How to build a t-shirt printing business?

Are you planning to start a t-shirt business that provides print t-shirt services? If your answer is yes, we will be sharing all about building a successful t-shirt printing business. If your answer is no, do stick around, we are sure we can give you some key pointers that may make you change your mind.

Starting a business will be interesting and exciting as there are many opportunities for you to learn and experience new things. Building a t-shirt printing business gives you the opportunity to show off your creativity and create products that people will purchase and wear it out in public. It can be tough to compete with the other many online stores that are available online and are easily accessible to everyone. However, just like any other business, there will always be challenges that you will need to overcome and face to come out on top.

How Much Will It Cost?

The good thing is that in this current era it is extremely easy to start a t-shirt printing business that provides, maybe for an example; custom polo shirts, as it is so much more accessible and cheap as compared to the past. With the current advancements in technology, it is much more affordable now than it was many years ago. Having a retail store to sell your services and products no longer requires a retail store anymore. 

One more factor to consider when starting up a t-shirt printing business is that you do not have to purchase much equipment to start. If you wish to not invest in printing presses or fabric printers, you can do the designing of the shirt and just outsource the printing to anyone of the many printing companies that are available. Doing this helps to keep your initial expenses low before you start bringing profit to reroll back into the business.


If you have intentions of following the outsourcing process that we mentioned above, the investment will be minimal. Below is a simple table to explain what we mean.

Investment DescriptionInvestment Cost
Computer$500 to $1,000
Designing Software or outsourcing designs$1,000
Total Investment $1,500 to $2,000

The best part is you do not need to print in huge numbers and find storage for the stock and end up worrying about not being able to clear certain shirts, instead you can just print shirts as and when the orders come in.

The Bigger The Better

If you are thinking of investing your money into a printing machine, be prepared as you are looking at a much more significant upfront cost that you will need to pay.

  • A good quality direct to fabric or dye sublimation printers cost ard $10,000 to $20,000
  • The ink can cost more than $5,000 or even more

Total investment = Will be around $15,000 to $25,000

Remember that these are the payments you will need to make to start up your business. The money that you will be making from your business could be used to help pay off the equipment as your business starts to grow and blossom. Investing your money in high quality equipment is critical when you decide that you are ready to turn your simple hobby into a profitable business. These types of equipment can help you boost your business and help you climb up the chain in the business world.

How Much Can You Profit?

This is a very tough question to answer how much money you will be able to make from your t-shirt printing business. It all depends on how the market reacts to your business, the kind of connections you have, position you are in and how fast you are able to grow your business to get a significant number of customers to roughly gauge how much you could make. Currently the average price for a single colour print on a shirt is around $9. The more colours you add or the higher the quality of material you decide to go with the higher the price will be.

So basing on the market you can expect to charge your customers around $15 to $20 per shirt. You have the power to add more cost from custom designs or illustrations as well if you have the ability to provide such products. For a general rough idea, a standard t-shirt printing company can make around $90,000 and more if business is going very well and successfully.

Start At The Basic

There is no harm starting small and gradually growing your business. If you are planning to get a printer to print the shirts yourself, we highly recommend that you do not spend your life savings and get the best ever automatic press. Get something that is of good quality and still decent but most importantly fits your budget. You could get a decent four-colour press, simple inks and some screens to start small. As your profits begin to grow, you can then use that money to invest one more item to boost your business as this money is directly from your business.

Testing The Waters

Before fully deciding completely on one product and spending all your money to reproduce that one particular product. Think of multiple designs that you can create or be more diverse that will give you the opportunity to test the market and see what the people are currently keen on. This way you are able to meet their needs and wants and in return you  are able to build a customer base and get profits to further enhance your business. For example you could provide multiple shirts of the same design at maybe a discounted rate as there is a great market for class t-shirts, cca shirts and company polo t-shirts. This can be a good avenue for you to venture into.


You should also spend some time marketing your products and company online. Social Media is currently the way to go as there is a great number of users who are on it, Below are some of the best paid ad platforms:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Google
  • TikTok
  • Lazada
  • eBay

You may ask why do you need to spend even more money? Well all of these come together as an investment to further boost your business. It is completely optional for you to make the decision based on your budget.

Before starting a business, it is important to always plan out what you want to do. Set a budget so that you can stick to it, we highly recommend you to use spare or excess cash to start a business as you never know what the outcome will be. For those starting your business venture in providing print t-shirt services we would like to wish you all the best. For those who said no at the start and still stuck with us till the end, we hope we might have been able to change your mind. Nevertheless we hope this article has helped you and cleared any doubts you may have had.