If you are in any way involved in buying promo items for your company, here are some common terms. . Knowing what they mean or how they're used will make you more knowledgeable.
Decoration: Anytime you put your logo on an item, that's called decoration. Doesn't matter the method of imprinting, (silk screen, laser engraved, pad printing, etc.) they're all called decoration.
Column pricing. Here's a typical catalog page showing pricing. This is for a USB flash drive.
The top line shows quantities with 50 being the "first column." In this case 50 USB drives is this supplier's minimum quantity for an order. (This is also called the "catalog minimum."). You'll see that the price goes down as the quantity goes up. This is called "quantity price breaks." So, between 50 and 99 pieces the price per USB drive is $6.81, between 100 and 249 pieces the price is $6.53...and so on.
2500 pieces is the "end column" price.
About "catalog minimum." Often, but not always, a supplier will take an order for less than the "catalog minimum." In most cases they will take an order for 1/2 of that minimum. This is called a "less-than-minimum" order or LTM. There will be a surcharge added to the order to produce LTM. It can range from $25 up to as much as $80 depending on the supplier.
About the "Price" row. The price is per item. The price includes the item and a 1 color, 1 location decoration.
Set-up. Set-up is what the supplier does to convert your logo (from a digital file) into the proper format for them to decorate your product. This could be silk screening, embroidery, laser engraving, etc. The supplier has to "set-up" their machines to decorate your item. The set-up is a separate charge.
Run Charge.Remember that I said that the price includes a 1 color decoration. What happens if your logo has more than 1 color? Printing a 2nd color (or more) is where you encounter the "run charge." It is the supplier's charge to put that 2nd color on your item. It is quoted as a per piece price. The run charge also applies to printing in a 2nd location. Let's say that you have a 1 color logo going on the USB drive. That first imprint is included in the price. Now let's say you want your web address on the other side of the USB drive. Printing in that 2nd location will involve a run charge.
PMS color match.Most corporate logos have very specific colors. These colors are designated by their PMS numerical code. PMS 032 for instance is what you might call a "fire engine" or "crayon red."
PMS stands for Pantone Matching System and is the universal code for creating colors.
When you specify your PMS color the supplier will add a charge to mix up a batch of ink in your specific color.
Most suppliers have a selection of their "standard colors" for which there is no additional charge. You should have your distributor check those colors...a standard color might be close enough to your PMS color that it's an acceptable substitute...you can save yourself the PMS color match charge.
Proof. A proof is the supplier's depiction of what your logo will look like on the product you're buying. Most proofs are PDFs and show the item in your color with your logo in your colors. That's the industry standard.. If you receive a proof that is B&W or just shows your logo without the product, I recommend that you insist on a color proof.
That covers the charges you will have for a typical promotional product order. Knowing these terms will make you a better buyer and will avoid surprises in your final invoice.