or patches, janitorial, auto, etc.
  3. Golf Specialty Items – towels, bags, flags, club sleeves
  4. Schools – uniforms, sports uniforms, shorts, spirit wear, letterman jackets, cheer
  5. Pageant Market – sashes, event décor, booster wear
  6. Wedding – bridal party sashes, gift items, ring pillows, chair sashes, table décor
  7. Food Service – uniforms, aprons, caps, chef hats, iron on patches
  8. Resort – custom resort wear; robes, towels, polo shirts, beach towels, uniforms
  9. Tourism – tour guide uniforms, caps, location-based towels, blankets, shirts
  10. Infant wear – personalized blankets, bibs, socks, diaper bags, stroller flags
  11. Pet Items – pet blankets, beds, doggie shirts, breed tees for owners
  12. Athletics – local League caps, jerseys for baseball, hockey, kickball, adults and kids
  13. Corporate – company shirts, day planners, caps, bags, trade show give-a-ways
  14. Fashion Accessories – wrist bands, hair clips, bows, belts, handbags
  15. Equine – horse blankets, saddles, riding clothing and accessories

Embroidery is a versatile and potentially very profitable business to get into, and all you really need is the right idea, the right commercial embroidery machine and the right strategy to market your abilities. We hope this brainstorming session helps get you started in the right direction!

Ready to Start or Expand Your Embroidery Business?

Chat with us below, call us at 877-793-3278 or click button and let us help you get your business growing.

Best Value For Start Ups

Best Value For Start Ups

Commercial Embroidery Machine for StartUps

What makes the Avancé the Best Value for StartUps?
ColDesi has 15 years of experience in helping entrepreneurs start new embroidery businesses, both home based and retail oriented stores. Our employees, including professional account managers and the best support technicians in the business have more than 500 years of collective experience in getting businesses started and keeping them running profitably based on professional embroidery systems.

3 Reasons the Avancé 1501C the BEST choice for Commercial Embroidery Startups


Right Features

  • The ability to embroider on Caps – cap or hat embroidery is a very popular and very profitable part any custom apparel business. The 1501C lets you create large, almost wrap around designs for your customers.
  • 15 needle configuration. Professional embroiderers know that you’ll keep 6-8 primary colors on your machine at all times. Then, once you get a few customers coming back, you’ll have plenty of room to store their most common choices. 15 needles on a commercial embroidery machine means 15 different colored cones of thread, and that translates into big time savings for you.
  • Portability is key. The Avancé 1501C (“C” stands for Compact) is one of the most portable machines on the market because it comes with feet already installed. Many machines, like the Tajima and SWF, are mounted with bolts directly to the wheeled cart they come with. That means you have to uninstall and reinstall every time you want to take your machine on the road. Not so with Avancé!
  • Of course, the high grade steel stand, on casters, comes with the unit, so a StartUp working from a bedroom office can just wheel it into a closet when not in use.
  • Professional digitizing software. Stitch Era Universal from Sierra is a full featured digitizing software that will allow you to test the limits of your creativity. There’s also a clear upgrade path to even more powerful versions when your needs expand.
  • Free Embroidery Designs are included. You get 4,000 designs with every machine. That means you don’t have to start from scratch with the basics.. like baseballs, footballs, boats, and a wide variety of other embroidery “clip art”. You can get started right away!
  • Memory. Believe it or not, there are still commercial embroidery machines on the market that can’t store your designs on board. This is important, because it’s so much faster and simpler to just select from regular customers’ designs from the control panel and sew rather than have to go back to your computer to complete the job. The 1501C will store up to 200 designs right on the machine itself.


Best Training and Support

  • Training is vital, especially if you’re new to the business of apparel decorating. ColDesi not only has qualified, experienced people waiting to train you on your new software and equipment – we have a whole training SYSTEM designed to get you up and running.. and KEEP you there!
  • Live Online Training – This is by far the most popular choice for our customers! You receive your new single head machine and sign up for our lead trainer to take you through EVERYTHING live online. There are slides to give you the information, videos to show you how to do it, then you’ll do the exercise on your own machine. Our trainer is on line with you the whole time!
  • Self – Paced Training – maybe you have some experience on machines like this one, or need to help a new employee get started embroidering. In that case you can go through our Self-Pace training with videos and information ready when you are.
  • In House – If you really think you’ll need that extra, hands on attention you can join one of our classroom training sessions in one of our locations.
  • Free Tech Support as long as you own your machine. This is not just a technician on the other end of  your phone call, we’ve got a sophisticated support system that starts with HUNDREDS of videos and an autoresponse mechanism that actually sends you the most likely resolution to your issue automatically so you don’t have to wait.


Amazing Trade Up Guarantee

Avancé Grows with You

ColDesi is so confident in the quality of the machine itself, and in its usefulness to your embroidery business startup, that we offer something no one else in the industry can… a 2 year 100% Trade Up Guarantee!

When your new business takes off and you need to go from a single head to a multi head embroidery machine, like the 1502, 1504 or 1506C, we’ll give you 100% of what you paid for the 1501C in trade. That is an AMAZING commitment from ColDesi! You can use your machine for 2 years and it’s worth exactly the same as it was NEW.If you want to expand, but don’t need to grow all at once you can take advantage of Avancé Networking – you can actually buy a 2nd, 3rd or 4th single head commercial embroidery machine and put them all on the same network so they ACT like a multi head.

Impressive, right? Start Up NOW Don’t wait. Contact us right away and get your business started with Avancé and ColDesi by filling out the form here

Introducing Avancé – Best commercial embroidery machine for the price.

FREE E-Book – Starting A Custom T-Shirt Business

ColDesi’s staff has a combined experience of more than 500 years in the apparel decorating industry. Learn from the Pros with valuable information before you get started.

Buying a Business or Starting One?

Many entrepreneurs, or people looking into starting their own business, struggle with the decision on whether or not to buy and embroidery machine and start their own company or look into an embroidery business for sale. There are pros and cons to each, but if do evaluate an embroidery business for sale vs. buying a new embroidery machine and creating a business yourself. Take a look at the following points:

  • What are you actually buying? When you buy a commercial embroidery or custom t-shirt  business, it’s not just the value of the equipment that needs to be evaluated, it’s the business itself.
  • Is there a lease on the Equipment and Fixtures or is it is paid for?
  • What is the remaining warranty on the equipment? Is there a service contract with time left on it?
  • Where will  you get training on running your new machines when you purchase the business?
  • Is the person listing the Embroidery Business for Sale the owner or a broker? Who pays the commissions?
  • Can they produce good quality books (accounting records) that clearly show profits? Salaries?
  • What kind of “good will” are you buying? In other words, will the embroidery businesses customers stay with the business, or will they leave because of the personal connection with the owners?
  • Do they have a website, Facebook page or any other marketing presence that you’ll get with the business?

The big question that you need answered first is: WHY IS THE EMBROIDERY BUSINESS FOR SALE? Is it not profitable? Have sales been decreasing? are the owners retiring?

Oftentimes owners of existing small businesses have built the business up to the point of providing themselves with a lifestyle rather than an ever growing business. Their standards might be to just pay their mortgage, their expenses and to work in a business they enjoy. Are theirs the same as yours?

Of course you CAN find a good embroidery business for sale out there, but the odds of finding one that’s run well, run profitably and positioned for growth in the city, town or neighborhood you want to be in. .at the exact time that you’re ready to start a business, are very, very low!

Staring an embroidery business or buying one from someone else are both big decisions, and ColDesi is here to help!

Ready to Start or Expand Your Embroidery Business?

Chat with us below, call us at 877-793-3278 or click button and let us help you get your business growing.

Used Embroidery Machine Buyer’s Guide

Used Embroidery Machine Buyer’s Guide

What to look for in a used commercial or professional embroidery machine.

It’s so tempting. You’re in the start up or expansion phase of your new embroidery business, looking for the right machine to power your future success, and you go to any list of commercial embroidery equipment and immediately sort by “price”, lowest to highest.

You could be looking on eBay, or Amazon, or you end up on Alibaba, and the array of different brands, needles, configurations, software, and warranty is daunting. That’s not even including the new vs. used decision you have to make!

In the next few paragraphs we’ll outline the pros and cons of buying a used embroidery machine for your business – and having taken in hundreds of embroidery machines on trade over the years, having sold professional embroidery machines, new and used, in the thousands since 1999, ColDesi has developed some real expertise in the area. Hopefully, the information provided will guide you to the best way to start your new embroidery business.

Professional Machine Features

The first thing that you must do when looking into a used machine, or new for that matter, is make a clear differentiation between professional and consumer. Here are some of the characteristics of a professional unit:
  1. Robustness – commercial quality means that the machine will run all day, every day and not wear out or break down. Consumer machines aren’t made to run larger designs, or multiple designs, that may take 2-6 hours to embroider in one stretch. You can usually just “feel” this – just like closing the door on a high end vehicle, you can tell when there’s quality.
  2. Multi-needle – You may be used to a high end home embroidery machine, and what you can accomplish with a good one is pretty impressive. BUT, if you are going into business you simply must be able to produce a multicolor design or logo as quickly and efficiently as possible, and even a $6,000 consumer single needle machine just won’t cut it.
  3. Large Sewing Field – the sewing field is the size limit to the design you can embroider, or if you’re creating patches it is the number of them you can produce in one job. A small sewing field will rule out larger, more profitable jacket back designs, custom handbag designs and more.
  4. Training and Support – when you go into business, you can’t afford to leave questions unanswered or open your doors unprepared. When you purchase a commercial embroidery machine product the dealer/vendor/manufacturer understands that this is a business and you can’t be down. Because of this, you typically get a better educated, better prepared person on the other end of the phone when you need help.
  5. Auto Trim, large design memory, limitless number of stitches, warranty are all less obvious, but equally important differentiators between consumer and professional systems.
Don’t be fooled by big LED control panels, onboard fonts or just plain good looks of a high end consumer machine!

What Is Included With The Machine

Most people are surprised, if they have never been in the embroidery business, at the impact and the cost of accessories and software. When you’re running an embroidery business, you’re going to want 2 of each kind of hoop; one to sew on, and one to load while the other one sews so there’s no down time between jobs. You will also want the RIGHT sized hoop for the job, so that means at least 10 hoops in your inventory. Hoops range from about $30 to $90, so that can quickly add another $400 – $600 to your costs if they don’t come with the machine.

Does the used embroidery machine come with hoops?
The other thing that’s vital to running your business is the digitizing software or embroidery software. There are a wide variety of applications on the market that allow you to create files on your computer that you will be embroidering for your customer’s jobs. The software applications all have slightly different features, and possibly huge differences in capabilities. In addition, some software applications are difficult or even impossible to transfer from one owner to the next.

Does it come with transferable digitizing software?
Custom caps and hats are a hot business in the embroidery world! You cannot go to a mall without seeing a custom cap shop or kiosk, and caps are a huge market for businesses as well. Did you know that not all professional embroidery machines do caps well? And your used machine may not come with the “cap drivers” (hoops) to embroider on hats. This would represent a huge hole in  your potential sales and profits!

Will it do Caps, and come with the right drivers?
Supplies and sundries can not only add up in costs, but NOT having all that you need in the beginning can slow your growth and delay profitability. When you purchase a new piece of equipment from a reputable dealer or manufacturer it almost always comes with a large enough supply package to do your first few jobs.

The scenario you will want to avoid as a new business is to get that first order, then realize you don’t have the right kind of backing or toppings on hand and not fill it on time! Even the Essentials Kit from Colman and Company, which is the minimum you’ll need start, is $299 and the Popular Embroidery Kit is $499 – both are a great deal, but you need to keep that cost in mind when you’re comparing a new embroidery machine vs. used.

We’ve seen that it’s clearly not just enough to purchase the machine itself. When you’re comparing new vs. used, make sure you find out what comes with it.

Best Value For Start Ups

Starting an embroidery business requires knowing which type of machine best fits your needs.

How Old is the Machine?

There are hundreds of SWF, Tajima, ZSK (compare the top 5 machines here) and other solid brand embroidery machines that were first sold in the early 2000s or earlier that are still going strong. But there are several things that they may not, or simply cannot have that will make a significant difference to your business.

  1. Floppy drives – on many professional systems you do your design work on a PC, then carry your files to the embroidery machine, load them up and go. Up until just a few years ago machines came with 3.5” floppy disc drives to transfer those files. Floppies are getting harder and harder to find, replace or repair. Modern systems use a USB.
  2. Memory – newer machines have built in memory in addition to being able to use external storage, that way you can keep your regular customer’s designs right on the machine, ready to go at any time.
  3. Display control panel – current systems have a visual display that will let you SEE the design before outputting. Just to make sure you have the right one!
  4. Maintenance options – regular maintenance procedures have been streamlined over the years due to automatic oiling systems. Older ones may take you a little longer.
  5. Parts – the older the machine, the less likely you’ll find new factory parts if you have an issue.

Will the Used machine come with Training, Warranty, Support?
This set of reasons is why, if you do purchase a used embroidery machine, you simply must do it through a qualified dealer!

  1. Do you already know how to use the digitizing software, hoop a cap, change from flats to caps, which backing to use for which garment?
  2. Where will you go if you have technical problems?
  3. What to do if the machine keeps breaking needles, or just stops working?
  4. Are there training videos? Someone you can call?
  5. What if you expand and need to train someone new?
  6. Can you afford a major repair right after you purchase?

Buying Used can save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in the initial machine cost, but it may cost you thousands more in lost productivity, repair costs or just lost business because you’re not prepared. If you are considering a used commercial embroidery machine, make sure you review the points made in this Buyer’s Guide, then talk to a professional about your options.

Ready to Start or Expand Your Embroidery Business?

Chat with us below, call us at 877-793-3278 or click button and let us help you get your business growing.