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Looking for your opinions on getting into the screen printing business. I have a couple friends that have their own t-shirt companies as a hobby and a couple friends that own businesses that sell t-shirts with their companies' logos on them. All of them have different screen printers print their shirts. I know I can get all their business for printing shirts. So here is my question, is it possible to make money just screen printing while outsourcing the job of having the actual screens made? Looking to purchase only a press and dryer.
 

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I have a couple friends that have their own t-shirt companies as a hobby and a couple friends that own businesses that sell t-shirts with their companies' logos on them. All of them have different screen printers print their shirts. I know I can get all their business for printing shirts.
You have four friends you will get business from. Two of them are only doing enough shirts to be considered a hobby. How do you know you will get their business with no experience? Because they are your friends? All four of them are that dissatisfied with their current printers? You are going to use your friends' products for trial and error while you work through the learning curve of screen printing. How long will they be your friends when you make mistakes and that will happen. They may even stay your friends with the mistakes but may have to cut their losses and go back to the printers that were already doing their shirts to their satisfaction.

Your business set up, however it turns out, may not allow you to do their shirts for the same price as their current printers. If you end up being significantly higher and by that I don't mean dollars more but just half a dollar it adds up in business. The more they need to pay you in your start up even though you all are friends is less that goes into their pocket. Business is business.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
You have four friends you will get business from. Two of them are only doing enough shirts to be considered a hobby. How do you know you will get their business with no experience? Because they are your friends? All four of them are that dissatisfied with their current printers? You are going to use your friends' products for trial and error while you work through the learning curve of screen printing. How long will they be your friends when you make mistakes and that will happen. They may even stay your friends with the mistakes but may have to cut their losses and go back to the printers that were already doing their shirts to their satisfaction.

Your business set up, however it turns out, may not allow you to do their shirts for the same price as their current printers. If you end up being significantly higher and by that I don't mean dollars more but just half a dollar it adds up in business. The more they need to pay you in your start up even though you all are friends is less that goes into their pocket. Business is business.
Thanks for the response, these are the opinions I am looking for.
 

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Just want to make sure you think through the process carefully and make sure you aren't counting on things that may not even happen. Friends and business don't always mix. There have been successful ventures but more often than not the friendships don't survive business dealings.
 

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Think through your first two years completely - on paper.

Think about the unique skill for each part of the whole business.

Consider becoming the print controller for your friends, supervising those contract printers and smoothing out any wrinkles every step of the process has. As time goes on, you can take over small parts of the process (buying shirts, separating art, warehousing).

Business, taxes & banking
Profit - You should go into business to make money
Who's going to teach you each new skill?
- Are you going to teach yourself?
- Would you hire yourself to teach you?

Sales - Predict the value over 2 years. Predict who will deliver more sales.
Sales is the lifeblood of business. Sales covers up tech problems, and
if there's no sales the best printer goes broke.

Time - each part demands time, deadlines. Screen Printing is very labor intensive.
Art - color separation & positives Graphic computer & inkjet printer w/screen printing RIP
Screen - The critical tool of printing. Water drainage. Sinks, exposure, frames & mesh
Printing - Skills & equipment
Curing - ventilation & electricity
Permission to do screen printing at your location.
Space - You'll need space for equipment & shirt storage
Insurance
Employees
Business, taxes & banking
Profit - You should go into business to make money
 
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Here are my suggestions. Learn as much as possible from working with your friends for 3 months or so. Soak up everything you can. Become a people pleaser and networker. Each person you go up to and meet can be a sale. Once you feel comfortable, get out and be the middleman, send your friends the jobs (contract). Once you get really good at that consider getting a 4x4 press setup from Ryonet. Spend $10k to get all that setup and keep moving. As you can see here, the trend is progression. Start small and move up from there, proving each step.


Side note I wrote a blog post about this: How to start a screen-printing business « Printavo - Manage your screen-printing shop easily.
 

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You can get a 6x6 package for $10,600 right now. (Plus 750 delivery). Cheaper options for second hand gear too

Makes NO sense not to burn your own screens. It's easy and cheap. You'll have no control, otherwise.

Learn the technicalities. It's a steep curve. I spent a year learning online and only then was I ready to start actually printing. But I was able to hit the ground running
 
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