One of the classic questions that anybody looking to getting into the T-shirt printing business in the United States is whether to go with silk screening or vinyl printing. These are two very different ways to produce T-shirts. Depending on how you choose, it can have a tremendous impact on your bottom line.
If you pick correctly, your visions of making money in the T-shirt making industry will become a reality. If you pick incorrectly, at best, you would be settling for a few cents on the dollar, at worst, you won’t be making much money at all. In fact, the vast majority of T-shirt making businesses doesn’t make much money. I’m not saying that they don’t make a profit, but it’s not enough to make up for all the time, effort and energy they poured into their business.
You have to remember that if you’re in any kind of business, return on effort is crucial. You have to maximize the amount of money you’re getting out, while minimizing the amount of time, effort, energy and capital you’re putting in. This should be fairly common sense when it comes to any type of business.
This is why it’s crucial to pay attention to return on investment as well as return on effort when analyzing the classic question of T-shirt press machine versus screen printing. While there is a lot to recommend with either of these directions, if you are looking to succeed in the modern T-shirt making business, I would suggest you invest in a T-shirt press machine. Here are some reasons why you should do so.
With screen printing, you need to print the colors separately. Now think about that for a second. If you are going to hire somebody to print the colors separately on each shirt, then this would automatically explode the amount of time each shirt requires. A press machine, on the other hand, can print several colors at the same time. As long as these colors don’t overlap, you can print out a multi-colored shirt with one operation. Instead of hiring somebody to go over a T-shirt again and again so they can print different colors separately, you only need to hire that person once to get the job done right.
Also, in screen printing, you need a separate screen for every design. This is a problem because you have to create a new screen for each and every design. What if the customer is wishy-washy and wants a new design almost every time he or she blinks? That’s going to be a problem. Your costs go up tremendously. You can try passing your costs to your customer, but good luck with that.
A best heat transfer press on the other hand, can print photographic material. This means that you can keep changing the design and just print the thermal paper and you’re good to go. You only need to print out the new design on thermal paper, and then apply the thermal paper with vinyl on your T-shirt, and you have yourself a nice shirt. Compare this with having to come up with separate screens for every new design.
Given all these differences, it should not come as a surprise that there is a longer turnaround time required for screen printing. This is especially true if the T-shirts that you want have many different colors. When using a press machine on the other hand, you just need to press the design once, let it rest, and go on to the next shirt. This longer turnaround time for screen printing can eat up into your profits unless you can get labor for dirt cheap.
This is where different T-shirt printing companies rise and fall. It really all boils down to the cost of labor. Accordingly, it pays off tremendously to invest in the right machinery that will help you minimize your cost of labor. As much as possible you want to go with a production process that enables you to design once and do things once to produce a shirt. Repeat that again over and over again with the same set up. You can’t do this with a silkscreen setup. I’m sorry but it’s just impossible.
Screen printing also requires a lot of time because you have to not just set it up, but you also have to clean it up. And if you go through this process again and again, particularly messy jobs can cost you a lot of money. Why is this a problem? Well, you have to pass the cost to your consumer, unless you’re in the business of losing money. I haven’t yet met a business person who is in the business of losing money so this means that your T-shirts are going to be more expensive than the competition. Unless you’re dealing with highly sought after T-shirts, chances are, your higher prices will come and bite you in the future. That customer will probably not come back.
This is why it is really important to consider a T-shirt press machine because it’s not only easy to set up, it’s also not messy. In fact, there is no mess at all because you’re not dealing with ink. You’re just dealing with a heat transfer paper with vinyl on it. You press that paper using the heat transfer machine on your shirt and you’re good to go. No mess, no headaches, no problems.
While traditional printing is still recognized and does have key strategic advantages, if you are looking to make money with your T-shirt business, you should seriously consider buying a T-shirt press machine. You not only would be able to accommodate a wider range of customers, you would also be able to serve them quickly. You don’t have to spend a ton of money on labor while maximizing your profits.