How to Price Your Screen Printing Custom T-shirts?

How to Price Your Screen Printing Custom T-shirts?

How are you to price your t-shirts when you are a commercial t-shirt decorator specializing in screen printing? So, how do you come out with your pricing including all the shop costs, materials, and production? The honest truth is that it does not come with any technical formula to use as a screen printing cost calculator.

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What is the easiest way to price your screen printing custom t-shirts?

To figure out the right pricing, you may perform a one-color print with white ink on a dark t-shirt. And another one-color print with dark ink on a white t-shirt. Estimate the costs incurred in printing both t-shirts. That is to say, you can get two basic prices, i.e. price for black ink on a white shirt, and another price for white ink on a black shirt.

And then with those to base prices, you can add colors and quantities. And gradually add the price up for each added color and quantity. When you get to the higher quantities, at some point you may want to offer a discount to your customers. Normally, screen printers offer discounts when the order quantity is above 500 or 1000 pieces.

1. Prepare a Pricing Chart:

When you are a commercial screen printer, you need to come up with some kind of pricing chart that is specific to a particular print job. That is to say,  you need to prepare multiple pricing charts based on the customer’s request. And in the end, it should not happen when a customer comes complaining that you charged him higher than the other one for the same print job. More to say, a pricing chart that has fixed and incremental pricing figures when certain services are availed by the customer.

2. Check prices in your geographical location:

One of the reasons that are why so difficult to give a pricing formula is because the pricing in screen printing may vary with your shop location. It means the pricing for screen printing in city center areas is likely to be higher than those in the city’s outskirt areas. To conclude, your geographical region can greatly affect the pricing for screen printing.

So, the first step to setting the pricing of screen print t-shirts is definitely to check around with the print shops at your geographical location.

One of the easiest ways to get an idea of what kind of pricing is going on in your immediate geographical region call other screen print shops that have been in business. Most importantly, you call them up as a customer. So, you can call around to different screen printing shops and act as a customer and get an idea of what people are charging in the area for that particular print job.

3. Compare the local pricing with your printing costs:

Now, once you have got an idea of what other screen printers in the area are charging for that print job. The next thing you have to do is to compare that to the cost incurred printing at your shop. And see the difference to roughly calculate the profit margin.

It is quite evident that screen printing involves a lot of labor. You have to come to a certain profit margin where you are making enough money per hour for the job which results in a profitable business.

If you can find how much profit you can make per hour, and if you are happy with that, then you should be good going.

4. Considering the overhead:

One of the most common questions asked about pricing is, how do you calculate the costs of screens, ink, emulsion, film positives, electricity, etc. All these things are a part of overhead costs.

Some people have come up with formulas to calculate the overhead. But the practical situation seems to be different. For instance, you have a gallon of plastisol ink. It costs around $70 to $80. Literally, it can literally print thousands of prints. Now, you cannot exactly figure out how many prints you can do because it depends on how big or small the design you print. And then how much ink you are laying down.

Therefore, there is no specific answer to how many prints you can get out of a gallon of ink. But there is no way to come down to a specific number.

5. Overconsumption of ink & emulsion:

If you are finding that you consume a lot of ink, emulsion, and all the consumables. That is to say, you are spending more on consumables than your profits on your print jobs, then your pricing could be wrong. Secondly, it is more likely that you are using too much of your consumables like ink, emulsion, etc.

If the latter is your case, there must be an issue with your screens. And one of the most common issues is wooden screens. Because it cannot hold a higher mesh tension as compared to the metal aluminum screes. And if you don’t have a tight mesh screen then you are using more ink than you need to. A loose mesh screen needs more ink than required.

Whereas metal screens can hold a higher mesh tension. When you have a higher mesh tension, you will be able to do a higher-quality print with less ink.

Moreover, in addition to ink & emulsion; you may also have to look into the consumption of paper towels, ink solvents, etc. All these consumables cost money. The more you use these items on one print job, it lowers the profit margin.

To conclude, if consumables are an issue for you, then you may need corrections in your pricing and the consumables usage.

Final Words:

To know about the pricing of custom t-shirts with screen printing, you may also look on the web or internet to check the screen printers’ prices. Many of them may have published prices on their websites. You may also go into the print stores where they would give you the price chart that is based on screen printing. Some may have a total pricing chart while others may have two separate charts, i.e. one for printing and the other one for blank t-shirts.

To conclude, there are many ways to estimate your pricing and it won’t be feasible for anyone to set general pricing for all. As said above, your geographical location has a lot to play in deciding your pricing per print job.

So, do your research, and connect with local print shops.

Written by Davis Brown

Hi! I'm Davis Brown, Head of Editorial Team of HowNest. We are team of researchers, writers and veterans. We publish articles, whitepapers, journals and blogs with full-proof research and proper analysis. We focus on various areas such as eCommerce, industrial operations, corporate management, technologies, and DIY solutions.

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