When Should You Order Promotional Products for an Event?

As a business planning an event, it is important that you know when to order for your free promotional products. You should not be too early or too late.

As a matter of fact, it is still better to be early with ordering event promo gifts than being late. The question we get most times is when is the best time to order promotional products (know more) for events?

We will address this question in this post so if you are in this situation, read on.  event promo gifts

Defining lead time

You are probably wondering what lead time is and how it relates to ordering free promotional products for events. Don’t worry, we will break it down so you can understand it properly.

Lead time can be described as the period between when you order promotional products and you receive them. Let’s say you place your order 10 days ago and you received them 3 days ago. The lapse between you ordered your event promo gifts and when you received them is 7 days. That’s the lead time in this case.

People make the mistake of calculating the lead time from when they make the first contact with the production company. That’s wrong, it is actually from when your artwork is approved and you place the order. Before this, the company is not sure you are carrying out the project and you are not sure they’ll deliver.

After approval and both parties are on the same page, then you can start calculating the lead time. In fact, companies that produce these promotional items will clearly state their lead times. For most of these companies, it is between 7 and 10 days. 

For some companies, you have to pay 100% of the fees before you start calculating the lead time. For others, only a fraction is paid before the clock begins to tick. It is important to find out about this before you continue the transaction.

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Some lead times extend beyond 10 days, why?

For certain orders, some companies will tell you that the lead time will exceed 10 days. If the maximum time in almost every case is 10 days, why the aberration? There are several reasons for this.

The first reason is that some of the products you are ordering are coming from a different continent. Imagine that you are in the US and the products you need have to be ordered from Asia. Definitely, the lead time will extend as a result of the distance your free promotional products will be traveling.

A top example is USB pen drives. These event promo gifts could spend close to three weeks in transit. While there are closer options, they are way costlier. However, if you desire to cut down the lead time for items like these, then you will be paying more.

I want to cut down on the standard lead time, what do I do?

It is not strange to see entrepreneurs who want to order promotional products and receive them very quickly. This is probably because they have an event and they had to put in a rush order. For some items, it is very easy to cut down on the standard lead time from 7 days to about 5 days. In some cases, you can even drop it to less.

The products that offer this sort of luxury include mugs, tote bags, keyrings, and lanyards. There are some products that do not give you the opportunity to cut down on lead times. An example is when you want to order USB pen drives in bulk.

What do you do when you are short of time and you really need to publicize your brand at an event? It is best to go for items that you can cut down on the standard lead times. This way, you are assured of quality regardless of the short notice.

When you cut down on the standard lead time, it is called an express service. Ordering for an express service means that you will be paying an extra charge. For example, if you need promotional mugs, you can get your order delivered within 48 hours in most cases. This means the company has to pause on other projects, look through your artwork, approve and print.

What you are paying for is the extra effort and the delay of other jobs. The same applies to tote bags, keyrings, and lanyards.

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What is the best time to place an order for promo products for events?

It is better to be too early rather than late. So if you want to order promotional products for an event, we suggest you do it early. How early?

Depending on the time of the year, companies may be laden with lots of orders. When this happens, even if you are ready to pay for express service, they wouldn’t even accept your offer. So the best time to order your free promotional products will be when you know that an event is coming up.

The moment you get wind of the event, contact the company to know the available options. This will give enough time for the back and forth regarding artwork and inquiries, production, and delivery. As much as possible, make your order before four weeks to the event. 

When you make the inquiry early, you know what products you can invest in. It is possible that you have a predetermined product but the company provides better options. It is always difficult to consider better options when you are late because of the rush.

Every company has branding standards for their event promo gifts, early orders ensure that you abide by these. You have the opportunity to make changes to your artwork weeks before the event. Most of all, you are likely to get discounts and pay far less when you make your order early.


The lead time is a very important factor when it comes to ordering free promotional products. The earlier you order promotional products, the better. You are bound to get better deals and better quality for your event promo gifts. If you have any demand for custom promotional products, welcome to inquire us at Zigpac.

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