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DTG Printer ROI

T Shirt Printing Machine Profitability

The #1 question on your mind as you search for a direct to garment printer must be

“How much can I potentially make in the custom t shirt printing machine business?”

The ANSWER is $57,950.00 in Gross Profit per Year

Or $144,875.00, or $289,750.00

Depending on how many shirts you can sell a day

Read on to learn more about the numbers…

Speed, Flexibility and Highest Return on Investment are reasons you will crush your competition when your business is powered by DTG.

The Business of Printing Custom T Shirts

The custom t-shirt business is full of well-established successes, which are easy to find online. Just a few years ago the first custom t-shirt business to “go public” joined the NASDAQ stock exchange. But it’s also still growing at a rate that makes finding niche and making money doing it a terrific opportunity!

There are many factors that will go into that final profitability number. Some we can answer here, some we can estimate, but some are going to be up to your individual situation.

Questions only you can answer:

True ROI also includes some Sales questions only YOU can answer:

Custom T Shirt Business ROI Facts:

What we CAN do is tell you how much a specific shirt costs to print.

A realistic shirt you might actually sell to a local business and that will cost out about as much for a custom design.

We can tell you how many shirt you can print in an hour or day.

Based on the M2 Direct to Garment Printer, the most profitable printer in the industry.

We can show you industry retail pricing.

The estimated selling price of that shirt example based on current market trends.

Then we can do the math.

And tell you how much you can make per shirt.

We can share SUCCESS from our existing direct to garment printer customers.

After you read through the scenarios outlined on this page, feel free to call or fill out the Contact Us form, and we’ll be happy to help you get started on making custom t-shirt printing profits!

T Shirt Printing Machine Cost Calculations

That’s an easy answer – it depends! There are many decisions you’ll make in setting up and running your business that will affect the cost. It’s not just running your new t shirt printing machine from ColDesi, or which one you choose, it’s also about the end product.


Here’s what you will need to know:

  • How much do your blank shirts cost?
  • How big or small are your designs?
  • Will you be printing on dark or colored t-shirts or just on white?
  • How many shirts/hour can your shop produce?

Let’s review each topic using our own experience to help you fill in the blanks, with the understanding that prices may vary in your area.

Depending on quality, quantity and the brand you choose, there’s a VERY large difference in pricing.
For example, if you buy hundreds of blank, large, men’s white t-shirts, you may get them as cheap as $1.25 each. If you buy 50 women’s medium white t-shirts with cap sleeves from a major brand, you may be at $3 or $4 each.

We’re going to use a specific, good quality shirt that prinst beautifully by Anvil and is purchased from Sanmar.com. Sanmar is a wholesale shirt supplier that we recommend.

The cost that we will use for our calculations is $1.98 for a basic, white, 100% cotton Anvil 980 t-shirt.

Black t-shirts, and other dark colors, are a little more expensive to buy and to print on but are also extremely popular in the retail marketplace. Just look around as you go about your day and come to your own conclusion about what the most popular colors are.

The cost that we will use for our dark shirt is $2.37 for the black Anvil 980 t shirt.

The size of your designs has 2 big effects on your costs; the time they take to print and the amount of ink you use.

Size also can have a big impact on your profits! Read this article on Printing Big for more information.

If your market niche demands the largest, most colorful image possible, your labor/production times will be affected because it takes longer to print. Your cost of goods will be impacted by the amount of ink. Your selling price will go up when you charge for larger prints too.

On the other hand, if you get a large job for a company that just wants a logo on the chest of their company’s shirts, your t shirt printing machine will output shirts faster than you can take them off the DTG printer!

The most common size shirt front design for a custom t shirt is going to approximately 10” x 12”, so that’s what we’ll use for our calculations.

As we saw when looking at our blank t-shirt pricing, there’s a big difference in cost depending on the color of the t-shirt you use. The DTG brand of t shirt printing machines, or DTG Printers, is famous for its great looking prints and the LOWEST COST PER PRINT in the industry.

The way a direct to garment t shirt printer prints on dark shirts is by creating a white ink “underbase”. That means that is puts a base of white ink on top of the dark shirt so the colors of your design look great.

Without the white, if you put yellow ink on a green shirt, for example, you would end up with an orange looking design.

Printing on dark shirts takes longer because you’re printing an extra color, and it costs more for the extra ink.

On the right you’ll see our ROI example shirt for printing a 10”x12” full color design printed on that black Anvil brand shirt. This is a sample design for a lawn care company that any of you might find in your area.

You’ll also see the power of the M2, because it can print TWO of those beautiful prints at the same time!

Light t shirts are sometimes less popular, but even MORE profitable than black. They usually sell for the same price, but they cost far less to print – and they print faster.

On the left you’ll see the design we’re going to use for our light shirt profit calculations. It’s a very common type of “championship” design that will be a very profitable sale.

Both the sale price and your costs are heavily influenced by the quantity of shirts that are ordered. Our research shows that most startups and many, many entrepreneurs that sell in their own areas typical order is 12 shirts.

Note: Our calculations are gross profit and do not include your labor, overhead, taxes, etc. Only sale price minus shirt cost minus ink costs.

Pricing: We surveyed an industry group of Custom T Shirt business professionals to get a sale price for an order of 12 of our specific designs. The Green Earth Lawn Care shirt and the 2017 Champions shirts.

Costs: The M2 is the most profitable direct to garment printer on the market. One reason that’s true is because of its very low cost per print. Our calculations were done using the M2 Pro Package and the M2 Pro Ink Savers Program.