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DTG Printing Prices Guide

Right after “How much money can I make?” DTG Printing prices they can charge is the next question a custom t-shirt shop start-up asks.

“How do I price DTG printed t-shirts?”

The answer is $15. And $19.99. And it’s $25.00 and up.

Typically depending on the following criteria:

Let’s go through those and a few more options, and how they might affect your DTG printing prices.

DTG Printing vs Screen Printing and the Prices

It used to be that EVERY custom t-shirt job got compared with screen printing or silk-screened shirts. And that almost all the buyers of direct to garment printers (DTG) were screen printers expanding into digital.

So pricing your custom t-shirts depends mostly on how many colors there are in the design and what quantity you ordered.

But that was because every time you added a color into a custom t-shirt design, you added time and complexity to setting up the job.

A single-color text print could be done by just making a single screen. 2 colors were twice as hard. 4 colors 4x as difficult, etc.

And the more colorful/complex the design, the bigger a screen-printing press you might need to make it in the first place.

That’s why so many mass-produced shirts just have 1 color/tone graphic!

Since a lot of work goes into the setup of a screen-printing job, those printers usually charge a big setup fee or only accept larger jobs. And they spend a lot of time talking customers out of multi-color.

Once the job is set up, though, it’s very cheap to print those shirts. So if someone wants 5 shirts – screen printing is a poor choice. But if they want 1,000 shirts? It makes more sense because you can buy them for less.

As a DTG Printing custom t-shirt business, you don’t have any of those issues. You can be just as profitable on ONE shirt as you can on 50, or 100, or 1,000 shirts. 

Market Pricing | Niche Marketing and Custom Tees

One way to price your products is by examining the “market price” for them. This just means you compare your prices with what others are selling for in your area or market.

To develop a market price structure, one of the biggest factors in DTG Printing prices is who or where you’re selling to.

Market Pricing

It’s pretty obvious how, if you’re a locally focused business, where you are can affect prices. If you live in Manhattan, you’re probably going to pay more for EVERYTHING than if you live in Tampa, Florida or Boise, Idaho.

So a custom t-shirt in one city might always sell for $25-$50 or more, while in a smaller town they might sell for less.

A good way to judge market pricing is to call potential competitors in your area and price out a small job. Plus doing the same online, or in the nearest market that’s a similar size.

Niche Pricing

The same goes for your Niche or Target Market. A resort-wear clothing line customized with Hotel names will get a premium.

Focusing on shirts for custom car clubs might earn you more than similar shirts for a kid’s summer camp.

Uniform tees for a landscaping business might not get quite as much as custom tees for Mother’s Day gifts.

Cost Pricing | Wholesale Garments and Brand Names

Cost or bottom-up pricing is a widespread approach. It’s the one that screen-printers have traditionally used.

In Cost Pricing, you will “keystone” the cost of your wholesale blank t-shirt.

And that’s where the Quality of the garment impacts your prices.

Example 1:

You can purchase a decent-quality black Port & Company Core Cotton Tee for $2.53 at the time of this article’s publishing.

For a typical order of let’s say, 10 shirts, a cost-based approach to DTG Printing prices would be to double that cost and add the rest like this:

Blank $2.53

Ink $1.52

Pretreatment $.40

Total Cost: $4.45

Sale Price: $4.45 x 2 = $8.90

Sometimes they’ll add a labor estimate as well. If you can make 10 shirts an hour and peg your hourly rate at $50/hour then you would add $5 to that price:

Sale Price: $8.90 + $5.00 = $14.90

And some savvy printers will add an amount for mistakes, overages, and overhead. Traditionally about 10% like this:

Sale Price $14.90 + $1.50 = $16.50 (rounded up)

Example 2: Even Better Quality T-Shirt

ColDesi uses this shirt for its Direct to Garment Printer machine samples.

We do this because the quality of the shirt is better. And the better the quality of the cotton and how the shirt is made, the better the design will look.

More tightly woven, ring-spun cotton thread is less “fuzzy” so you can get a smooth, consistent image.

And if you can tell from the picture, the color of both shirts is “black,” but the intensity is very different.

The DT104 is a much truer black color, so the printed designs contrast and POP more.

The shirt is $4.78 at this time, so the keystone price you would use in figuring your cost is:

Blank: $4.78 x 2 = $9.56

There’s a $2.25 difference in the shirt cost vs Example 1 so that ads $4.50 to your cost basis.

The result is that you would sell each complete shirt at $21.00 each instead of $16.50.

Sale Price $21.00

And your profits go up because labor, supplies, and overhead all stay the same.

Now imagine you were offering a Nike, Next Level, or other brand name t-shirt or hoodie. Using this method, as the cost of the blank goes up, so does your sale price.

Blended DTG Printing Pricing Model + Quantity

Of course, quantity CAN affect how much you charge. Just be careful not to get into a pricing competition with screen printing.

Because as the quantity goes up, a screen printer distributes their set up costs over more shirts, so their meager cost of ink and efficiencies come into play.

Your cost is going to stay very consistent no matter what the quantity! That is unless you save even more on cases of wholesale shirts.

So a recommended way to develop your DTG printing pricing per shirt is to start with the market pricing and check it against cost pricing.

In other words, if the car show t-shirts in your area are selling for $18.00 each, you would:

Wholesale DTG Printed T-Shirts Business

If you plan on selling to retailers instead of end-user customers, you will have to allow for THEM to make a profit.

Where you may be able to charge $20 each to a consumer directly if you’re selling to a store in a mall, you’ll probably have to negotiate a lower price.

Like selling to them for $12 so THEY can sell it for $20, or some variation thereof.

That’s definitely a different business with its own pros and cons, so if you’re going to that, pay very close attention to the costs. And make sure you maintain a profit level that’s comfortable for you.

Pricing Resources

Here are a few places you might continue your pricing research-

Wholesale Blanks Pricing

DTG Printing Costs per Shirt

Starting a Custom T-Shirt Business

Want to know more?

For more information about the DTG direct-to-garment printers contact us or call (877) 458-0444 toll-free.
Direct To Garment Printing

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