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How to Save Money on Racing Apparel

by Steve Welk
How to Save Money on Racing Apparel

There is an old adage in Motorsports: speed is expensive; how fast do you want to go? The answer for everyone is FAST. Would you believe it if I told you that finding ways to save money on expenses that don't improve the car is also a way to ultimately make the race car faster? That's because those savings can then theoretically be invested into making the car go faster. 

Good crew and racing apparel is a necessity and a cost for a race team to keep sponsors happy and satisfy series rules, but it doesn't have to break the bank. In our experience, here are some of the most effective strategies to save money on crew and racing apparel:

1. Start with a plan.

Starting with a plan can save time, money, and frustration. To begin planning, first, evaluate the wants and needs of the organization. Deeper analysis can include analyzing:
  • Apparel type needs vs. wants (for on-track and off)
  • Current trends
  • Competitors' apparel
  • The climate and conditions that the apparel will be worn in
  • Sponsors' needs
  • Series rules
  • Determine quantities

With this insight upfront, teams can communicate their expectations with a racing apparel partner. Planning can also help teams put together a realistic budget, with help again from their apparel partner. 

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2. Consider team and crew changes.

In racing, team members come and go. To avoid costly additions later, teams should order a few extra pieces in the most popular sizes. Most apparel companies will have higher costs and charge additional setup fees for short runs (AKA smaller orders). By thinking and ordering ahead with the initial bulk order, teams can avoid these costs. 

3. When it comes to colors, less is more. 

Multiple colors and large graphics look cool, but when it comes to outfitting racing teams, they come at a cost. The more design elements and colors added to an order, the more expensive it can become. To avoid unnecessary expenses, at least at the beginning, teams can opt to keep things simple. Sometimes, the best money-saving solution can be as simple as selecting one-color versions of sponsor logos. This approach will keep setup and production run charges lower. 

4. More can be less.

A majority of apparel producers have price breaks at specific quantities. This means the more teams order, the more they save per item, so it pays to explore quantity breaks with any vendor you talk to. It's important to note that almost all of the quantity breaks will be different, so don't just assume. Understanding those numbers can help plan (see point one) out the numbers. In the long run, investing in a few extra pieces upfront can save money (see point 2). Additional apparel can account for any changes in the crew or lost clothing.

5. Sometimes, it's worth paying for a brand name. Sometimes not.

We all know that prestigious brands come at a premium. Sometimes, it is worth it; sometimes, it is not. While many brand names already have a positive reputation, can be great for aligning the look of a crew with a team's preexisting aesthetic, can help drive positive sentiment towards a racing team, or have a better quality product (depending on the brand, a good vendor will help you determine if the brand is worth it or not. Your vendor should ultimately recommend shirts and materials from brands that match a team's desired style, perception, and budget.

6. Multiple setups can add cost.

When designing racing apparel, sometimes simple can be best. While teams may desire designs that differ across apparel types, teams can save money initially by using the same logo design setup for all apparel in an order. For example, teams will avoid numerous setup costs using the same logo design across a polo, raincoat, t-shirt, etc. This allows your vendor to combine the run cost of two or three apparel items so you can meet their quantity price break across multiple pieces while giving the team more apparel options for various weather applications.

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By considering factors such as branding, quantities, design, and the latest trends, racing teams can create a strategy and budget for their apparel. The last key to the puzzle is choosing a trusted apparel partner to do their business with. Numerous apparel partners can fulfill an order, but we can help teams create an entire profitable merchandise program. Ready to go above and beyond with racing apparel? See our system.

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