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Custom Medals | 4 min read
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As an event director, it can be overwhelming to figure out how many custom medals you’ll need when your event date seems so far away. However, the best way to ensure your amazing custom medals are created, produced, and delivered on time is to begin the process as soon as you can.

You might feel it’s best to wait until the big day is closer to get a more accurate registration count, or perhaps you’re in the process of confirming sponsors and want to secure additional partners before you start your order. You might simply be unaware of the time and effort required to create and receive your custom medal order.

Whatever your reason for holding off, if you wait until the last minute to order, it could really cost you...literally and figuratively. If you wait too long, you might not get your medals in time for your event, or you may pay more to get them there. Worst case, you could damage your event’s reputation and blow your budget.

To avoid this stress and headache, check out the tips below to get the ball rolling on your custom medal order as soon as possible...yes, even if you’re still working out the numbers.

Start The Process

There are multiple stages of “placing” a custom medal order, and you can get the process rolling before knowing how many medals you want, who your sponsors are, and your design.

To get the process started, you should:

  • Get educated on the ordering process and timeline. Use online resources, and speak with other event directors and experienced custom medal providers.
  • Determine the type of custom medal you want. There are many types to choose from, and each type has specific features and requirements in terms of design, production, delivery, and cost.
  • Get started on your design by providing your medal vendor with art direction (logos, required design elements, fonts, etc.).

Putting thought into these details can help jumpstart the ordering process and help you stay on track with your time and budget. These steps can and should be started as soon as possible, even if you don’t know the total number of medals you’ll ultimately need.

Why are these items important? Consider this example… You choose a Custom Die Cast Medal for your medal type; these are typically made overseas and imported by either air or ocean freight. While air freight is faster, using ocean freight (4-6 weeks* longer than air) is significantly less expensive for medium and large orders (several hundred to several thousand medals).

Don't Wait

If you wait to start your order until you’re completely “ready” and know all of your order details, you might already be cutting it too close to:

  • Take advantage of less expensive freight options (savings could be significant!).
  • Get the type of medal with all of the design features you want.
  • Get your custom medals on time for your event.

Once you know how the ordering process works and you’ve chosen the type of custom medal, you can move on to the design process, which often takes longer than you might think because there are many potential variables involved.

Again, this step in the ordering process can be done without knowing how many medals you’ll ultimately need, so start ASAP!

Initial Orders & Add-On Orders

Under certain circumstances, starting your order early and placing an initial medal order before having a final registration count allows for completing your custom design, getting your die or mold produced if necessary, and having the majority of your custom medals imported and shipped to you.

If you realize you want more medals, an add-on order can be turned around faster than the initial order. If rush charges, such as air freight, are required, they will only apply to the smaller, add-on order rather than the entire order.

This scenario is typical for large-scale events, like marathons, with hundreds or even thousands of participants. Since registrations increase over time, event directors can estimate an initial medal order to get the process rolling. Later on, once they know how many medals they really need, add-on orders can be placed to ensure they have enough for the big day. 

Plan For The Best, Prepare For The Worst

Yes, an add-on order might be a practical option if you have enough time for medals to be produced and shipped before your event date... every circumstance is different. However, more often than not, you’re better off buying more than you think you need in your initial order than waiting until the last minute to order more.

Because you can take advantage of the much cheaper freight method (ocean) with your initial medal order, you might spend less by ordering a few more medals in your initial order than paying for a small, add-on order that’s shipped via air freight. If you’ve waited too long to order and your medals arrive after the event, you will have to spend more time and money (up to $4-5 per medal) to mail them to each participant.

An oversight of this magnitude can be very stressful, leave empty-handed participants disappointed, and fail to meet sponsor expectations. The whole ordeal might end up costing more than if you had just ordered extra medals from the get-go.

To Sum Things Up…

  • You don’t need to know the exact quantities in advance to choose the medal type, create a design, and start the order process.
  • You can place an initial order based on a quantity you’re confident you’ll need and add to it later.
  • Place add-on orders when necessary.
  • You can save money by starting the ordering process early.
  • The most expensive custom medals are the ones that aren't there on the day of your event.

The best way to ensure your medals are created, produced, and delivered on time is to begin the process as soon as you can with the tips outlined in this article.

If you’re unsure where to start, get in touch with a reputable custom medal vendor to get the ball rolling on your order. An experienced vendor can:

  • Help you choose the best type of custom medal based on your specific situation.
  • Ask the right questions to quickly and efficiently help you develop a budget and realistic timeline.
  • Use their in-house expert medal designers to bring your design concept/vision to life.
  • Create designs that exceed your expectations.
  • Manage the stages of your order from start to finish: crucial order details, design, production, shipping, and logistics.
  • Provide outstanding customer service and have processes to ensure your order is completed correctly, arrives on time, and is within your budget.

*The COVID-19 Pandemic has created worldwide supply chain delays and shortages of material, equipment, and manpower. Lead times may reach up to 8 weeks longer than the standard timeframes.


5 Tips For Designing an Amazing Custom Medal

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