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Using higher quality products will make the prints last long with heat transfer (as they will for screen printing too, I'm sure). Using specialty pigmented inks (such as Magic Mix) and good quality transfer paper (MiraCool/IronAll OR Transjet II/Magic Jet) will go a long way to making a product that lasts.

Plastisol transfers are basically where another company screen prints a design on to a paper for you, which you can then transfer to a shirt with a heat press. You gain most of the quality of screen printing this way (and the ability to print on to dark shirts), and you can also partially print on demand this way (you don't need to guess sizes people are using ahead of time). You still need a minimum order (usually 12+) with plastisol though, just like screen printing.
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