If anyone can start a T-Shirt Printing Business, so can you! It need not be as complicated as it sounds. It can be simple, effective, and well planned with just a little bit of effort and some dedication. If you have a passion for designing or like to portray your thoughts and ideas in a simple yet powerful manner – this could be just the right business for you. This is a powerful way to let all that creative juices flow without worrying about a business nemesis.
“Why use your mouth when your T-shirt can say it louder and clearer?”
How To Get Started T-Shirt Printing Business
Wondering how to get this idea of your rolling? Here is a step-by-step guide to help you do it in a well-organized and clear manner. The aspects we will be covering are:
- Business Plan
- Target Audience
- Get Finance
- Start Action
What are you exactly doing?
It would be best if you had a solid business plan to set up a T-Shirt Printing Business with a DTG printer. What type of business model do you want to adopt, how long will you take to execute the plan, how long do you wait until you see profits, etc.?
Jot down all the ideas and then finalize them with your partners or friends who can help throw light on issues you might be missing. When you have it in writing, it makes your business plan more solid and prevents you from deviating too much in the name of diversification.
You can also develop a business goal and a mission if you want more direction to this T-shirt business with DTG printer.
One of the most important aspects of developing a solid business plan is to do a SWOT analysis. This is an analysis of your “Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.”
Let’s get deeper into this –
Strengths – Analyze what your strengths are:
- Are you good with designing?
- Are you well versed with various designing software?
- Are you good at marketing?
- Do you have a lot of funds to play around with?
- Do you have a solid marketing strategy/ channel?
- Do you have experience or people with experience?
Weakness – Understand what your weaknesses are:
- Do you have limited funds?
- Do you have a primary job to focus on that can stop you from spending too much time/ effort on this?
- Are you not well versed with the designing software / the printer itself?
- Are you trying to enter a saturated market?
Opportunities – Find out your opportunities:
- Who is your target audience?
- Is there a chance for you to improve your customer/ target audience’s experience?
- Is there an untapped market that could boom if marketed right?
- Are your competitors failing the customers on some front?
- Are your competitors not heeding to some feedback that can make your business a success?
Threats – Be prepared for situations that could threaten your business
- Have you borrowed money at high interest, which could pile up if your business does not take off as planned?
- Will you need to dedicate too much time and compromise on your primary job?
- Will your customers pay up as promised?
- What if the order gets canceled at the last minute after you started printing?
- What happens if you underdeliver?
Analyze your business plan in this direction, and you can understand your business opportunities better and come up with a good contingency plan. When you have understood your business well, your confidence will show through your business execution style.
How much is it going to cost you to print your own T-shirts and make people buy them?
The first and foremost step to cover when you want to start a business – big or small, is to budget it. Identifying the money it would take to roll out each business step will give you a clear idea about your plans, what you want for your business and how much is actually feasible.
Let’s break this down to make it easier-
- Costs Involved – First, identify the various costs involved in starting this T-Shirt Printing Business with a DTG printer. This should include your printer and printer-related fees, plain T-shirts costs (you need to have some stock for customers just after the design), packaging, delivery, marketing, etc.
- People – Do you plan to hire extra hands to help with this T-shirt business with DTG printer? If so, do you plan to do it right away or after your business has picked up?
When To Hire?
Not sure if you want to hire someone to help you with your T-Shirt Printing Business with DTG printer, or not hire at all? Here are a few tips to help you decide:
- Do you plan to do it all by yourself? This can be very time-consuming as you will have to handle the printing and dealing with customers, designing, marketing, delivery, etc.
- Will this be your only job or your primary job? – If you are going to do this T-shirt business with DTG printer as a part-time business until things kick off, you may need extra help to handle things when you are busy with your primary job. You cannot handle customer queries or calls when you are in a meeting or presenting something to your boss!
- Do you know it all? Learning to operate a DTG printer is not complicated, but do you know how to do it all – design, print, pack, etc.? If you are getting into this T-shirt business with a DTG printer because you have the place and the printer, you will need design assistance. Even if you plan to print your customer’s own design, you will need enough expertise for placement, small corrections, etc., before you hit that print button.
- Marketing And Advertising – This consumes a major part of your budget, so let’s deal with this as a separate section a while later.
Who do you want to print for?
When it comes to the T-shirt business with DTG printers, you can cater to a wide range of audiences. However, it would be best if you were clear about who your target audience will be. Your marketing efforts will be fully focused on getting to this group of people.
Some of your options are:
- Retail – Do you want to sell your T-shirts online? You can print t-shirts based on request and sell them online without investing in a place or a sales team. Set up a website that can take customization requests. You will need to follow up on this request, get all details sorted out, print, and deliver.
This can be short and sweet, but you may not get a steady stream of customers initially. Some people might want just a few pieces to be printed for themselves and friends, while some may want just a single piece (to be unique). You need to be patient to see any profits in this type of business model.
- Events – Have you seen people wearing similar T-shirts at an event? This is a big market as the orders are in bulk, and hardly any customization is done. You will have to receive the design and print the required numbers. The only customization required will be the t-shirt sizes.
If you want to cater to this audience, you need to target the event managers and group leaders. These are the people who decide on the “matching costumes.” The flow of order may not be constant, but each order can be a bulk order. This also gives you the option to take up other jobs on the side or do this as a side business.
- Hobbies – Have you ever seen sections in a store (physical or online) dedicated to different hobbies? This can be a sports shop or a regular retail store that caters to this type of market. You can find clothing and accessories for football, fishing, art, photography, etc. Do you want to curate T-shirts for this type of market?
You can receive designs from amateur artists, art students or even have online contests for “ideas” for your t-shirts. You can print them and sell them online or to specific groups. This will involve a lot of marketing and time.
- Wholesale – Many designers or store owners will have the ideas and the market but not the equipment. You can set up a t-shirt business with a DTG printer where you only use the printer.
A retail store owner or even a t-shirt designer might not have a DTG printer. They may not want to invest in it as their orders are low. Now, your T-shirt business with DTG printers can cater to such small orders where you print the given design on the given material for a fixed cost. These orders can be regular or irregular.
However, remember you won’t be making much of a profit in this business model. Your customer will have a profit margin for himself and will pay you accordingly. This is a suitable market if you are testing the waters for setting up a T-shirt business with a DTG printer and don’t have much time or resources to operate a full-fledged business.
Where will all the money come from?
Now that you know how much money is required for each aspect of your business, where will you get it from? Do you and your business partners have enough to start this T-shirt business with a DTG printer? Do you have a financier? Can you get a loan?
When you opt for a loan or financier, always ask for a little more than your actual budget. When a business kicks off, many areas will suddenly start eating up money. It would be best if you were prepared for this small setback.
How will your business reach your target audience?
One of the biggest aspects of a business to succeed is its marketing. It is not enough if you just come up with the perfect business plan and out-of-the-world designs for your T-shirt business with a DTG printer. You need to figure out how you are going to reach your target audience.
This is not an untapped market; there are many big and small players in this business. In such a case, how are you going to stand apart from them? Why should a customer choose you to print their T-shirts instead of a company in this business for the last few years, or instead of the person who printed their T-shirt the last time?
The key is your marketing tactics. It would be best to protect yourself and your business well enough to convince them you are a good choice.
How To Market Right
- Come up with a marketing strategy – do you want to advertise online, meet people in person, social media, or just word of mouth?
- Design a good advertisement – This is a design-centric business, and your designing skills need to be exhibited in every possible area.
- Sample T-shirts – Print your own designs and wear them first. Gift them for friends and family to wear. This will put you and your talents in the spotlight.
- Social Media – Social media is a free yet highly effective marketing channel today. Use it wisely. Show videos of you designing and printing your T-shirts, post photos of your T-shirts on other people, etc.
- Budget – Have a specific budget for your marketing. This is one area of any business that can eat up all your money. If you do not have a fixed number, you will be crossing your fund limits much sooner than expected.
Time to act on it!
Now that you have come up with a good and feasible business plan and model after analyzing everything, it is time to get into action!
Here are some tips to start your T-shirt business with a DTG printer the right way:
- Get licensed – Check what types of licenses are required to start your T-shirt business with a DTG printer. Get them all in order before you can start your business. It is not a smart move to get into trouble with the Law when you start something new!
- Set up a place – This need not be a dedicated office space. Even if you are doing this from your house’s garage, have a place for your T-shirt business with a DTG printer. When you have a dedicated place, it is a visual reminder that you have started something and need to put it in it continuously.
- Start small – Do not go big right away. Take small or even one on one orders. See how well you can perform, how much time and effort it takes, meet the financial targets, etc. Once you understand the reality of your business, you can take bigger orders.
- Take an advance – In such design-oriented businesses, especially when there is no legal contract (individual orders, customized orders, event orders, etc.), things fall through. Your customer might cancel the order when it’s too late for you. Always collect a sizable advance – to protect yourself and to make your customer accounts.
- Deliver – Deliver on time, the products you promise, and the quality promised. Give your customers what you promised them; else, you will lose your business very quickly. When you deliver on your promise, you get noticed by others in the market, and word-of-mouth marketing happens – cash in on that!
What is your safety net?
Okay, so you have a plan, started your business, and it is going on – not as successful as you expected. What is your next move?
Do you stick on and wait till you start getting more orders? Do you improvise and diversify to make some money? Do you quit? What is your backup plan?
Always be prepared for your business to fail, no matter how great your business is. This idea of yours to start a T-shirt business with a DTG printer is nice and has the market for it, but what if it fails? What if you have targeted the wrong market or if your timing is not apt? You need to know what to do next rather than have a panic attack.
A backup plan will also give you the confidence to handle this business calmly rather than take desperate measures to save the business.
Get that business plan sorted, invest in a DTG printer, and get your business rolling!