Home Youth Leaders Articles for Youth Leaders This Question Saved My Ministry Over $2500

This Question Saved My Ministry Over $2500

Today I’m sharing one budget-saving tip that’s really as easy as it sounds.

If you buy t-shirts, concert tickets or anything that requires pre-order …

… you could be throwing away hundreds or thousands of dollars.

That’s exactly why those companies don’t want you to ask this one question …

… and exactly why you should ask it every single time. Here it is:

“What is the fastest possible time you can process this order for me?”

I’ll tell you why this question works so well, but first, here’s the dirty secret those print-to-order companies don’t want you to know:

It doesn’t usually take as long to process your order as they say it does.

So why do they require three to six weeks of lead time to print a batch of logo-emblazoned shirts for your winter retreat?

Because they know that people like you and me are cursed with a significant degree of optimism.

Be optimistic about your ministry,

but realistic about your budget.

We’ll order 60 t-shirts, expecting 60 students to show up. But when we leave for the trip with 38 people in the bus and 38 payments deposited …

… we’ve already paid an extra $176 for 22 t-shirts that we don’t need and can’t give back.

That’s good for their business and bad for your budget.

The same goes for concerts that are “sure to sell out,” but oftentimes end up playing to half-full arenas.

How I’ve saved $2,500 — and probably a lot more!

1. Always call somebody!

Interestingly enough, there’s nowhere on an online order form to ask these questions. If you’re paying attention, this should be expected.

After all, it is always in the company’s best interest to make the most convenient option the one that’s going to cost you the most money.

There are plenty of reasons to always talk to a representative, and this is one of them.

2. Don’t give them TOO MUCH information.

Absolutely do not tell the person that you’re currently eight weeks away from your event date. You’ll just give them incentive to deceive you.

Instead, ask the question directly and bluntly.

If you don’t like the answer that you get, tell them that. They’ll be more flexible if they feel they’re at danger of losing your business.

3. Be prepared to call someone else.

There are literally hundreds of companies that provide many of the services you’re looking for.

It’s worth your time to find the most cost effective one, and the one that is least likely to get you into a pile of budgetary trouble.

4. It’s okay to pay a fee.

Would you rather pay a $20 “late-processing fee” or get stuck with 42 extra items that are just going to waste away in a box in a closet?

I kind of thought so.

From six weeks to five days! Seriously.

I spoke with a vendor who had a policy that required six weeks lead time. Six weeks is a long time, and a lot can change in six weeks.

So I pushed. I wasn’t about to get stuck drowning in overpriced t-shirts.

He came down to two weeks. I pushed again.

The manager came down to five days. FIVE DAYS!

Think about your last retreat. How far along were things planned with six weeks to go? Were numbers solid?

How about five days? Were you more able to make good and solid financial decisions with just five days to go?

I kind of thought so.

So let’s hear your worst story, hopefully for the last time.

Have you ever gotten stuck buying a bunch more stuff than you actually needed? What did you do with it?