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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?
 

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Compared to the Epson based machines its alot more but I don't think their trying to compete with those small table top machines that most people have thrown in the towel on white ink.If you compare it to the Kornit with 2 platens its atleast 150K less so if it works well I think it will be more than worth it,I really don't think its worth talking about yet untill their out in the field being used on a daily basis,that will be the only true test IMO.
 

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Just a thought about this,

Comparing the GT-781 to 931NDS we have,

1) about a 200k price difference.
2) about a $2 difference per print advertised
3) similar speed and quality promises

So assuming that you can afford both you need to look at the break even point of per print cost.

As advertised there is a about a 100k print break even point. If you print M-F for 1 whole year printing 385 prints a day then you will break even in 1 year.

Assuming 100 prints a day average, it will take 3.85 years to break even.

So if you plan on doing around 26k prints per year then it will be cheaper to buy the Brother.

None of these estimates take service, maintenance, downtime, or actual figures into account. Just posted figures.
 

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One thing that has been bothering me for a while here is the prices being quoted for ink consumption on the new Brother machine. On the Epson based machines the cost per print for the same image on light versus dark shirts is on average an 8-12 times multiplier, meaning that you use about 10 times as much ink to print the same image on a dark shirt as you do print it on a light shirt. It stands to reason that the multiplier should be similar on the Brother as it is on the Epson-based machines. That being said, shouldn't they be quoting an average cost of more like $6-10 per shirt for dark shirt printing? Even Kornit estimates a 4-5 times multiplier. What's the real answer here?
 

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One thing that has been bothering me for a while here is the prices being quoted for ink consumption on the new Brother machine. On the Epson based machines the cost per print for the same image on light versus dark shirts is on average an 8-12 times multiplier, meaning that you use about 10 times as much ink to print the same image on a dark shirt as you do print it on a light shirt. It stands to reason that the multiplier should be similar on the Brother as it is on the Epson-based machines. That being said, shouldn't they be quoting an average cost of more like $6-10 per shirt for dark shirt printing? Even Kornit estimates a 4-5 times multiplier. What's the real answer here?
Don,

I agree with your numbers on an Epson based printer using the ink calculators in the RIPs. I have seen the numbers based on what the Brother driver displays for ink usage for about four different prints... all of which were done with two passes of white ink. On average, the white ink usage is about 5 times the amount of CMYK. I am not sure how much that will drop if you only do one pass as I am not sure if the second pass is a white highlight layer or a full underbase pass. Since Brother has separate print head carriages for the white & CMYK, the white print head carriage would have to do two passes if you want a white highlight.

The main reason that I can think the ratio of CMYK to white ink is different from the Epson based printers and the Brother printer is the thickness of the ink. I am not sure if the numbers that I have heard are correct, but they say the Epson inks are rated at a 2.7 and the Brother inks are 8.0. Whether these numbers are correct or not, I am not 100% sure. (Hard to believe any numbers in this industry).

Hope that clarifies what Sean mentioned above. The real numbers will be clearer once the Brother is in the market longer.

Mark
 

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Thanks Mark, makes sense. If the white ink is 5 times more than the color then the multiplier is 6. If the average light image costs 60 cents to a dollar then the average dark image will cost $3.60-6.00 plus pre-treatment plus highlight pass - is that a fair assesment?
 

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Don,

I have heard from Brother that the cost will be around $3.00 to $3.50 for an "average" 10" x 12" or so graphic. Because graphics / artwork can be so different from one printer to another, it is going to be hard to predict in my opinion. I once read about a year ago that Brother has the capability of pulling a print log from the firmware in the printer that can tell you the number of prints and ink usage for that specific printer. They used this log to come up with what they call the average ink usage per a print. If this same program is available on the GT-782 (which I am not sure it is or not), then maybe in 6 months or so they could release that average ink usage per a print as well. That would be helpful for prospective buyers.

Ultimately, and just like all the other printers,...time will tell. I remember the ink costs that were first released with the T-Jet and they had to be adjusted as well.

Mark
 

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They say the cost of ink & fixation is .03 per sq. inch (http://www.t-shirtforums.com/brother/t88438.html) for the new Brother GT-782. Just to put some things into perspective:

12" x 12" ('standard' print size) = 144" x .03 = $4.32 per print
14" x 16" = 224" x .03 = $6.72 per print
16" x 18" (max print size) = 288" x .03 = $8.64 per print

Let's hope you never have to use that full platen area!!!
 

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They say the cost of ink & fixation is .03 per sq. inch (http://www.t-shirtforums.com/brother/t88438.html) for the new Brother GT-782. Just to put some things into perspective:

12" x 12" ('standard' print size) = 144" x .03 = $4.32 per print
14" x 16" = 224" x .03 = $6.72 per print
16" x 18" (max print size) = 288" x .03 = $8.64 per print

Let's hope you never have to use that full platen area!!!

I assume that the estimate is based on solid coverage. I doubt that you will often seen solid coverage 12"x12" designs. So the acutal total sqIN of coverage would probably be at least 75% of those numbers of not lower.
 

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Good point: the .03 per sq. in. number is based on solid coverage. However, I print an aweful lot of poster images for local airports that all use pretty damn solid coverage..... Lots of large areas of spot colors, and 14" x 16" box-type images; these prices would cripple me.

Obviously, it is important to know what type of images you spend the most time printing, before applying various formulas. In my case, I have run way too many GIANT images through my shop (once you tell people how big you can go, I find that many people want to fill up as much space as possible), so I wouldn't risk putting myself in a position where my costs "could" get up to that price.
 

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Why be afraid Justin,

If you are printing a graphic that large, charge appropriately for it. Too many decorators are focused on the cost when all you need to do educate your customer on how many other people can print that large. Maybe 20% (probably closer to 10%) of the dtg printers on the market can print that large. So charge your customer for it. I like to use the multiplier concept when looking at pricing. For example, I used to take my cost to do dye sub and multiplied that time 4.5 to determine my price. Find the right number that works for your business. Then the higher your cost is, the more the profit is! I am familiar with your business concept and doing contract work... and the same concept will apply because how many other places can they go get the same pricing. 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.

The key is changing the way decorators look at pricing and having a level of confidence in the product they sale. No need to always be the cheapest... especially in this economy where businesses are collapsing every day.

Just a different perspective to looking at things,

Mark
 

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Yet agin I say,These machines are not in the field yet so no-one and I mean No-one knows what the cost per print will be!I swear sometimes this forum is like Paton Place for those of you old enough to know what that show was all about ( basically Gossip and BS) why don't we dicuss this in 6 months when hopefully the machines have been out a while and real users of the machine can tell us about their experiences with this machine.All this speculation does no-one any good.Lets all just go and print some shirts.
 

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Mark is right WE the printers should set the market price not the customers.I'd rather go fishing than work for nothing.Think about who are the worst customers,in my case its the customer that I make the least on,so I've adopted the if you don't want to pay my rate go down the road.Making custom t-shirts is not like pulling them off the rack at Wallmart it takes time and skill and someone needs to pay for that.Look at my contract printing prices its one price plus the actual cost of the ink,I'm done working for free and my customers are always happy with what I print'Why because they pay enough for me to do it right every time.
 

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$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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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.

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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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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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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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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