4 questions to ask before hiring an embroidery operator

In this episode of the Embroidery Insider Podcast, Henry covers some tips about hiring your next embroidery machine operator based on some questions we received on our Facebook group, Embroidery & Printing Business Help.

If you’re wondering when it may be time to expand and how to approach the expansion process, read on to discover four questions to ask yourself when hiring an embroidery machine operator. 

You can also follow this podcast using the audio version below.


#1: Is it time to hire help?

This is one of the biggest questions or concerns embroiderers face when thinking about hiring an embroidery operator.

The simple answer? When you find yourself spending too much time on production and you have less time to focus on growing your business.

A simple rule to follow is to dedicate 70% of your time to existing work, and 30% of your efforts toward growing and giving back to your business.

If you’ve evaluated that the 70% and 30% allocation of time and effort are not in sync, it may be time to hire!

Since we’re on the topic of balancing your business and cultivating a more productive environment…

Did you know: A multi-head will help you get double to 12 times the projects done, so your hourly rate for your labor or your operator’s labor will decrease dramatically. Click here to see how much it costs to get started with a multi-head today. 

#2: What is an embroidery operator responsible for?

An embroidery operator will help take the stress off production. 

Typically, embroidery operators are responsible for:

  • Maintaining accurate inventory count, reordering inventory and supplies
  • Working with digitizers to test and perfect designs
  • Quality control
  • Keeping production areas tidy and organized
  • Machine maintenance
  • Hooping and preparing garments according to industry best practices

Click here to see exactly what an operator should be responsible for depending on their skill level.

Another way to take the stress off production is to ensure you and your operator know the kinds of fabrics that will work best for high quality output. Click here to download a list of 50 popular fabrics and how you can embroider them for best quality.

#3: How much should I pay an embroidery operator?

It is typical to pay an embroidery operator $11 to $17 an hour depending on your location and the operator’s experience.

For new or less experienced operators:

An average hourly rate would be about $11-$13 an hour.

For 1-2 years experience:

$13 to $15 an hour is a fair rate.

For experienced operators who will be managing more than one person:

$15 to $17 an hour is an acceptable compensation.

Pro tip: You can also look at what other embroiderers in your area are asking for on Craigslist, Indeed, Career Builder, forums FB groups like Embroidery and Custom Apparel Mastery!

#4: How do I evaluate the experience of an embroidery machine operator?

First off, ask your potential embroidery machine operator if they have experience with short runs or long runs.

In embroidery, operators with experience doing long runs are more comfortable with the machine and are able to troubleshoot production issues more easily.

Pro tip: To cover your bases, interview your potential hire and conduct an examination of their technique. You can instruct them to hoop and run a quick job. Focus on hooping technique, as this is the most important part of machine embroidery.

Check out the complete hiring guide here to view questions to ask your candidates.

Bottom Line

Hiring help can be difficult for “solo-preneuers” who like things done a certain way. Therefore, make sure to take the time to evaluate each candidate’s experience, lay out your expectations and even conduct a test to vet your next operator’s experience. 

But wait! Before you go…

Ask us anything or share your process for hiring an embroidery machine operator in the comments below. 

For additional help, feel free to join our free Facebook group, Embroidery and Custom Apparel Mastery.

In it, over 10,000 members share their thoughts about embroidery, give insight on various embroidery related issues and provide connections to wholesale items and even jobs!

Join the group!

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