You want to order screen printed shirts for an upcoming event but you don't understand how they are priced. What is the pricing based on? Screen printing pricing is based on a number of factors:
First, get a general idea of how many shirts you need. You'll have to order at least a minimum quantity. This quantity will vary among printers, some will require 24 pieces while others will want 36 or more items with the same printing.
Next decide what style T-shirt you need. If you want basic T's you must decide if you want cotton, a cotton/ polyester blend or a performance T-shirt. Cotton T's will be cooler than a blend but a blend will be more wrinkle, shrink and fade resistant. 100% polyester performance T's are a great option for athletic teams and warm environments. Extra care must be taken when printing performance T's so you may have to pay slightly more for this type of shirt style.
Next determine how many colors are in each print. You'll be charged for each color in printing and screen /film charges. If you're trying to keep your cost down, its better to eliminate unnecessary colors. If you're uncertain about what to eliminate ask your printer. Often the shirt color can be one of the design colors. If you need a simple design like "STAFF" on the back of the shirt that counts as an additional print and will effect the per shirt print cost and the number of screens required to print your job.
Another factor in your pricing is whether you are using light or dark colored shirts. If you're printing a light color on dark shirts expect to pay more to have a white underbase printed underneath your design. Without this underbase, your colors will look faded against the dark shirt.
If you need extended sizes that will increase your cost. Tall and extended sizes (sizes 2X and larger) will be more expensive.
After you've determined your general needs, check your printer's quantity price breakdowns to determine what is your best buy. For example, if you need 69 shirts and the price breakdown is 72 shirts, it may be more economical to order 72 shirts because your cost will be cheaper per shirt and often you'll find that you need a few extra shirts.
Don't forget artwork fees. Don't assume your printer can print from any computer file. Unless you have a realistic design that can be taken directly from a photograph or a high resolution bitmap most likely your artwork will need to be converted into a higher resolution file format. Resaving a low resolution file to a different file format won't improve the file quality. Often its best to have artwork vectorized (converted into line art). If you pay for that service request a file copy so you can use your artwork for future marketing projects.
Set-up charges, otherwise know as screen/film charges, must also be considered. Printers have a given charge per screen with the total amount determined by the number of colors or screens needed to print a design.
Its important to total all your charges when ordering screen printed T-shirts so you can accurately compare different quotes. Some printers will charge for every item (shirts, printing, artwork, etc.) while others will the roll the costs into one per shirt charge.
J. DeRosa, 12/18/07
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