Incorporating direct-to-garment printing, or DTG printing, into an established screen printing business can prove beneficial. Adding the ability to print single vibrant, multi-color t-shirts is a great additional service to offer your customers.
Adding and selling DTG with an Existing Business
Overall, DTG is a great way to generate more revenue from your existing customer base. Direct-to-garment printing can be a steady source of business for your shop. Knowing the cost expectancy of DTG and why it garners a premium price in comparison to other t-shirt decorating methods is important to succeeding with DTG. No matter if you are a storefront printer, or an out of home printer, undering the costs associated and how to sell your product is vital.
DTG printing is a different process from a traditional screen printing. Since there is no screen preparation -- applying screen printing emulsion, printing film positives, or time consuming pre-press set-up -- your labor costs are lowered. While pre-treating dark garments with pretreat solution prior to DTG printing is required, the time to pre-treat and dry t-shirts, especially with a jet-air conveyor dryer, is minimal. A pretreated shirt can be stored in a box and still be ready to print months later. Pretreating in batches is recommended to keep labor and any mess to a minimum.
A tip for DTG printing on a shirt after its been stored for a long period of time is to “refresh” it. Gently apply a warm heat press to the shirt for about 5 - 7 seconds. This does three things: It removes any moisture that may have built up in the shirt; creates a smooth printing surface; and finally, the heated garment dries the white ink quicker, providing better color brilliance.
Remember the ink difference when calculating the cost compared to a screen printed t-shirt. A screen printer buys plastisol ink by the quart or gallon, and can spread the costs over numerous shirts. The difference in the amount of ink used when screen printing a couple of shirts versus a few dozen is relevantly minor, this spreads the cost of that plastisol ink over many shirts. The one-off nature of DTG creates a different pricing structure when calculating how much it costs to print a DTG printed shirt. The price per garment is not spread out out multiple dozen, rather DTG ink costs tend to be more fixed. This creates a higher price per shirt scenario.
However, the many unique qualities of DTG shirts make it a premium product. First, it can be printed almost instantly. This quick turnaround is great for customers wanting immediate gratification, or for those who didn’t plan ahead. DTG also lets you print new jobs quickly. Having already pretreated shirts (as recommended above), you can go from sale to print within a few minutes. This quick transaction is a feature many customers look for. Compared to screen printing, a customer’s order can be fulfilled quicker.
Offering lower quantities is another quality that make DTG a valuable service for an existing screen printing shop. Customers are use to high production requirements, DTG lets you offer single shirts with multi-colors without worry. The seemingly one of a kind shirt can be sold for more than a traditional screen print.
Understanding the various differences in costs of a DTG business and how to sell it is a different product with screen printing is key to succeeding with DTG.