“What do I need to print T-shirts at home?” is a question often asked by entrepreneurs planning on opening a printed T-shirt business. You might have even asked the question yourself. It makes sense to ask the question. After all, around 20% of companies will close within the first two years of opening, and a lack of capital is one of the most common reasons why businesses close down early.
However, while it might seem intuitive to begin with, printing your own T-shirts might not save you money after all. Instead, you could end up losing money in comparison to using alternatives. In addition, printing your T-shirts yourself could hinder your business in other ways.
To help, we’ve created this article to examine why you probably won’t save money by making your T-shirts in-house.
Why T-Shirt Printing at Home Doesn’t Save You Money
What do you need to print T-shirts at home? To begin with, you will need to invest in printing equipment. While you could find some suitable printers available for a few hundred dollars, most will run into the thousands, even for relatively basic models. Even if investing in equipment will help you save money in the long term, the initial cost will increase your financial risk.
In addition to the initial cost, there are also other factors to consider, including:
- Inks and other chemicals
Bear in mind that printing businesses use their machines to serve numerous clients who often place large orders. As such, the cost of their investment becomes easier to recoup. However, getting your money back can be much more challenging if you’re just getting started. You could even end up losing overall.
Printing companies buy in bulk. Such purchases include everything from inks, chemicals, and even the T-shirts they print on. Buying in bulk reduces their cost per item, which increases the printer’s profits.
However, small businesses can unlikely afford to pay for bulk orders, so they will have to order smaller quantities instead. It is also usually a good idea for small businesses to avoid making bulk orders to help limit their financial risk. This means the cost per item is likely higher if you’re a smaller company.
Learning how to print T-shirts at home will take some trial and error to get right. Before you get it right, you can expect a lot of waste as your first attempts go wrong. Of course, failed attempts at printing mean lost money which might be hard to take for some businesses.
However, if you ask a printer to print your T-shirts, you won’t have to concern yourself over waste. For one thing, staff at a printing company will be experienced enough to get it right the first time. For another, even if the printer did make a mistake, then they would be the ones to absorb the cost – not you.
There is also a less direct way that printing items yourself can prevent you from saving money. A professional printer will have the very best equipment packed with the latest technology. In using the latest equipment, a professional printer can ensure the best possible results.
In addition to having the latest tools for the job, a professional printer will also have skilled employees. The skilled staff’s knowledge and experience will further help ensure a good job is done every time.
Quality is important in terms of saving money overall because quality items encourage customers to come back for more and recommend you to family and friends. Deliver a poor quality product, however, and they are less likely to buy your products again. When customers don’t return, you are losing out on potential revenue, which will affect your bottom line.
Storage and Overheads
When printing your own T-shirts, you will need to store your inventory somewhere. Depending on how large your home is, you might need to consider renting somewhere to store everything. Unfortunately, storage doesn’t come free, further eating into your profits.
Something else to consider is the electricity it takes to power a T-shirt printer. The price might not seem much to begin with, but it can soon add up over the meantime, putting another dent into any financial benefit of T-shirt printing at home.
Time is Money
That time is money might sound cliché, but it’s accurate. We all have a limited amount of time to work with and if you’re working on printing T-shirts, you’re not working on other essential aspects of running a business. Such factors include:
- Market Research
- Creating Designs
- Customer Service
- Website Maintenance
If you do start selling T-shirts, then you may quickly become busier than you imagined. When you have a lot to do, printing T-shirts might mean you are neglecting other duties, and this could hinder your business prospects. After all, if nobody is working on marketing, how will you sell more inventory?
Another task that we haven’t mentioned yet is distribution. If you’re printing T-shirts from home, then you will need to handle the packing and posting of each item. It’s easy to imagine how much of your day will be taken up, leaving you unable to work on other essential tasks.
Of course, you could consider hiring assistance, but employees don’t come for free. Hiring employees might also mean you need to buy the insurance and meet other legal requirements to stay within the law.
Printing at Home vs Alternatives
When asking if T-shirt printing at home saves money, the next question should be “compared to what?”. Of course, you will need to pay to have T-shirts printed whether you choose to print them yourself or outsource the task to another company.
One of the best and most popular options for printing T-shirts is the print on demand model. Print on demand offers numerous benefits that will help you save costs and enhance your business in other ways.
Some of the benefits include:
- No Upfront Investment
Buying inventory upfront is one of the biggest challenges for most small businesses. For starters, the cost may be too much for you, forcing you to consider a loan or postponing your plans until you’re financially prepared. Another factor is that there’s no guarantee of selling the inventory you invested in.
However, if you use the print-on-demand model, you don’t need to invest a penny upfront for stock. Instead, the printer will print your T-shirts as the orders come in and take their cut from what you sell. If nobody buys anything from you, then at least you’ve not lost your investment.
- Affordable Access to the Best Equipment
A print on demand partner will use the latest printing technology. Their investment in printing tools will be recouped by printing T-shirts and other items for people like yourself. This method means that you have access to the best equipment that might otherwise have been beyond you financially.
- Tapping Into Experience
A print on demand partner’s employees will know what it takes to print quality T-shirts that will have your customers coming back for more. They will know which T-shirts work best, which methods are the most appropriate, and everything else required to produce a high-quality product.
Working with a reliable print on demand partner means your customers will receive a quality product every time. Happy customers mean repeat business and recommendations which will help your business bloom.
You won’t need to distribute your products yourself when you use a print on demand partner because they will do the work for you. They will send the product directly to your customers from their store.
Having somebody else handle distribution for you will help give you more time to focus on other important tasks. It will also help ensure your customers get a good service because they will always send the product out on time.
While T-shirt printing at home to save money might seem a good idea to begin with, it could end up doing more harm than good. Buying expensive equipment will put a dent into your funds, while increased overheads can also harm your bottom line. In addition, you are unlikely to afford the best equipment, and a lack of experience and know-how can mean your customers receive poor-quality goods.
One of the best alternatives is to use the print on demand model. Not only will this model help you save money in the short term, but it will also be financially beneficial in the medium to long term. You can trust your print partner to do a great job for you for every customer. They will also take much of the work away from you.
If you’re looking for a print on demand partner, get in touch with the team at Printbest. Our experienced pros will ensure your customers are always pleased with high-quality products that are delivered on time, every time. Learn more about our print on demand services here.