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Discussion, tips, pictures, reviews and peer to peer support for current and future Brother GT-541 and Brother GT-782 DTG owners.



[Brother GT-782] At $3/shirt, isn't a $55K GT-782 too expensive?

 
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Old June 25th, 2009 Jun 25, 2009 3:54:42 PM -   #16 (permalink)
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Default Re: At $3/shirt, isn't a $55K GT-782 too expensive?

$55K makes a good down payment on a full auto multi-color screen press. There is a place for these printers but that is kind of pushing the envelop combined with the cost of white ink, pretreatment, etc.
 
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Old June 25th, 2009 Jun 25, 2009 6:35:08 PM -   #17 (permalink)
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Default Re: At $3/shirt, isn't a $55K GT-782 too expensive?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DAGuide
If you are printing a graphic that large, charge appropriately for it.
That is a sound bit of business advice, and one I believe in 100% (especially after some of the contract work we've done...). However, that does not excuse inflated ink prices on the supply end, nor does it mean that a small business owner shouldn't be concerned with their bottom line, just because they plan to "double" the raw cost, anyways (or whatever multiplier they hope to use). Especially in this economy, we need to be MORE critical of paying ridiculous prices, for consumables that seem to be priced at a whim. If you are doing large volume, direct-to-the-customer one-off printing, maybe you can build in enough extra markup to justify the high costs. However, what if you want to be the production house for someone who is selling t-shirts, online (as many DTG owners do)? You double your ink costs, then they double their costs, add in the appropriate overheads and the end user is stuck paying an $18 base price for a t-shirt, BEFORE they mark it up to their customers. Or, what if you have several good clients who order shirts by the hundreds - you will never be able to compete with screen printing on any larger quantities, and the customers will eventually start looking for cheaper printers (or in-house printing options) when they realize that your bottom line prevents you from rewarding their long term, high volume orders.

I know there is an argument that DTG doesn't (or shouldn't) compete with screen printing, because they are completely different products. I spend a lot of time educating my customers about this very idea. However, it is pretty obvious that the technology has advanced in almost every aspect, except for ink prices. With Kornit being the only company willing to charge reasonable prices for their white ink, it is difficult to see any sort of change on the horizon. There was a lot of talk from Brother reps, well before the official price was announced, and they didn't hit anywhere near the projected mark. Realistically, coming forward with a more competitively priced ink is the only thing stopping Brother from completely smashing the Kornit platform.... Well, that and the lack of on-board pretreatment (but that is largely forgiveable).

We spend much more on DTG equipment than we do on screen printing equipment; why shouldn't we expect more from our machines? In this industry, we should not be limiting ourselves to one particular market base. If we want to be successfull in a VERY competitive economy, we need to have the flexibility to compete in the low-mid volume market, we need to be able to service large accounts that expect preferrential treatment and pricing, and we need to be able to handle fulfillment for major online t-shirt retailers, without having to charge a small fortune for the service. In my opinion, this is what would make the Brother printer a TRUE "production machine", as they are touting it as. Until then, it is just a really expensive printer that is limited to a certain high-markup customer base. And to think; the only thing that is keeping them from this is the high cost of ink...... Well, maybe Dupont will be the next one to make a move on ink prices?

I know that not everybody shares my bitter disdain for high ink prices; but at the same time, I know I am not alone. So although lots of people will hopefully purchase (and love) their 782 printers, it will not be ready for my shop for awhile.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DAGuide
It was only a couple of years ago when you say there was no way you could use a Brother to support your business plan because of the ink cost. Now look at what you got.
I have the most reliable printer I have ever owned, but I pull my hair out at some of the orders that come in with heavy-coverage graphics, and the first thing out of the customer's mouth is "what's the largest size you can print?" Why should I have to be afraid to boast about our max print size, because I know that utilizing it is going to end up costing me MORE than selling them more basic options?? (Even if I charge more, which I do, the additional ink cost, print time and associated overhead causes my hourly profit to plummet, and the customers are still shell-shocked at the prices) I want to be proud to announce my maximum print size, like I was with my Kornit (lights and darks) and with my Flexi-Jet (lights only), not be afraid to mention it for fear the customer might actually ask for it.

I love the Brother printer, and I truly believe that they know how to build a solid platform. However, they are not catering to businesses like mine, and I recognize that. Even the light garment printer severely limits me, in some cases. I know exactly (almost down to the penny) what I need to charge to make a good hourly profit, based on fixed overhead, production rates, labor, etc.... I can actually compete in a meaningful way with screen printers in the light garment market, even on larger volume orders. However, when they come in the door with anything that is not a 10 x 10 or 12 x 12 graphic, I sometimes have to give the customer a smokin' deal on the shirts and the decorating service, but the addition of the "raw ink cost" turns many people away (many people refer to it as "hidden fees"). As this technology is adopted by more and more small print shops, I predict that more and more savvy customers will start to learn to avoid the "plus actual ink cost" caveat, when ordering digital printing.

Small to mid sized orders? No problem... $12-$14 bucks a shirt for 12-24 items at a time is not half bad... But once the person wants to order a few hundred (because they loved the small order so much), I have to tell them that their price will never go below "x.xx" per shirt, no matter how many they order, and they often rethink the size of their orders. I know I am not the only digital printer who experiences this.... The difference is, I am tired of being trapped with machines that cost me so much to operate, that I am left wondering why I am printing at all, when compared to the contract rates that many Kornit owners charge. But again, each person has their own priorities and business model.
 
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Old June 25th, 2009 Jun 25, 2009 7:11:18 PM -   #18 (permalink)
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Default Re: At $3/shirt, isn't a $55K GT-782 too expensive?

Justin,

Great response. The only difference that I have from your outlook is that I urge every dtg printer to make a strong relationship with a screen printer. The golden rule for me is "the dtg printer is a tool for your to make money... but you don't have to use it to make money." Take a standard graphic that can be printed either as dtg, plastisol transfer or screen print. There will always be a breakeven where that design should be done in another process. You like to print orders higher than 100 garments based on our conversations. I would prefer to outsource those jobs and use that extra time to do more sales / marketing for jobs that have a higher per profit per garment order. If it is a rush order that can't be outsourced, then charge a premium.

Apparel decorators are their worse enemies when it comes to caving in and dropping their prices at the first sign of resistance. That is why I suggest to a lot of apparel decorators to go to a Promotional Products trade show - where they spend a tremendous amount of time focused on doing sales training and promoting value.

In my opinion, to many decorators think that just because they spent a large amount of money for their printers... they have to use it to get the most out of it. That is a mistake. Use the best decorating technique that balances putting as much PROFIT (not revenues) in your pocket and exceeds your customer's expectations.

Just my opinion and I respect your's,

Mark
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Old June 26th, 2009 Jun 26, 2009 4:26:29 AM -   #19 (permalink)
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Default Re: At $3/shirt, isn't a $55K GT-782 too expensive?

Another question is what amount of ink is in that square inch. If you are priniting a solid red on a dark shirt wouldn't you be putting something like 100% white and close to 100% yellow and 100% magenta? Would this make that square inch cost $.09?
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Old June 26th, 2009 Jun 26, 2009 10:31:29 AM -   #20 (permalink)
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Default Re: At $3/shirt, isn't a $55K GT-782 too expensive?

We try to hit $50.00 per hour with our Brother, we have one machine. Anyone else?

That said... if a fellow had two machines and was running some longer production stuff, you could afford to cut the price per print a bit. On some of the larger designs it is very easy for one operator to keep up with two machines (we use a belt dryer). Your output doubles, your production cost does not... Thoughts?
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Old June 26th, 2009 Jun 26, 2009 10:51:56 AM -   #21 (permalink)
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Default Re: At $3/shirt, isn't a $55K GT-782 too expensive?

That is very true, and certainly how I am trying to structure my business; more machines = redundant capabilities! However, if you have a target hourly profit ("X" dollars per hour), and you are getting by with a single machine, all is well. If you get really busy, you buy another machine, and double your hourly production. If ever a machine goes down, you are making LOTS of money per hour, so you can afford to be down on one machine for maintenance.

However, what if you lower your prices to get some big accounts (in my experience, the bigger accounts seem to always need their stuff done, yesterday), due to the fact that you are counting on double production capability, but then you have problems with one machine? Suddenly you have to shift the entire workload over to a single machine, and you will only be making HALF of your target profit, or less (because you lowered your prices, counting on the double production capabilities to make up the difference).

Will this happen? Probably, on a long enough time frame. And, from my experience, things like this like to happen right when you absolutely need everything to work. Plan for Murphey's Law, and you will stay in business a lot longer! Again, although I definitely see the benefit of having multiple machines to leverage my costs down, and in turn, pass the savings on to the customer, I do not think it is the most ideal way. I still think that true savings are found in seeking out lower consumables costs, so you are putting more money back in your pocket at all scales or business (whether you have 1 machine, or 100), rather than increasing the required investment cost to "lower" my costs.

Heck, 2 Brother machines and a tunnel dryer is starting to creep closer to the Kornit price point.... Let's see: (2) Brother GT-541 = about $45,000? Save up about twice that for your initial investment, and your long-term consumables costs will be around 30% by buying a Kornit. I know what you might say.... "But the Brother is so much more reliable than the Kornit!" True; however, I think you could eliminate a good portion of your troubles with the Kornit, if you were only printing light garments (which is all you can do with the 541's you might buy, so you are already limited).

As always, just my .02 - taking a look at these things from a slightly different angle than most.
 
Old June 26th, 2009 Jun 26, 2009 10:52:56 AM -   #22 (permalink)
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Default Re: At $3/shirt, isn't a $55K GT-782 too expensive?

Oh, and to answer your question, Jim: my magic number is $60, but I have been known to settle for $50...
 
Old June 26th, 2009 Jun 26, 2009 10:56:31 AM -   #23 (permalink)
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Default Re: At $3/shirt, isn't a $55K GT-782 too expensive?

We bought a Melco Superstar one head embroidery machine in 1984. At that time they told us to aim for 60.00 per hour... I never did get there.
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Old November 12th, 2010 Nov 12, 2010 5:58:06 PM -   #24 (permalink)
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Default Re: At $3/shirt, isn't a $55K GT-782 too expensive?

9.2 cc of white, 2. something ccs of cmyk = $9.00 print
it's a full size print i have the white set to 3

am i alone ?
 
Old November 13th, 2010 Nov 13, 2010 10:18:47 AM -   #25 (permalink)
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Default Re: At $3/shirt, isn't a $55K GT-782 too expensive?

Let’s take this one step at a time and start with the number side of the business first.* The cost of a 500 cc of color ink is $350.00.* This means that the cost per a cc is $0.70.* Since you used 2 cc of CMYK, you have $1.40 in CMYK ink cost.
*
1.****** Low Volume – price per cartridge is $300.00 for 500 cc.* This means that you are paying $0.60 a cc.* This means the white underbase would be $5.40.* (Total print cost would be $7.10.)
2.****** Medium Volume – price per cartridge is $225.00 for 500 cc when you purchase a 10 pack of cartridges.* This means you are paying $0.45 a cc.* This means the white underbase would cost $4.05.* (Total print cost would be $5.45.)
3.****** High Volume – you are paying $0.36 a cc.* This means the white underbase would cost $3.24.* (Total print cost would be $4.64.)
*
So not sure where you came up with the $9.00 print cost based on the numbers you posted.* In fact, my cost would be half of what you posted.* There are also a couple of different ways where you can cut the down the amount of ink you use.* You should contact your distributor for how to do this.
*
The next thing that you need to consider is how much comparable ink you would be putting down on a shirt using another inkset.* From someone that has experience printing with Dupont ink using Epson-based printers in the past for several years, I can tell you that the hand on the Brother GT CMYK+W prints is less than with the Dupont ink.* Part of the reason is because Brother uses less ink than compared to the Epson-based printers.* So try to imagine how thick the print would feel like if you printed it with an Epson-based printer.* If you want to post the artwork in the same size / resolution that you printed, someone can tell you exactly how much ink would be used using their RIP.
*
In the end, there are definitely trade-offs with every dtg printer.* I choose to go with a better hand, improved washability and faster production speed - so I was willing to pay more cost per print, However at bulk ink pricing it is cheaper to print with my 782, than on my Epson based machines.

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Old November 14th, 2010 Nov 14, 2010 4:21:56 PM -   #26 (permalink)
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Default Re: At $3/shirt, isn't a $55K GT-782 too expensive?

Great breakdown!

Thanks!

Eric

Quote:
Originally Posted by Printzilla
Let’s take this one step at a time and start with the number side of the business first.* The cost of a 500 cc of color ink is $350.00.* This means that the cost per a cc is $0.70.* Since you used 2 cc of CMYK, you have $1.40 in CMYK ink cost.
*
1.****** Low Volume – price per cartridge is $300.00 for 500 cc.* This means that you are paying $0.60 a cc.* This means the white underbase would be $5.40.* (Total print cost would be $7.10.)
2.****** Medium Volume – price per cartridge is $225.00 for 500 cc when you purchase a 10 pack of cartridges.* This means you are paying $0.45 a cc.* This means the white underbase would cost $4.05.* (Total print cost would be $5.45.)
3.****** High Volume – you are paying $0.36 a cc.* This means the white underbase would cost $3.24.* (Total print cost would be $4.64.)
*
So not sure where you came up with the $9.00 print cost based on the numbers you posted.* In fact, my cost would be half of what you posted.* There are also a couple of different ways where you can cut the down the amount of ink you use.* You should contact your distributor for how to do this.
*
The next thing that you need to consider is how much comparable ink you would be putting down on a shirt using another inkset.* From someone that has experience printing with Dupont ink using Epson-based printers in the past for several years, I can tell you that the hand on the Brother GT CMYK+W prints is less than with the Dupont ink.* Part of the reason is because Brother uses less ink than compared to the Epson-based printers.* So try to imagine how thick the print would feel like if you printed it with an Epson-based printer.* If you want to post the artwork in the same size / resolution that you printed, someone can tell you exactly how much ink would be used using their RIP.
*
In the end, there are definitely trade-offs with every dtg printer.* I choose to go with a better hand, improved washability and faster production speed - so I was willing to pay more cost per print, However at bulk ink pricing it is cheaper to print with my 782, than on my Epson based machines.

Zilla
 
Old November 14th, 2010 Nov 14, 2010 5:19:42 PM -   #27 (permalink)
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Default Re: At $3/shirt, isn't a $55K GT-782 too expensive?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dmfelder
So, the GT-728 is $55,000 or more. If it's true that dark shirts are, on average, $3/shirt, it seems priced way above the competition.

I know it's a different ink, but it seems Brother is like US pharmaceutical companies...charging us for their development costs.

Am I off base?
a better question to ask yourself is if you buy the machine can you make a profit & how quick. if you cant make a profit dont buy it. ofcourse people dont buy it for the cost, but the roi.
 
Old November 15th, 2010 Nov 15, 2010 12:44:38 PM -   #28 (permalink)
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Default Re: At $3/shirt, isn't a $55K GT-782 too expensive?

Thank you! Good data and a good experienced conclusion.

I wonder how many cc's the same design would "take" on the Bro and the Epson Printers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Printzilla
In the end, there are definitely trade-offs with every dtg printer.* I choose to go with a better hand, improved washability and faster production speed - so I was willing to pay more cost per print, However at bulk ink pricing it is cheaper to print with my 782, than on my Epson based machines.

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Old November 15th, 2010 Nov 15, 2010 6:44:15 PM -   #29 (permalink)
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Default Re: At $3/shirt, isn't a $55K GT-782 too expensive?

Post the artwork and several of us can run it through a dtg RIP and tell you exactly how many MLs (which are equivalent to a CC) are used for all the channels. Just need to have the same size and resolution.

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Old November 15th, 2010 Nov 15, 2010 6:47:49 PM -   #30 (permalink)
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Default Re: At $3/shirt, isn't a $55K GT-782 too expensive?

Quote:
I wonder how many cc's the same design would "take" on the Bro and the Epson Printers?
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