5 Must-Have Elements of a Successful T-Shirt Printing Business

Starting a t-shirt printing business is just like starting any other business. It requires research, planning, and passion, and some seriously hard work. But with the right elements in place, your t-shirt printing business will become a profitable investment that exceeds everyone’s expectations.

Here’s what every entrepreneur needs to start, run, and manage their own t-shirt printing business:

The right process

Direct to garment (DTG), screen printing, heat transfer—which process will serve you and your business best?

The truth is, screen printing and heat transfers have major limitations in the modern garment decoration world. Direct-to-garment printing, on the other hand, offers the flexibility and diversity that every modern t-shirt printing shop needs to stay competitive.

Reorders: Screen printing and heat transfers don’t allow for easy reordering because they’re time-consuming to set up. Rather than turn the customer away, or reluctantly set up the press again to fulfill the order, DTG offers the ability to quickly fill reorders with little to no setup time.

Short runs: These days, there is a huge demand for one-off custom t-shirt designs. But with a DTG printer at your location, you’ll be able to compete with online manufacturers like CafePress and Zazzle and capture the bulk of local business. And as a bonus, you’ll be able to advertise “No Minimums,” which is something many of your competitors won’t offer.

Samples: Dropping off samples is an easy way to make an impact when scouting new businesses. DTG’s easy setup makes it simple to create custom, high-quality samples that will help you land those crucial accounts.

Powerful equipment (a specialist t-shirt printer)

When it comes down to it, the equipment you choose can make or break your business. But with all the available options, how do you know what t-shirt printing equipment is the best?

Rather than get hung up on special features and technical modifications, you need to find a well-made t-shirt printer that can reliably do the job it’s intended to do.

We recommended the Epson SureColor F2100 for these reasons, and many more:

  • Small and portable
  • Easy to learn and use
  • Specifically designed for textile ink
  • Highest-rated washability from the AATCC
  • Prompted maintenance commands and easily accessed replacement parts
  • Best warranty in the industry

High-quality t-shirts

Not all t-shirts are created equal. For the ultimate finished product, you need to use a t-shirt that is made with thick and tightly-woven material (ring spun), and a cotton blend ratio of 100% to 50%.

We here at Melco have found the best results from Spectra Tees. Their 20 and 30-single-ring spun garments really show off what DTG t-shirt printers can do, and they’re competitively priced, especially when you sign up your new business for a wholesale account.

Optimal Pricing

To determine a fair price for your t-shirt printing, you’ll first need to keep track of every penny you spend. In addition to the obvious expenditures like equipment, blank garments, and advertising, you’ll also need to think of a host of hidden costs, such as:

  • Ink (the bulk of the cost when printing DTG)
  • Pretreating solution
  • Equipment maintenance
  • Electricity
  • Rent

Already overwhelmed? Don’t be. The software that comes with the Epson F2000 has a built-in cost estimator tool that crunches the numbers for you.

Once you have a solid understanding of your t-shirt printing costs, you must mark up accordingly.

Strategic marketing

Equipment purchased? T-shirts ready? Pricing set? Now it’s time to get the word out. Here are a few keys way to let the world know your t-shirt printing business is up and running:

Create a website. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but it does have to have a simple web address, a clear design, easy-to-find contact information, a clear summary of what you do, and correct coding to ensure your website ranks well on Google.

Create direct marketing materials. The best places to initially invest your time and money in direct marketing are business cards, newspaper ads, and flyers.

Explore social media. Set up dedicated business profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest to cost-effectively reach customers, build relationships, and promote your brand.

Develop promotional t-shirts. Walk into the business to deliver it and a brochure and introduce yourself.

Advertise no minimums. Put “No minimum, full-color prints” on your website and all other promotional materials.

Develop a relationship with printers in your area. Eliminate their pain by giving them an easy solution to pass off low minimum customers.

Want to know more about how to start your DTG business? Contact us now!