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I know that dtg printer has it's pros/cons but if I am doing limited runs and more of a custom order to order basis for my customers, should I just sell my screenprinting set up (hopkins press, flash dryer, conveyor dryer, exposure unit, inks, etc..) and get a dtg printer? And just get a more simple screen print setup in case some orders come in for screenprinting specifically? I know lot of traditionalist will always do screenprinting but in my circumstance what route should i go? I was thinking of just getting heat transfers and keep my screenprint setup but i always feel there is some stigma behind heat press transfers (not the vinyl kind but the inkjet ones) and also feel the quality will always not be good despite it being pigment ink..
 

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If you're doing a made to order type business and the dtg is taking care of that, why keep the added costs of ink for a silkscreening machine. If orders aren't big enough to warrant the setup time and clean up afterwards, why bother but on the other hand, what IF you get one of those large orders one day that require silk screening? If not, what price are you selling it for?
 

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The question should be how much will the sale of my current shop offset the cost if the DTG printer. If it's not going to put a significant dent in the cost, try to market yourself for larger jobs and expand your options
 

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I have to agree with JO, a refurb DTG is gonna cost you $10-$12k to get in the biz, a new one is going to cost you $18k on up depending on what you buy, your also gonna need training, a somewhat climate controlled room, a heat press, a place to apply pre-treatment away from the printer.

If your customers are ordering low quantity's 1-100 pc then a DTG is the way to go, and of course you can do what a lot of us do that get bigger orders from time to time and that is to sub the job out to a screen printer when it gets over 100 pcs.

Another thing to consider is that DTG prints cost more to produce, take longer to produce, therefor you have to charge more for your product to make the same profit margin.

Hope this helps.
 

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Also a DTG should be used every day or the maintenance goes way up. If you already have a customer base with short runs and think that it will be used every day, that would be another reason to consider it. I went transfers and vinyl because just starting up, I would not be using a DTG for sometimes a week at a time. JMO
 

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It sound like you might have the right kinds of clients for DTG with a lot of custom orders, but I have never been able to justify that price tag.

Believe me, I am not a DTG hater…far from it, I am always checking them out at the shows and interested in their improvements. I just think you need a very specific business or circumstances to get payback. I always hear the "under 100 shirts use dtg", but unless you have full color, I can’t see it being any faster or cheaper for anything over a couple dozen shirts. Even for full color process near the 100 shirt number, you can separate and make the screens in about and hour, and run the 100 shirts in about an hour (on a manual machine, much faster on an auto). I just don’t see how a DTG can compete with that.

I sub out my DTG work now, but that doesn’t come up that much. From talking to the guys that I sub to, I just get the feeling they are not getting the payback they thought. I’m sure there are tons of people who will disagree with that, but that is just what I observe.

I see businesses in vacation areas that print for souvenirs right in front of people. They are able to charge $20+ a pop while keeping inventory down, as well as having a steady stream of customers. If you have a situation like that, I would think DTG would be a dream!!!

Good luck!
Nick
 

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FYI - if you can't pay cash for the DTG, then you really can't afford it. I just had to bring that up, because debt is the main killer of companies.
 
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