Why is custom printed shirt price Better?

15 Apr.,2024


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Since the dawn of man (or at least the dawn of shirts), one question has plagued humankind, keeping wise men and wise guys alike (and some wise women, too!) awake at night.

And that burning question is... how much does a custom shirt cost?

Unlike a lot of other products, custom t-shirts have a justifiable reason to vary in price. Unfortunately, this tends to obscure the expense, which makes it harder to budget your custom t-shirt purchase.

It's particularly hard because depending on the design, the quantity, the type of t-shirt used, and so on, custom tees can cost anywhere from under $5 to over $50. However, because that answer isn't terribly helpful, here's what you can expect to pay under different circumstances.

How much does it to cost to customize one shirt?

Many custom t-shirt printing companies offer no-minimum custom t-shirts, but the prices can vary dramatically. INCLUDING ANY SHIPPING COSTS, you can expect to pay anywhere from $25 to $40 dollars for a single custom t-shirt (or even more if you go with an extremely high-end shirt style), although some printers may try to charge as much as $100.

In many cases, this cost might include a set-up fee that, when spread across larger quantities, wouldn't be as noticeable. In other cases, a t-shirt printer might have a set-up fee that only applies to small quantities.

Whatever the case, a single custom t-shirt would be either digitally printed (ie, direct-to-garment, aka DTG) or done as a heat transfer vinyl (which is a lot cheaper, but doesn't last long).

How much do multiple custom t-shirts cost?

Once you move from a single custom t-shirt to a larger order, your prices often start going down pretty quickly.

Your overall custom shirt cost will depend on a number of factors including your design, your chosen customization method, how many places your design appears, and your order quality.

However, to just give you a ballpark figure, if you wanted 12 custom printed t-shirts with a single-location, one-color design on good quality shirt like the Gildan Heavy Cotton™ T-Shirt (aka the Gildan 5000), you'd be paying anywhere from around $11 to $20 per shirt. If you instead ordered 96, you might pay anywhere from about $6 to $10.

While there are shirts that are a little cheaper than the Gildan 5000 (like our super-affordable BD54), you'll still pay at least $10 per shirt on a 12 order and at least $5 on a 96. If a company appears to offering custom tees for something far less than that, they might be playing games with their pricing. (For a list of price tricks to watch out for, be sure to read our "Why are custom shirts so expensive?" blog -- that information can save you a LOT of money and headaches!)

Generally speaking, the cheapest option will be screen printing a single-color design on a white shirt (with a single location). However, with a very low quantity, the number of colors doesn't matter as much because you'll need to go with digital printing (since screen printing has a lot of set-up involved, it doesn't make sense at low quantities). As such, let's start by talking about the DTG printing.


How much does DTG printing cost?

Direct-to-garment printing (or DTG) is a printing method where a machine applies a specialized ink directly to a blank shirt's fabric.

The benefits of DTG include the fact it doesn't require much set-up, the operator doesn't need much training, and it can print multi-color designs at a moderately low cost (and is usually the best option for a color photograph on custom tees).

The downsides are that the ink is VERY expensive and the machines are slow, meaning that the price doesn't really scale down much in bulk -- in fact, the price doesn't really move after a certain point.

For those reasons, digitally printed shirts tend to be a lot more expensive than screen-printed shirts when buying bulk quantities.

As for the cost, expect to pay $15-40 per shirt (including shipping) when buying just a few digitally printed shirts. If you were buying 100 digitally printed shirts, that cost might get close to $10 per shirt. (In Bolt Printing's case, our big price break comes at 72.)


How much does it cost to screen print a shirt?

Screen printing costs will vary depending on the number of ink colors in a design, your order quantity, and the number of print locations (ie, where your design appears).

If you're ordering a large number of shirts (around a hundred) with a single-color, single-placement design on an entry-level t-shirt (like the Gildan 5000), you can expect to pay around $5 to $8 per shirt. And yes, that price can go down even further on larger quantities.

Here's a brief explanation of two of the biggest factors, colors and shirt order quantity.

Why the colors in a custom design affect price

Screen printing (or silk screen printing, sometimes called silk screening) involves pressing ink through a screen with an image burned into it. Each color in a design requires a separate screen, which adds to the amount of labor required for both the set-up and physically printing the shirt.

As a result, more colors in design will always add to a screen printed shirt's cost (on the shirt printing company's part, which is passed onto customers). So, if you want to save money, an easy method would be to simplify your design to feature fewer colors.

How much are bulk custom t shirts?

When you bulk order custom tees, your price goes way, way down. That's because you gain a massive amount of efficiency with screen printing -- although it takes time to set everything up, the actual printing afterward is pretty fast. In fact, an automatic press can run off over a thousand shirts in an hour!

As a result, bigger orders tend to be more budget-friendly on a per-shirt basis. In fact, custom t-shirts can be around $5 apiece when ordering 150+.

What's the cost of screen printing per shirt?

To give you some idea what you might pay at various order quantities for a single-color, single-placement screen-printed t-shirt, here are some common price ranges you'll see custom t-shirt makers charge:

12 shirts - $11 to $20 per t-shirt

25 shirts - $8 to $18 per t-shirt

50 shirts - $7 to $16 per t-shirt

75 shirts - $6 to $14 per t-shirt

100 shirts - $5.50 to $10 per t-shirt

150 shirts - $5 to $9 per t-shirt

Some companies will charge even more than that (SO AVOID THEM!), but very few companies will charge less. Bolt Printing tends to sit at the lowest cost in those ranges, occasionally coming right under them.

How much does it cost to embroider a shirt?

Custom embroidery is usually more expensive than custom printing. On top of that, the price of embroidery is calculated by looking at the stitch count -- meaning the size of your design will impact your cost, but not the number of colors.

Most companies will price their custom embroidery based on a certain-size stitch count (ie, if your embroidered logo requires a stitch count that size or smaller, it's just the displayed price; however, anything outside that amount will cost more), although that count will vary company-to-company. (Bolt Printing, for example, has a default 8k stitch count.)

The average pricing for custom embroidered t-shirts ranges from $15 to $25 per shirt when buying 12, which can drop to about $8.50 to $15 on 96.

While people are less likely to embroider t-shirts, it's still a good choice, particularly when the embroidered tees are being used for certain service jobs.

What other custom t-shirt costs are there?

Outside of the customization costs, your biggest expense will be the garment itself (ie, the blank shirt). While there are entry-level options like the Gildan 5000 and Bolt Printing's ultra low price BD54, you also have shirts with a higher price point.

A customizable shirt might be more expensive for any number of reasons. First, there's the brand -- is it made by some big brand-name company? Brands like Nike tend to charge a premium for their goods. Second, you have the material. Tri-blend tees, for example, will usually be more expensive than their standard counterparts. Even with a 100% cotton shirt, you'll also have ringspun versions (which are softer, but more expensive).

Shirt size can also be a factor. While standard sizes (ie, small, medium, large, and extra-large) tend to cost the same, most companies will have upcharges for sizes 2XL and larger.


Does the company offer all-inclusive t-shirt pricing?

The price you see isn't always the price you get. There are some t-shirt printing companies who'll list one price then try to nickel-and-dime you with hidden (and not-so-hidden) fees until you hit a much, much higher cost at the end of checkout.

That's why you usually want to make sure that the custom t-shirt printer believes in all-inclusive pricing and clearly labels what's included in any given price. While costs will vary depending on what you want, it should never be hard to figure out what you're going to pay upfront -- whether it's on-page pricing, a quote calculator, or anything else.

And all pricing can be pretty inclusive. Keep in mind that a lot of reputable t-shirt printers offer free shipping on standard orders, so the only variable at times might be the tax (assuming the printer collects tax for your state, which not all of them have to do).


Is it profitable to make custom shirts?

Depending on your business or organization, it can be VERY profitable to make custom shirts.

In many cases, custom t-shirts are an easy added revenue stream.

Who can benefit from selling custom tees?

  • Food/hospitality businesses like bars, restaurants, pizza places, and breweries.
  • Recreation businesses like theme parks, kids amusement centers, water parks, and gyms.
  • Entertainers like bands, comedians, influencers, and independent pro wrestlers.
  • Non-profits including charities, fundraisers, PTO groups, and more, where the proceeds would be used to help with funding.

Your profit margin will depend on your custom t-shirt pricing vs what you pay for those shirts. For example, if you ordered a single-color design on a white BD54, right now (ie, November 2023) you'd pay $10.60 each if you were ordering 12 t-shirts or $5.05 each if you were ordering 96. Even if you were only charging $15/shirt (which is pretty low), you'd make anywhere $4.40 to $9.95 per shirt. However, people often charge closer to $20 for shirts, which would be $9.40 to $14.95.

In short, you can make a LOT of money by selling custom t-shirts, particularly if you're running a fundraiser (where people want to support your organization) or are already selling branded merchandise. On top of that, there's also the allure of starting your own clothing brand.


Is it cheaper to print shirts yourself?

When trying to maximize that bottom line, you might be wondering whether it's cheaper to just print t-shirts yourself. And if you're looking to make just a few shirts to start, the answer is a resounding "NO!"

There are a lot of upfront costs when it comes to t-shirt printing where it only makes sense to print t-shirts if you're consistently hitting a certain volume. The rest of the time it makes more sense to pay a professional designer to do it. Especially since, even if you can justify the upfront costs, there are often a lot of manufacturing efficiencies that enable screen printing and embroidery companies to produce custom shirts cheaper.

We'll break down the challenges of starting a t-shirt line in a future blog, but generally until you hit a certain profit level, there are a range of feasibility issues at every level (whether you're flying solo or hiring people to help).

And, because there are so many costs, there's a practical benefit to outsourcing your labor to t-shirt printing companies.

We offer custom t-shirts at affordable prices

When you're looking for a great price on custom tees, you don't need to look any further than Bolt Printing!

Our prices are often significantly lower than big-name competitors like Custom Ink, Rush Order Tees, and 4imprint. In fact, you might be shocked by how inexpensive our Best Deals Custom Tee (the BD54) is -- especially it costs even less than a Gildan 5000 (which itself is among the most affordable customizable tees).

So, if you want a bargain, you want Bolt Printing. Interested yet? Start designing today.

A long time ago, before the Internet existed, t-shirt screen printing was a whole mission. In some cases, it was a Mission Impossible type mission. 

If you wanted to find t-shirt screen printing services, you had to go to a local shop. That means having to physically leave where you are and commute to a specific location to get the service you need.

We respect local shops, but we must say that we are happy we live in the digital age. Today, you can get your custom t-shirts printed online without ever leaving the comfort of your home—except for when you step out on your porch to get your package after it arrives.

But can an online t-shirt printing company really give you the same quality product as a local screen printer? And what about customer service?

Don’t worry, we’ll answer all those questions and more. Here’s everything you need to know about why online t-shirt printing is easier than ever.

The Luxury of Ordering Custom Shirts Online

One of the main benefits of ordering online is that you can do it from the comfort of your home—or anywhere else with an Internet connection. No more having to take time out of your busy schedule to physically go somewhere to place a t-shirt order.

You can easily order custom t-shirts for your clothing brand, organization, or event while you sit on your couch and watch a football game. Just hop on your computer, tablet, or smartphone, connect to the Internet, and go to a reputable online t-shirt printing company’s website (just like this one!)

Why is Ordering T-Shirts Online Better?

There are quite a few reasons why ordering t-shirts online is simply better than going to a local shop. Here are some of the most notable ones:

Online T-Shirt Printing Makes Way for Scalability

One of the best things about ordering custom t-shirts online is that it allows your t-shirt printing orders to scale up easily. Need 100 shirts for a volunteer event? No problem.

But what if you need 5,000 shirts for a marketing campaign? Again, no problem.

When you work with a major online t-shirt printing company (like us), you can print as many shirts as you need without breaking a sweat. That’s something most local screen printers can’t say.

There are no maximums. You can order as many shirts as you need without having to worry about a local shop being able to accommodate your large order.

More Bang for Your Buck

In addition to being able to print large orders easily, online t-shirt printing companies can also give you more bang for your buck. That’s because most online t-shirt printers have lower overhead costs than local shops.

What does that mean for you? It means that you can get your custom t-shirts printed at a lower cost without sacrificing quality.

And if you need a large number of shirts, we have great news for you. The more shirts you order, the lower the cost per shirt will be. So, if you need a lot of shirts, ordering them online will save you a lot of money.

If you’re wondering about shipping costs, don’t worry. At Scrappy Apparel, we offer free shipping on all orders so you can score major savings.

A Wider Variety of Printing Services and Products

Local print shops are great, but they are usually limited in the services and products they offer. On the other hand, online t-shirt printing companies like Scrappy Apparel offer a wide variety of printing services and products, which gives you more options for your custom apparel needs.

For example, we offer:

  • Screen printing
  • Sublimation
  • Cut and sew manufacturing
  • Custom hats
  • Private labeling

…and more!

Think of us as your all-in-one custom apparel solution. We can handle all your t-shirt printing needs, from start to finish.

Better Quality Control

When you order custom t-shirts online, you can trust that you’ll get a high-quality product. That’s because many online t-shirt printing companies have a whole staff of experienced professionals who are dedicated to ensuring that every shirt is printed to perfection.

At Scrappy Apparel, our misprint percentage is virtually nonexistent. Our manufacturing capabilities are top-of-the-line.

Stress-Free Processes

When you order custom t-shirts from a local shop, the process can be a bit stressful. There’s usually a lot of back and forth between you and the shop owner or manager.

For example, you might have to go back and forth several times to get the design just right. Or, you might not love the way the shirts turned out but you feel like it’s too much of a hassle to go back and get them redone.

When you order custom t-shirts online, the process is much more streamlined and stress-free. (At least it is when you work with us.)

Let’s Get Specific

So we’ve explained why it’s much easier to order t-shirts online, right? Well, now let’s talk about how it’s not only easier, but better overall when you place your t-shirt order with Scrappy Apparel.

Besides our free estimates, design layouts, fast turnaround time, and free shipping, we offer something that will absolutely blow your mind. It’s called the BBP.

Scrappy’s Brand Building Process (BBP)

No, it doesn’t stand for beautiful, blissful printing—but that’s exactly what you get with our BBP.

It actually stands for Brand Building Process. Our BBP is simply how we do things at Scrappy to ensure that we delight our customers with every step of the ordering process, from first contact to final delivery.

Here’s a breakdown of how it works:

Grab Your Free Quote

We start off by providing a free quote. Why would you need to pay for something like a quote? We don’t know!

Regardless, we offer the opportunity to get a free estimate for your specific project. We’ll get back to you in 24 business hours.

Meet Your New Bestie

Once we’ve given you a quote that you cannot resist, we’ll introduce you to your new bestie, a Scrappy Sales Rep.

Our team member will listen to your wants, needs, hopes, and dreams before they get to work and make some custom apparel magic happen.

Review Pre-Production Layouts to Ensure Perfection

How can you be sure your order will turn out perfect unless you look at it and approve it first?

Since Scrappy loves to do everything the way it should be, our sales rep will show you pre-production layouts to review, edit, and approve.

This includes print size, location, private labeling, and other factors depending on what your project entails.

Sit Back and Relax

Once you’ve gone ahead and approved your layouts, we get to work and you get to rest. We’ll get into our zone of genius and manufacture your order. Once we’re done, we’ll send your order straight to your doorstep. Isn’t that just amazing?

How to Ensure Success with Online T-Shirt Printing

Sure, ordering t-shirts online is a piece of cake. But there are still a few factors that are important to keep in mind when you place your t-shirt order. Let’s take a look at them:

The Reputation of the Printing Company

When you work with a reputable company, you can be sure that you’re getting quality products and services. You should look for a company that strives to build great relationships with its customers. This means that they’re always available to answer any questions or concerns you might have.

You should also look for a company that has an excellent track record. If they have happy customers who are willing to share testimonials and leave positive reviews, that’s a good sign.

The Quality of the Products They Use

Who wants to wear a scratchy, itchy, low-quality t-shirt? Not us! That’s why it’s important to choose a company that takes the time to source or develop products that are a joy to wear.

The best way to ensure that you’re getting quality products is to order samples. This way, you can see and feel the products for yourself before you commit to a larger order.

We recommend looking into the different fabrics that are available. If you’re looking for t-shirts that are soft and comfortable, look for ones that are made of 100% cotton or a cotton/polyester blend. If you’re looking for t-shirts that are more durable, look for ones that are made of 100% polyester.

The Potential for a True Partnership

Especially if you are scaling your own clothing brand, there is nothing more helpful than having an expert manufacturer in your corner who can provide you with insights and recommendations on the best decisions to make.

When choosing a company to partner with, look for one that offers more than just t-shirt printing services. Look for a company that is invested in your success.

The Turnaround Time

When you’re working with a professional company, you can expect your order to be delivered on time. But it’s always a good idea to ask about the turnaround time before you place your order.

Make sure you choose a company that has a commitment to providing accurate turnaround times. The last thing you want is to sit around and wait for your order while your manufacturer just makes excuses.

The Cost

Of course, the cost is always an important consideration when you’re placing an order for t-shirts. But it’s important to remember that you get what you pay for.

Don’t choose the cheapest option just because it’s the cheapest. Instead, look for a company that provides quality products and services at a fair price. This way, you can be sure that you’re getting a good deal without sacrificing quality.

Why Scrappy Apparel is the Best Online T-Shirt Printing Company

If you’re looking for a 100% online t-shirt manufacturing solution, today is your lucky day because you are exactly where you are supposed to be.

Scrappy Apparel is the best online t-shirt printing company to work with, and here’s why:

We Offer Luxury-Level Products at Competitive Prices

Our goal is to provide our customers with the best of the best. The best products, the best prices, the best service… all of it. Therefore, we handpick our fabrics and garment patterns to make sure they meet our high standards.

We offer a variety of printing techniques, including screen printing, sublimation, and embroidery. We also offer a variety of add-ons, such as custom labels and hangtags, to give your garments that extra bit of oomph.

But even though we offer high-end products, our prices are still competitive. We offer price breaks for larger orders, and we’re always happy to speak with you to see if we can find a solution that fits your budget.

We Have a Team of Experienced Professionals

The team at Scrappy Apparel has years of experience in the apparel industry. We know what it takes to produce quality garments, and we’re passionate about helping our customers succeed.

We’re here to answer your questions, provide helpful advice, and offer support every step of the way. You can rest assured knowing that you’re in good hands when you work with us.

We Have Fast Turnaround Times

We know that time is money, which is why we offer speedy turnaround times. We’ll never keep you waiting around for your order.

Our turnaround times vary depending on the printing technique you choose, but all of our processes are some of the fastest in the industry. If you’re in a hurry, we also offer rush order options.

We Offer Free Shipping on All Orders

We believe that free shipping is a right, not a privilege. That’s why we offer free shipping on all orders, no matter how big or small.

As you can see, Scrappy Apparel is the best online t-shirt printing company for many, many reasons. If you’re looking for quality products, competitive prices, and fast turnaround times, we’re the company for you.

To request your free estimate, click the button below and we’ll get this custom apparel party started. We can’t wait to work with you!

Why is custom printed shirt price Better?

Why Online T-Shirt Printing is Easier Than Ever

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