You just volunteered to take on the challenge of hiring a customized school supply kit company to provide your schoolwith back-to-school supply packs. It then dawned on you, “where do I begin?”
Whether you have done this in the past, or this is the first time you’ve looked into a prepackaged school supply bundle company, you are in the right place! I have some very useful ideas to help you get started!
Is a school supply kit company right for your school?
Prepackaged school supply packs are right for your school if ALL of the following criteria are met:
- Your teachers have a list of required supplies that the parents need to purchase.
- Some of the parents want to avoid the hassle of going store to store to buy their supplies.
- You have a volunteer that can organize it at your school.
A good school supply kit company is a great option for the parents. Parents can save time in shopping and rest assure that the purple 3-prong folder on the supply list is in the kit without digging through the bins in Walmart. On the other hand, some students and their parents love shopping the supplies themselves. A good prepackaged school supply kit company should not oblige all the parents to participate. But if your school wants to make everyone participate, the company should allow you to do so as well.
Now that you’ve decided that a school supply kit company is right for you, the next step is to find the right one for your school.
Step 1: Pick at least 3 companies to compare.
You can find these companies by searching for terms such as “customized school supply kit”. Or ask your friends in other schools to see whom they have worked with in the past. If your school is on a Facebook group with other schools, ask them also.
Step 2: Gather your school’s info.
It is helpful that you provide enough information about your school to the school supply kit companies so they can come back with the right offers for you. These information include:
- Grades within your school (Prek-12? K-5?)
- Total number of students enrolled.
- Supply lists (if you don’t have next year’s, provide the current year’s).
- Do you want the kits shipped directly to the school or to the parents’ homes?
Step 3: Call each company.
Calling is better than emailing. Why? Your email may go into their SPAM box, and you may not get a call back. By calling, you can also see how quickly you can be connected to a live person, which gives you a good starting point in assessing the school supply kit company. Now, keep in mind that they can all be busy around April timeframe. The best time to start the evaluation process, is in Jan. Some schools start as early as August! But don’t worry, many companies will work with you as long as you remain flexible.
Step 4: Ask questions.
When you are in first contact with them, provide them your school name, city, and state. (Many schools have similar names in even the same area, so it is best if you can provide your school’s web address also.)
Here are ten sample questions you may want to ask these companies.
- Do they offer ship to home or school? If the school supply kits are shipped to the school do they offer call ahead delivery or delivery inside the front doors?
- When do orders close? Are they able to stay open all summer long?
- Do they offer flexibility that fits your needs (i.e. optional items to be added to kits, elective class items optional, packed out by classroom or individual)
- Do they offer all of your products?
- Are they competitive priced or do they price match?
- Do they offer different ways to raise funds for your school?
- Do they give back to the community?
- Do they provide marketing materials and a comprehensive marketing plan?
- Are you able to view school supply pack orders real-time so you can monitor the schools progress?
- What other benefits do you offer that other school supply kit companies do not offer?
Step 5: Ask for a sample quote (optional)
Some schools ask for a sample quote using their current year’s supply list. Keep in mind there is extra work involved in comparing these sample quotes. By the time you obtain the answers to the above questions, usually you will have a great gauge of whether one of these companies meet your needs without a sample quote.
If you do ask for sample quotes, make sure you are comparing apples to apples for each school supply kit. Here are some helpful tips:
- Check whether the incentives are realistic. I’ve seen companies offering a low price on kits, but the fine print says that the price is only good if ALL the orders come in by April 15. This is tough to do, as parents aren’t even thinking about next year’s supply kits in April. Make sure you only note the discounts that are realistic to you.
- Note any disappearing discounts. One school supply pack company offers a low price on the kits only if all the orders closein May 20, the expected last day of school. Unfortunately, the last day of school was extended due to a large flood in the area. The kits ended up costing more than the PTO had advertised. The PTO had to use their own money to pay the differences.
- Do they promise a large fundraiser amount back, but the cost of their kits is much higher than the competitors’? It is better for the kit prices be reasonable, and the school decides on how much fundraiser amount to add to each kit.
- Do they quote Crayola crayons in one grade but generic crayons in another grade? Make sure you are comparing the brands of each grade across all the school supply kit companies. Better yet, if you want name brand in a certain product, spell that out in the supply lists so there is no confusion.
Step 6: Make your decision!
Now that you’ve compared your options, make your decision! The earlier you can start with your customized school supply kit company, the better. It will give the families at your school more time to order school supply packs, which will likely boost your cash fundraising dollars.
Regardless of the path you take with school supply kits, your parents and teachers will love this option at your school. School supply kits can help take a tremendous amount of work off the shoulders of our educators! We love being part of the customized school supply kit community! Reach out to us today to see if Bright SchoolKitz® is right for you.