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.
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
- 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.
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.
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.