Pricing Guidelines for Direct-to-Garment Products - The Online Magazine for the Sign Trade.
Home | Site Map | Buyer's Guide Search  
Event Calendar Article Archive Message Boards Classifieds Product Showcases News Advertise Search Join Now

  3-D Signs
  Awnings &
  Flexible Face
  Business Development
  CNC Routing
  Computer Technology
  Digital Imaging
  Dynamic Digital
  Finishing & Lams 
  Flatbed UV
  Garment Decoration
   Message Board
   Tips & Tricks
  LED Displays
  LED Lighting
  Neon & LED
  Channel Letter
  Painted Signs
  Screen Printing
  Vinyl Signs
  Hot Shots
  Press Releases
  Tips & Tricks
  Industry Resources
  Event Calendar
  Business Center
  Retail Sign Shops
  Advertising Info

Estimate Software- Printing software that helps you find the hidden treasure in your business.

Pricing Guidelines for Direct-to-Garment Products

Pricing Strategy for Direct Garment Printing and a snapshot from a shop in the business.

By Ken Hope, AnaJet

Pricing for your market

Sign Elements Vehicle Templates

Check It Out!

  • Direct-To-Garment Articles
  • Hot Shots Photo Gallery
  • Message Boards

    Visit Our Advertisers:

  • Clarke Systems
  • Estimate Software
  • International Sign Assoc.
  • Matrix Payment Systems
  • SGIA Specialty Graphics Imaging Assoc

  • In real estate, location, location, location is everything. This too can hold true for setting your pricing in direct-to-garment printing. One of the more common questions from the newly established owner of a digital garment printer is, "How much should I be charging for my printed t-shirts?"

    There isn't a perfect answer to this question; there are too many variables that go into calculating your final pricing, be it wholesale or retail. However, I can tell you that there are common business questions that you should consider when calculating your cost structure.

    See the "Pricing for the Market" section below, for one customer's detailed story of actual pricing.

    Labor should be your first parameter. You typically want to get paid accordingly for the work that you are performing. Are you a multi-hat wearer? Do you have employees? It takes time to design or correct a graphic to be printed. It takes time to load and unload a shirt. It takes time to cure the shirt with a heat press. It takes time to package your order. You should be paid for all of this time. Considering all of the above, determine your fair market labor value. This will vary based on your local economy (remember location, location, location?). Do a comparison against your local screen printers' and graphic designers' fees.

    Once you have this base number, factor in your operating costs. Do you work from home? Are you renting commercial or retail space? Did you purchase your printer outright or do you have lease payments to cover? Do you purchase blank shirts in bulk or are you purchasing on an as needed basis? Are your garments customer supplied? Are you buying ink in 110ml size or in 220ml sizes?

    Keeping your operating costs in check can be a daunting task. In a perfect world, bulk purchases will help reduce your operating expenses to a certain degree. However, generating enough business to reach the optimal bulk purchase rates may be beyond the safe operating zone for most start-up businesses. Don't fret; as your business grows, so too should your purchasing power. Growing your purchasing power is one of the best ways to increase your bottom line without compromising your hourly rate.

    Another parameter to calculate is the quantity of ink (and pre-treatment when utilizing white ink) being consumed per print. Understanding the actual ink used per print will greatly aid in determining your hard production cost per shirt.

    As a general guide with an AnaJet printer, the amount of ink consumed on a white or light shirt using the recommended ink settings is in the range of .4 grams to 1 gram of total CMYK ink per 9" x 10" design with 70% coverage (area of actual ink exclusive of negative space). The usable volume of ink contained in an ink cartridge regardless of size is approximately 95-98%. This will vary depending on several factors. These factors will include user definable settings such as ink saturation levels, auto maintenance settings, environmental humidity values and frequency of manual maintenance cycles and ink charges or purges.

    The volume of white ink used in the above scenario (and for the matter in most scenarios) is roughly a 3:1 ratio based on AnaJet optimal white ink value settings. One of the more consistent values to work with is the amount of pre-treatment needed for proper vibrant color output on dark garments. As a general rule of thumb, a correctly pre-treated garment will use approximately 13 grams of solution per printed area of 180 square inches.

    Sign Elements Vehicle Templates

    With all this information being condensed to an orderly outline, you now have the baseline cost factors that you should consider when calculating the wholesale or retail price of your digitally printed garments. In the end, your pricing will come down to what the market will bear in your location.

    DISCLAIMER: No direct or implied endorsement of any customer's specific pricing model or business policies is being implied and we bear no liability for the successful or failed application of the practices described herein. You should always determine your own business policies and pricing strategies according to your unique environment, customer demand and operational requirements.

    Pricing for the Market - by Chuck Northcutt, Creative Promotions, Inc.

    I've been operating a successful embroidery and digital garment printing business for over twenty years. Since adding an AnaJet printer, I've discovered that an effective resale price varies a little from market to market. When we set our prices, they are never etched in stone. First and foremost, we are a for-profit corporation. To this end, and in line with Ken Hope's article "Pricing Strategy for Direct to Garment Printing," we charge as much as our market venues and customers will allow.

    One clear principle always applies: we do not try to compete by offering a lower price than other companies. If I do that I will have the best price in town until the day I go broke. We certainly do not try to be competitive on price against a screen printing company.

    The second key principle is to price based on perceived value: we target customers whose needs can't be met by a screen printer, whether it is due to quantity, lead time and setup cost, or graphics that are too complex to be printed via screen printing. Our printer along with its inks delivers the kind of print quality that's expected, in just a couple of minutes.

    Why don't we go head to head against screen printing? Direct-to-garment printing is a totally different technology than screen printing and should be priced in a manner that reflects the difference and the service you are providing. Screen printing is about producing high volumes of product with limited colors. Conversely, short run orders or one-off orders are a premium service with a rapid turnaround and high end digital graphics with millions of colors.

    Cost breakdown: In our area (Seattle, Washington) today's price on a white short sleeve T shirt is $1.25 ea. On a typical full front graphic, my ink costs are going to be between 50 cents and 75 cents, and I am paying my printer operator $10.00 per hour. Therefore between the shirt, ink and labor my cost is $2.50 per garment.

    We started out selling white T's with a full front print for $10.00 each. We didn't have anyone walking away, so we raised the price to $12.00 and customers were still buying. We raised the price to $15.00 and still, no one was walking away. We raised the price to $17.00 and started losing orders, so we went back to $15.00. We test the market this way several times per year.

    As the above calculations illustrate, my typical net earnings per shirt in a given year may work out to be $12.50 per unit. When I multiply this by a very conservative 3,000 shirts per year, or less than 10 units per day, the net earnings are $37,500. At Creative Promotions Inc., we actually produce digital direct to garment in far greater quantities. When we take our printer on the road to car or dog shows, we are offering a service outside our shop. Using the same method we have established a $20.00 base price for a white T with a photograph printed full front.

    Advertising Info
    About Us
    Contact Us
    Privacy Policy
    Site Map
    Industry Resources
    Retail Sign Shops
    Product Showcase
    Event Calendar
    Tips & Tricks
    Message Boards
    Buyer's Guide Listings
    Add My Company
    Edit My Company


    Copyright 1999-2021, All Rights Reserved.