Entrepreneurship & Small Business

T-shirt printing equipment startup

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  • Jul 4th, 2016 6:03 pm
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[OP]
Deal Fanatic
Mar 12, 2010
6068 posts
597 upvotes
SW Ontario

T-shirt printing equipment startup

Anyone have any knowledge offhand about what would be needed (equipment, price range) to be able to print on shirts and hoodies (and maybe hats) as a side business (or hobby)? Would need to be good quality for sale. Ability to print two colours of text and graphics (logos, symbols) would be needed. I know there are different print methods (direct to cloth, silk screen etc). Not sure what would be the best result and least startup cost. Any suggestions on resources or tips? Thanks!
9 replies
Deal Addict
User avatar
Nov 27, 2005
1873 posts
1174 upvotes
I would stay away from this line of business.

Too much competition and margins are minuscule. Furthermore it's never repeat business so you have to always compete against the guy a few streets away from you.
[OP]
Deal Fanatic
Mar 12, 2010
6068 posts
597 upvotes
SW Ontario
djpr wrote: I would stay away from this line of business.

Too much competition and margins are minuscule. Furthermore it's never repeat business so you have to always compete against the guy a few streets away from you.
Thanks for the comments.

I am looking at it for a niche market for sure. Not looking for a big market. And to complement a passion of ours. Kind of wondering if I can do it for a reasonable amount ($500-$1000) or if I'd need ten grand then forget it. Lol.
Newbie
Jun 27, 2016
4 posts
2 upvotes
there's no doubt you'll be facing some stiff competition. to break through, you'll need to have designs people love, a brand people cherish and quality people trust.
Deal Expert
User avatar
Aug 2, 2010
15193 posts
4942 upvotes
Here 'n There
It's a commodity business with little ability to differentiate yourself from the competition. All businesses with a low cost of entry are. Stay away.
Jr. Member
Sep 16, 2013
148 posts
77 upvotes
Calgary, AB
Could you clarify... Are you looking at getting into the T-Shirt printing business where you would be a source for people with designs to go and get made or do you have your own designs in mind that you want to print and sell?

If the former then I have no idea the cost, sorry. If the latter then I would skip the equipment and use a service like Printful. That way there's no cost to entry, although your margins at the end of the day are even slimmer.
[OP]
Deal Fanatic
Mar 12, 2010
6068 posts
597 upvotes
SW Ontario
SofaProfessor wrote: Could you clarify... Are you looking at getting into the T-Shirt printing business where you would be a source for people with designs to go and get made or do you have your own designs in mind that you want to print and sell?

If the former then I have no idea the cost, sorry. If the latter then I would skip the equipment and use a service like Printful. That way there's no cost to entry, although your margins at the end of the day are even slimmer.
Looking at the later. I have a theme and some design ideas (and other products). It's more of an ETSY type business, part hobby, part fun, part make money if possible. Margins are the big thing with someone else printing, but it's for sure an option. If I can get the equipment to screen print, I can do it on other home created products, which we'd like to do as well. I'd also rather have little inventory, and make it on demand more or less (allowing some customizations). But I will look into Printful as well. thanks.
Jr. Member
Sep 16, 2013
148 posts
77 upvotes
Calgary, AB
redgrandam wrote: Looking at the later. I have a theme and some design ideas (and other products). It's more of an ETSY type business, part hobby, part fun, part make money if possible. Margins are the big thing with someone else printing, but it's for sure an option. If I can get the equipment to screen print, I can do it on other home created products, which we'd like to do as well. I'd also rather have little inventory, and make it on demand more or less (allowing some customizations). But I will look into Printful as well. thanks.
What you have in mind sounds like it could become very expensive very fast - more than just a fun hobby. I'm not saying that you shouldn't go that direction but maybe even try Printful (or a similar service - I'm not a Printful evangelist it's just what I know best) and see if your designs are something people want to buy. They have other products on their site like hats and tote bags. The biggest issue I see with your idea of being customized and on-demand is that you need a printing device as well as on-hand stock like shirts and whatever else you print on. The cost will for sure be in the thousands of dollars range. That's not a bad thing if you can get the idea to take off but I would do an initial test of your designs through a more cost effective route to confirm that the designs are something people want and that enough people show interest to make the venture worthwhile.
[OP]
Deal Fanatic
Mar 12, 2010
6068 posts
597 upvotes
SW Ontario
SofaProfessor wrote: What you have in mind sounds like it could become very expensive very fast - more than just a fun hobby. I'm not saying that you shouldn't go that direction but maybe even try Printful (or a similar service - I'm not a Printful evangelist it's just what I know best) and see if your designs are something people want to buy. They have other products on their site like hats and tote bags. The biggest issue I see with your idea of being customized and on-demand is that you need a printing device as well as on-hand stock like shirts and whatever else you print on. The cost will for sure be in the thousands of dollars range. That's not a bad thing if you can get the idea to take off but I would do an initial test of your designs through a more cost effective route to confirm that the designs are something people want and that enough people show interest to make the venture worthwhile.
Thanks for the input. A little trial of some prints would be a good start. With no startup cost.
Jr. Member
Feb 22, 2009
151 posts
24 upvotes
Toronto
looks like hes not starting a a tshirt printing company. hes looking at starting a tshirt or brand company and he wants to do the printing inhouse
, kijiji it , lots of screen equipment out there for sale, or you can use iron on and transfers, all depends on the designs and such

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