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Press yourself...or let a company do it for you?

1611 Views 10 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Leg cramps
Just beginning to learn the + and - of each method of production. It is proabably answered somewhere on the forum but what are the pros and cons of sending your design to a company and letting them heat press your design on shirts rather than buying your very own heat press and getting your designs put on that trans paper to be pressed yourself. Which is more cost effective?
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well it really depends on what you want to do.. a transfer is awesome if you want to produce a small quantity of items.. and also to get a low cost sample done to see if you even like the design on a shirt.. but it also has it's shortcomings...
so it's really important you know the scope of what you are trying to do before you jump into it...
there are a lot of other way to produce shirts as well .. transfers are not as good as screen printing fyi..

There are a lot of considerations to be asked before you can awnser the cost effective question. Firstly, do you already have customers lined up at the door? secondly, do you already have a heat transfer press? Have you your own workshop space? etc etc

To start with I would use a company to print my designs just to see if your ideas work, and sell. Once you have made enough money from your great designs, then invest in a heat press or screen printing machine and cut down on your "supplier" costs. You also then dont have the hassles of learning print techniques until you have enough money in the bank to pay for spare t-shirts to practise on, extra inks, spare screens, materials etc.

or is it just a hobby?

good luck

well i don't have many customers that will be for sure buying i would say + or - a few 15 would buy from the start. (not that much i know) And my goal is to sell a lot of shirts. Now im asking because if say your comapny starts rolling in the customers.. wouldnt it be extrememly hard to have to press every shirt yourself?

That is a good way to start though ill look into some companies that will press my designs. Do you know of any that have good quality but are still somewhat cost effective

I have used spreadshirt for my designs in the past, and they are a reliable and very good company. The print quality that they output is great, but you do have to know about designing for heat transfer printing to get the best out of the service.

There are others out there as mentioned before on this forum such as cafepress etc and I am sure other users can give you their opinions on each of these services.

good luck


Dang do all of those websites cost over 15dollars to get a shirt made?
I think if you have the time to press yourself (and if you enjoy it), then you can probably start out pressing yourself. However, if you have a lot of volume and not a lot of time, then it might make more sense to have someone else press.
pros and cons of sending your design to a company and letting them heat press your design on shirts rather than buying your very own heat press and getting your designs put on that trans paper to be pressed yourself. Which is more cost effective?
If you are sending a design out to be printed on demand, it's probably not going to be heat transferred. Most likely it will be printed with a DTG (direct to garment printer)

If you have the time and money to buy the equipment and learn the learning curve of making your own t-shirts yourself with a heat press, I say go for it.

Just remember that there are more than one type of "heat transfer" and not all of them are the same quality.

Inkjet heat transfers are ones that you can print at home on a desktop inkjet printer, but the quality isn't as high as other types of heat transfers.

Plastisol transfers are when you send a company your design file and they screen print your design (using screen printing inks) onto transfer paper, and send you back the printed sheets of transfer paper with your design on it. You can then press the designs onto the t-shirts as you need them if you have a heat press. The quality of plastisol transfers is very high, and if done right, probably couldn't be differentiated from a t-shirt that was screen printed directly with plastisol ink.

There are also vinyl transfers that are cut with another piece of equipment (a vinyl color) This is good for single color designs, and if you invest in a vinyl cutter, not only can you do t-shirts, you can also do decals for cars, boats, laptops, etc. T-Shirt vinyl is very durable and can have a very soft finish.

But like you said, it's great if you're starting out, but if you get really busy (or want to go on vacation), do you really want to be stuck with having to press and ship out 50 t-shirts a day?

If it gets to that point, then that's a good problem to have :) That means you're probably making enough to think about other production options. Outsourcing the printing to a screen printer could give you higher profit margins and once you've figure out which designs sell and which sizes, you'll have a better handle on inventory needs.
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good point that would be a very good problem:)
Thats a lot everyone
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