So it is YOUR responsibility to choose the awards for the occasion? How do you choose an appropriate item or range of awards for a function? This catalogue alone offers over five thousand variation. Where do you start? Our experienced staff are always available to make suggestions, and help you choose the perfect item to arrive ON TIME within BUDGET. Need some inspiration? Check out our Instant Ideas page!
Here are few steps to make your decision easier, more or less in order of importance:
- When Do You Need the Item(s) in Hand?
When will the item be presented? If needed very soon you are restricted largely to what we have in stock, or can draw from local vendors. Look for a one day ship emblem on our site - It means we usually have at least a few items in stock, or can source them rapidly. Air freight is also available but expensive.
Many vendors require 2-3 weeks lead time. We do not!
Many vendors charge rush penalty charges of up to 40% to ship in less than two weeks. Please note we NEVER charge rush charges. Don't hesitate to ask for what may seem impossible.
- What Budget?
How many dollars are allocated to the project? A maximum budget, or price per item is a very helpful starting point. We can offer suggestions in all price ranges from less than $5 for a small acrylic item, to over $500 for a large optical crystal tower. All prices include engraving and usually personalization.
We can often meet budget by adjusting size, (many items are available in several sizes), and thickness. We will ensure your "in hands" cost is within budget. We will estimate transport costs. Next day air freight is expensive. Watch for high set up charges, packing and freight surcharges applied by many other vendors. Is the vendor flexible and can offer a "package deal" for quantities? An agent usually has no flexibility.
- How Many Items?
Many vendors cannot handle large projects, or will not handle very small orders. We will make one or a thousand. If a small number under two or three you will have more flexibility, particularly if we show the item as "in stock" with a "one day" . Large quantities will require a lead time of one to five days. We can ship over fifty of several items within just days
- Which Items Do You Like?
Browse our "catalog" to get an idea of the range of items available. Military awards provides a good overview of the many products available. Ignore price for a moment. Many items are available in multiple sizes at different prices. What you like will guide us to make suggestions within your price range, and delivery date. Email us details of what you like from any other sites worldwide. We know most importers and can usually source the item or something very similar.
- Relative Value Between Awards
Decide the relative value of awards? If a "best" award or prize is worth say 100, should 2nd place be valued at 80 or only 40? Tenure awards for say 5/10/20 years need careful planning. How do you top an expensive five year award when you need a ten or twenty? Will that item be available year after year?
- Is a Functional Item or an Award/Plaque More Appropriate?
Perhaps a personalized candy dish, flower vase or desk name plate may be more appropriate than an award meant only for display. In the case of retirement is an item for the home better?
- Direct Contact with the Factory
Are you buying from the engraver, or a third party? An agent with a fancy catalog means you have NO direct contact. This will slow down your project, and limit your choices. Speaking direct to the factory gives you much faster service, better control and the ability to make last minute changes. We ARE the engraver, so there is no delay time between the vendor and engraver.
- Paper Proofs
Do you get a free paper proof from the vendor? Do they charge for updates and changes? A prompt layout proof by email is essential. You should receive it in no more than one working day from your date of order.
Some other factors to take into account when you select awards:
- PERCEIVED VALUE OF THE AWARD YOU ARE SELECTING IS IMPORTANT
Will management, or the recipient appreciate that small, but exquisite high quality award, or do you need a large, impressive award which can be appreciated from thirty feet away? Optical crystal items are mostly small but very high quality. Jade, starphire and marble awards are generally large and impressive.
- A PERSONALIZED OR GENERIC AWARD?
It is always better to put a persons name on the award! This makes it much more valuable to the recipient. Watch for line changes. Many vendors charge up to $8 per line change.
- MANAGEMENT OR COMMITTEE DECISIONS?
What does management or the committee expect? Allow time for the committee to meet and discuss your suggestions. You are free to copy and paste sections of the web pages into a new document or email to circulate to others. Choose a vendor who will work with you to produce artwork promptly for circulation to the committee.
- SPEED AND FLEXIBILITY
How long will the vendor take to generate your artwork or make changes?
- DOES THE VENDOR ONLY OFFER WHAT IS IN THE CATALOGUE?
Flexibility is always an advantage What other items can the vendor offer?
- EASE OF COMMUNICATION
Look for a vendor who takes all information by email, and does not retype your data which leads to mistakes. Do you get color artwork promptly by email, or only by fax? Can you e-mail all details in the format of your choice? Complicated internet forms are time consuming to navigate and inflexible
What similar awards have been given in the past?
- ARE SET UP AND OTHER CHARGES REASONABLE?
Compare the set up charges from different vendors. Some catalogue companies charge up to $90 up front before you buy even one. award
How long has the vendor been in business? How large is the staff? Large companies may not give the best service.
- HELP AND ASSISTANCE
Does your vendor offer personal help with the decision, and design process, or are you expected to make all decisions off a mechanized web site?
- DUE DILIGENCE.
Ask for recent references, particularly from repeat customers A reputable company will offer you names and telephone numbers of at least a dozen jobs completed recently. Call a few to check the company delivers on time, and has a solid reputation.