Factories can have a few small machines or many large machines, or any combination of machines. Contract embroidery is done on goods that the customer supplies to the embroidery house and is limited to the trade, "ASI" and marketing firms use these services almost exclusively. A company offering contract embroidery sews designs onto wearable items for brokers, other embroiderers, specialty firms, and screen printers at a wholesale rates. The customer of a contract embroiderer usually supplies the items to the factory and only pays for the embroidery service.
Commercial embroiderers, and some contract embroiderers, offer their services to the public, and can supply the wearable items, and usually have a vast collection of stock designs and text available, Keeping up with current market trends, and offering names and personalization as well as designs for embroidery.