How To Start T-Shirt Printing Business – Profitable Business Plan

customised tshirt printing business

T-shirt printing business is now catching the top place in the list of businesses with low investment and high profit margin. The demand for custom printed T-shirts has increased many fold in recent years, making  good business opportunity for entrepreneurs to choose this to invest in. The major reason for this is the growing trend and the modernisation in all the events in the society. Initially, people focussed on setting up the environment in case of an event. But, today there is more importance given to the costumes used in an event. Here comes the push for more sales and need for t-shirt printing. In this article I will share information on how you can start your own t-shirt printing business with very little investment.

You can also refer to the supplier of custom t-shirts for more information on starting your t-shirt business with resale.

Opportunities in T-Shirt Printing Business

The present generation has more of youngsters, and this stands as a reason for the increased the number of orders placed for t-shirt printing. People have now shifted to customisation than buying whatever is available. Also, the need for showcasing a person’s uniqueness contributes for the orders for printing.

A business in this line will definitely earn you huge profits if done in the most appropriate way by following effective business plan. After establishing the business, it is you who should create your opportunities for making its existence a meaningful one. Opportunities in t-shirt printing business are found in every corner of the society, and this is one pillar strength for this business. Not necessary that you should have a typical shop, you can put up a stall for these printed t-shirts in malls, you can also create your own online store.

  • You can have a tee shirt company of your own brand
  • Partner with any showrooms for printing the requested designs
  • Print t-shirts for customers who plan for events like football match, celebrity live show, etc
  • Partnering with gift shops who sell customised t-shirts

Market Segments to Target

Basically, teenagers make up 75% of the market segment for this. They order tee shirts for gifting purposes, dress code etc. Sales which takes place here is because of the need for customisation. Maybe for representing them as a team, these youngsters will order printed t-shirts. It might be directly to you or through any middle company, but the main buyers are teenagers.

Apart from them, social activists order such printed t-shirts to show uniformity in their motive. Also, schools and colleges make a small part in ordering printed t-shirts for their students.

T-Shirt Printing Business Plan

A business running in any industry will require land, labor, investment and machines. Investment depends on the size of business and the execution level you are looking for. All these requirements can be made general or made according to your financial background. I will give you details on the machines you need to procure for the business, as they are mandatory for production.

It is definitely a very serious issue to choose on the machines you need as they reflect on the method to adopt too. Proper maintenance should be done for the machines so as to have a continued flow of production. Before looking into machines, lets discuss about t-shirt printing methods and process.

T-Shirt Printing Methods

This is a very important element to be studied before starting the tee shirt printing business. To ascertain the exact needs of the customers and the quality in which the tee shirt has to produced, a complete research on these methods is mandatory. Some of the effective methods are,

  • Screen printing
  • Heat press printing
  • Direct to Garment technique DTG
  • Sublimation technique
  • CAD Cut Vinyl Printing
  • Transfer Paper method

Heat press printing being the most used one for small scale t-shirt printing business. If you want to start up large scale business then you should go with screen printing because cost of printing 1 t-shirt using heat transfer method is cheaper than screen printing. But, cost of printing 100 t-shirt using heat transfer method is expensive than screen printing.

In other words,

  • For printing 1 t-shirt, screen printing method will be expensive than heat transfer.
  • For printing 100 t-shirts, screen printing method will be cheaper than heat transfer method.

In this article we will discuss about heat transfer method using sublimation paper. For this method you will require:-

  • Heat press machine
  • Sublimation paper
  • Computer
  • and a printer

Heat Press Machine

Heat press machine of size 16*20 inches will be a great one for transferring the graphics into the tee shirt. Again, the need for this machine is only when you use the method involving heat press. The price for this machine is around $300 only. There are various types of machines are available in the market, you must read reviews about all machines before making final decision. Read reviews about heat press machines at Tshirt Professional website.

Sublimation Paper

A good quality transfer paper is needed for making your designs print on the garments. The quality of the paper is very important since there are chances for the entire process to be a flop if the paper quality is poor. A transfer paper is said to be of a good quality if the surface of the paper is smooth and non-absorbent.

Printers (For printing design in sublimation paper)

These printers do not mean the normal paper printing ones, but essentially the printers for fabrics. Inkjet, laser, sublimation and solvent printers are the four types of printers which you can use for the business. Of these, solvent printers are the most expensive ones due to their procuring costs and the maintenance. Thus, I recommend you not to choose it for a start-up. The price for printer is around $300.


Computers will be needed for graphic designing and other operations in the company. Inventory, billing and other functions requiring digital support brings the need for a computer in your company. A well-trained, professional graphic designer can be appointed to carry out all the activities of designing.

Steps Involved in T-shirt Printing

Heat press printing method is very simple. The steps involved in this method are as follows:-

  • Create a design in your computer
  • Print that design in sublimation paper
  • Switch on heat press machine and wait until it heats up
  • Put t-shirt in heat press machine and put sublimation paper on t-shirt
  • Press the machine for 10 seconds and the design will get printed on t-shirt fabric
  • You are done

Heat press machines can both be manual and automated. Hence, a one which is operated automatically will be an efficient and appropriate one for your business. Heat press is basically a machine which generates heat and pressure to print the design on the fabric. To make it more understandable, it works like the Xerox machine.

Types of Inks Used in t-Shirt Printing

Printing is a very simple thing, but the type of ink should be of a better choice. Some of inks are exclusively used with the request of customers and these inks might escalate the prices of the t-shirts. A set of 6 printing inks of the basic quality may approximately cost $100.

  • Neon inks
  • Foil and metallic inks
  • Shimmer inks
  • Soft hand inks
  • Discharge inks

Stencils or Templates

Regular designs and templates can be procured in bulk for designing the  t-shirts with common and basic prints. These templates might also be put in your showcase for making your customers know the availability of various designs you have.

How To Decide Pricing

Pricing should be different for each order and each design. This is because, quantity decides the price of each unit. If you are planning to sell it wholesale, then the price at which you sell should have less profits. If the quantity is less, then the margins can be desirable.

Remember to maintain the quality of the printed tee shirt as they may be compared with the prices at which you offer. Take into consideration your t-shirt printing machines cost, operating expense, labor needed for one tee shirt to be printed, the tag on it, and the ink used while fixing the price.

Register Your Business

Like all the business, you will need the trade license to operate tee shirt printing business. The trade license can be obtained from a local office and this license legally allows the existence your business. Get a bank account and complete all tax formalities after company registration.


Finally, printed t-shirt should be inspected for any damage while printing. Also, the colors in which they are printed should be checked with the pre-mentioned specification. Inspection makes your customers come to you again and again. This is the one which builds trust in your company and with that people accept even if your pricing is little high.


In the end, t-shirt printing business serves to be a very good option for young minds. I mentioned the term “young minds” to emphasize the fact that t-shirt printing requires fresh ideas rather than the existing ones or the conventional ideas.

Make a proper business plan for all your operations within the business. Finance should be decided before hand and the activities should take only that much budgeted money.

Marketing efforts should also be given maximum importance. Use social media for promotion.

Initially, make your processes simple with very easily adaptable regulations. This will enable your employees to have a better work environment. Have brainstorming sessions as and when possible so that you generate new ideas making your business stand unique in the market.


1. What do I need to get started in t-shirt printing?

To get started in t-shirt printing, you will need a few items. First, you will need a design. You can either come up with your own design, or you can find one online. Next, you will need some t-shirt transfer paper. This can be found at most office supply stores. Finally, you will need a printer and some t-shirts. Any type of printer will work, but an inkjet printer is the best option.

2. How much does it cost to start a t-shirt printing business?

As the cost of starting a t-shirt printing business will vary depending on a number of factors, including the size and scope of the business, the equipment required, and the location of the business. However, as a general guide, you can expect to spend anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars on start-up costs.

3. What are the risks associated with t-shirt printing?

There are a few risks associated with t-shirt printing. The most common risk is that the design may not turn out the way that you intended. If you are not happy with the results, you may not be able to get a refund. Another risk is that the shirt may not be the right size or may be uncomfortable to wear. Finally, there is always the chance that the shirt could be damaged during the printing process.

4. What are the benefits of starting a t-shirt printing business?

There are many benefits of starting a t-shirt printing business, including the ability to be your own boss, set your own hours, and work from home. T-shirt printing is a relatively low-cost business to start, and there is a large potential market for t-shirts with unique designs. T-shirt printing businesses can be profitable and provide a good income for their owners.

5. How do I choose the right t-shirt printing equipment?

The main factors to consider when choosing t-shirt printing equipment are production speed, print quality, and cost of ownership. Production speed is determined by the printhead technology, print speed, and the number of colors that can be printed. Print quality is determined by the printhead technology, printer resolution, and inks. Cost of ownership is determined by the initial purchase price, printhead technology, inks, and maintenance.

6. How do I find the right suppliers for my t-shirt printing business?

There are a few key factors to consider when finding a t-shirt printing supplier. First, consider the quality of the supplier’s products. Make sure to read online reviews and compare pricing between different suppliers. Second, consider the supplier’s turnaround time and shipping rates. You’ll want to find a supplier that can print and ship your t-shirts quickly and at a reasonable price. Finally, consider the supplier’s customer service. You’ll want to find a supplier that is easy to communicate with and that has a good reputation for resolving any issues that may arise.

7. How do I market my t-shirt printing business?

There are a few ways to market a t-shirt printing business. You can hand out flyers in high traffic areas, post on online classifieds websites, or distribute business cards. You can also create a website or blog to showcase your work and reach a wider audience.

8. What are some common mistakes made in t-shirt printing businesses?

One common mistake is not printing a sample before mass production. This can lead to issues with the design, color, or placement of the print. Another mistake is not properly curing the ink after printing. This can cause the print to fade or crack over time.

9. How can I improve my t-shirt printing business?

There are a number of ways to improve your t-shirt printing business. One way is to add new and innovative designs to your product line. Another way is to improve your production process so that your shirts are printed more quickly and with higher quality. You can also improve your customer service by providing better turnaround times and more helpful customer service representatives.

10. What are the trends in t-shirt printing?

There is a trend towards more intricate and detailed designs on t-shirts. This includes designs with multiple colors, as well as larger designs that span the entire shirt. Additionally, there is a trend towards t-shirts with personal messages or inside jokes.

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