Custom T-shirts are perfect for brand recognition, and they can make for a great gift for a family member or friend too. However, when you first decide to start making your custom T-shirts, the first thing that will come to mind is the cost. So, how much do custom T-shirts cost to make?
When printing custom T-shirts, there is no one cost fits all. A custom shirt can cost as low as $9.25, or as high as $50. The cost will depend on if you will be using a print provider to print the t-shirts, or if you will do your own shirt printing.
When getting custom shirts printed, there are two routes you can take.
The second, and cheaper, is to print the custom shirts on your own. Cheaper, but it does require a lot of upfront capital to get started. Take this route if you want to make it a business of printing custom t-shirts.
Let’s take a look at both to see how we can determine the average custom T Shirt price.
Custom T-shirts with Print on Demand
Print on Demand is a process where your custom T-shirt designs are printed individually as orders are placed. Unlike traditional bulk printing, POD allows for a lot of flexibility and is ideal for those who do not wish to hold inventory. Services like Printful and Printify have streamlined this process, making it accessible even to those with little to no experience in T-shirt printing.
If you are looking to make a small amount of custom t-shirts for yourself or a client, this is the best solution. No need to buy blank shirts or printing equipment. You simply upload your design or use their user-friendly design builder.
The cost can vary when using POD. They offer a wide range of t-shirts you can print on. If you higher quality material, it will cost more.
Currently, the cheapest t-shirt on Printful is the Unisex Basic Softstyle T-Shirt, also known as the Gildan 64000. It starts at $9.25 if you do sizes under XL.
Benefits of Print on Demand
- No Inventory Needed: With POD, you don’t need to pre-purchase or store any inventory. This reduces the risk and upfront costs significantly.
- Ease of Use: Platforms like Printful and Printify offer user-friendly interfaces, making it easy to upload designs and set up products.
- Quality and Variety: These services provide high-quality printing and a wide range of T-shirt materials and styles to choose from.
- Scalability: POD scales with your demand. Whether you sell ten shirts or a thousand, the process remains the same.
- Integration with E-commerce Platforms: POD services can integrate with various e-commerce platforms, simplifying the process of selling online.
Drawbacks of Print on Demand
- Higher Cost per Unit: Since shirts are printed individually, the cost per shirt is typically higher than bulk printing.
- Limited Customization: While you can design the print, other aspects like the shirt’s material and cut are limited to what the POD service offers.
- Dependency on Service Provider: Your brand reputation can be impacted by the POD provider’s quality, shipping times, and customer service.
Printing Your Own Custom T-Shirts
For those who prefer more control and potentially lower costs per unit, printing T-shirts at home is an option. This method requires an initial investment in equipment and materials but can be more cost-effective in the long run, especially for bulk orders.
Making your own custom t-shirts gives you greater control over your T-shirts design and the overall uniqueness of your custom T-shirt to help your brand or company stand out more. However, in business, there is one thing you always need to account for when creating promotional material like custom T-shirts, and that is cost.
How much will it cost you to print your custom T-shirts? Unfortunately, there is no one answer to this question as there are several variables that will determine how high or low the cost will be for the custom T-shirt you want to print.
Let’s take a look at these variables, so you can have a better understanding of what your custom T-shirts might cost you to make.
How Much Does It Cost To Print Custom T-Shirts on Your Own?
Several variables will affect the price you pay per custom T-shirt that you need to know as they can drastically affect the cost. The following are the variables you need to consider.
The Number Of T-Shirts You Are Ordering
The number of T-shirts you are looking to print will greatly affect the price to print your custom T-shirts. As with most things in business, the more you buy, the lower the overall cost becomes.
So, if you buy a small number of custom T-shirts, say a batch of 5 to 10, you will usually be charged the retail price for your custom T-shirts. The retail price is generally between $20 to $30 per T-shirt.
This price may seem expensive, but people who are generally buying small batches of custom shirts buy them for themselves or family and friends and not as promotional material. Therefore, they will be charged more for the shirts.
If you want to lower the costs for your custom T-shirts, you need to buy a batch of at least 15 shirts or more, as this will help keep prices low.
The Material Of The Custom T-Shirts You Want
One thing you need to consider that will affect the price of your custom T-shirts is the material you want those T-shirts to be made from. Different materials will vary in cost, and some of them can increase the price you pay per T-shirt quite drastically.
For example, a normal 100% cotton T-shirt can cost you up to $10 per T-shirt. Whereas a T-shirt made from performance material, the kind exercise clothes are made from, you could pay up to $12.50 per shirt. So, be sure you take the type of material into account.
The Way You Want Your T-Shirts Decorated
When you print your custom T-shirts, you will be able to choose how you want your logo, design, or picture printed onto the T-shirt. There are several methods that T-shirt printers use to get the design on the material.
A few options include embroidery, traditional screen printing, direct-to-garment, heat transfer, and sublimation. Each technique requires extra care, tools, experience, and materials needed.
This means that they all come with different price tags. So, the price of your custom T-shirt will be affected by the one you choose to use. The screen-printing technique is the cheapest option, but it can result in the design fading over time.
If Shipping Is Required For Your Custom T-Shirt Order
If you are ordering your custom shirts online or from a shop far away from you and your business, you will need to factor in shipping costs into the price you will pay per T-shirt. Some online companies will claim you can receive free shipping with them, but this is generally not true.
These companies will factor in the cost of shipping into the price of their T-shirts, so your T-shirts will cost you more, and you are technically still paying shipping.
However, if “free shipping” is not available, you will need to cover the costs of getting your custom T-shirts delivered to you. So, be sure to keep this in mind when you are looking for a custom T-shirt printing company, as it can cost you more in the long run.
If You Want To Add Extra Features To Your T-Shirts
When you are printing custom T-shirts for promotional reasons, you want a T-shirt that stands out, and that is unique. White-colored T-shirts aren’t going to do this as they are very bland and common, but white T-shirts are the cheapest.
So, if you are looking for a different material color for your shirts, you will most likely pay more for them. Generally speaking, it can cost you up to $5 extra per colored T-shirt you print if it’s a small batch, and as low as $1 extra per colored T-shirt if you order a large batch.
Not all T-shirt printing businesses will charge extra for a print on colored T-shirts, so you should do your research and contact the printers close to you, and maybe you’ll be lucky.
If you want to print a design on your custom T-shirts with more than three colors, you will generally have to pay more. This could increase your T-shirt’s price by up to $3 per T-shirt.
If you want your design printed large in the front or back of the T-shirt, this can also increase the price per shirt by up to $5.
So, if you are trying to save money, ensure your design is small, only uses three colors, but is still eye-catching and appealing. You can additionally save some money by choosing white T-shirts or off-white T-shirts like light grey.
The cost you will pay per custom T-shirt will vary based on many aspects. No one price fits all, and every printing shop will also charge different fees based on their suppliers. The only way to tell precisely how much the custom T-shirt you want will cost you is to see how much your shirt will cost at a POD, and local print shop. From there you can determine if it is worth it to print your own custom t-shirts.
Bryan E. Robinson is the former owner of TshirtGrowth. He has sold t-shirts since 2006 through dropshipping, screen printing, vinyl printing, DTG, Print on Demand, and more. Bryan has created his own t-shirt designs through Photoshop, Canva, and other platforms, as well as worked with freelancers to create many of his designs. Besides t-shirts, Bryan has over 18 years of experience in online marketing with eCommerce, B2B SaaS, B2C products, and more.